Posts tagged "General"

Need Some Inspiration for Your Personalized Garden Shed?

Need some inspiration for your personalized garden shed?


I've been challenged  by Debra Prinzing's book, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways to consider the creative use of sheds within the garden as personal retreats, work spaces and hobby rooms.

Although I'm a landscape designer who relishes the unconventional, I haven't crossed the bridge yet to design a "non-gardening" related shed.

Garden sheds are very common, yet I bet you haven't seen sheds like the ones presented in Debra's book before.


Photographed by the talented, William Wright, the book is visually stunning and offers inspirational accounts of how these customized retreats have enriched the lives of its keepers.


Caution: Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways may cause uncontrollable desire for a shed of ones own!


Usually, I don't care to read about the homeowner's lives in  a design book, I just want to see the pictures!

The profiles about the shed owners in the book, complimented my appreciation for the sheds.

It opened my eyes to how a well designed garden structure could meet a variety of needs.


One shed was used as a design studio, another as an artist retreat, another for writing, yet another as a children's playroom.


With descriptive names for each shed like "Planting Paradise, "Mod Pod," and "Hampton Hut," I finished the book with the impression that there is a perfect shed out there for everyone and everyone should have one!


Here are a few examples from Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways:

One of the smallest sheds profiled in the book is an 8' x 8' foot potting shed in Santa Cruz, California owned by Martha Mendoza that Debra dubbed, the "Newsroom."


Martha, a Pulitzer-prize-winning investigative reporter, finished the interior of an old wood shed and uses it as her office.

She now has a private place to write that is close to home and her family.

The "Newsroom" is a good example of a shed that is accessible for many people.

I can just see Martha "digging up some dirt" for a story while enjoying the sweet view of her vegetable and flower garden!



Pictured above is one of my other favorite sheds that Debra named the "Rec Room."


Lin Su, a young technology professional for Yahoo, felt cramped in her 600 square foot Santa Monica cottage and needed more space for work and entertaining.

Lin opted for a prefabricated structure designed by Ryan Grey Smith of Modern-Shed and found the 10-by-12-foot studio perfect for her needs and budget.

Set in her modern garden, Lin's shed allows her to enjoy urban living at its finest!



I fell for this romantic shed, named the "Sweet Retreat!" Can you see yourself in this room?


Designers Rand Babock and Tony Nahr, created  this garden retreat and filled it with their favorite antiques and mementos.

Debra writes that Rand and Tonyr often use the room for dining, reading and intimate gatherings.

I wouldn't mind ironing mountains of clothes if I could do it in this room!


The "Sweet Retreat" measures a mere 10-feet-by-10-feet proving again that great things come in small packages!



Thank you Debra for including a Mediterranean-style shed for us "dry gardeners" who thirst for an oasis to relax in!


William Wright's camera lens closes in on this open-air pavilion aptly found under the "Extravagant Gestures" section of the book.

Located in Fallbrook, California and proudly owned by Les Olson and Patrick Anderson, the golden retreat is a crowning jewel in the two acre Eden that is home to plants that spike, whorl, fan and delight!

Debra devoted 8-pages to this jaw-dropping-gorgeous retreat and garden, so you will have to  buy the book to see the close ups!


Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways is a well-crafted book and  includes highlighted sections specifying information such as material used, design challenges, creative solutions and featured decor.

Use it as guidebook and muse for creating your garden hideaway.


All you need is a little yard space, lots of imagination and a small or generous budget.


Watch author, Debra Prinzing as she "sheds some light" on creative shed lighting techniques on "Garden Authority TV," a garden web series I created!



Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways should be on every one's coffee table for the beauty it shares and the dreams it provokes in us to "escape to our own backyards."

Garden Coma: What Will You Do While Your Garden Sleeps?

black and white photo of deciduous-tree-no-leaves-with-tire-swing-during-winter-season-edenmakers

I need a reality check because I garden in southern California where the sunshine is abundant and the weather is ideal for year round gardening.

I know this is not the case for many of my cold climate gardening friends around the country and abroad, so I want to hear from you, especially you obsessive gardeners!


This is a typical "winter garden" in my neighborhood. The trees may be naked, but there is still a lot going on in this Los Angeles garden.


What do you do in the winter when your garden slips into its yearly coma?

I can't imagine what it must be like waiting for the garden to wake up in the spring.

As a professional garden designer, gardening coach and garden television presenter, my interaction with plant life is on a daily basis.

Gardening is what I do for a living, I'm an Eden Maker!


So how do you get your "gardening fix" when you can't garden?

Do you feel down or blue when the weather cools, or do you embrace the change and enjoy the down time with another favorite activity?

Do you forget about gardening all together?

Do you continue blogging about your garden or find yourself writing about other things during these cold months?

Do you visit warm-climate gardening sites and drool at the photos and daydream about spring?


Shirley Bovshow video on "Creating a Garden Vignette For Your Patio" during the cold season


I often appear on national television talk shows during the winter months and it's not easy being relevant to everyone when I'm soaking in the sun and others are drenched in snow and rain!

So during these months, I read lots of gardening blogs, especially those from gardeners who live in harsher winter areas than I do.

I can't afford to be out of touch with "gardening reality!"


If it weren't for garden bloggers, like Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening in New York, how could I answer questions such as, "How Do I Over- Winter Hardy Plants in the Containers?".


I read in Mr.McGregor's Daughter that the weather in her part of Illinois went from 71-degrees one day, to a cool 36-degrees the next week.

Talk about bi-polar weather!


A visit to Canadian Nancy Bond's Soliloquy blog always warms my heart, but I felt a slight draft when I read her recent post, titled, "How Wintery Will Your Winter Be?"


Never mind that it was 95 degrees today in Los Angeles.

We don't all live in "la la land," so does it annoy you to hear about "those sunny gardens" when you are underneath a blanket of snow?

Or, does it inspire you for the next gardening season?


Read, "How To Prepare Your Garden For Winter" written by a cold winter garden expert from England on my other blog, "Garden Center TV!"

Lechuza “Self Watering” Plant Containers!

Lechuza Self Watering Containers


The Lechuza, "Self Watering" Plant containers were a hit at the Independent Garden Center Show, Chicago.


Garden Center TV: Post #5


The reason why I have failed with some of my container plants is because of improper watering.

Sometimes I over-watered my plants and "killed them with kindness" and other times I didn't give them enough water and they died a slow, thirsty death.

Sound familiar?


I was intrigued when I saw an ad in a garden trade magazine for "self-watering" plant containers by Lechuza.

I wasn't paying attention to the  self watering feature at first, I just liked the way they looked.


Once I noticed that the planters were designed with a sub-irrigation system, I was curious to see them  up close.

Take a look at this short video where I interview Anton Van Zevenbergen, of Lechuza.  

 Anton explains how the planter works.


When used correctly, the planter can maintain a plant for up to 12 weeks with no human intervention!


The Lechuza self watering containers come in different styles, sizes and shapes and are available at your independent garden centers throughout the country.


 The planters are lightweight and very convenient to use.


Watch the whole video series of  Garden Center TV posts!

Post #1: "Monrovia Growers: Would You Like Some Design Inspiration to go with that Plant?"

Post #2: "Hort Couture Plants for the Plantonista?"

Post #3: "An Indoor Plant Named "Tweed that Looks Like Weed!"

Come visit me again at Eden Makers Blog,


Visit the Garden Center TV website and community to preview new garden products from around the world and share your opinion about them!


My Halloween Fun: Stealing Grapes From a Park!

Shirley Bovshow in the rose garden

EdenMaker Story



Garden Designer Shirley Bovshow shows her sneaky side in the garden.


Now that I'm an adult, it would seem silly for me to go trick or treating on Halloween.

Oh, I miss the goodies!

My kids better hide the candy because once I find their stash, it will be in jeopardy of disappearing.

Halloween has always been a sweet holiday for my family.


When the kids were younger, we would go out with them and with other families and canvas

the neighborhood for candy.

One of the things that some of the moms and I enjoyed doing on Halloween was going up to the doors and peeking in at the homes we thought were nice looking.

Have you done this too?


Besides the Kit Kat chocolate bars, being a nosey neighbor was the highlight of our night!

So, I'm all grown up now, but I have a major "child-like" streak in  me and sometimes it has to come out and play.

Check out what I did at the park the other day…I couldn't help myself.

I actually experienced a true "trick and treat" when I came upon this lonely grape arbor.




Gardens are so much fun! See Shirley's video on "Stealing Grapes From a Park."

Mulch 101: The Art of Selecting the Perfect Garden Mulch!

EdenMaker Tip:

Recycled tumbled glass mixed with broken tile is used as mulch in this garden vignette

Mulching your garden bed is an art form?

It is to me! 

When I have over one-hundred different materials that can be used to mulch my garden bed, I select the one that is most suitable for the site and plants, compliments the design and is priced within my budget.

I don't consider my garden work complete if I don't give my beds a finished look with mulch.

With so many options its worth taking a look at the benefits, disadvantages and aesthetic value of different mulch materials.



Watch  Shirley's video on selecting the perfect mulch for your garden.

What is Mulch?

Mulch is any organic or inorganic material that is used to "top dress" or cover the soil in the garden.

You can buy mulch at your local nursery or landscape center or you can find "free" organic mulch like pine needles and leaves around your yard that can be shredded and used as mulch.

Did you know that  seaweed can be used as mulch?

Inorganic mulches include non-living materials such as stone, shredded rubber, black plastic and tumbled glass.

Recycled peach pits from Pit's In Pieces makes a gorgeous and aromatic mulch with a uniform look.

Pit's In Pieces peach mulch repels snails, is long lasting and does not use nitrogen to break down.

My all time favorite mulch!

I use it in my garden.

Why Mulch?

Birth control for the garden!

When your garden soil is covered by a two or three inch layer of mulch, the sun can not penetrate the soil and stimulate weed growth.

In this case, mulch acts as a physical barrier for germination and photosynthesis of those unwanted and "unplanted" plants.

A thicker layer of mulch-up to 4"- inches can be used in cold winter gardens to insulate plants from freezing temperatures. 


Recycled rubber tires are colored, shredded and used as a garden mulch and walkway material.

This is a practical mulch for commercial or institutional gardens as they are long lasting and come in a variety of color.

Great for wind-prone areas because of extra weight and I like it in the garden more than in the land fill.

Does Mulch Work?

Not as well as most birth control methods, but effective enough to keep my weeding to a minimum!

If these odds are not to your liking, abstain from gardening 'cause there is no guarantee.

(Have you seen weeds growing through sidewalk cracks?)

That is a serious will to survive.

 Another reason to use mulch is to help maintain moisture in your soil by insulating it from the drying heat and to moderate temperatures around the root zone.


Shredded redwood mulch looks best in an informal garden like this one with ornamental grasses and sage where there are large open areas between plant.

 Can Mulch Cause Problems?

Yes, when mulch is applied too densely or incorrectly, it changes from being your garden's friend to it's foe.

Thick layers of mulch do not allow water to percolate into the soil, so your plants die from thirst.

Mulch that is mounded up against a plant is an invitation for root rot in plants, fungus  and harmful bacteria.

Too much trapped moisture can lead to plant death from drowning.

Some mulch materials such as wood chips, shredded newspaper, and shredded bark are great for deterring weeds, but they use up valuable nitrogen from the soil to break down and contribute no valuable nutrients to the soil. 

Compost, on the other hand, can be used as a mulch material and enriches the soil with beneficial organisms and nutrients.

The only drawback is that weeds can find this environment "beneficial" too.

Get the hoe ready!    

Redwood soil conditioner enriches the soil and improves texture but does not offer the best protection against weeds unless you apply a THICK layer!

That said, redwood soil conditioner is neat looking when "clean" lines matter in your garden design.


Cocoa mulch can be deadly to your pets!

The ingestion of as little as 2 ounces of cocoa mulch has been implicated in severe stomach upset, and more serious illness and death at higher doses!

Dogs and cats may find the chocolate aroma irresistible and can be poisoned by the caffeine and theobromine in it.

Cocoa mulch should only be used in pet-free yards.

I found out the hard way when my dog started snacking on my cocoa mulch and threw up.

It was a lot of work to remove it from the garden and it the cocoa mulch cost more than a lot of other mulches.

The upside for "pet-free" gardens is that cocoa mulch provides great weed suppression and does not rob nitrogen from the soil to breakdown.

The downside is that your garden will be "pet-free" if your dog or cat eats the cocoa mulch!  

Shredded melaleuca makes an ideal cover under tree groves 

Is Mulch Expensive?

If you have a large garden, you may want to consider purchasing a "scoop" or "skip" of shredded redwood or cedar mulch from a landscape center and have it delivered to your house.

A bulk order will be less expensive in the long run than buying a lot of 1 or 2 cubic foot bags from the nursery.  

Stones and gravel are useful mulches for succulent and other dry gardens.

Stone and gravel are long lasting, do not break down but should be installed with a weed barrier cloth underneath to keep the gravel from sinking into the ground.    

Designer Shirley Watts uses broken mosaic as mulch.

Clever and artsy!



I use seashells as mulch in container gardens.

If you have enough to cover a garden bed, it looks beautiful in a seaside garden.  


Shredded wood  from construction wood pallets are a great repurposed mulch.


I would use shredded wood from construction pallets  in an informal garden.

There is a perfect mulch for every garden need, budget and style.


Don't forget to pamper your soil with plenty of organic compost before covering it up with mulch.

Refresh your mulch as needed- usually once a year.

For more gardening tips, garden design, edible gardens and "how to"  videos by Shirley Bovshow, visit 

Have You Tried the Back-Saving “Potlifter” in Your Garden?

Garden Center TV Post #4

Independent Garden Center Show 2008


Gardening can provide a great physical workout especially when you are involved in sustained gardening activity. I  even enjoy lifting heavy objects because I can skip my weight lifting routine at the gym and build muscle mass while outdoors! While these benefits are great, I’ve also been known to be a little over-zealous lifting the heavy stuff and have ended up with hernias and back aches.

While at the Independent Garden Center Show in Chicago recently, I came across a product that must have been made especially for me- the “Potlifter.” The Potlifter is a versatile lifting tool designed to help move heavy and awkward-to lift objects such as large flowerpots, landscaping stones, tree root balls, heavy soil, cement or mulch bags and much more. 

Designed to be used by two people, the Potlifter is an ergonomic lifting tool that uses a strap system that will help you lift up to 200 pounds and comes with a lifetime warranty. 

Check out my video interview with the inventor of the Potlifter, Dan and watch us lift a heavy boulder together with ease!

The Potlifter is available at Independent Garden Centers throughout the United States and is affordable with prices averaging about $30.- this  is a lot cheaper than back surgery!

Watch the whole video series of  Garden Center TV posts!

Post #1: “Monrovia Growers: Would You Like Some Design Inspiration to go with that Plant?”

Post #2:  “Hort Couture Plants for the Plantonista?“ 

Post #3:  “An Indoor Plant Named “Tweed that Looks Like Weed!”

Come visit me again at Eden Makers Blog, Interview With Designer Shirley Bovshow

I've had lots of requests to re-post the video interview that Capessa ( a women's website community) did with me almost a year ago. I talk about how I was a stay at home mom, got into landscape design and ended up as a garden television host! Enjoy the "encore" post and read Amber Scott's article on my advice on avoiding common gardening mistakes.