Video: In the garden…April 7, 2015: Planting sweet peas

In the garden…March 31, 2015: Gathering onion seeds 

Today I gather seeds from the green onions we let go in the container garden


Music: “Whiskey on the Mississippi” by Kevin MacLeod ( under Creative Commons License

Interesting Plant: Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea) via BeWaterWise (@bewaterwiseh2o)

Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea) via

A few months ago I was invited down the office of the Metropolitan Water District to meet a number of people involved in their project to help reduce water usage in California. As part of their efforts, they focus on providing plant alternatives to water hungry lawns. Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting some of their garden alternatives as part of this series. For more information on these plants and other water conservation ideas and programs, vist BeWaterWise.comFollow the MWD on Twitter at BeWaterWiseH2O — Douglas

Hummingbird sage.jpg
Hummingbird sage” by Taken by Antandrusen:Image:Hummingbird_sage.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This hardy, small clumping sage is a magnet for hummingbirds because of its spikes of deep magenta owers. This sage prefers shade to partial sun and requires moderate water although its root system helps it to survive drought. —

Salvia spathacea (pitcher sage or hummingbird sage) is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and central California growing from sea level to 610 m (2,001 ft). This fruity scented sage blooms in March to May with typically dark rose-lilac colored flowers. It is cultivated in gardens for its attractive flowering spikes and pleasant scent. – Wikipedia

More information on Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea):

* A portion of all sales directly support A Gardener’s Notebook
** Some of the books may be available at your local library. Check it out!

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Video: Hibiscus – A Minute in the Garden #2 from A Gardener’s Notebook

A Minute in the Garden: A series from A Gardener’s Notebook

See all the videos in “A minute in the garden” series in this YouTube playlist


More information on Hibiscus:

Garden Alphabet: Oleander (Nerium)

Oleander (Nerium)

Garden Alphabet: Oleander (Nerium)



Nerium oleander /ˈnɪəriəm ˈl.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 southwest Asia has been suggested. The ancient city of Volubilis in Morocco may have taken its name from the Berber name oualilt for the flower.[4] Oleander is one of the most poisonous of commonly grown garden plants. 

Oleander grows to 2–6 m (6.6–19.7 ft) tall, with erect stems that splay outward as they mature; first-year stems have a glaucous bloom, while mature stems have a grayish bark. The leaves are in pairs or whorls of three, thick and leathery, dark-green, narrow lanceolate, 5–21 cm (2.0–8.3 in) long and 1–3.5 cm (0.39–1.38 in) broad, and with an entire margin. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of each branch; they are white, pink to red,[Note 2] 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) diameter, with a deeply 5-lobed fringed corolla round the central corolla tube. They are often, but not always, sweet-scented.[Note 3] The fruit is a long narrow capsule 5–23 cm (2.0–9.1 in) long, which splits open at maturity to release numerous downy seeds– Wikipedia

More information on Garden Alphabet: Oleander (Nerium):

Previously in Garden Alphabet:

Event: Native Plant Week Wildflower Show, Symposium And Plant Sale – Saturday, April 18, 2015


Cnps daisy color 400

April 18, 2015 (Saturday); 9am-4pm

Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino, 91436

The annual Wildflower Show of the Los Angeles / Santa Monica Mountains chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is scheduled for April 18 at the Sepulveda Garden Center in conjunction with a simultaneous Native Plant Week Symposium, plant and book sale. The Symposium will feature speakers throughout the day. Plants for sale will be available courtesy of our co-sponsor the Theodore Payne Foundation. We welcome California native wildflower cuttings from your home gardens.

The Symposium will feature the following speakers:

10 -11:30 am
Finding LA’s Hidden Wildlife Through Citizen Science
Lila Higgins

Lila is a museum educator with 13 years of experience in environmental education, exhibit development, and citizen science programming. In late 2008 she joined the Natural History Museum (NHM) of Los Angeles working in the Education & Exhibits department. She oversees the Museum’s Community Science and Live Animal programs and is also the lead educator on the Museum’s newest indoor/outdoor exhibit, focused on public participation in urban biodiversity research. Prior to working at the NHM, Lila worked on both coasts in many nonprofit and governmental organizations. She has a broad background with expertise in areas other than museum education, including volunteer management and biological control research. Lila holds a bachelor’s degree in entomology from University of California, Riverside and a Master’s degree in Environmental Education from California State University, San Bernardino. Her presentation will point out the hidden wildlife in Los Angeles and how to find it. This wildlife has eluded scientists for years by either being too secretive, hidden in plain sight, or tauntingly out of reach on private property. Citizen science can help us to explore this uncharted territory, and enable everyday people to make extraordinary discoveries. Lila will share stories about the projects, programs, and citizen scientists that are finding L.A.’s hidden wildlife one specimen at a time.

noon-1:30 pm
Chumash Indian Plant Knowledge
Jan Timbrook, Ph.D.

Dr. Timbrook is an anthropologist and ethnobiologist and the Curator of Ethnography at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. She studies the interactions of human societies with plants and animals with a specialty in the indigenous Chumash people of the Santa Barbara region. She joined the staff of the Anthropology Department at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in 1974 and is one of the top experts in Chumash studies. Her degrees are in Anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara. The native Chumash people of the Santa Barbara region have used some 150 species of plants for food, medicine, raw materials for making clothing, tools and utensils, religious paraphernalia, and other items essential to existence. Equally important are the ways in which the Chumash have thought about plants and been affected by them. Dr. Timbrook’s informative, illustrated talk will provide a glimpse into the fascinating plant world of the Chumash, including the complex interrelationships between the first people of our region and the environment in which they lived. Her popular book, Chumash Ethnobotany: Plant Knowledge Among the Chumash People of Southern California, will be available for purchase and signing at the program.

2-3:30 pm
The Small-Space Native Garden: Creating Intimate Outdoor Spaces
Steve Gerischer

Steve is the owner of the award-winning firm Larkspur Garden Design, a plant enthusiast, and a popular teacher on subjects related to gardening in this region. He also serves as President of the Southern California Horticultural and Pacific Horticulture societies. His presentation will cover the challenges of gardening in smaller spaces. The process of designing a small space takes on added importance when every inch of garden counts. He will teach attendees how to create a smaller-sized, cozy landscape with attractive hardscape, comfortable seating, a fire pit or bird bath or water feature, and, of course, California plants to add color, fragrance, texture and wildlife habitat.

For more information about the California Native Plant Society, visit Find the website for the L.A. / Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of CNPS at The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants, Inc. is located at 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley 91352, 818-768-1802, or visit them at

Video: Clytostoma callistegioides – A Minute in the Garden #1 from A Gardener’s Notebook

A Minute in the Garden: A series from A Gardener’s Notebook

See all the videos in “A minute in the garden” series in this YouTube playlist


More information on Clytostoma callistegioides:

Free Purple Explosion Computer and Smartphone Wallpapers for April 2015

Here is a selection of free wallpapers for your computer desktop or smartphone. Click to load full-sized image, then right-click and select Save Image As… to download them to your own computer. On your smartphone, click the image to see the full-sized image, tap and hold, then select Save to Camera Roll. You can then attach the wallpapers using your phone’s preferences.



iPad | iPhone

Get this wallpaper on a variety of fun products

Purple ex iphonePurple ex mugPurple ex travelPurple ex cardsPurple ex tote

Check out my entire portfolio on RedBubble

Previous wallpapers:

Video: In the garden…March 31, 2015: Gathering onion seeds

In the garden…March 31, 2015: Gathering onion seeds 

Today I gather seeds from the green onions we let go in the container garden


Music: “Hustle” by Kevin MacLeod ( under Creative Commons License

The End of March and a Re-cap of my Monrovia sponsored posts

As the end of March approaches, so does our sponsorship by Monrovia Plants. Thanks to all who clicked through to check out the offerings on their web site and thanks for following me here on A Gardener’s Notebook.

Your opinion on sponsorships

I’m interested in hearing your opinions on sponsorship like this. I love getting to try out new plants while also providing you a bit of added value by checking out new plants, products and vendors. I have forwarded a couple of my own comments to the agency arranging the sponsorship to help fine tune programs like this and make them as useful as possible to everyone involved. What are your thoughts and advice?

Link: Monrovia Home and Garden Information

Link: Shop Online at

The end of March, but Summer is already arriving!

As for March here in the garden, everything is moving forward into Summer mode here. The bulbs have mostly finished flowering, the leaves have returned on the deciduous trees, unwanted grass is popping up everywhere and temperatures in the 90’s has meant that our watering regimen is in full swing again. I need to patch up or replace a soaker hose here and there, but otherwise I think we are ready for whatever Summer brings.

I’ll have information on these topics — and more — in the coming weeks here in A Gardener’s Notebook and on the YouTube Channel.

Here is a recap of all the posts in this sponsorship, in chronological order, in case you missed anything or want to watch or read them again.

What Monrovia Plants should I try in my garden? California Buckwheat, New Zealand Tea Tree or something completely different?


Video: Spring Beauty That Lasts – Sponsored by #Monrovia – My 2 New Plants

Two more plant ideas from Monrovia – Clivia and Stonerop


Information tags from my Monrovia Plants I hope to install this weekend, once I get over this cold


Video: In the garden…March 15, 2015: Setting out our new plants – Sponsored by #Monrovia

Two More Plant Ideas from Monrovia — Indian Hawthorne and Dwarf Bottlebrush


Two More Plant Ideas from Monrovia — Christmas Carol Aloe and Desert Rose Paddle Plant #sponsored


If you are looking for garden information or new plants to add your your garden, check out Monrovia Plants online.

Link: Monrovia Home and Garden Information

Link: Shop Online at



Products: Pyracantha Fruit — my photography on smartphone cases, cards, totes and more!

Pyracantha iphonePyracantha cards

iPhone and Samsung Cases | Cards and Wall-sized photographic prints 

Pyracantha mugPyracantha travel

Pyracantha tote 

Mug | Travel MugTote Bags

This photo, and more, available on a variety of products from RedBubble. Order directly online.

See my entire portfolio on RedBubble