drought tolerant

Garden Markers

Gre­vil­lea synapheae in the back­ground iden­ti­fied by small yel­low blooms

The light bulb went off for me the other day. I was doing a lit­tle prun­ing and wish­ing I could remem­ber the names of some of my plants (among other things!!!). For one of them, I real­ized the only recourse would be to pho­to­graph it and email the photo to pur­veyer Jo O’Connell, owner of the won­der­ful Aus­tralian Native Plant Nurs­ery (www​.aus​tralian​plants​.com). The other plant, core­op­sis rosea, was iden­ti­fied after a lot of research. This is one rea­son why I don’t want to be a gar­den designer…can’t remem­ber all those latin names! I had known the names at one time — why not use gar­den mark­ers as a per­ma­nent reminder? I bought these shown in the pho­tos from Berke­ley Hor­ti­cul­tural in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. It’s a fan­tas­tic des­ti­na­tion nurs­ery and worth a trip any time you are in the Bay area. Most upscale nurs­eries will have a choice of gar­den mark­ers, though you might want to call ahead.

Gre­vil­leae Synapheae close up

This infor­ma­tion is taken from the San Mar­cos Grow­ers (www​.smgrow​ers​.com) web­site: The gre­vil­leas are a remark­able and beau­ti­ful group of plants. The vari­abil­ity between species is incred­i­ble but char­ac­ter­is­tic to the Pro­tea fam­ily (Pro­teaceae) of which they belong; the name­sake of the fam­ily, the god Pro­teus was noted for his abil­ity to change his appear­ance and form at will. Among the 270 or more species, almost entirely from Aus­tralia, the habit can be that of a large for­est tree or a diminu­tive crevice plant. The color and struc­ture of the flow­ers and leaf size and shape are so dif­fer­ent in the many species that their rela­tion­ship is often lost to the casual observer. Shared attrib­utes that might be noted as com­mon to the genus are that they are woody ever­green plants that usu­ally have inter­est­ingly intri­cate and beau­ti­ful flow­ers. Gre­vil­leas are planted their flo­ral and foliage dis­play as well as abil­ity to attract nectar-​feeding birds to the garden.

As the plants are a diverse group, there are a wide range of con­di­tions that they will grow under. The fol­low­ing gen­er­al­ized state­ments regard­ing the cul­ti­va­tion of gre­vil­leas would apply to a major­ity of the plants in cul­ti­va­tion. Gre­vil­leas flower best in sunny, dry loca­tions although they will also grow in light shade. Plant in well-​draining soil and be very care­ful of any fer­til­iz­ers applied to these plants; many Gre­vil­lea, espe­cially West­ern Aus­tralian species, are highly sen­si­tive to phos­pho­rus and the use of fer­til­iz­ers high in this ele­ment can be fatal to these plants. They also do not like exces­sive water­ing and gar­den water tol­er­ance or abil­ity to grow near lawns will be excep­tions rather than the rule. Reg­u­lar prun­ing after flow­er­ing is rec­om­mended to enhance and reju­ve­nate flow­er­ing and plant growth. Most vari­eties are drought tol­er­ant, as well as frost hardy down to 20 º F.


Core­op­sis is an all-​around great plant in the garden

The Core­op­sis ‘Pink’, Core­op­sis rosea, with a yel­low cen­ter, is a flow­er­ing vari­ety of the Core­op­sis fam­ily. In the Tick­seed fam­ily, the dai­sy­like blooms flower from June through Octo­ber with a plant height of 1012” and a min­i­mum spread of 1418”(mine has hap­pily spread to about 5′). The dark green fern­like foliage makes a great con­trast with the flower color. ‘Pink’ Core­op­sis should be planted in full sun. Pink Core­op­sis is drought-​tolerant and tough but does need well-​drained soil. It should be cut back early and late sum­mer to extend the bloom period. ‘Pink’ Core­op­sis looks great with any type of grass, in bor­ders or mass plant­i­ngs in sunny gar­dens. This plant likes to vol­un­teer all over the place and blooms all year where I live (near Santa Monica).


Trompe L’Oeil in Manhattan Beach

Devi­ous and clever ways in Man­hat­tan Beach

My motto is: Get out of your area! Recently my friend Donna and I had about the most fun 2 peo­ple can have in Man­hat­tan Beach, an upscale enclave just south of Los Ange­les Inter­na­tional Air­port here in SoCal. This beau­ti­ful com­mu­nity has retained it’s iden­tity in spite of being sur­rounded by a huge city. The high­lights of our day included shop­ping in charm­ing bou­tiques, see­ing a movie (Love and Other Drugs-​GO), and din­ner at Rock­n­Fish (www​.rock​n​fishmb​.com), a hap­pen­ing restau­rant with a wild bar scene! As usual, I was on the alert for ideas for my web­site, and found some­thing pretty spe­cial: the best cam­ou­flage job on a junc­tion box I have ever seen. It looked like some­thing printed (as opposed to hand painted) had been applied to the sur­face. Part of a small rec­tan­gu­lar side plant­ing com­posed of suc­cu­lents and other drought tol­er­ant plants, this juicy lit­tle morsel of a gar­den was low main­te­nance and beau­ti­ful to boot! (Gar­den designed by Gar­den Magic Co. @ 3102186875)

On the web:

There are a lot of won­der­ful events upcom­ing at the Los Ange­les Arbore­tum including:

Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, Dec. 1112/​10am — 4:30 pm — A Clay Fes­ti­val dis­play­ing and sell­ing the work of over 40 artists.

Sun­day Dec. 12/​10am — 3 pm — An old fash­ioned hol­i­day at the Queen Anne Cot­tage: Docent tours of the dec­o­rated for Christ­mas Victorian-​era cot­tage seen in the Fan­tasy Island TV show.

Both are included in admis­sion. www​.arbore​tum​.org

Is this legal?

A morn­ing glory vine invasion

I have been fight­ing a morn­ing glory vine inva­sion in my gar­den for about 10 years now. Can’t say I wasn’t warned…it took about 3 years for my morn­ing glory to take hold. I had almost for­got­ten about it. Then whoosh.….I had a mon­ster on my hands. I’ve been cut­ting back and bat­tling this beast for so long, I’ve lost faith. Then I noticed the hybrid leucadendron/​morning glory in my gar­den today and I’m think­ing, why not? Am I so wrong?

On another front, every­one who knows me can see I’m not an obses­sive gar­dener. I’m a low — no main­te­nance type and my gar­dener of 19 years is a mow-​go-​blow kind of guy (although he’s capa­ble of great­ness — all I have to do is ask.) One of my new favorites is white lan­tana. I have a black hole in my gar­den that has gob­bled up plant after plant. It’s an inde­ci­pher­able area, a lit­tle bit of every­thing: dry, wet, dark, light. That’s where the gar­den work­horse, white lan­tana, has res­cued me. It“s great in dark cor­ners — day and night it attracts the eye. Prob­lem­atic in the wrong place (what isn’t ?), lan­tana is bombproof in the right sit­u­a­tion. Not hard to find in SoCal nurs­eries, once estab­lished it can be very drought tol­er­ant. And hum­ming­birds and but­ter­flies find it delicious.

Lan­tana saves the day!
  • Oct 23 & 24, 9 am-​4 pm, Har­vest Fes­ti­val and Plant Sale, Des­canso Gar­dens, La Canada Flintridge

See Botan­i­cal gar­dens, foun­da­tions and non­prof­its for more infor­ma­tion on the above organization

Websites worth clicking on.…continued

Altadena gar­den tour, 2009

More web­sites worth click­ing on, con­tin­ued from the pre­vi­ous post…

San Diego:

Ven­tura County:

On the Web: Thurs­day, Sept. 16, 9:30am — noon: Great plants for fall plant­ing with Matthew Roberts. Los Ange­les County Arbore­tum in Arca­dia, call (626) 8214623.

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