plant this book

With apologies to Abbie Hoffman (’60s radical and author of counterculture best-seller Steal this Book)

Via Desire to Inspire

Literally, sheet mulching for the bookish set.

Scanning my book shelves, I just can’t come up with a book to sacrifice. But that’s what second-hand book shops are for, right?


how to gift wrap an agave

I had some time late yesterday afternoon so decided to dip my toe into holiday retail. In truth, all I did was look at plants. And even bought a few. For myself. This season of giving is off to a roaring start.

But look, Christmas trees in the background. See? I was holiday shopping!


still life with castor bean plant

The inspiration to include some seed pods from the castor bean plant in leftover Thanksgiving vases already filled with chamomile and hypericum came from this photo from thequintessentialmagazine. Nice touch with the alocasia leaf too.

Like a bloody echinops, the ricinus makes striking cutting material. I suppose it’s the awareness of the castor bean […]

Plant portrait; Agave attenuata and St. Augustine grass

Clean, bright simplicity. Agave attenuata underplanted with variegated St. Augustine grass, by garden designer Dustin Gimbel. This tough, subtropical grass works beautifully in holding this slope, and is allowed to grow long and shaggy or clipped and tidy, according to the owner’s whim and schedule. No frost issues for this coastal Southern California garden.


staining concrete

One of the more excruciating projects this past summer involved the tiled patio on the east side of the house, photo taken 10/3/10. The indoor tile left over from a friend’s DIY project was a mistake the day we laid it down almost two decades ago. It was the right price, as in free, but […]

porpoising (sunday clippings 11/18/12)

Surfacing briefly, like the porpoises I watched slicing the surface of the ocean on the ferry boat crossing to Catalina Island Friday.

A visit mostly all business*, the pleasure coming mainly from the 30-minute walk to the conference room at a resort not far out of town where I would be working in the […]

Occasional Daily Photo 11/14/12

I planted this Hibiscus acetosella in a big, salvaged industrial tank in July, replacing some Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ that finished unexpectedly early, and it grows so much better in the steadier conditions of a container than in the darwinian struggle of my summer garden. Before this year, it never really sank in that this hibiscus […]

The Fall Color Project 2012

Contributing to the The Fall Color Project this year, hosted by Dave at Growing the Home Garden, won’t be as easy as stepping out the back door and taking a photo of the smoke tree ‘Grace,’ now dearly departed since August, who semi-reliably colored up beautifully in fall, written about here. Cotinus ‘Grace’ December 2010 […]

agaves en masse

This was one of those days when I could have used an I Brake For Agaves bumper sticker. Every town in every climate has its repertoire of plants suitable for massing in civic spaces, roadsides, road medians. Here in my coastal zone 10 we see lots of agapanthus or phormium or tulbaghia/society garlic or daylilies. […]

Wordless Wednesday 11/7/12

Congratulations, Mr. President. (Image from “A Nation Emerges: The Mexican Revolution Revealed” exhibit at the Los Angeles Central Library)