Interesting Plant: Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) via BeWaterWise (@bewaterwiseh2o)

Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)  via BeWaterWise.com 

A few months ago I was invited down the office of the Metropolitan Water District to meet a number of people involved in their BeWaterWise.com 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

Heteromeles arbutifolia 1.jpg
Heteromeles arbutifolia 1” by Stan Shebs. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Toyon is also known as Christmasberry or California Holly for its brilliant red berry clusters from November through January. It’s a large evergreen shrub, with thick, leathery, glossy green leaves 2 to 4 inches long. It has small white flowers in flattish clusters, which bloom June through July. Toyon requires full sun and can tolerate low moisture. It attracts birds. — BeWaterWise.com

 Heteromeles arbutifolia (/ˌhɛtɨrɵˈmlz ɑrˌbjuːtɨˈfliə/;[4] more commonly /hɛtəˈrɒməlz/ by Californian botanists), commonly known as toyon, is a common perennial shrub native to extreme southwest Oregon,[citation needed] California and Baja California.

Toyon is a prominent component of the coastal sage scrub plant community, and is a part of drought-adapted chaparral and mixed oak woodland habitats.[5] It is also known by the common names Christmas berry and California holly. Accordingly, “the abundance of this species in the hills above Los Angeles… gave rise to the name Hollywood.”[6]

It is the sole species of Heteromeles, but is closely related to the Asian genus Photinia.

Toyon typically grows from 2–5 m (rarely up to 10 m in shaded conditions) and has a rounded to irregular top. Its leaves are evergreen, alternate, sharply toothed, have short petioles, and are 5–10 cm in length and 2–4 cm wide. In the early summer it produces small white flowers 6–10 mm diameter in dense terminal corymbs.

The five petals are rounded. The fruit is a small pome,[7] 5–10 mm across, bright red and berry-like, produced in large quantities, maturing in the fall and persisting well into the winter. — Wikipedia

More information on California Lilac (Ceanothus)  :
Books from Amazon.com:

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

Thanks to Monrovia for sponsoring this series of posts. The opinions stated here are my own.


Today I finally got around to planting my new plants from Monrovia. I had a cold this week and this kept me out of the garden, but it only took a small effort to get the Dwarf New Zealand Tea Tree and California Buckwheat into their permanent locations.

For more information on the plants in this video, you can visit the Monrovia site directl . You can find links on this video and also on the associated blog post. Thanks for watching!

Until next time…keep on digging!

Thanks to Monrovia  for giving me this opportunity to try out some new plants. I can always use new things in my garden, especially those plants that are waterwise and help out in our drought conditions here in Southern California.

For more information, you can visit the Monrovia site directly. You can find links on this video and also on the associated blog post. Thanks for listening. For more information on A Gardener’s Notebook visit DouglasEWelch.com

Until next time…keep on digging!


LinkMonrovia Home and Garden Information 

LinkShop Online at Shop.Monrovia.com

Follow @MonroviaPlants on Twitter

 

Music: “Hustle” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) under Creative Commons License

Previously in this sponsored program:

Products: Pink Hibiscus — my photography on smartphone cases, cards, totes and more!

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

Thanks to Monrovia for sponsoring this series of posts. The opinions stated here are my own. 

I normally like to plant any new additions the moment I get them. I find that if I don’t get to it right away it is too easy to procrastinate  for even longer periods of time. Of course, a cold has knocked me down the last several days, so these containers have remained n the front porch for far too long. In an effort to make some movement, and share some more information with you, I gathered up the tags from plants to help familiarize myself more with their needs and develop some ideas where I might plant them.

Larger Image

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Since both of these plants have low-watering needs, I am going to specifically place them way from the soaker hoses I use for the majority of the garden. Drought-toerant plants don’t like extra water at the wrong times and it can even kill more sensitive plants, especially true California natives. I think I have narrowed down the placement of these plants to 2 basic areas. it should be a quick task to get them in the ground. I’ll make a video when I do that so you can see the condition of the plant and the root ball so see the type of plants you might get from Monrovia and your local garden store.

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I do like the design of these plants tags. Rather than just simply names of the plants, Monrovia provides good information on hardiness, bloom time, water needs and planting instruction. This isn’t always the case and it is greatly appreciated. I want to give my plants the best chances for success and more information is always better.

Previously in this sponsored program:

Interesting Plant: California Lilac (Ceanothus) via BeWaterWise (@bewaterwiseh2o)

California Lilac (Ceanothus)  via BeWaterWise.com

A few months ago I was invited down the office of the Metropolitan Water District to meet a number of people involved in their BeWaterWise.com 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

Ceanothus americanus.jpg
Ceanothus americanus” by United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge: Ceanothus americanus L.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The California lilac blooms late winter to spring with clusters of owers in white and every shade of blue from very light to deep violet. Generally an evergreen, the California Lilac comes in all shapes and sizes including low and spreading, tightly grouped and bushy, and standing-up and angular. Only a few varieties lose their leaves in cold weather. They require full sun and little to no water. — BeWaterWise.com

 Ceanothus L. /ˌsiːəˈnoʊθəs/[2] is a genus of about 50–60 species of shrubs or small trees in the family Rhamnaceae. Common names for members of this genus are California Lilac, Wild Lilac, and Soap Bush.[3] “Ceonothus” comes from a Greek word meaning “spiny plant”.[3]

The genus is confined to North America, with the center of its distribution in California. Some species (e.g. C. americanus) are found in the eastern United States and southeast Canada, and others (e.g. C. coeruleus) extend as far south as Guatemala. Most are shrubs 0.5–3 m tall, but C. arboreus and C. thyrsiflorus, both from California, can be small trees up to 6–7 m tall. The name is derived from the Greek word κεανοθος (keanothos), which was applied by Theophrastus (371-287 BC) to a spiny Old World plant believed to be Cirsium arvense.[4][5] — Wikipedia

More information on California Lilac (Ceanothus)  :
Books from Amazon.com:

* 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

Photos: In the neighborhood…March 9, 2015 – Van Nuys, California

A collection of flower photos from my walk in the neighborhood today. Have you taken a walk in your neighborhood today? You might be surprised at what you find.

In the neighborhood…March 9, 2015 - Van Nuys, CA - 07

See all the photos in this set on Flickr using the slideshow and links below

View the complete set on Flickr


Sweet potato harvest complete and bed prepared for this season

A few hours of our Sunday were spent harvesting the remaining sweet potatoes from last year and preparing the bed for this year’s planting. I have a number of new sweet potato slips on the potting bench and am also creating a few more by rooting them in water from yesterday’s harvest.

Here are the last sweet potatoes drying in the sun on our driveway yesterday. I would estimate that we harvested well over 150 lbs of sweet potatoes from this one bed. I have been offering to share sweet potatoes slips with my neighbors so they can grow their own, as they seem to do so well here.

Sweet potatoes drying on driveway

Sweet potatoes drying on driveway

Sweet potatoes drying on driveway closeup

Sweet potatoes drying on driveway closeup

 

Once all the sweet potatoes were up, it was time to re-fit the bed. Our little Troy-Bilt electric cultivator made a quick job of it and we are all prepared for planting in the next couple of days. The soil in this bed gets better and better with each season . I need to make a little deeper, but the soil is quite friable and light.

While most of this bed will be sweet potatoes again, I also plan on putting our new blueberry bush on the street-side end of this bed to increase our food production. I’ll have some video of this in the next few days.

Sweet potato bed prepared for the season

Sweet potato bed prepared for the season

 

If you’re looking for new plants for your garden this year, check out the site of our sponsor, Monrovia Plants.

Two more plant ideas from Monrovia – Clivia and Stonerop

Thanks to Monrovia for sponsoring this series of posts. The opinions stated here are my own.

As I was looking for my new plants at the nursery and in the Monrovia online catalog, I came across many plants that attracted my attention in some way. I’ll be highlighting a few of the other plants that might eventually find a place in my garden.

Belgian Hybrid Orange Bush Lily (Clivia miniata ‘Belgian Hybrid Orange’)

clivia

Shop.Monrovia.com | Direct Link

Clivia are a common landscaping plant here in Los Angeles, used especially around the shaded area of corporate courtyards and offices. I have always liked them, but their price — and my bad experiences trying to grow anything in the deep shade of my back, woodland, garden — have kept me from actually planting them. Eventually I suppose I will get over my fears and use some of these to green and brighten what can otherwise be a very brown back garden. I saw some excellent examples while browsing about the garden store and I may just have to go back and pick up a few to move some planting projects along.

Showy, broad, dark green, strap-like leaves are wider and shorter than other varieties. Rounded clusters of up to 60 vivid orange flowers on tall stems make this an absolutely gorgeous accent, border plant or container specimen. Evergreen. – Monrovia

Bronze Carpet Stonecrop (Sedum spurium ‘Bronze Carpet’)

stonecrop

Shop.Monrovia.com | Direct Link

I am immediately taken by the bronze color of this sedum — so unlike anything else I had seen before. I love succulents, but don’t grow nearly enough of them in my garden, even though here in drought-plagues Southern California it would probably be a great idea. This stonecrop will be something I keep in mind for future planting ideas, though.

Beautiful trailing succulent perennial forms lush, ground hugging mats of brilliant bronze red, yet needs little water once established. Stalks of dainty pink flowers occasionally arise above foliage. Useful in borders, rock gardens or containers where it will provide excellent contrast to green or grey-leaved plants. Semi-evergreen in mild-winter areas. — Monrovia

Previously in this sponsored program:

Event: Mushrooms and Fungi of the Santa Monica Mountains, Encino, March 10, 2015

Event: Mushrooms and Fungi of the Santa Monica Mountains with the California Native Plant Society

canps-meeting

March 10 · 7:30 – 9:00pm

MUSHROOMS AND FUNGI OF THE  SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS

Presenter: Florence Nishida

What IS a mushroom anyway? Do we have any in Los Angeles? Where can I find some? These are some of the questions that Florence Nishida, mycologist, will answer as she takes you through a tour of some of our interesting mushrooms in and around Los Angeles.

Florence Nishida is a master gardener and research associate at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She is a mycologist who is working on a guide to southern California mushrooms and fungi. She leads our CNPS Chapter’s Mushroom Forays in the Santa Monica Mountains when we have wet weather.

Sepulveda Garden Center
16633 Magnolia Blvd. Encino

 

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

Thanks to Monrovia for sponsoring this series of posts. The opinions stated here are my own.

 

 

Hello everyone, it’s Douglas E. Welch from A Gardener’s Notebook. You may have noticed on the blog that I’ve had a sponsored opportunity from Monrovia to try out some of their plants in my garden. So, I headed off to my local gardening store here — one that I don’t get to visit that often — and I was intrigued by the variety that was available.

One of the first plants that caught my eye was this California Buckwheat. It’s a California Native and I’ve been wanting to grow buckwheat in my garden for a long time, but I haven’t had much success growing it from seed. So, hopefully, this will be one way of getting it started here.

The second plant was one that I had discovered on a photowalk I took about a year ago. It’s a Dwarf New Zealand Tea Tree or a Leptospermum. I really love the color of the flower on this plant. Now, unfortunately, I don’t have room for a full size version of this which grows into a substantial tree in your garden, so I’m hoping that this dwarf variety works better in my garden and still provides a lot of the color and texture that I found so likable in the full-sized version.

So, these are the 2 new plants I’ve decided to add to my garden. Thanks to Monrovia  for giving me this opportunity to try out some new plants. I can always use new things in my garden, especially those plants that are waterwise and help out in our drought conditions here in Southern California.

For more information, you can visit the Monrovia site directly. You can find links on this video and also on the associated blog post. Thanks for listening. For more information on A Gardener’s Notebook visit DouglasEWelch.com

Until next time…keep on digging!

Music: “Carefree” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) under Creative Commons License

LinkMonrovia Home and Garden Information 

LinkShop Online at Shop.Monrovia.com

Follow @MonroviaPlants on Twitter

 

Previously in this sponsored program: