Grapes for cold climates


Grapes over the chicken coop.

Grapes have a reputation for being demanding and labor intensive.  Picking the right vine for your location can make all the difference.  Here are a few that do well in cold climates and can be purchased in bare root form right now.  Some will produce grapes the first year they are planted:


valiantValiant (Vitis labrusca ‘Valiant’) 

May produce the first year after planting. Has a deep, tangy flavor similar to a Concord, ripening late August – mid September.




king northKing of the North (Vitis labrusca X V.riparia.)

Winer hardy to -40F. ripens early.  Great  seeded table grape for cold climates, and makes an excellent juice as well. Full flavored, very tart until completely ripened.  Great for making jelly.




marquetteMarquette (hybrid of V. riparia, V. vinifera, and other Vitis species)

A red medium-bodied table wine variety that can withstand temperatures as low as -36. Also good for juices and jellies, this blue-black grape with light pink pulp has smaller clusters that ripen in late August – September. Has an open and tidy growth habit which provides nice sun exposure to the fruit.


The Possibilities of Snow

Image courtesy of (c) Lyman Whitaker".

Garden Consultants, Abt Residence, Winter

Having lived in California for most of my adult life, I became accustomed to interacting with the landscape year round.   This doesn’t change when you suddenly  move to a northern climate, but how you interaction with the outdoors does shift a bit.

Here’s an article I’ve just published on harnessing the beauty of snow to keep your connections with the land during the colder months.  Staying connected is crucial to staying healthy and happy.

The Possibilities of Snow

Wabi-sabi in the Garden


OUTDOOR ROOMMy summer office was one of the featured pictures for an article published for the Bozeman Chronicle.  It didn’t hurt that I wrote the article and got to choose which pictures they used.  Read it here.

Now that the season is shifting towards shorter days, the space is moving back to fall and winter uses:  bulb planting, firewood stacking and getting ready for sheet mulching in the garden.  The carpet and furniture will come inside, to be replaced by our picnic table.  We’ll be putting a new door on the root cellar and hanging potatoes and onions for storage.

How to Change Your Life. Today.

Forget about New Year’s resolutions, fall is the best time to change.

Fall is a time to shift away from external to internal.  A time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far this year, and set your sights on where you want to be this time next year.

Here’s a rundown of three of my favorite posts on productivity from this blog.  I’d love to hear your suggestions on how you get motivated without getting overwhelmed.

Your wild niche:  

wild niche  noun \ˈwī(-ə)ld\  \ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish\

:a place or activity which deviates from the intended or expected course a person is likely to follow; unique response having specific appeal for those who intend to take the path less travelled.


How Rescuing a Wild Bunny Will Make You A Better Designer

You don’t have to be a designer or writer or dancer to understand the connections.


Summer Memories

Grabbing the essence of a memory and using it to create something new.

5 Ways to Dress Up Your Doorstep


The front entry is one of my favorite design spots, and is often overlooked by many designers or treated too formally.  Don’t be afraid to break out and make a statement here — it will increase your outdoor living space and make you smile when you arrive home.  Here are some ways to get started:

objects_creative1.  An easy way to modernize your entry, these metal house numbers could be mounted on a wall or set atop your mailbox to announce your pad’s existence.  Available from Seattle-based Objects Creative.



collins_pot2.  A longtime favorite of mine for adding a color splash to your entry, bright concrete vessels by Mary Collins of Half Moon Bay, CA are sure to knock your visitor’s socks off.  In cold climates, add cherry branches painted ivory with stones and other finds below for seasonal interest.


3.  Don’t own your abode or on a budget?  This wallet-friendly option lets you strut your style and take it with you when you go.  Mix and match oversized numbers with peel and stick modern decals for a custom look.

Moonlight® Floating Outdoor Patio Light modern outdoor lighting
4.  Don’t abandon your yard when the snow begins to fall.  Light up your blanket of white with these glowing orbs that use rechargeable batteries and come in multiple sizes for your winter landscape.

redoor5.  This one works for interior splash, as a surprise detail for your guest room or home office. Doors can be expensive, but when you re-do, or in this case re-door them, you get recycling and style all in one.  Using a CNC router, precise patterns are cut into the wood and then finished with gloss lacquer in bright colors.


My article in Zone 4 magazine on making the most of your front yard: Beyond Curb Appeal:  Achieving Real Design Change in Your Front Garden

Metal house numbers from Objects Creative.

Concrete vessels from Mary Collins at

Vinyl House numbers from Etsy shop Vinylmill.

Lolliline decals also from Etsy shop blankcanvasdesigns.

Recycled re-door also from  Objects Creative.

Outdoor light orbs from Lumens.

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