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just another acacia

At plant nurseries, I’m often a hapless Mr. Magoo, peering and squinting at new shapes and wildly filling in the blanks with extravagant theories.

For example, the twisted, contorted stems of this mystery tree, or shrub grown on standard, reminded me of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’).

But what […]

cowboy corgi and the giant hesperaloe

The corgi got a bath, the hesperaloe got away.

Bathed and brushed and made to wear a silly bandana, which he bears with his usual dog grace. Just like cowboys, everybody gets a bath here for the weekend.

A recent temptation, spotted earlier in the week, the giant Hesperaloe, H. […]

Crassula ovata ‘Undulata’ (‘Jitters’)

I get acclimated to many of the plants I once just couldn’t live without. Novelty fades. Maybe living with splashy variegation turns out to be a bad idea, or the perfect focal point turns out to be too domineering, a visual bully. The wavy leaf jade plant has a contained exuberance that never grows tiresome. […]

a gift from Rancho Reubidoux

My flea market buddy, Reuben, stopped by recently to pick up some odds and ends left over from the flea, but very, very kindly left behind a few of them, including this wrought iron orb that I was particularly smitten with, which now hangs on a short chain under the pergola. The bromeliad perched on […]

Cinema Botanica Pick: More Than Honey

I’ve been enthusiastically recommending the documentary More Than Honey whenever the subject of what to watch comes up, and I’ve been getting a lot of “Oh, I noticed that in the queue” as the limp but polite response (streams on Netflix). My youngest son, who’s made a career out of deflecting my advice […]

Asparagus virgatus

There’s not a lot of fern action in my dry, sunny garden, much to my regret, but in the front garden on the north side of the house, planted in the parched gloom at the foundation line, a fern is improbably thriving behind the agaves and astelias. This frothy, arching, clumping-not-running, perfectly harmless member of […]

Bloom Day January 2014

Scrounging around the garden for something to report this first Bloom Day of 2014 made me realize that although nothing big and splashy was catching my eye, there’s still plenty to give bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators micro energy drinks throughout the day, especially the acacia and coronilla. But the star attraction for bees is […]

designing crows

“The crows that live in Tokyo use clothes hangers to make nests. In such a large city, there are few trees, so the natural materials that crows need to make their nests are scarce. As a result, the crows occasionally take hangers from the people who live in apartments nearby, and carefully assemble them […]

it’s that time

Time to cut the grasses down and say goodbye to sights like this until next winter. Spring comes early here in Southern California, February/early March, and the old growth needs to be cut down to make way for the new.

Like a bloom of jellyfish gently floating on air currents, this is Chloris virgata, […]

Kalanchoe ‘Oak Leaf’

Wonderful architectural bloom trusses on this 5-gallon kalanchoe at Lincoln Avenue Nursery in Pasadena. Was this a Kalanchoe beharensis in flower? The leaves at the base of the plant were difficult to see without disturbing the careful display. The San Marcos Growers tag identified it not as Kalanchoe beharensis but Kalanchoe ‘Oak Leaf’ or […]