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Salvia macrophylla ‘Upright Form’

Large-leaved sage, Salvia macrophylla. Insistently, emphatically, imperially blue.

And since I’ve officially entered the fall season of travel lust I tumble into every year, a more sinister association also comes to mind, that of Mayan Blue, a sacrificial blue. The Maya of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico created through a ritual of fire the […]

Pep Talk

With the light weakening as lowering sunbeams diffuse through the atmosphere, in my garden that signals the coincident scraping and dragging sounds of pots being moved to find any part of the garden still trapping the precious, goldeny stuff. Or for shade lovers like aralias, begonias, and some bromeliads, like this Vriesea seideliana, in my […]

a monday collage

A new week, slightly out of focus. Feed the cats, make the coffee, read Paul Krugman’s column. Routines are the pitons hammered into the seams of blurry grey rock that is a Monday morning.

A quick check on the garden.

Passiflora sanguinolenta, sempervivums, Papaver rupifragum, Agave parrasana ‘Fireball,’ nerines, Callirhoe digitata.

Breakfast music, […]

Hebe ‘Western Hills’

Hebes are the kind of tidy plants so perfectly composed they can be accused of conveying a touch of smugness, of rendering a garden a little too safe and suburban. I take the personal position that it’s best to resist such beautiful compositions in leaf and stem or, before you know it, the garden has […]

Plant Hunting in Namibia

I didn’t need to know too much about the Crassula mesembryanthemoides I bought last week, just some elaboration of the nurseryman’s comment that the stem tips drop, root, and spread everywhere. Very few search hits available. Add its home, Namibia, Africa, to the search string, and you’re knee-deep trudging through the Namib Desert, the tallest […]

The California Look 2011

The Los Angeles Times L.A. At Home section has been asking for readers’ input in a poll to determine the “California Look” for 2011. Results of the poll can be found here.

Offered as inspiration for the poll is this 1951 Los Angeles Times Magazine cover. (Why, oh, why did my mother prefer early colonial […]

Plug & Play

I briefly escaped the desk yesterday and checked out a couple local nurseries. Fall is when some interesting plants start to appear again in Southern California nurseries, for planting in the cooler temps, to be settled in by winter rains. (Fingers crossed, oh, please, please, winter rains, do come!) Surprised the heck out of me […]

Wake-Up Call

This morning the eaves were dripping and a foghorn blew for the first time in months. In other words, the season for succulents has begun. Summer’s siege is over. If you’re an aeonium in Southern California, or any other mediterranean region, it’s time to wake up.

Flea Market Shuffle

A sunny day at the flea market brings its unique brand of hangover. An unfocused listlessness follows the rest of the day. The adult equivalent of the delicious exhaustion I’d feel as a kid after spending a whole day at the beach getting pummeled by sun and waves.

Shuffle, shuffle, stare, swivel, stop, investigate. […]

Anemone japonica in Southern California

A rare sight in Southern California. There’s a garden on a bluff near a popular dog walking spot that has big, established clumps of this anemone blooming in fall, along with giant stands of Romneya coulteri, the Matilija poppy, in spring and summer. I’m sure there’s got to be other plantings of this anemone around […]