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California Gardening 154 Ideabooks

This time of year I wake up thinking about watering — sometimes, though, about the Giants game the night before, or Mad Men if it's Monday. True, most of California has had hardly any rain since last Christmas, but instead of obsessing about what a garden most desperately needs in midsummer (irrigation, crabgrass...
California Gardener's August Checklist
From the sparkling beaches to the craggy mountaintops, Northern California's magnificent scenery and activities beckon summer vacationers. Those same places also vividly display the area's wildly contrasting plant climates that make gardening here so...
California Gardener's September Checklist
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...
Northern California Gardener's October Checklist
If you want further proof of how different California is, watch a Notre Dame football game on TV this month. I'm not talking about the more exciting way California teams play the game but about the fall scenes on Notre Dame's Indiana campus — gorgeous...
Southern California Gardener's October Checklist
Fall is prime planting time in Southern California. The well organized among us are rumored to plan all year long so that they're ready to spring into action the instant the hot weather subsides (usually by mid-October). The shorter days, cooler nights...
California Gardener's November Checklist
Other than the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven or the sight of a quarterback tossing a football to a receiver in the flat, nothing makes me feel better about November than a persimmon tree fully loaded with gleaming orange fruit among foliage turning...
California Gardener's December Checklist
As a way to make us appreciate what we had, I guess, my mother used to tell a girlhood story about trudging through the California foothills gathering red toyon berries to sell for holiday decorations. She wasn't the only toyon bandit. In the 1920s collecting...
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...
Great Design Plant: Feed Wildlife With Flowering Currant
Long admired in the British Isles for their chubby racemes of bright flowers appearing in late winter to early spring, flowering currants (Ribes sanguineum) are now gaining the appreciation they deserve in West Coast gardens. Flowering...
Great Design Plant: California Buckwheat Pleases Pollinators
Of all the plants you could put in a native garden, buckwheat is a must. There are many species of buckwheat available. In the California garden, clusters of pink to cream flowers of California buckwheat are a huge hit with many pollinators,...
Great Design Plant: Little Heath Andromeda Brings 4-Season Color
I always look for interesting foliage when selecting shrubs for the landscape or a container, and Little Heath andromeda is a reliable favorite. The small green and white variegated leaves form a tidy mound, unlike some of its larger cousins that can...
Rudbeckia Mania: Go Beyond Black-Eyed Susan in the Garden
I must admit that in my early gardening days, I wasn’t much of a black-eyed Susan fan. The plants are OK — they look nice enough, add a nice splash to any garden and are fairly easy to maintain. I do like how some of them self-sow and slowly change...
Great Design Plant: Sunrose Dazzles on Dry Slopes
Sunrose is a carefree perennial that dazzles when in bloom and soothes winter-weary eyes when dormant. This versatile plant loves dry soils and is at home on slopes, in containers and in xeriscapes. Use it as a cheery accent plant or a small-scale ground...
Great Design Plant: Desert Marigold Cheers Up Hot, Dry Areas
The flowers of desert marigold will brighten up the landscape even where water is scarce and the sun is blazing. Often seen along roadsides, in wildflower gardens or even growing alongside cacti, desert marigold is one perennial that can handle tough,...
Great Design Plant: Winter Jasmine Gladdens Snowy Gardens
Just when you can’t bear the thought of another gray day, winter jasmine comes to the rescue. Cascading bright green branches are covered with sunny yellow flowers from Thanksgiving to early spring, not missing a beat — even when it snows. Although...
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