Winter Reading

Wildflowers, basketball, and good friends

Desert wildflowers have a surprising diversity of growth habits and flower forms. From bulbs such as Hesperocallis undulata (desert lily) to groundcovers such as the purple Abronia villosa (desert sand verbena) to the taller shrublike, showy Helianthus niveus (desert sunflower), each has carved out a niche for survival. Photo by Phil Degginger /Alamy

Desert wildflowers have a surprising diversity of growth habits and flower forms. From bulbs such as Hesperocallis undulata (desert lily) to groundcovers such as the purple Abronia villosa (desert sand verbena) to the taller shrublike, showy Helianthus niveus (desert sunflower), each has carved out a niche for survival. Photo by Phil Degginger /Alamy

“There’s a pure beauty to wildflowers. They have their own creation and survival story. There’s also wildflowers ’ undeniable quirkiness and unpredictability.” —Bill Marken

Last month I settled on the couch before the fire with my winter issue of Garden Design magazine—and cried. I confess every time I hear Dan Hinkley tell his garden stories I get a little misty, but garden reads rarely prompt tears. But editor in chief Thad Orr’s tribute to late Bill Marken was profoundly moving. Bill led Garden Design’s editorial team from 2001 to 2008 and, as I learned so well, he continued to care deeply about garden publications and storytelling right up until he passed away last August.

“Wildflower Madness,” an essay by Bill about an epic road trip he took with his son in search of a wildflower “super bloom” appears in the winter 2018 issue of Garden Design. Typical Bill, it’s a story of plants, adventure, and heart—with a little basketball thrown in for good measure.

Like Pacific Horticulture Society members, Garden Design magazine readers appreciate in-depth coverage of plants and gardens accompanied by glorious photos. If you don’t already subscribe, I highly recommend you start with the current issue. And, thanks to the generosity of our colleagues at Garden Design, your new subscription supports PHS as well.


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