Heat Stress

Western spice bush (Calycanthus occidentlias) under some severe heat stress in this part sun foothill garden. Is more water the answer?  I’ve been receiving several questions over the past month or so about plants that have been doing fine for years, but suddenly this summer are looking ragged. This is …

Continue reading

Visiting Denver Botanical Garden

One of the reasons I love to travel is to visit public lands and botanic gardens, both to admire and discover plants that I am unfamiliar with, and to bring ideas back that might work in our Southern Sierra and southern central valley areas. I’m always interested and delighted when …

Continue reading

Earth Day in the native plant garden

     When I was a younger, idealistic college student, I participated in Earth Day activities every year in the Southern California city where I lived. I don’t remember thinking I was making a big positive change to the environment. It seemed more like something I should do, and it was …

Continue reading

Spring in the CA native plant garden

Late-winter is one of my favorite seasons in the garden.  Plants that were dormant in summer and fall look refreshed and green now. One of the showiest is silver bush lupin (Lupinus albifrons), with great stalks of purple or pink flowers that you can see from a distance. Bush lupin …

Continue reading

A New Era

This article first appeared in the April 4 edition of the Porterville Recorder newspaper.                You’ve probably heard that on April 1, the state Water Quality Control Resource Board announced new state-wide water restrictions. This was no April Fool’s joke, however. Stricter restrictions were expected, so there was nothing surprising …

Continue reading

Cold, cold, cold

This article first appeared in the Porterville Recorder newspaper Dec. 7-8, 2013 and was written with mainly the Southern Sierra and Central Valley gardens in mind, but hopefully it’s useful to native plant gardeners across California.  Cold, cold, cold Frost periods like the one we’ve just had make me glad …

Continue reading

Unusual CA Native Plants for your Garden

If you’re just getting started with discovering how wonderful, rewarding and easy-to-care-for (most of the time) our own State’s native plants are, you’re probably just falling in love with Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii), Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), Toyon (Hetermeles arbutifolia), Howard McMinn Manzanita (Arctostaphyllos desiflora ‘Howard McMinn’) and Concha Ceanonus …

Continue reading