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Garden 'siteseeing' from California to China

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Each week we climb aboard the Web's magic carpet to visit gardens and gardeners in various parts of the world. What's the weather like where they live? What are they growing? Do things look much like our own gardening situations, or very different? Just as with all travel, the answers sometimes surprise us.

Since it's 41 degrees F. outside at my house, so let's start somewhere with milder weather -- Birmingham, Ala. where Steve Bender, the Grumpy Gardener (and a long-time senior writer and columnist for Southern Living magazine) holds sway.

You may also know Steve as the co-author of the great book, "Passalong Plants," as well as a number of authoritative Southern Living gardening titles.

Steve makes me laugh, whether in print, online, or in person. But beyond that, he knows what he's talking about when it comes to plants and gardening, so his advice is well worth heeding, especially if you live below the Mason-Dixon line.

From Alabama we journey to California and Gardening Fantasies. The designs of landscape architects Heather Lenkin and William Cundiff have been featured in a number of top-flight magazines, so it's interesting to read their take on knot gardens, design tips for a successful home landscape, romantic gardens, heat-loving flowers, herbs for a Japanese garden, and much more.

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