Category Archives: Gardening

A Different Kind Of Adult Coloring, Without A Book

I just got back from a few days in Santa Barbara. The trips are very full and tiring, 5 hour drive down (I’m afraid of airplanes, small ones in particular), 2 days helping tend to someone in stage 5-6 Alzheimer’s, 5 hour drive back. So, a short post. On one of my previous trips, I […]

If You Plant It They Will Come, Or At Least You Hope They Will

I’ve planted a butterfly garden. At least I’ve planted my side yard with flowers, mostly natives, that butterflies are said to enjoy. This is what the space used to look like. Overgrown with thistles, here seen through a shrubby plum tree, a mock orange, and bamboo. Thistles, filling the space in sunlight. Thistles, finally cut […]

The Calendar Of Greenery

My garden is, from a distance, mostly green. But at a certain time in the spring, in one spot, small bright flowers grow. Native geraniums up close, a fringe bush in the background. Forget-me-nots. This usually happens around Easter. Oxalis. This year it’s early. And this year, a lone calla lily is blooming. I have […]

The Garden After A California Rain Or Two

When last we left California, a long drought prevailed. (I wrote “reign” at first, but we will eschew the puns today.) Happily, in December, and January, the rains came. We’re in recovery. Long-term drought still running, 40% of the state still deep in, but the short-term is OK, and snowpack above average. We’re all cautiously […]

The Complex Peace Of (Northern California) Winter Gardens

I guess a lot of places have one season shorter than the rest. When I lived in New Jersey, spring passed in a bright flash. One minute we were cold, then, “Wait, wait, I can show my legs, where’s my skirt no where’s my cardigan, oh drat! Hello summer. Everybody sweat now.” Autumn is Northern […]

Evergreening Your Garden, With Not A Pine Needle In Sight

What if a genius landed in your garden, but, only stayed a couple of days? Last week, Jeff S., he who designed my yard 15 years ago, came to visit. He lives in Seattle now, working by word of mouth for clients who share his aesthetic and philosophy. He comes to visit us Californians every […]

How To Grow Your First Rose Garden, 13 Simple And Somewhat Philosophical Steps

The other day I Googled “grow your first rose garden.” The results made me want to quit, right now, despite my bed of 8 happy white rose bushes. “Roses are very hard!” shouts the Internet. But this is rarely true. Most of you will be fine. Wait, do you want a rose garden? I think […]

Plant Of Desire: Pieris Japonica, Occasionally Known As “Mountain Fire Lily Of The Valley”

For the most part, I prefer my garden to my plants. I’d rather plant something I find boring by itself, for garden design, than a thrilling specimen that disrupts the big picture. Except, I’m really fond of my Pieris Japonica, particularly the cultivar called Mountain Fire. My best friend thinks it’s weird. You see it  […]

The Colors Of A Coastal Southern Californian Garden

I went down to see my mother and stepfather this weekend. Although I’ve shown you most of her house (here, here, here), I thought some of you might like to see just a few shots of the garden. Southern California’s very different from the North. We’re a big state, 800 miles from north to south. […]

Putting A California Garden To Bed In Late Summer

Snow does not fall in my back yard. The last time it snowed, and hit the ground and remained, was probably 1960. So the seasons do not put our gardens to bed. Instead, we do it ourselves. And, our dormant time, whether the vegetation knows it or not, is late summer. When the lavender is […]

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