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Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Specializing in colorful, water-conserving gardens

Water Conservation and the Drought: Local Landscape Experts Meet to Discuss Ways to Cut Water Use


They’re not hitting the panic button yet. But there is an increasing sense of urgency on the part of local water agencies to get out the word that the drought is serious and that people need to start using significantly less water. Earlier this week, water purveyors met at Chase Palm Park Center with about 30 landscape architects, designers, irrigation specialists, master gardeners and other landscape pros to talk about the drought and explore ways to capture the public’s attention. “Obviously we had a lot of rain in […]

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.

Agaves: Tough as Nails


Tough as nails. All across the desert southwest and Mexico, agaves stand up to just about anything: punishing heat, severe drought and poor, gritty soil. While the ability to defy those extreme conditions isn’t necessary for survival in Central Coast gardens, agaves do make for some very resilient plant choices. And choices there are, ranging from little tykes the size of cupcakes to statuesque specimens 10 feet tall. So Many Uses Some agaves work well in masses; others as elegant focal points. All form rosettes of thick, succulent […]

Mind the Gap: Planting Between Pavers


Gaps between stepping stones can be among the most awkward spaces in the garden. The same goes for those narrow channels of dirt between loosely set flagstones or large pavers that compose rustic patios. Too often, the gaps are neglected and a catchall for weeds. But it’s just as easy to fill the cracks with creeping plants. These little guys will travel the gaps, don’t mind being stepped on and may even smell good in the process. They can also choke out weeds for good. Full Sun Creeping […]

Make More Succulents


More, please. Expanding your garden is easy when it comes to succulents. The fleshy, thick-leafed plants are remarkably accommodating about replicating themselves. Some succulents push out new little plants, called offsets or pups, all on their own. Others take to beheading — lop off their tops and those tops will obligingly root out. Cut the stems of others into pieces, and new roots and leaves will form. Succulents are typically sluggish over winter. The time to start propagating is spring, when temperatures warm up and active growth begins. […]

2011: New Garden, New Year


It’s a new year. And with it comes an opportunity to approach your garden with a fresh eye. Month by month, here’s what to expect on the Central Coast during the gardening year. January January kicks off bare-root season. Roses, deciduous fruit trees and even a few perennial vegetables, including asparagus and artichokes, can be planted this month and next. Bare root plants are dormant: all you’ll see is a twiggy stick or two, attached to spidery roots. For roses, select varieties that do well in cooler, coastal […]

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