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Garden Alphabet

Garden Alphabet: Epiphyllum

Epiphyllum   Epiphyllum (pron.: /ˌɛpɨˈfɪləm/;[2] “upon the leaf” in Greek) is a genus of 19 species of epiphytic plants in the cactus family (Cactaceae), native to Central America. Common names for these species include orchid cacti and leaf cacti, though the latter also refers to the genus Pereskia.  The stems are broad and flat, 1–5 […]

Garden Alphabet: Oleander (Nerium)

Oleander (Nerium)   Nerium oleander /ˈnɪəriəm ˈoʊliː.ændər/[3] is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family Apocynaceae, potentially toxic in all its parts. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. It is most commonly known as oleander, from its superficial resemblance to the unrelated olive Olea.[Note 1] It is so widely cultivated that no precise region of origin has been identified, though […]

Garden Alphabet: Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) Another in what I classify as the “alien” plants that grow here in Southern California. They do look so other-worldly, exotic and fascinating. We see a lot of strelitzia in the landscapes here in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, including a “giant” form that grows to the size of […]

Garden Alphabet: Basil

Basil Few things are as important in western cooking a basil. With a Sicilian-American wife to feed — and as an Italian food lover myself — we are always struggling to keep enough fresh basil growing to meet all of out culinary needs. I had pretty good success with basil over the last year, but […]

Garden Alphabet: Geranium

Geranium This pot of geraniums was given to us as a housewarming present 18 years ago and continues to bloom constantly at the end of of our porch. I have repotted it a number of times and love the fact that it has been with us this long. I find myself always shooting photos of […]

Garden Alphabet: Agave americana

Agave americana These agave are prominent all over the Southwest and used extensively in desert landscapes and even in the middle of lawns. Their large size and fairly long life make them a striking focal point of any garden. These agave are found on the grounds of the nearby Los Encinos State Historic Park, one […]

Garden Alphabet: Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) A little early in the season, perhaps, but this poinsettia photo comes from a collection of photos I took in 2002. I often return to my archives to find good examples of flowers and plants I haven’t highlighted before here in Garden Alphabet. We actually have one poinsettia from a few years […]

Garden Alphabet: Olive (near Morgantina, Sicily)

Olive (near Morganitina, Sicily) Three years ago we visited the ancient Greek (later Roman) city of Morgantina. We ate our pranza (lunch) under this olive tree that shaded the parking lot. Olives seem to epitomize Italy and Sicily to me. Olives (and their flavorful oil) are an essential part of everyday life in Sicily — […]

Garden Alphabet: Rosa ‘JFK’ from my garden

Rosa ‘JFK’ from my garden These JFK roses were planted by the previous owners of the property and we have kept the going in the ensuing 18 years. We also have Mikado roses and another hybrid which I can’t remember off the top of my head. I’ll have to do some searching on the blogs […]

Garden Alphabet: Zinnia

Zinnia Some more flowers from Francesca’s garden in Mascalucia, Sicily These zinnia grow in pots dotted about the patio and thrive. As you can see from the photos, the bees love them, too. Follow DouglasWelch in Instagram Zinnia is a genus of 20 species of annual and perennial plants of the family Asteraceae. They are native to scrub and dry grassland in an […]