Monthly Archives: May 2009

Arching Bells

Maybe because its Latin name could inspire fear in any designer, or maybe because it isn’t seen often, but Nectaroscordum siculum ssp. Bulgaricum should be used by more garden and landscape designers. A bulb, hardy from zones 6-10, it is … Read more

LABELS: Garden Design, Planting Design, plants Leave a comment

Long ago I lived in Lille…France that is

I have long been fascinated with all things French. I even went so far, years ago, to live there for a while. Not in romantic Paris or sunkissed Aix en Provence, with its fields of lavender, but rainy, industrial Lille. … Read more

LABELS: France, Garden Design, Outdoor Furniture and Accessories 3 Comments


I started thinking about this when all of my white shrubs bloomed at once this spring. They are supposed to bloom in a kind of sequence. The absence of color was just as, if not more powerful, than a garden … Read more

LABELS: color, fashion, Garden Design, Landscape Design, native plants, plants 3 Comments

Often way over my head

My neighborhood has some unusual street trees. A few blocks away there’s a solid block of Sweet Gums (Liquidambar stryaciflua) that make an incredible tricolored foliage show in the fall and an unbelievable knee high mess when they shed their … Read more

LABELS: flowers, native plants, trees 3 Comments

Talking to Myself

I have in some way and in fits and starts kept a journal for years. There have been times when just the act of chronicling what ever was happening in my life has helped me sort it out. As a … Read more

LABELS: Creative Process, Garden Styles, journals, Landscape Design, Travel 4 Comments

Field Trip–Upper Montclair

I have a soft spot for bearded Iris. I use them often in the gardens I design. They are reliably deer resistant and I like their sculptural blooms and their grey green spiky foliage. Each May, when I was a … Read more

LABELS: deer resistant, Garden Styles, iris 2 Comments

Fringe Benefits

I love our native fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus. Hardy to zone 3, it is delicate, fragrant and underused in the landscape. Sometimes I see it used here as a multi-stemed shrub, but seldom as a mature understory tree. I’ve used … Read more

LABELS: Garden Design, Landscape Design, native plants, trees 1 Comment

Dreaming of Other Places

I have itchy, gypsy feet. When the weather gets nice my longing to pick up and go gets worse. I want to go some place exotic–full of color, odd sounds and history. Bali I want to go some place I’ve … Read more

LABELS: Creative Process, inspiration, Landscape Design, Travel 4 Comments

First Year Snapshots

Yesterday on my way to somewhere else, I stopped at a garden I designed and installed last fall. The design mostly followed the footprint of a formal garden that had fallen into ruin–the concrete pond was there as was a … Read more

LABELS: Garden Design, Landscape Design, susan cohan 1 Comment

Chelsea Flower Show Junkie

Yes, I admit it. I’m a Chelsea Flower Show junkie and this week it’s time for my big fix! I follow the Chelsea Flower Show like some guys follow the Jets. I can’t get enough. I find the gardens to … Read more

LABELS: Chelsea Flower Show, Flower Shows, Garden Design, Landscape Design Leave a comment

The Fence from ‘Trash or Treasure?’

It’s almost finished–glad it didn’t get damaged on its trip to and from the dump! Here’s the fence. It needs paint and the posts need to be trimmed and capped. A simple loop will keep the gate closed.

LABELS: architectural salvage, Fences, Garden Styles, Landscape Design Leave a comment

Garden Visits–Chester and Far Hills

Accompanied by a friend, who is also a landscape designer, a map and our cameras we set off to see three gardens in Morris and Somerset counties for an Open Days garden crawl. With my trusty point and shoot, I … Read more

LABELS: Garden Conservancy, Garden Design, garden visits, inspiration, Landscape Design 2 Comments

Field Trip–Chester and Far Hills

I really do what I say I do. Find Gardens to visit on Open Days Even though I design gardens and landscapes every day for a living, I still love to discover other people’s gardens. Today, despite the gloomy forecast, … Read more

LABELS: Garden Conservancy, garden visits, Landscape Design, landscape designer 2 Comments


I love books. Since I first learned how, I have been a voracious reader. For me, books have been gateways to the larger world. They have been a source of inspiration, information and escape. I like them as objects as … Read more

LABELS: books, Garden Styles, inspiration, Landscape Design Leave a comment

Inspriation and Influence–1st Dibs

I really like 1st Dibs. I don’t visit it every day, or even every week, but when I do it sucks me in and when I’m done I’ve spent more time than I had planned. 1st Dibs is a huge … Read more

LABELS: Antiques, inspiration, Landscape Design 2 Comments

Yak, Yak, Yak–My Big Mouth!

Here’s a podcast I recorded about my experience as a landscape designer who blogs. The others on the podcast are Rochelle Greayer of Studio G and Chris Heiler of Landscape Leadership. Click here. Listen and enjoy. Old School Recording Device … Read more

LABELS: blogging, blogs, business, Designer Showhouses, formal gardens, Landscape Design Leave a comment

My Garden State–Jockey Hollow

The footpath to the Cross Estate Gardens in Jockey Hollow This lovely garden is about 20 minutes from my studio on the way here and there. It is on National Park Service land and is maintained by a staff of … Read more

LABELS: garden visits, New Jersey, secret gardens Leave a comment

Happy Mother’s Day

Created by the card companies or not, all mothers deserve a day of honor, celebration and breakfast in bed so it might as well be today. Happy Mother’s Day.

LABELS: bouquet, celebrations, tulips Leave a comment

The Garden State–It’s Not What You Think

I have lived on both sides of this continent as well as on a completely different one. I have lived in New York and Los Angeles. There are still other places I dream of living–Italy for one. The fact is … Read more

LABELS: farmland preservation, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia 3 Comments

Inspiration and Influence – Bark & Maps

I find the bark of the Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) to be incredibly beautiful. It is evocative of topographical maps-which I also find to be very beautiful.

LABELS: bark, inspiration Leave a comment

Big Garbage Day–A Backyard Observation

Big garbage day comes on the first Thursday of the month in my neighborhood. Regardless of my own history of incredible finds in other people’s cast offs, I have become more and more mystified by the paradox of some what … Read more

LABELS: New Jersey, recycling, sustainability 3 Comments

A Bouquet of Garden Blogs

There are so many garden blogs that it boggles the mind. In my little town, there are three garden blog writers that I know about + Miss R which isn’t really about gardening. Sometimes it seems as if there’s as … Read more

LABELS: blogs, Garden Design, Garden Styles Leave a comment

Why not Wisteria?

As beautiful and romantic as it is… Here’s why I never recommend it, plain and simple. Wisteria escaped from a garden climbing a very large Picea abies on my block There are wisteria vines choking out, shading foliage and pulling … Read more

LABELS: Garden Styles, sustainability, sustainable landscapes Leave a comment

My Studio

This photo was taken last fall. My converted sunporch studio is unheated but full of light and looks out to the neighborhood. At one end my drafting table spans its width, at the other books, catalogs, plans and client files. … Read more

LABELS: Creative Process, Garden Design, landscape designer, studio 3 Comments

Why Fit In?

I have never fit in. There have been times, like when I was in high school, where fitting in seemed important, so I tried. I still didn’t really fit in–there was always the nagging sensation that I wasn’t really being … Read more

LABELS: Creative Process, inspiration, Landscape Design, susan cohan 7 Comments