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Garden Alphabet

Garden Alphabet: Vinca

Vinca These lovely Vinca flowers comes from the garden of our Sicilian family near Mascalucia, Francesca had several lovely pots of these flower scattered around the yard. This was her garden, close to the house and distinct from the more “productive” garden of fruit and nut trees and a large free-growing patch of basil behind […]

Garden Alphabet: Honeybee

Honeybee It took some time to make peace with honey bees. I grew up with yards that were more clover than grass, so summer days often involved accidentally stepping on bees in the yard while we played. Along with that we had nasty mud dauber wasps that seem to sting you for no other reason […]

Garden Alphabet: Ficus benjamina

Ficus benjamina Far beyond the small office or house trees you often see, my Ficus benjamina are large, dense trees that shade a large portion of my back garden. I don’t particularly like them — I find them a bit too pushy, but they do an excellent job of adding some green to the woodland […]

Garden Alphabet: Magnolia Grandiflora

Magnolia Grandiflora These large trees, with heavy, waxy leaves and large, blowzy flowers are quite common here in Los Angeles. They put on quite a show each year and seem to grep quite reliably and trouble free. As you might see in the photo, the bees like them, too. Follow DouglasWelch in Instagram Magnolia grandiflora, […]

Garden Alphabet: Oleander (Nerium)

Oleander (Nerium) Oleander is an extremely common landscape plant around here and, as familiarity breeds contempt, I haven’t thought much about it. In most yards it grows huge and out of control, used only as screening from the street. It does flower nice and, when kept in check, it can be a nice — if […]

Garden Alphabet: Aspen

Aspen I took this photo years ago high atop Snow Bowl in the San Francisco Peaks just north of Flagstaff. A friend of ours, who lives in Sedona, took us to one of his favorite places admits the forest to just sit, talk and have lunch. I loved the screening effect of the trees — […]

Garden Alphabet: Campsis radicans

Campsis radicans Another lovely flowering vine — this one from my own garden. This camps is vine has arrived each year like clockwork since we moved in 18 years ago. It is deciduous, leaving only woody stems when it is dormant. It is getting more water this year, and seems more active than usual including […]

Garden Alphabet: Mandevilla

Mandevilla Found along a neighborhood walk today. There was a also a pretty red variety of Mandevilla planted near to this one. The pink had better light for the photograph, though. Follow DouglasWelch in Instagram Mandevilla /ˌmændɨˈvɪlə/[3] is a genus of plants belonging to the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. It consists of about 100 species, mostly tropical and subtropical flowering vines. Mandevilla species […]

Garden Alphabet: Helianthus (sunflower)

Helianthus (sunflower) A neighbor had a lovely stand of sunflowers that caught my eye on a walk this week. The orange variety was especially striking. I keep meaning to grow sunflowers here, but I never seem to get around to it. Not sure why, but I will keep trying in future years. Follow DouglasWelch in Instagram […]

Garden Alphabet: Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) This is such a ubiquitous landscape plant herein Los Angeles that no one really even notices it anymore. You see it everywhere, so you tend to see it nowhere. The best thing about it, though, is the lovely smell. It is perfect to plant along paths or outside windows as the […]