Planting Design: 3 Ways to Create Interest in Long and Narrow Spaces (part 1)

I’m not exactly sure what the formula is for a long and narrow space… probably something like 1 part depth to 7 parts length. But, it’s obvious when we encounter one (often along driveways, walkways, patios, and fences, median strips, and house walls). We feel restricted and start wishing someone had made the space justContinue reading “Planting Design: 3 Ways to Create Interest in Long and Narrow Spaces (part 1)”

10 Beautiful foolproof plants for hot dry sites

When thinking about great plants for hot sites some of the things I look for are irrigation forgiveness, adaptability to soils, and especially, plants that can take scorching, full sun interior heat in stride. All of the plants listed here I have grown and had easy success with in my gardens and those of clients.Continue reading “10 Beautiful foolproof plants for hot dry sites”

Growing CA Natives on Residential Sites

Before converting a long hillside in my backyard to native plants, I excitedly researched and ultimately followed the main stream advice I was given… even though it didn’t feel right.  I then believed that you should not have to amend or add to your existing soil when planting natives.  Instead, plant species that are suited for yourContinue reading “Growing CA Natives on Residential Sites”

Dry farming tomatoes in summer dry climates

It’s my favorite time of year — summer vegetable planting time. Every year I try some new things out. Some are intentional and others are by accident, and last year there was a fabulous dry farming event that I intend to duplicate. My mom first told me about dry farming several years ago. She had readContinue reading “Dry farming tomatoes in summer dry climates”

Landscape contractors: 5 things to look out for

If you are looking to hire a landscape contractor, or other laborers to perform work on your property I have a short list of things that are commonly overlooked.  I think these things are essential to anyone having work performed,  but it seems these things happen again and again from my observation. I would recommend that when you areContinue reading “Landscape contractors: 5 things to look out for”

Colored mulches aren’t the best

I’m sure many of you are familiar with a lot of the benefits that mulch provides: water retention, improved water infiltration, temperature moderation, compaction reduction, erosion control and so on. Two other key benefits however, ones that are often hard to see unless you are digging for them, are the food source and aeration that it provides to the soil environment. Mulch alone can actually bring a mostly dead soil back to life.