From My Garden to Yours

Planting & Sowing Tips

orange iceland poppy with cat ranunculus linaria
Iceland poppy ranunculus anemone
September 06, 2021

Planting & Sowing Chilly Weather Flowers

Whether planting for a California winter or early spring in colder zones, these are my favorite flowers that do well in chilly weather. In my zone, 9b, it typically freezes to about mid 20s Fahrenheit and that’s no problem for these flowers. While these flowers will not bloom while temperatures are dipping below freezing, their foliage can withstand frosty weather. So for those of you in colder zones, you don’t have to wait until after the last frost date to plant them. And for those of you in zones 9-10, fall is the time to plant.

August 20, 2021

Sowing Zinnias

There are so many beautiful reasons to love zinnias! But we especially love them for all the butterflies and other pollinators that they bring to the garden. Whether you place them in the garden as transplants or from seed, zinnias are so easy to grow. They can really take the scorching summer heat in full sun.

Blue Borage Yellow California poppy with bee
Pink Shirley Poppies
April 14, 2020

Ask Me, Share with Me

I often get questions in comments on this site and in Instagram posts asking about flowers, IDs, for advice, etc. On Instagram, I cannot respond with images or clickable links. Plus, sometimes my online friends want to share more of their gardens and yards with me.

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.

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.