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Growing A Greener World


Tracy and Joe in gardens at Hiddenhaven
[ photo by Carl Pennington ]

I had the opportunity to have Joe Lamp’l aka Joe Gardener visit me in my gardens at Hiddenhaven and film a segment, on pruning perennials, for his new gardening series on PBS called “Growing A Greener World”. We had a blast and it was such an honor to spend time sharing my craft with such a knowledgeable fellow gardener. We hope you enjoy watching the video and reading Joe’s article. Check out his informative site at and be sure to watch “Growing A Greener World” which airs in every state on most PBS stations.


Tracy being filmed by Carl Pennington pruning Phlox paniculata [ photo by Joe Lamp’l ]

The mission of the show is to travel the country, telling the story of how people, places and organizations are using the garden and eco-friendly practices to promote environmental stewardship and how viewers can apply these same principles to make a difference in their own little corner of the world. The program covers organic/sustainable gardening and also features a cooking segment each week with fresh in-season ingredients….Cool!

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Garden Planting Tips

This video covers the following subjects:

  1. How do I choose plants for my garden?
  2. What size plants should I choose for my garden?
  3. What season is best for planting?
  4. Should I arrange plants in containers prior to planting?
  5. How deep should I place plants in soil?
  6. How big should a planting hole be?
  7. What is a ‘root-bound’ plant?
  8. How do I plant a root-bound plant?
  9. What is a ‘leggy’ plant?
  10. How do I plant a leggy plant?
  11. How do I transplant an established perennial?

Planting: Garden Planting

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Spending some “Garden Time” in Portland

Recently, I had the chance to appear on the #1 gardening show in the Northwest, “Garden Time” while in Portland, Oregon.  Our topic was my most recent book.

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A few thoughts about garden soil

This video will provide some useful info regarding garden soil.

Soil & Compost: Garden Soil

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Soil is the root of the issue

Matt Hickman portrait courtesy Mother Nature Network

Matt Hickman portrait courtesy Mother Nature Network

Research indicates that 80% of all plant problems relate to poor soil. Most soil we work with in the home garden is considered “disturbed urban soil” and it often contains only 2% (or less) organic matter. According to the Perennial Plant Association herbaceous perennials require a minimum of 5% organic matter for optimum growth. Organic matter can improve drainage in clay soil and increase water and nutrient holding capacity in sandy soil.  Research has also show that organic matter can increase plant growth by anywhere from 20-100% while maintaining higher than average survival rates. How does your soil stack up? Now is the time to test your soil and amend it to create a living soil that will help you be successful without synthetic chemicals.  But all amendments are not created equal. Learn more about soils in my first book The Well-Tended Perennial Garden ( Chapter 2 Bed Preparation: Insurance for Success) and click here to read Matt Hickman’s blog from Mother Nature Network “The First Amendments” and view my video on “Improving Garden Soil”.

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New videos on

The video page on is now active. We will be continually adding new videos. Remember: To see a video or read an article on a particular plant or subject, you can always use the search function on the right-hand side of the page to easily find the topic you are most interested in.

Here’s a brief video on pruning Heliopsis (Heliops helianthoides ‘Summer Sun’).  Please see my book The Well-Tended Perennial Garden for complete information on pruning perennials. And if you live in the UK see the article from THE GARDEN MAGAZINE (link) about the exciting success of these pruning techniques in England!:

Click here to see more videos

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