From My Garden to Yours
Pink Mexican Evening Primose - Oenothera speciosa
Pink Mexican Evening Primose - Oenothera speciosa
January 30, 2018

Invasive Plants, Trees & Flowers

Nearly every gardener has done it: planted a species they really regretted. Typically it’s an invasive species that is tough to control. It’s bad enough dealing with invasive weeds, but worse when you’ve done it to yourself. Mexican Evening Primose is definitely the worst I ever planted.

Arroyo Lupine - Lupinus succulentus Orange California poppies - Eschscholzia californica
Pink Clarkia amoena
January 15, 2018

Identifying Wildflower Seedlings

Beginning in the fall and throughout the winter, seedlings are emerging all over my yard. Unfortunately, the weeds are coming up too so it really helps to be able to accurately identify the seedlings.

Scarlet Bugler - Penstemon centranthifolius Yarrow - Achillea millefolium californica
December 24, 2017

Winter Garden Blossoms

While the vast majority of my garden is dormant in December, there are still some gorgeous standouts that withstand frosty weather. Some, like Rudbeckia, Snapdragons, Woolly Blue Curls and Yarrow, actually bloom all year long.

Bird's Eye Gilia - Gilia tricolor Tidy Tips - Layia platyglossa
Clarkia amoena and California Poppies
November 25, 2017

California Native Wildflowers

In Western states, fall is the time for sowing California native wildflowers. When planted in the autumn, the plants have all winter to get established. The advantage to planting a mix is a glorious cascade of blossoms from very early spring to early summer. Most will generously reseed year after year.

Flowers planted in tree stump
Broken concrete elevation
November 19, 2017

Improving Soil Drainage with a Garden Elevation

My yard is mostly flat and heavy clay soil with high alkalinity. Sometimes it seems  like nearly everything I want to plant requires good drainage which can be frustrating. So what can you do? I’ve listed some of the things I’ve done to overcome the problem below.

Ceanothus Ray Hartman
Cottonwood Grove
November 10, 2017

Test for Soil Drainage

If you’re not sure how well your soil drains, it’s easy to do a test. This will really help you to identify what plants and trees will do best in your yard. Keep in mind that drainage can vary in your yard depending on slopes and other factors.

Crocus in Container Dutch iris bulbs
Irises in the sun
October 15, 2017

Planting Bulbs, Corms & Rhizomes in the Fall

I have many bulbs, corms and rhizomes growing in my garden – both planted directly in my yard and in containers. Most return year after year, but there are some (like tulips) that require a longer and lower-temperature chill during the winter to bloom again. Nearly all (except gladiolus) are planted in the fall.

Purple Jacaranda Tree White Cosmos
Pink Rose of Sharon
September 20, 2017

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones vs. Climate Zones

Have you ever been confused by zones when comparing notes with other gardeners? I know that I have. It’s important to remember that USDA zones are only based on average annual minimum winter temperature. You can find yours at the USDA’s  Agricultural Research Service by entering your zip code.

Purple Viola Purple Dianthus
White and Orange Iceland Poppies
September 18, 2017

Transplanting During Hot Weather

Fall weather in my zone (9b) can be pretty hot (above 90F) and that’s a problem because I want to get a jump on preparing for the winter garden. Many plants that will be quite happy when temperatures dip below freezing in the winter, will burn up in early fall weather if they are not temporarily protected from the autumn sun.

Baby Blue Eyes and Tidy Tips Wildflowers Five Spot Wildflowers
Clarkia amoena and California Poppies
September 09, 2017

Grow Your Own Wildflower Yard

In Western states and in mild climates, wildflowers are best sown in the fall. In colder regions, it’s best to sow after the last frost date for your zone. They can easily be added to existing flowerbeds or can fabulously fill an entire meadow.