Create your own garden paradise

Walking on a quiet street in a Los Angeles suburb, my eighty-year-old father and I approached a lovely adobe home. As we walked along, I noticed that he was slowly shaking his head as he simply stated, “It’s not for me.” I was showing him a garden in my neighborhood that I was especially fond […]

Make every drop count

The big news continues to be the ongoing drought in California, which is interesting since we rarely get any rain from April through November. Once we got half way through January we started feeling uncomfortable and things did not improve in February and March. The snow pack is at about 1% of average for this […]

Dividing Deergrass

The nature park anniversary celebration is over. Yay! The plant sale is over. Yay! And the weather is perfect for gardening, cool and overcast. YAY!  As I walk around the yard thinking about what has worked and what hasn’t, I have lots of ideas on what I want to do. It is so exciting that […]

Pruning Young Sages

I was all set to write about stink bugs. We seem to have an overabundance of these non-native, nuisance pests. So I got online and found out that they are really bad back east. I saw an entertaining video on how to remove them from your house using a vacuum cleaner and the freezer. But […]


Quick note to let you know that I continue to update lists and events. Orchid Black, Native Sanctuary, suggested a few excellent additions to the list of native plants that offer summer color (that’s not brown). Thanks to Orchid. Wanted to also mention a few upcoming events. Summer is over, whether the weather knows it […]

Summer Color (that’s not brown)

There has been a very interesting discussion, Native Plant Stars of the Summer Doldrums, on the California Native Plants google group. As people were sending messages about what is blooming in their gardens, despite the long period without rain and with intense heat, it got me thinking about the plants I know that are colorful (flowers, fruit […]

A garden retrospective

We have lived here for fourteen years and the garden has taught me much. I am glad that I started slowly. Many of the original plants are gone. Some did not meet my aesthetic requirements, others were not well-matched to the site, a few grew out of control, spreading where they were not wanted, and […]

Summer hydration

At the risk of sounding like a complete geek – oh, I forgot, I am a complete geek – I want to talk about summer hydration. In some of my horticulture talks I discuss summer irrigation. The tip given is to water deeply a couple of times during the summer to keep plants – and […]

In the beginning

In the heat of the summer of 1999 I take pieces of scrap paper and sketch the long, narrow parkway bed on the east side of our corner lot. It is about 170 feet long and six feet wide, and covered with weedy grass. Two books, Bob Perry’s Trees and Shrubs for Dry California Landscapes, […]