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favorite plants and an end-of-week nursery browse 5/29/15

All the new and interesting dry garden shrubs on the smallish side seem to be coming from Annie’s Annuals & Perennials. Gnidia polystacha from South Africa is a light-limbed shrub with needle-like leaves that readily give away its Thymelaeaceae family heritage. It’s new in my garden this year and just building size. […]

the Leonotis leonurus down the street

This Lion’s Tail is thriving in the front garden of a neighbor who took advantage of the first wave of lawn removal rebates offered a few years ago by our local water department. I”ve been personally characterizing the latest round of lawn rebates after April 2015 as the second wave, just to distinguish between […]

low and green

I’ve got to say it’s been a long time coming, but it’s still just a tiny bit surreal to wake up every day to more MSM coverage on lawns, and by extension, the plants that will have to replace lawns. Suddenly, in just two months’ time, the governor has bravely steered the conversation to the […]

small garden, tough choices

“I reckon there are 5 seasons. There’s an early spring, which I call Sprinter…a Sprummer which comes after that for 2 month…There’s a long summer…a short autumn, a short winter – both just two months long, and then you’re back at Sprinter.”

Tim Entwisie, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Australia.

Succulents and […]

another rainy day at the Huntington

In a bizarre bit of repetition, two recent visits to the Huntington Botanical Garden have coincided with that rarest of occurrences, a rainy day in Los Angeles during our mega drought. April especially is late in the season for a rainstorm, even in a normal rainfall year, but nevertheless the Huntington’s annual spring […]

repotting Cussonia spicata

Cussonia spicata, June 2014. Cussonias are also known as Cabbage Trees, all from South Africa, and I want every one I’ve ever seen. In my zone 10 they can be grown outdoors, where they will fulfill their ultimate destiny as medium-sized trees. But they’re well-known rock stars for containers, in which they can […]

Agave ovatifolia

Treasured for being on the short list of agaves hardy to zone 7, this imposing agave is no less desirable in warmer zones. My recently planted ‘Frosty Blue’ has a ways to go before it looks like this:

Photos of the Whale’s Tongue Agave in a private Central Coast garden by MB Maher.

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the short but productive life of Agave mitis ‘Multicolor’

There’s something about an agave bloom that’s crazy making. Emotions are as variegated as the leaves of this nomenclature-challenged agave. (Bought as Agave celsii ‘Multicolor,’ it might even be chiapensis*.) I’m thrilled, sad, awestruck, and a little dumbstruck, too, at having to deal with the enormously heavy carcass. And then there’s that bloom stalk itself, […]

orange and blue

I love garden surprises. Sure, there is some planning involved, but because the garden supports a collecting habit, the big picture is usually uncertain and often a mixed bag. What the collecting id of my psyche is up to all year is anyone’s guess, including mine, and uncertainty prevails. Excitement too. With spring comes […]

visiting Ms. Fish’s garden

In 1993, when my boys were 5 and 10, we took our first vacation without them. It was a big emotional deal for all of us to be apart some 10 days, but I needed to see if there really existed such gardens as those I knew of only through books. Gardens where plants […]