From My Garden to Yours
Purple and White Delphinium Yellow Lupine
Purple Arroyo Lupine
March 16, 2018

Saving Your Plants from Snails and Slugs

In my yard, the snails and slugs are just waiting to mow down my seedlings and flowers – especially lupine and delphinium. It can be devastating to put so much work into your garden and overnight they can completely clear out an area and leave you with stubs.

Container Gardening - Spring Flowers & Bulbs
Spring Flower Garden - Hollyhocks and Larkspur
March 06, 2018

California Garden Tours & Events Spring 2018

It’s one of the best ways to gain inspiration for your garden – go on a garden tour or attend a flower show! It’s so wonderful to see what other gardeners are doing and get new ideas for your yard.

Yellow Mexican Marigolds Magenta Ranunculus
Oriental Poppies, Larkspur and Snapdragons
March 02, 2018

California Spring 2018 Plant Sales

Oh, there’s nothing like a plant sale! I love browsing the sales hosted by public gardens and non-profit organizations. They’re typically staffed by knowledgeable master gardeners – so you get expert help and advice while shopping. Many of these events include hard-to-find native and rare plants that you won’t find anywhere else.

Sheet Mulching - Shredding Sunflowers
Wildflower Garden
February 04, 2018

Sheet Mulching

I don’t dig it. At least not anymore. I used to dig in amendments endlessly to make plants happy in my high-alkaline, heavy clay soil. It didn’t work very well, to say the least. Then I discovered sheet mulching (also known as lasagna gardening) and I have never looked back. And my back is so much happier.

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.