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“The Well-Tended Perennial Garden”, now completely revised!

I was recently interviewed by Timber Press about the new and completely revised edition of The Well-Tended Perennial Garden. Visit the Timber Press blog for the full interview!

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is one of the bestselling gardening books of all time. When you set out to write the first edition, did you have any idea the book would become as respected and widely used as it is?

As it is said, “not in my wildest dreams” did I think the book would be so popular. I’m very grateful for the support of my readers over the years. Writing is a very isolated and exposing practice, especially as a younger woman in a male dominated field and as a first-time author. Fighting doubt and fear of failure was an ongoing process that eventually made me stronger and more confident.

The new and completely revised edition includes new plants, new garden designs, up-to-date pruning and maintenance techniques, and a fresh new package featuring hundreds of lush photographs. Tell us more about the research you did to update the book.

The updates are based, as Well-Tended has always been, on practical hands-on experience. It was fun to add the many new plants and cultivars that I’ve been growing and pruning since the first edition. Also, it’s exciting to share some of my new design projects and the lessons of sound horticultural practices for bed prep, planting, staking, division, and pest control they inspired.

Read the rest of the interview here! or // here to purchase your copy of the new book!

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Locally Grown Sustainable Specialty Cut Flowers

Double-Quick-Orange-VaseNew to the plant scene at Hiddenhaven are exciting specialty cut flowers. This past season we grew 5,000 amazing sunflowers in our field. Ten different cultivars were tested. Two plantings occurred with the first on May 10 and the second on June 1, 2010. A light application of chicken manure was spread prior to planting and llama manure was placed between a few of the rows after planting. Seeds were hand planted 6 inches apart for non-branching varieties and 12 inches apart for the branching types. Harvesting started July 6th and continued until August 20th. These beauties touched so many lives bringing smiles and joy to all. Due to popular demand I’ll be growing them again this year but have upped the numbers to 6,000 and 12 different varieties—this could easily get out of hand!! Order you seeds now to bring some sunshine into your gardens.
In addition to the sunflowers 80 spectacular heirloom and specialty dahlias were grown in a new cutting garden test plot along with zinnias, cosmos, Craspedia globosa (billy buttons), Trachelium caeruleum , and Gophrena ‘Fireworks’ to name a few. For early cutting a few of my favorites that were incorporated right into the mixed beds were Verona, Peach Blossom, and Willem Van Oranje tulips. Signs of their return are just starting to peak through the soil. Enjoy the images! I’ve provided you with some sources as well so you can experience the joy of these cut flowers first-hand. If you are a specialty floral designer or event planner and would like to purchase some of these unique cuts contact me at [email protected].

Cut Flower Sources

*Baker’s Acres Greenhouse 3388 Castle Road Alexandria, OH 43001-800-934-6525
*Old House Gardens Heirloom Bulbs Ann Arbor MI 734-995-1486
*Brent and Becky’s Bulbs Gloucester VA 877-661-2852
*Wildseed Farms Fredericksburg, TX 1-800-848-0078 for large quantities of poppy seed!
*Johnny’s Selected Seeds Winslow Maine 1-877-564-6697 Large selection of sunflowers!

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Budapest Bound

Follow Tracy and Team USA at Triathlon Worlds in Budapest - photo by Jared Langston

Follow Tracy and Team USA at Triathlon Worlds in Budapest – photo by Jared Langston

Budapest Bound for Triathlon Worlds!! Follow my daily blog for Team USA as we compete at the Triathlon World Championship in Budapest Hungary. Click on the picture to the left, or go to for more information. Also see my triathlon page for 2010 race results updates.

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Updates and events

Hi! I just wanted to let you know the triathlon page on my website has been updated. Also, check out the article in this month’s Columbus Monthly – “Fitness Freaks At 50”. Come and join me at the The Central Ohio Home & Garden Show – Ohio Expo Center, this Saturday Feb. 27, 1pm & 3pm for Design and High-Impact, Low-Care Plant talks. For more info and an article featuring “Tracy’s Trophy Plants” visit page 34.

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A website for women 50+,

Recently, I have become a guest contributor to the website.   You can read a brief profile they posted about me by clicking here. is an online destination for women 50+, a peer-to-peer information exchange populated by smart and passionate women, who are looking for tips and information, as well as important opinions and attitudes on culture, money, food, style, wellness, travel, gardening, politics, and more—the topics that interest WOMEN WHO KNOW. connects women who recognize the strength in each other and share each other’s desire to make the most of life every day.     My thanks to VibrantNation for giving me the opportunity to share my love of gardening with new friends  everywhere! Here is a direct link to my content on the Vibrant Nation site.

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Notes from the road: January 2009

The January 2009 lectures launching 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Plants have been fun and exciting. I kicked things off with the Landscape Contractors Association in Maryland. We had 3.5 hours to discuss Tough But Beautiful Plants and the importance of “spreading the word” of all the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of gardening with dynamic yet sustainable plants. I flew from Maryland to West Virginia to talk with the West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association. The hour flew by there and then I went to Taylor Books, Charleston, WV for a signing. What a treat to find out that the owner Ann Saville had an interesting rooftop garden featuring several of the “50 Plants” in my new book. (see photos). A day later I was back in Columbus Ohio for the annual P.L.A.N.T. day sponsored by the Perennial Plant Association, The Ohio State University Master Gardener Volunteers, and my mentor Steven Still (see photo). What an honor to launch this new book as I had launched The Well-Tended Perennial Garden 11 years ago and The Well-Designed Mixed Garden 6 years ago. Lots of my long time gardening friends and associates attended the event and it was great to share in the joy of this new topic. The following morning I spoke at The Ohio State University Nursery Short Course and again it was a treat to be with so many colleagues. On Friday of that week I was the keynote speaker for The Western New York State Nursery and Landscape Association in Hamburg NY. Attendance was good despite yet more snow overnight and it was great to have not only professionals but numerous students in the audience. The Buffalo News ran a nice article that morning (see inset) as did in the days that followed. I’d like to thank all the sponsors of these talks for their support and commitment to education.

I hope to share with you along the way some of the frequently asked questions from lecture participants as I’m sure they may be some of the same questions you have.

Q. Are these plants readily available? A. Many of the plants are readily available while a few other will take a bit of digging to find—after all many things worth having take at least a touch of effort — as I responded to one e-mail “In the book High-Impact you will find 2.5 pages of sources listed in the back and another 5 pages in the back of Well-Designed. Also now with the internet at our fingertips all plants can be found by typing in their names and source. I’ve done design work for over 25 years and to create exceptional gardens a notch above the “ordinary” often a bit of diligence is necessary to obtain superior plants. Also our demand as designers/gardeners forces the market to supply quality material. At times I’ve ordered from over 60 nurseries nationwide. I hope this is helpful.”

Q. Is the Graham Thomas woodbine honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas”) invasive? A. NO none of the plants in 50 High Impact are invasive. The honeysuckle that are often considered invasive threats are L. japonica, L. maackii, and L. tatarica.

Q. You keep referring to “Trophy Plants”. What is that again?  A. A trophy plant has all 12 of the 12 maintenance traits we are looking for in a low maintenance plant. For example Arkansas amsonia (Amsonia hubrichtii) which is drought, deer, pests, & disease resistant, doesn’t require staking, numerous prunings or deadheading, frequent division, is cold/heat/humidity tolerant, non-invasive and long lived. On top of that it has season long interest, outstanding texture and architectural form.

Q. On a more personal note—“What do you eat?” A. I eat like and athlete because I compete in triathlons for the USA team—lean complete protein, good wholegrain carbs, fruits, veggies, good fats (olive & flax oil), and lots of water. Yum Yum!!

Q. How old is Zach now?—many readers remember Zach from his picture in Well-Tended when he was a toddler and local lecture participants remember him visiting nurseries or laying out designs with me while riding in a baby backpack. A. Believe it or not he’s 19 years old and he put the creative PowerPoint lecture together that we’ve been enjoying in this talk!

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A fun Saturday with Nancy and Lisa on “Garden Gossip”

It was fun to be a guest on Garden Gossip Home & Garden Radio on January 24, 2009. The hosts are Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith, editors. You can  read the article on their website about my new book and listen to my interview segment by clicking on the Garden Gossip button on the right or this link.

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A free sneak peek at “50 High-Impact, Low Care Garden Plants”

For a free sneak peek at 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants click here.… You will be able to preview 25% of the book–going through the introduction to page 40  and enjoy some of the photographs.   I hope this whets your appetite for more!   Let others know about this link by simply clicking on the “Share This” button below.   That button makes it convenient for you to easily email this article, bookmark it, post it to MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.   Help me spread the word on this new book, and let’s start getting ready for Spring!

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Let’s Celebrate!

January 7, 2009: Announcing the release of 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants: Tough-but-Beautiful Plants That Anyone Can Grow. Books start shipping today and should be available on-line and in bookstores very soon! In the coming weeks the proud parent (me) will be posting blogs featuring these sustainable, dynamic, easy care, plants perfect for everyone from the new gardener to the seasoned veteran. And they fit our busy lives like that perfect pair of gardening gloves. They provide all the “bling” without the “sting” of hours and hours of work. They possess most if not all of the following traits…

High Impact Traits

*Multi-season Interest

*Colorful Foliage

*Long-Lasting Bloom

*Outstanding Texture

*Architectural Form

Low-Maintenance Sustainable Traits


*Tolerate Heat and Humidity


*Deer Resistant

*Drought Tolerant

*Insect & Disease Resistance

*Minimal or No Deadheading

*No Heavy Fertilizing

*No Staking

*Infrequent or no Division for many years

*Infrequent or no Pruning

What else can we ask for?? So join in the celebration…Happy Birthday 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Plants!

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Gail Hogan talks with Tracy

Recently Columbus TV personality Gail Hogan interviewed Tracy about the new book:

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