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Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Fall Planting: Nine Great California Natives


Just in time for fall planting, I’ve returned with a treasure trove of California native plants from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Grow Native Nursery in Los Angeles. With the evenings getting nippy and the ground still warm, now is a delightful time to plant natives. They’ll (presumably) get watered in with winter rains and be poised to take off next spring all on their own, and with only an occasional dose of irrigation from there on out. I also have my fingers crossed that what I’ve chosen […]

Waiting for Fall: Start Planning Now


Limbo. That’s the status of many Central Coast gardens during the first part of September. Other than harvesting the last sun-ripened summer vegetables, keeping pace with watering and pulling an occasional weed, there’s not much that demands our attention. Which makes this the perfect time to prepare for fall. Whether you’re anticipating a simple tune-up or wholesale renovation, you can start planning now. Consider the overall layout and flow of your garden first. Then focus your attention on plants. Hardscape Hardscape is just about everything that’s not a […]

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 […]

10 Nifty Shade Plants


Who needs flowers? Try to liven up a shady spot in your garden, and your list of ever-blooming plants is likely to be woefully short. But shift your focus to foliage plants, and you’ll enter a world of year-round color. Along with many shades of green, you’ll find leaves in yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and white. You’ll see speckles, swirls and stripes, and even some metallics. These wild characters tend to like warm weather, so there’s a good selection at nurseries now. They include an assortment of […]

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 […]

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