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Just like Olivier

Articles: Just like Olivier

Olivier’s home in Southern France, shuttered against the Mistral; the unwatered garden in front is filled with mounded shrubs and perennials in their summer dormancy. Photographs by Dave Fross

A lingering tension has filled our garden for thirty years. While I attempt to keep it personal and intimate, my nurseryman husband works to make it a professional resource, demonstrating a varied and reliable plant palette  for colleagues and customers. Occasionally, strained discussions ensue on the siting of, or removal of, particular plants. While traveling on business, we always accumulate plants from nurseries and botanic gardens until our car is filled to the brim. On the journey home, Dave and I negotiate, and sometimes banter, over the best placement of the new acquisitions.

On a visit to the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix, I purchased a plant of Euphorbia resinifera, an abstractly conical succulent with smooth stem surfaces. It vaguely reminded me of a desert Christmas tree, and I imagined it on my patio draped with miniature white lights for the holidays. In the gift shop, I came upon a book entitled The...

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