Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Santa Cruz Island

Last weekend I was invited to join a group going camping on Santa Cruz Island.  The island in known as the Galapagos of N. America.  I was delighted to see many of the endemics as well as island variants of mainland species. Below are some of my favorites.  Some of the ones I didn't photo were mounding mazanitas, oaks, toyon, saltbush, and one of my all time favorites, Eriogonum grande.

If you can take the time go to the island. It's only an hour ferry from Ventura, and there are some great trails as well as incredible kayaking.  We did a 4 hour guided kayak tour of sea caves which turned me into a little kid. It was Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland plus the movie Goonies.  SO FUN!

Calochortus luteus, the closest thing to the look of tulip in Cal Natives

Dudleya nesiotica, I think one of the more horticulturally worthy Dudleyas I've seen

Mimulus flemingii,  lovely bright red flowers on diminutive plant

Erigeron glaucus, seaside daisy

Bloomeria crocea, I thought this was a Triteleia, what was I thinking!

Eriogonum arborescens

Hazardia dentosa, so silvery

Eriogonum arborescens

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Is this what we've come to?

Home Depot's idea of colorful cactus

So,  I'm just going to boil this down and keep it simple.  If a gardener at home spray paints a plant it can either be fun or tacky or really fun because it's so tacky and wacky.  When nurseries spray paint plants it's just tacky and pathetic.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I admit that in my own garden it's very difficult not to plant a confetti of varieties.  Last fall I decided that is was time to calm things down a bit in the garden. So, I removed all of the green succulents in my "green succulents bed" and planted one of the objects of my many obsessions. I think it was about five years ago when I found that I could get the variegated form of St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Variegatum'), which of course is a tropical lawn grass.  For years I grew it in a small pot, and loved it. Then when I had the new garden I put into my "lawn chair".  And that was great but not enough.  Back to the ex green succulent bed where I planted the equivalent of a couple flats of plants.   Of course planting a tropical grass in the Autumn is not the best thing to do.  The plants we in a state of suspended animation for about six months but now have begun to really take off. I hope to get this to spread the length of the whole bed even in some shady areas.  I'm addicted to the cream light that comes through this plant in the afternoons.

And,  see what Denise had to say about the plant here.

New monoculture bed.  Maybe it's a lawn, but I'll just call it a ground cover.

Variegated St. Augustine grass

Lawn chair

Lawn chair

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Native job

Up to this point I haven't blogged much about my work, and I don't plan to make this about business,  but I thought these photos were so nice that I though I'd share.  This garden was planted in July of last year and it's a case of where the normal thoughts about natives were bucked.  By that I mean that not only did we plant in summer but we also planted in 90+ degree heat.  We lost only one plant and that was a Ribes 'Claremont'.  Losing natives in the landscape is considered common even when abiding the usual rules of planting in cool weather etc.  And this garden is in Pasadena so it saw a lot of near 100 degree heat last summer.  You can see the client wanted as much lawn as possible but I was able to talk her into nice swath of California natives. I was able to sell the concept on natives based on saving water as well as the enjoyment of wildlife. I think this exuberant flush of color is a nice benefit too. You can't see it from the photos but there's a nice little flagstone path that wanders through the gravel and wildflowers.

California natives, and annual wildflowers

Catalina ironwood Lyonothamnus, and California poppies

Penstemon 'Margarita BOP' , native, small, and blue!  Such a winner!