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Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Please Join Me on August 7, 2013


On Wednesday, August 7, I’ll be the featured speaker for the monthly meeting of the Santa Barbara County Horticultural Society. My talk will be: “Digging the Good Life: Creating Colorful, Water-Conserving Gardens.” I’ll describe how to create gardens in a number of different styles by using the wide range of colorful and interesting low-water plants that thrive in our mild, wonderful climate.

Summer Standouts


This article first appeared in the August 2011 issue of Fine Gardening under the theme “Summer Standouts.” Fine Gardening used my photos of Big Magenta African daisy and San Miguel Island buckwheat in the article. However, other photographers provided the images of Limelight Mexican sage and Vancouver Centennial pelargonium. I’ve swapped in my own images of those two plants here, in order to avoid violating those photographers’ copyright. ≈ Copyright, Joan S. Bolton. All rights reserved. Reproduction of text or photos in any form is prohibited without written […]

Look for My Garden on Santa Barbara City TV


A water-wise garden that I designed last year will be featured on Santa Barbara’s City TV in July. A camera crew shot the garden and interviewed my client, Amy Ramos, this week for an episode of “Inside Santa Barbara.” Amy explained how we ripped out the sod lawn in her front yard and replaced it with colorful, water-conserving shrubs, perennials and ground covers. She reduced her water bill and her maintenance, and got a beautiful, fragrant garden in keeping with the cottage style of her home in return. […]

National Public Gardens Day: Go Play!


Got spring fever? Itchy feet? How about playing hooky and getting out to visit a community garden? This Friday, May 11, is National Public Gardens Day. The fourth annual event, each year set for the Friday before Mother’s Day, is a “national day of celebration that invites communities to explore the beauty of their local green spaces while raising awareness of the important role public gardens play in promoting conservation, education and environmental preservation,” according to organizers. But cut to the chase. Locally, a host of public and […]

Fabulous Fall Foliage Trees


Fall has a way of sneaking up on our Central Coast gardens. It doesn’t arrive in one fell swoop like so many places. There’s not a single cold snap or deep freeze to announce that the seasons have changed. Instead, we get a mish-mash of conditions for a month or two, with temperatures bouncing around from the 40s and 50s at night to the low 60s to the low 80s during the day. But the trend is still toward shorter days and crisper nights. And then suddenly — […]

What’s That Tree?


Have you always wondered what that purple-flowering tree was, down the street? Or the one by the post office that turns bright yellow in fall? Turn to a new book by Matt Ritter, a botany professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and you should have the answer in short order. “A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us” features 150 of the most common trees growing in urban and suburban areas across the state. “Ninety-five percent of the trees are covered,” Ritter said, noting that these are […]

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