Podcast, Ep. 36 with James Farmer, decorator, author, and entertaining expert

Author, decorator, and gardening and entertaining expert James Farmer stops by the podcast to share all his secrets

‘Jack-of-all-trades’ is the only way to describe this week’s guest. He is a licensed landscape architect, a gardening expert, a flower arranging expert, host extraordinaire, celebrated decorator, and even a cookbook author. James Farmer does it all , so we were thrilled when we finally caught up with him at Discover ADAC to bring you this show.  

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • James talks about how one of his earliest memories foreshadowed his life now
  • We talk about pruning, hydrangeas, and crepe myrtles
  • We talk about James’ new house Farmdale
  • We talk about James’ interior design projects and why he finds himself working all over the country
  • James shares his secret for building a new home that looks old
  • James tells us about his latest antique find
  • We talk about china patterns and how many James has
  • James spills his dinner party formula — pork tenderloin, roasted vegetables, and biscuits
  • Taryn asks James for a suggestion for the centerpiece of a shower she’s hosting
  • We talk about James’ projects, his approach to layering, and how many projects he’s working on at once
  • We talk about James’ next book
  • We talk about trends and using the classics

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi Ladies,

I found your podcast with Margot Shaw from Flower magazine very enlightening. I have several roses and hydrangea that I grow in my backyard. I love bouquets and though I love the idea of cutting flowers and sorting into vases in my home, the flowers often include spiders and mites. I’ve soaked them in water before arranging, but often the delicate rose petals will fall off in the water bath while the hydrangeas will continue to harbor bugs even with a good soaking. My question to you is, “How can I get rid of the insects on my flowers before I arrange them in the house.”

Thank you!
Julie Soja


James suggests addressing the critter issue before it’s time to cut your flowers. You can create a solution of Murphy’s Oil soap and water that’ll coat the blooms so bugs can’t climb on them. This solution won’t hurt your plant but it should help the bug problem. You can use it for either indoor or outdoor plants.

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, pleasesubscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. Of course, you can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    June 27, 2021

    So glad you had James back! I’m definitely picking up his book. He’s so lively and engaging. I also loved his take on pleated lampshades. Too funny! Would love to hear him again.

  2. Reply


    November 11, 2017

    Love your podcast! And James Farmer was an especially delightful guest. Have him on again soon! Listening to your podcasts, though, is hazardous to my Amazon account. So far, I’ve bought Meg Braff’s, Vern Yip’s, and James Farmer’s books!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      November 13, 2017

      Thank you so much for listening! So, so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the podcast! Isn’t James great? We’ll definitely have to have him back.
      Love hearing your feedback and appreciate you taking the time to comment.
      Happy decorating!