No, Sticky Monkeyflower Is Not a Trendy Tropical Drink

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As much as you might want to order a Sticky Monkeyflower from your favorite mixologist, you won’t have luck. To get something with this fun of a name, you’ll have to head to your favorite California native plant nursery (try Theodore Payne Foundation or Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Grow Native Nursery).

Monkeys may not be native to California, but Sticky Monkeyflower, or Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus and cultivars), is. This evergreen shrub grows to be 2–3’ tall and 2–3’ wide.… Read more >>

Grow a Fruit Salad on a Single Tree

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Want to grow a fruit tree, but can’t decide which one? Wouldn’t it be great to have more than one type of fruit on a single tree? It’s possible to have this “fruit salad” effect in your backyard with the amazing technique of grafting.

Grafting is the process of splicing a branch or bud from one tree onto another tree. Grafting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in winter) is done in winter when the trees are dormant, or leafless.… Read more >>

Western Redbud: “A tree with year-round interest!”

Photos: Bob Sussman (left), Stan Shebs (right)

Why is the Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) the best tree ever? Maybe it’s because at this time of year, redbuds are the focal point of any garden lucky enough to have them. This native Californian is a small tree (15–20’ x 15–20’) and does well in most any kind of soil, as long as it is well-drained.

In the late winter and early spring, when most everything else is still dormant and waiting to bud, the red bud has spectacular magenta flowers that are delicate and yet very resilient to cold, wet days.… Read more >>

Learn How to Get Your Landscape Really Green

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You may have noticed that some years in Los Angeles County are wetter—or drier—than others. And in wet years you may also have noticed a lot of unfiltered water rushing off paved surfaces, into storm drains, and out to sea carrying whatever pollutants it washes over. So, not only are we losing water that could be captured for local use or returned to the ground for irrigation, we’re failing to clean it up before it enters our waterways.

But did you know that even in times of drought, what little moisture falls from the sky can be harvested and put to use?… Read more >>

Two Native Plants for Your Southern California Garden

Photo courtesy of weedingwildsuburbia.com

Now is a perfect time to grow your garden green. While other parts of the world are snow-covered and frigid, Southern California’s mild, wet winters make this season ideal for planting climate-friendly natives that provide habitat for our native fauna. Here are two beautiful California evergreen shrubs to check out and add to your weekend plans.

Twin Peaks 2 Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis; native evergreen shrub; 3’ tall by 8’ wide; full sun)

This shrub makes a great undulating groundcover.… Read more >>

Would you eat your landscape?

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As we near the Thanksgiving holidays, maybe you’re thinking about fall harvests.  But if the land around your house is covered in lawn, consider this: traditional turf uses the same amount of water as vegetable gardens. If you’re going to grow something that uses that much water, maybe you should be able to recoup some of that investment in a practical way, by eating it.

Since no one wants to sit down to plate of Bermuda and St. Augustine, how about putting in some plants that yield some fruit and vegetables?  Planting plants you can actually eat is a wonderful way to not only celebrate the seasons, but to make sure that the resources you’re putting into your landscape are paying you back.… Read more >>

LEARN HOW TO MAKE EVERY DROP COUNT

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Did you know unfiltered storm water runoff is the number one pollutant in our coastal waters? And in one inch of rainfall, that parched Los Angeles throws away 7.6 BILLION gallons of water into the storm drains? On Saturday, November 17 at 4 PM join me at the DIY stage at the Green Festival where I’ll be teaching how to harvest that precious rainwater with simple at-home projects, like installing a rain barrel, that will make your landscape more sustainable.… Read more >>

“Cash for Grass” is back in L.A. – Rip up your grass and get some green

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In L.A., over half of our drinking water goes to water our lawns. Shifting to more climate appropriate plants can save up to 85% of outdoor water use. Now the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Residential Turf Removal program will pay you $1.50 for every square foot of turf you remove. Plan your landscape transformation carefully, and the rebate could completely off-set your costs to replant with California-friendly flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees!… Read more >>