Make room for the young

The avocado tree is gone. Fortunately, the heat wave is over. Nevertheless, my office located upstairs in the front of our south-facing house, gets very hot in the afternoon. Anyone who ever doubted the cooling effect of properly placed trees should come to our house. That old avocado tree made the house far more comfortable […]

RIP Avocado

A couple of months ago the bee hive in our avocado went silent. The hive, located in a cavity, was there when we moved into this house in 1998. We made a few attempts to rid the tree of the hive, fearing that people might get stung coming to the front door. I called companies […]

In the Beginning

I just found this essay that I wrote a few years ago. It reminds me of how it all started. Hope you enjoy it. My eyes scan the emerald green yard when we take possession of our ninety year old Craftsman house in 1998. Both the house and yard are daunting. I never pictured myself […]

Parkway Gardening Class at Nopalito

On Saturday, August 21, 2010, I enjoyed giving a class at Nopalito Native Plant Nursery on parkway gardening with California native plants. The group was wonderful – engaged, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. (As always the presentation and a list of the plants shown on each slide can be found on my website, WeedingWildSuburbia. Please note: The […]

Too Hot To Post Much

It is currently in the mid nineties. Too hot to garden. I watered my front lawn at 4:30 this morning to make the very most of the water I am using. Fortunately I soaked the parkway last week before it got real hot. That was the first time I watered that area this summer – […]

Parkway Garden Will Stay – for now

Many of you followed the story of the city citation for my wildflower parkway garden. If you didn’t you can read about it here. To make a long story short, a neighbor called the city to report that our garden was out of compliance with the city parkway landscape improvement ordinance. According to that ordinance […]

Parkway Debacle – Part 2

Last night I went to the South Pasadena city council meeting to plead for the parkway. As former Horticulture Outreach person for a botanic garden, I have done a fair bit of public speaking. Talking to over 300 pesticide applicators attending a continuing education class doesn’t give me any problem – no nerves at all. […]

Low-Growing Parkway Plants Your City Will Love

As a native plant garden writer and consultant I receive many interesting questions about gardening with California native plants. In this continuing series (The Paintbrush, CNPS: San Gabriel Mountains Chapter:, “Native Plant Gardening Corner”) I share a few of these questions and answers with you. You may email your own questions to me at […]

Plant List (Parkway Plants)

Sorry for the botanical names but I don’t know how to use a table or link to a pdf. (Abbreviations: ps-part-sun; sh-shade) Achillea millefolium ‘Island Pink’ – sun/ps Aster chilensis ‘Point St. George’ – sun/ps Carex praegracilis – sun/ps Ceanothus ‘Centennial’ – sun/ps Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Heart’s Desire’ – sun/ps Ceanothus hearstiorum ‘Claremont’ (RSABG Intro) – […]

Hope for the parkway

From Wild Suburbia Clearly, I am at fault for the city letter requiring that I bring the parkway into compliance with the city ordinance. Noticing that many residents planted their parkways, I took the easy way out. Initially I am not sure that I was aware of the ordinance, but at some time I did […]