Building a Hibernaculum

In the Willamette Valley, we do not have winters with prolonged deep freezes. So if you want to build your own hibernaculum here in Oregon, most of the plans online will not be appropriate. Our frost line rarely exceeds seven inches and building a hibernaculum six feet deep is a waste of time.

I am in the USDA plant hardiness zone 8b with winter temps down to 10 – 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  Reptiles for the most part only need to be twelve or so inches underground to be safe. So here is my hibernaculum plan:

Picking a Hibernaculum Site

Hibernaculum sites should be sloped Continue reading “Building a Hibernaculum”


A Well Designed Garden Should Tell A Story

I find a lot of home owners choosing plants for their backyard because they had stopped in at the local nursery and at that time those plants were in bloom and looked good. Or worse yet, the big box store was having a clearance sale and the plants were an impulse buy. For me, a good garden design should not be just about the plants – it should tell a story.  Your garden should have meaning.

I am sure this philosophy developed in me during my years of producing the Portland Home and Garden Show.  Each February we had the best and brightest landscape designers in Portland install gardens at the Expo Center with themes.  I always waited with anticipation for the garden descriptions.  Garden designers are so creative and to read the story behind the design was thrilling.

Gardens with Meaning

And so bloomed my passion for gardens with meaning. Continue reading “A Well Designed Garden Should Tell A Story”


Hibernaculum: Build It and They Will Come

All my life I have been an amateur herpetologist and when I moved to my farm, one of the first thing I wanted to build was a hibernaculum. As a kid, I would spend hours with my brother catching reptiles and amphibians and keeping them for days to study. My mother was a saint and put up with many a loose critter in the house. Most of them were snakes.

That phase of my life is behind me and while my interest has not waned, I would rather enjoy the snakes in their natural Continue reading “Hibernaculum: Build It and They Will Come”