Pieris japonica 'Browers Beauty'

In Praise of Pieris

Every March I am enchanted with Pieris japonica and then I promptly forget about it as other more intriguing options catch my attention and it fades into the background. I found three varieties worth planting during a hunt for spring at The Farm, and some that had been planted for at least 40 years at an apartment complex.

Pieris japonica 'Browers Beauty'
Pieris japonica ‘Browers Beauty’

Deer resistant and happy in shade, Pieris japonica can have ivory, pale yellow or pale or deep pink bell shaped blooms that hang in nodding clusters or fans.

Pieris japonica
Pieris japonica ‘Dorothy Wyckoff’
Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'
Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’

 Some varieties have boldly colored new foliage, and still others are variegated.  All, when mature, have twisting textured trunks that can add structural interest to older, more mature plants.

Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire'
Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’


image via Mahoney’s

This year I’m going to plant some for both my clients and myself.  This evergreen shrub (commonly called Andromeda) is old fashioned and about 50 years ago was overused as an  foundation plant, but now there aren’t so many around and the big ‘ole mature ones are super awesome when not much else is happening.  They also make a great winter or early spring container plant that can  be transplanted into the garden.  For cultivation info…click here.

Blue steel chairs

Tuesday’s Find: A set of 10 blue chairs

It’s spring and I’m scouting furniture and accessories for clients’ gardens and patios so I’m reviving Tuesday’s Find.  These blue steel Pascal Mourgue chairs from the mid-80s stopped my virtual browsing.  I love the color and the styling.  They can work as contemporary or in a 1930s Art Deco environment that I’m actually thinking about.  Do you like them too?

Blue steel chairs

Blue steel garden chair

They’re in London if you want them…at Christopher Jones Antiques  or on 1st Dibs.

Design Inspiration: Black and White Stripes

I’ve become slightly obsessed with black and white stripes.  The bold and graphic quality combined with what can be a vibrating optical illusion is energetic and brash…two things that I always like anyway.  The really interesting thing about stripey black and white is that it’s occurring simultaneously as a trend across disciplines. I’ve never used them in a design specifically, but would love to.

So here’s to stripes! (There are many more ideas here,,,)

image via Greige: Interior Design Ideas

 image via House of Hydrangeas

photo via Que Bueno es  Vivir!! 

via Traditional Home




Turquoise and Pink

Retro Vibe: Aqua and Red(s)

Sometimes I see color combos that just stick in my mind.  Lately that’s been turquoise and red(s) that I want to try in my side garden when it’s newly renovated this spring.

Turquoise and Pink

image via  Cellar_Door_Films  

I’m not sure whether this will translate into plantings or some other features yet. Turquoise combined with red or red-orange or deep pink seems retro and new simultaneously to me depending on the context.

image via Obvious State

I don’t know quite how I’m going to interpret this yet, but I’m thinking about it and of course I’ve started a Pinterest board to explore the idea further!

 image via  Design Seeds


Leaf Magazine Spring 2013

Spring is Sprung with Leaf Magazine

I hope you’re not tired of hearing about the new issues of Leaf and my involvement with them.  I think the latest issue–out today– Spring 2013–is as good, if not better, than those that have come before it.

Leaf Magazine Spring 2013

It’s a great source of professional pride for me that we–Rochelle Greayer and I– continue to publish it and to push the envelope of what we believe a great American magazine focusing on design outside can be.

Our audience continues to grow–our last issue was seen by more than 1 million people.  We are actively seeking publishing partnerships (however that becomes defined) and exploring new ways to deliver content to even more readers. So please  enjoy this issue and let me know what you think in the comments or email me at scohan @ leafmag dot com.

Witch Hazels…I’m bewitched.

It started out simply.  Admiration in a late winter garden.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

I’ve planted them for my clients for years, but have never had one of my own.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Spring Promise'
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Spring Promise’

Then I wrote a piece for the upcoming issue of Leaf.  Then I became obsessed.  I have to have one–I am bewitched!

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

Hardy in zones 5-8, Hamamelis hybrids have a rich range of color, fantastic fall foliage, and are generally a medium to large, broadly vase shaped shrub.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

The bonuses are the super early bloom time…late January to mid-March in my zone 6 part of New Jersey as well as their deer resistance.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Sunburst'
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Sunburst’

As I said.  I want one.  I really, really, want one.