From My Garden to Yours

Planting & Sowing Tips

Red and Pink Bearded Iris
Dividing Bearded Irises
October 03, 2018

Dividing Bearded Irises

Irises are a very low-maintenance flower, but they need a little attention when they get crowded to keep them blooming. You just need to divide them, which is super easy. You’ll then have exponentially more rhizomes for your garden, or better yet, to share with friends and family. All of the irises in my yard have come from my parents’ and friends’ gardens.

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.

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.

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.