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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 […]

Onions & Garlic: Underground Magic


In the kitchen, onions and garlic are a magical combination. But for me, the real magic of the sweet and savory edibles is out in the garden, below ground, where the tasty orbs begin their lives in the dark. Plant your onions and garlic this fall, and they’ll begin their journey from the earth to your table by next spring or summer. That may seem an interminable amount of time. But neither crop requires much space. Winter gardens are often empty. These members of the allium family are […]

Growing Hops: Time for Beer


“Fresh from the vine” is not a phrase usually associated with home-brewed beer. But grow your own hops, and you can claim just that. In the garden, hops are fast-growing, perennial vines that can soar 20 feet tall in a flash. They’re also exceedingly deciduous, dying to the ground and vanishing each winter. But in late summer or early fall, their female, cone-shaped flowers grow plump with lupulin — yellow, pollen-like granules — that preserve and add aroma and flavor to beer. The lime-green cones look similar to […]

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 […]

Annual Herbs for Summer Gardens


It’s easy to get focused on growing big, luscious summer vegetables. After all, who can resist just-picked succulent tomatoes, glossy peppers, sweet corn or tender zucchini? But don’t overlook growing a few warm-season annual herbs, too. Fresh basil, dill, cilantro and the like are tasty in summer dishes. Dried, their leaves flavor winter meals. And while still outdoors, they attract beneficial insects and repel pests. It’s Time to Get Growing From seed or transplants, annual herbs grow fast. They’re quick to harvest, since you typically snip leaves, rather […]

Conserving Water: Making Every Precious Drop Count


In a grand sense, conserving water in the garden is imperative. Limited supplies, uncertain rainfall and drought are all very real issues on the Central Coast. It’s easy enough to shift your ornamental plantings to a wide variety of California native and Mediterranean species that require little water or no water. But putting edibles on a water diet can be tricky. Folks converting to edible landscapes often see their water bills rise after they plant their first crops. The natural inclination is to keep the plants well hydrated, […]

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