Backyard Stories

Every garden has a story, and that's why we created Backyard Stories. Explore our collection of real-life gardening tales told from the backyards of gardeners we know and love, featuring all the ups and downs, trials and errors, hits and misses, and more.

  • Dried basil spilling out of a metal scoop flanked by fresh basil leaves
    Did you ever read something that you just didn’t agree with? I’ve eaten a lot of basil in my life and hands down, nothing compares . . .
  • A dry, brown Christmas tree stis on a very small balcony outside a glass door
    While growing up, my home almost always had a live cut tree for decoration during the holiday season. Covered in handmade ornaments and twinkling lights, . . .
  • A woman in black gloves carefully uses a trowel to repot a cactus in a small green pot
    I enjoy repotting houseplants. Okay, you caught me. What I meant to say is I like repotting most houseplants. For anyone who has repotted a . . .
  • A woman's hands hanging a Christmas wreath on a door
    In my household, the Christmas decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving and are taken down on the first of January. The putting up has . . .
  • A dried out brown Christmas tree leans against a wooden fence in a lawn of green grass and clover
    The holiday spirit is upon us, and that means putting up a Christmas tree. In my case, I’ve never cut down or purchased a living . . .
  • A short spinelesss yucca plant growing in a terra cotta pot with a terra cotta saucer
    If you’re looking for a houseplant that thrives on neglect, but still makes a decorating statement, consider the spineless yucca (Yucca elephantipes). Spineless in this . . .
  • A woman with painted nails adds perlite to a bowl of potting soil
    I absolutely adore my houseplants. One could say I have too many. Actually, I do have too many considering the lighting I have in my . . .
  • Close up of four echinopsis cactus nodes held in a hand
    I grow a handful of cactus plants in my home. Many are harmless, like my fishbone cactus, dragon fruit cactus and Thanksgiving cactus. But some . . .
  • An old Christmas tree discarded on a sidewalk in the late evening sun
    Christmas trees are such a lovely part of the holiday celebrations in the United States that even the smell of pine puts me in a . . .
  • Close up of a bright orange canna flower blooming outdoors
    As I sit here I have a view of a tarp spread out that is covered in an array of canna bulbs. The good news . . .
  • Dry cracked earth with a few stray sprouts growing out of it
    I plant drought-tolerant shrubs in my San Francisco garden. And drought-tolerant trees and drought-tolerant flowers and veggies. California never has much rain in the summers, . . .
  • A woman's hands hold a basket of many yellow and green summer squash and zucchini
    For those of us who plant a veggie garden, seed starting is filled with excitement. Visions of fresh tomatoes adorned with olive oil and basil, . . .
  • Two hostas outdoors in blue flowerpots blooming with purple flowers
    Shade gardening is difficult. This is something I have always known, but it really challenged me this past gardening season. I had some humbling failures . . .
  • Beautiful orange flowers on a clivia houseplant
    I’d venture to say that most plant lovers are familiar with amaryllis, but less so with clivia. I’ve written about my clivia before, a gift . . .