Drought and the garden

The news reports on California’s drought are dire. However, the drought did not happen overnight, we are now in our fourth year of drought. Nevertheless, for years my city, South Pasadena, like many others, did not take a proactive role on water conservation. The lushness of South Pasadena is apparent every time one crosses into the city. Designated […]

Wildflower Weekend at Rancho

This weekend was the Wildflower Festival at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. If you weren’t able to see the Wildflower Show, it will be open for a third day, on Monday, April 21st. Though the irises have past peak, the garden is still looking lovely. The following album shows pictures of the garden taken today. […]

Water Bill Blues

It is estimated that over 50% of residential water in California is used outdoors. With water rates rising quickly I decided to take a look at my bills to see how much they have risen, and how much I could save by converting more of my landscaped yard to water-conserving California native plants.The answer, however, is […]

Why garden with natives?

Early explorers and settlers were awed by the variety and profusion of wildflowers throughout what would become the state of California.  Hillsides in spring were painted gold, red, yellow, blue and white.  Flowering shrubs added frosty blue and snowy white to the landscape. In the heat of summer, the wonderful smells of soft gray sages […]

Wilding Your Garden

I recently gave a talk on habitat gardening titled, Wilding Your Garden. Yes I know that the very title is controversial since the word wilding has a rather unpleasant meaning in the urban context, but I kept it because it comes closest to conveying the message of the talk. This fierce-looking insect, a robber fly, […]

Cleaning up after the storm

For the past three weeks, ever since The Big Blow (windstorm on night of November 30/December 1), I have received a multitude of offers to haul away the broken tree limbs from the front yard “for a very reasonable price.”  I declined them all, waiting for Jim Walker, his son Todd, and the hard working […]

Front Parkway (continued)

The front parkway project continues, while I try to figure out exactly what I want. I have tossed around lots of ideas, such as: Striking, architectural succulents. A kind of modern look. Too modern? Dudleyas and juncus – odd combination, succulent and wiry, powdery gray and shiny dark green –  flowing from the front yard […]

From Winter to Summer Veggies

Been way too long since I’ve written about gardening. And that – not local politics – is what this blog is supposed to be about. Since it is spring, I am not doing much with the native plants, except enjoying their outrageous blooms. The dirt beneath my fingernails is from changing over from winter veggies […]

Getting Started – Part 3 of 3

So let’s review. There are many ways to convert a traditional lawn-dominated landscape into a sustainable, lively habitat garden. At one extreme there is the clean slate method where everything is removed and one starts out with a clean slate. Advantages are, that if done well, you can have a beautiful, coherent landscape in a […]