Photo: An Orchid from Southern California Spring Garden Show

A lovely orchid I spotted as I walked through the Southern California Spring Garden Show 2012 a few weeks ago. 


Click for larger image

See the complete set of photos from the Southern California Spring Garden Show.

AGN joins Troy-Bilt for another season of the Saturday6™!

It’s Spring here in the northern hemisphere and time for gardening to kick into high gear.

It’s also time for another season of Troy-Bilt’s Saturday6!

For the second year in a row, I have been asked — along with 5 of my fellow bloggers — to be part of this program for Troy-Bilt. This involves doing what we do best — blogging about gardening — but also gives us access to all sorts of tools and equipment from Troy-Bilt to try out in our own garden — and review for you!

Even better, we will all be having giveaways of Troy-Bilt equipment and tools on our blogs throughout the Summer and Fall. Be sure to watch this space and my fellow Saturday6 bloggers to get your chance to win some great stuff.

Where can you find the other members of the Saturday6? Here is information on each of the bloggers including links to some of our articles for the Troy-Bilt newsletter, The Dirt, and some videos we did as part of last year’s program.

I’m looking forward to another great season of the Saturday6 and reading all the great content from my fellow bloggers. Please join me on his journey through the 2012 growing season courtesy of Troy-Bilt!

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Who are the Saturday6?

Direct from their backyards, these bloggers share their trials, tribulations and triumphs in all things lawn and gardening. Now, they’re teaming up with Troy-Bilt® to bring you their best tips and tricks to help make your Saturday in the yard a rewarding one. Let us introduce you to the Saturday Six. In coming months, you will see more from this talented group in The Dirt with how-to videos, sharing favorite lawn and gardening projects, product reviews and giveaways.

Kylee Baumle

Kylee Baumle from Our Little Acre

Kylee Baumle lives and gardens in Zone 5b in northwest Ohio, where she tames the native clay to produce vegetables, fruits, and as many annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees as she can fit onto an acre surrounded by rural farmland. Author of the popular gardening blog, Our Little Acre, Kylee is a freelance writer and photographer who feels fortunate to have a husband who sometimes joins in on her gardening projects and who loves cats as much as she does.

Jennah Watters

Jennah Watters from Jennah’s Garden

After a lifetime of consciously avoiding helping her mother garden, Jennah started gardening voluntarily in 2007, when she and her husband bought their first home. It came with only a few sad, half-dead bushes and one all-the-way-dead mum. (Things are much better now.) Notorious for moving plants several times before being content with their location, Jennah gardens by trial and error, and attempts not to dwell on the error. She is wife to a deputy sheriff and mom to two cats and one dog, and hopes to one day be as good a gardener as her grandparents.

Cynthia Glover

Cynthia “Meems” Glover from Hoe and Shovel

Cynthia lives and gardens in her beloved native state of Florida only a short distance from the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico. She is a blogger, freelance writer, amateur photographer, Master Gardener, and garden coach. Cynthia specializes in Florida-friendly and native plants, while steadfastly adhering to “right-plant, right place” in her mostly shady garden.  It is her passion to share and teach all she’s learned while gardening in a challenging growing climate and to inspire hopeful gardeners to enjoy their gardens, too.

Douglas E. Welch

Douglas E. Welch from A Gardener’s Notebook

Born in the epitome of small town America – New London, Ohio – Douglas Welch spent many summers digging and planting vegetables in his grandmother’s garden or driving a tractor on his family’s small soybean farm.  Computer work called him to the big city of Los Angeles, but he managed to take a piece of Ohio with him. When he and his wife bought their first home, they inherited an overgrown, 10 year old garden. He has spent his years renovating what was a meticulous Japanese garden into a small piece of woodland among the urban cement.  This double life illustrates his belief that balance in this modern world requires a combination of high-tech and high-touch living. Douglas’ gardening column and podcast, A Gardener’s Notebook, began in 1996 and is available at

Gina Thomas

Gina Thomas from My Skinny Garden

Gina lives and gardens in the Chicagoland area, zone 5b. One summer day in 2007, she decided to grow an organic tomato – four years later, most of the yard of her small house has been replaced by vegetable and perennial gardens. While she still considers herself a novice gardener, killing the occasional plant, every now and then, she grows something phenomenal or builds something interesting. Her greatest gardening accomplishments are the cedar pergola built over a weekend with good friends, raised vegetable beds she constructed herself, and the trip to Las Vegas she won in a tastiest tomato contest. Her philosophy is simple – grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere. Gina is a part-time freelance writer and the cofounder and vice president of Forest Park Community Garden, a nonprofit 501(c)3 dedicated to educating the community on building organic sustainable food systems. Gina chronicles her gardening and DIY conundrums at her blog My Skinny Garden.

Mark Clement

Mark Clement from MyFixitUpLife

Mark Clement is a licensed contractor, co-hosts the live radio show MyFixitUpLife with his wife Theresa, regularly contributes to “Extreme How-To” magazine, “Professional Deck Builder” magazine, AOL’s DIY Life,,, OldHouseWeb, “Old House Journal,” and has been a featured guest on DIY Network, Discovery Channel, HGTV and PBS.



While Troy-Bilt provides me payment and equipment for being part of the Saturday6, the opinions you see here are always my own. I review Troy-Bilt’s equipment as any gardener user would and should. I depend on honest reviews for my own purchasing decisions and I assure you that my reviews will be my honest feelings and opinions, too. 

Photo: Amaryllis

A few closeups of the Amaryllis blooming in my garden.


Amaryllis Amaryllis

P5064656 Amaryllis

Propagating pittosporum


After 16 years in this house and garden, we have developed a quite a few empty areas in the garden beds. As the trees have matured, the garden has developed more and more shade, which has made it very difficult for some of the more sun-loving plants like our roses.

These holes have been bothering me a lot lately. Thankfully, my wife has gotten the gardening bug again, so I have some extra help in the garden to attack this issues. Starting this week, I am working my way through the garden and looking at those shrubs which are doing well in the shadier garden. Then I am taking cuttings of these plants so I can propagate my own replacements to re-green the garden.

I was looking up information on propagating pittosporum today and found a wealth of information online. (Isn’t the Internet wonderful?!) I was a bit surprised to see that unlike a lot of plants, pittosporum is best propagated using semi-hardwood cuttings from your existing plant. These are the newest freshest growth, but rather something that is a few months (or perhaps, more). The stems should be a little woody.


This week, perhaps as early as tomorrow, I am going to make some cuttings and get them started in a few pots. it should take several weeks before I am sure they have rooted, but hopefully after that I will have an excellent start in adding some more, evergreen, life to my garden.


Video: What Douglas Dug – Show 001 – Podcast

This episode of “What Douglas Dug” is the first in a series of shows where I highlight some of my most recently shared gardening items to my TwitterFacebook and Pinterest accounts. When I share something I don’t often get much of a chance to tell you WHY I found something interesting or useful, so I am taking this opportunity to show some items to you along with a bit of commentary.

What Douglas Dug 001

Please let me know what items you find most useful in your garden.

If you don’t see the YouTube video above, please view the What Douglas Dug – Show 001 directly on the AGN web site or YouTube.

Photo: Healing Waters Design Garden from SoCal Spring Garden Show 2012

These photos show the “Healing Waters” Design Garden at the  Southern California Spring Garden Show in Costa Mesa, California

It was striking in its use of massive stone elements that then integrated water into their design. This huge stone table had a rivulet running its length which then emptied into a large ceramic pot. Another fountain sculpture was a stone column split into two pieces allowing water and light to flow between the pieces. (See lower picture)

Healing Waters” was created by The Garden Gallery Design and Consulting in Orange, California.

Healing Waters Design Garden

Healing Waters Design Garden Healing Waters Design Garden Healing Waters Design Garden

Click photos for larger versions

There was much to see and learn and I also took a host of photos, which will continue to appear here in A Gardener’s Notebook over the next few weeks.

You can view the entire collection of photos in this Flickr set – Southern California Spring Garden Show.

Event: : Descanso Gardens: Did they survive last year’s windstorm?

Cnps la logo

California Native Plant Society

Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter


May 8  ·  7:30 – 9:30pm

Descanso Gardens: 
Did they survive last year’s windstorm?

Presenter: Rachel Young

Location: Sepulveda Garden Center, Encino

Descanso Gardens is a unique Southern California landscape distinguished by its specialized botanic collections, historical significance, and rare natural beauty. Located in a coast live oak forest, there are seven gardens dedicated to either one type of flower, such as camellias or roses, lilacs or irises, or to a theme, such as the California Garden (California native plants), Nature’s Table (edible garden) or the Japanese Garden. Rachel Young manages the California Garden, which was originally designed by Theodore Payne. She will discuss the history and current state of the California Garden and briefly touch on the windstorm and damage that occurred at Descanso. Rachel Young is the native plant horticulturist at Descanso Gardens. Her Masters Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UCLA is based on research in oak ecology and genetics. She began her exploration of California flora working for the National Park Service in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Sepulveda Garden Center
16633 Magnolia Blvd. Encino 
Click Here for Map

Idea: Use topsoil bag as your “first year” garden

I came across this idea on Pinterest and, I must say, as a lazy gardener, this could be an excellent way to turn parts of your lawn into garden with very little effort.

Place the bags on the area of lawn you want to kill, slice them open and plant away. I would probably also make some holes in the bottom side of the bag for drainage. By the end of the season the grass should be dead and ready for removal and you already have a handy amount of topsoil to fill the whole left by the sod.

I could see using a similar method to start converting some bare areas and unneeded garden paths in my garden. I don’t have any grass here, so it would be more a method of expanding overall gardening space than carving the space out of a lawn.


Source: via Douglas on Pinterest



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Free garden wallpapers for May 2012 – Garden Face

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

Desktop Wallpaper

iPad/Tablet Wallpaper

iPhone/Smartphone Wallpaper

My favorite shared gardening items for April 2012

Here are my favorite shared gardening items for April 2012.