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California Gardening 173 Ideabooks

It's pretty safe to say that fall, more than any other season, is what distinguishes California gardening from anywhere else. Notice I'm not talking about the weather. In much of the U.S. and around the world, September and early fall often deliver the year's best weather. What I'm talking about are California's distinctive...
Great Design Plant: Arctostaphylos Glauca Nourishes and Delights
As with many manzanitas, big berry (Arctostaphylos glauca) has an architectural structure with dark red seasonally peeling bark and sinuous branches that add a sculptural sensibility to a rugged or natural garden. Its extra-large...
Got a Hot, Humid Landscape? Add Tropical Flair With Air Plants
Air plants are unique, because they occupy an ecological niche in the treetops of the forest. Because of this special place in the ecosystem, they provide habitat and food to beneficial insects, which then become food for birds. Adding air plants to your...
6 Overlooked Asters for Tough Spots
Asters are one of the most diverse groups of flowering plants out there, and how I love planting underutilized native asters. With shrinking pollinator numbers and habitat loss, it’s more important than ever to plant natives. And the late summer-fall...
Great Design Plant: Snowberry Pleases Year-Round
Wander along nearly any stretch of Pacific Northwest roadside or through a forest clearing, and you will soon encounter vast thickets of snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Most commonly seen in roadside ditches in farming areas, growing with steeplebush...
Smart Plantings Grace a Hillside Garden
Most of landscape architect Pete Pedersen’s projects aren’t eight years in the making — but then again, they’re not his own family’s property. This one is. Starting with a blank hillside, Pedersen designed a lush, inviting landscape that...
Great Design Plant: Western Sword Fern Adds Prehistoric Drama
While commonly seen in the Pacific Northwest, western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) is nevertheless one of the region’s most visually distinctive — even dramatic — native plants. Its dark green, prehistoric-looking fronds can reach...
Great Design Plant: Parry Manzanita Stands Out in Low-Water Gardens
The magnificent stature, sculptural branching and sensual, deep cinnamon bark of Parry manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita) make a bold architectural statement. The smooth, dark red bark and sinuous branching are...
Great Design Plant: Broadleaf Stonecrop (Sedum Spathulifolium)
Pacific Northwest native plants are generally thought of as lush, leafy and green, but in fact, there is a wide world of underutilized succulent plants — even cacti — that are native to our region. Sedum spathulifolium is one of the most widespread...
Great Design Plant: Hibiscus Syriacus ‘Sugar Tip’
I’ve never been especially fond of hibiscus. The flowers are impressive, but when it’s not in bloom, hibiscus is just another green-leaved shrub that contributes little to the garden and certainly doesn’t merit a place in my containers. Hibiscus...
Great Design Plant: Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata)
Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is a magnet for pollinators, particularly bees and wasps, and can be an integral part of a native planting around a vegetable garden. This Eastern native...
10 Top California Native Plants, Trees and Grasses
These plants provide an important habitat to critters large and small, stunning seasonal colors, textures and interest in any-size garden, and are climate appropriate in dry California summers. They were chosen for their gardening ease, extreme...
Great Design Plant: Canadian Milkvetch Draws Bees and Birds
I’ve been walking my local prairies and meadows looking for plants that seem to be thriving in various conditions. My hope is that if they do well out in diverse natural settings, they ought to do fine in my garden. Of course, I’m also looking for...
Great Design Plant: Evergreen Huckleberry Appeals All Year
Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) is surely one of the most versatile, attractive and wildlife friendly of all the Pacific Northwest natives. Factor in the delicious berries that are adored by wildlife and humans alike, and you have a plant...
Great Design Plant: Try California Wild Grape for Interest All Year
California wild grape is known best for its sensational fall colors, but it is much more than a one-season plant. In spring its silvery leaves and tiny buds emerge from bare vines. In summer the lush foliage with ripening fruit will conceal that...
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