Help us with ideas for our backyard landscape

We have this amazing view that makes it feel like we have an infinite backyard. We love it up here on this mountain ridge! And now we need some ideas for the backyard landscape that are awesome enough to match the view. Can you help? We hope to see some fun suggestions in the comments […]

Lots of new flowers this summer

The flowers I grew from seed have done pretty well so far, and I added a few extras to the mix. I love how gaillardia grandiflora will flower the first year from seed. As I mentioned in another post today (about Crimean lavatera), that is a rare trait for a perennial flower. I like the […]

The crisis in Crimea and my garden (yes, they’re related!)

I’ve blogged about this amazing flower before, and now I’m finally growing it at our new place. Lavatera tauricensis is a very uncommon perennial found in the mountains of Crimea. At some point, someone collected seeds and sold them to Thompson & Morgan, and I bought them way back in the 1990s. The flower’s name […]

Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival 2014

I took my three younger kids to the Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival yesterday. What a beautiful treat on a beautiful day! I’ve attended once before, when I was a volunteer, working on my Master Gardener certification. If you haven’t been, you should give a try next year. But you might want to try a day […]

Trees make you happy

Here’s something cool, shared with me by a coworker. Did you know that trees make you happy? A study from the University of Wisconsin showed that people who live among more trees are more happy. I know that I am! The researchers examined survey data in Wisconsin about mental health and well being, and they […]

Blue Atlas Cedar winter burn – probably OK

We’ve only had this house since 2012, so we’ve seen two full winters here. We have two lovely Blue Atlas Cedars – one a tall, wispy tree in the front yard and one a small, weeping variety in the back. I was alarmed last year when many of the needles were brown at the end […]

Any hope for veggies in deer country?

It’s the time of year when peas, spinach, lettuce, brocolli, and other cool-season vegetables can be planted. They can handle some spring freezes. But my worry since moving up on the ridge here at our Utah house is that that deer will feast on our garden bounty. There are a lot of articles on what […]

This is what forsythia should look like… and not

I love forsythia! It’s always the cheery harbinger of warm days, and it’s one of those shrubs that in my mind is best left to look wild. It should be allowed to send its long branches out, covered with beautiful blooms, sometimes arching under the weight of those awesome blossoms. The example above is in […]

It’s greenhouse time! And my winter-sowing experiment is working

It’s that wonderful time of the year again; the snow has melted (finally!), the perennial flowers are just starting to poke up through soil, and I’m feeling the urgency to get things started in the greenhouse. I decided to try winter sowing again to get some seeds sprouted, and then I’ll transfer seedlings into the […]

Time for valleygardens.com to bloom again!

We all love the changes that springtime brings. This year, spring is bringing a renewed commitment to our garden blog! We’re turning over a new leaf, so to speak. :) I had let the blog go mostly idle for the past four years or so, needing to regroup after divorce, leaving my “half acre of […]