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Not At Home

When home during summer (in our non-air-conditioned home), I hang out on the cool east side of the house, religiously sweeping this small patio clean and smooth to receive scorched, bare feet, occasionally laying down rugs for the corgi and cats, bringing a sliver of the reading material that piles up in the house, maybe […]

Ironweed

Autumn is a time to dream of American prairies, shoulder high with the blooms of plants bearing the names of forgotten explorers. Right alongside the list of places I’ve yet to visit is the list of plants I’ve yet to see, such as vernonia, named for English botanist William Vernon.

(V. altiissima, angustifolia, arkansana, baldwinii, […]

Rust Never Sleeps: Recent Work by Dustin Gimbel

Congratulations to Dustin Gimbel of Second Nature Garden Design for the recent write-up in The Orange County Register on his landscape design work at a Huntington Harbor, California, home.

If pets are chewing or foot traffic stomping your prize succulents, here’s a dramatic solution to safeguard every ruffly, curvaceous leaf.

Cindy McNatt wrote the […]

Of Elephants and Mobile Homes

If one morning I was presented with a list of the garden tasks I would ultimately end up accomplishing that day, I would probably consider it an absurd amount of work and pitch the list in the trash. That’s the inherent paradox of puttering in a garden: it never seems like work at the time, […]

Home Again

The termite control crews have left, the gas is turned back on, and very little damage to plants has occurred. An enormous, ruffly echeveria as big as a cabbage was one of the few casualties, even though it seemed in a safe location.

This leucadendron close to the path, just opposite the palm, is still […]

Under A Big Tent

If I named my home at this moment, something I’ve been mulling over for a while, Hotel Chaotica would be a good fit. The big tent is coming next week under which death will be dealt to the termites chewing away at the ribs of this 100-year-old wooden house.

I find this photo of […]

A sultan of a succulent

Erepsia lacera. A succulent with large, sweet sultan-like flowers. (At least what I call sweet sultan, the annual Centaurea moschata.)

From Annie’s Annuals. A fast grower. As often as I trim it off the bricks, I’m surprised to see any flowers. My mom pointed them out to me the other night, and then added […]

Some Good News

If newspapers had come in two editions this past decade, one edition with only good news, the other edition with not-so-good news, the good news edition would have been slim indeed. Flung by the delivery person who always aims for my agaves, it would probably have blown away down the street like a kite before […]

Fail Better (Summer Recap)

I admit it’s a little early for a summer recap, but there is a penultimate feel to the garden today. By this time, whatever plans I’ve laid have either happened or failed to happen.

It’s time to admit this is as lush as the little tropical terrace will get this summer. And what a lot […]

Mixology in the Garden

A couple days ago a non-gardening member of the household burst through the screen door and out onto the porch and barked at me, “Grow me some cilantro!”

I barked back, “Grow it yourself. The smell makes me retch. What do you want it for?”

And the non-gardener went on to detail the alcoholic beverages […]