Video: In the garden…March 6, 2013 – Crape Myrtle and Crows, along with a potato/onion status report

“In the garden…” is a series for A Gardener’s Notebook highlighting what is happening in my garden, my friend’s gardens and California gardens throughout the seasons.

We check in on the potatoes and onion, azalea blooms, crape myrtle leaves and some neighborhood crows.

itg-20130306

Watch all the past “In the garden…” videos in this YouTube playlist.


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Garden Vocabulary: Xeriscaping

Garden Vocabulary Logo

This Garden Vocabulary series seeks to introduce and explain to you — and in many cases, myself — words and terms associated with gardening. Please let me know if  there are any terms you would like me to explore. You can leave your ideas in the comments section and we can learn together!

Xeriscaping

“Xeriscaping and xerogardening refer to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift. Although xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening, it is usually promoted as a substitute for Kentucky bluegrass lawns. Kentucky blugrass is commonly used in American suburban landscaping. A cool-season grass, it is well suited to high foot traffic and recreation. However, it is difficult to grow in sandy or compacted soil as well as fast draining sites like slopes, especially those facing the sun. For these reasons, Kentucky bluegrass requires more water use than necessary in arid regions.[1]

The word xeriscaping is a portmanteau of xeros ξήρος (Greek for “dry”) and landscaping, and xeriscape is used for this style of garden. Xeriscaping refers to a method of landscape design that minimizes water use.[2]
Many Denver Water employees helped coin the term xeriscape, and Xeriscape and the xeriscape logo are registered trademarks of Denver Water, the water department of Denver, Colorado.[3]

In some areas, terms such as water-conserving landscapes, drought-tolerant landscaping, and smart scaping are used instead. Plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and care is taken to avoid losing water to evaporation and run-off. The specific plants used in xeriscaping depend upon the climate.
Xeriscaping is not the same as “zero-scaping” (in which the designed landscape consists mostly of hard surfaces, with a few plants as accent features), and can look quite lush and colorful. Xeriscaping is also different from natural landscaping, because the emphasis in xeriscaping is on selection of plants for water conservation, not necessarily selecting native plants.” — Wikipedia.org 

I can find xeriscaping hard and unwelcoming when it is done incorrectly, but the thought of bringing the beauty of our local deserts into the garden appeals to me greatly. My sister lives in the Coachella Valley, a section of low desert containing the cities of Palm Springs, Indian Wells and Palm Desert, among others and I have seen some amazingly good (and amazingly bad) implementations.  

For me, the secret seems to be a design that is either highly controlled and manipulated or highly naturalized. it is when the design fall between these 2 extremes that the design fails. Like any garden, too, it is important to plant for the environment you are in rather than the environment you “wish” you lived in.

I recently visited a great example of a xeriscape garden on a recent trip to the Coachella Valley, I visited the Annenberg Estate, Sunnylands and their new visitor center and gardens. This design leans heavily toward this high controlled design and does so to great effect. 

Sunnylands Center & Gardens, Rancho Mirage, CA - 14

Sunnylands Center and Gardens, Rancho Mirage, CA

See more photos and Read my post on Sunnylands

More information on xeriscaping:

   

Previously on Garden Vocabulary:

Support the blog and podcast with A Gardener’s Notebook Mug

Add a little Gardener’s Notebook to your desktop with this mug available from Zazzle. This is just the first thought that came to mind, but I am going to be developing some further products with my best garden-related photos in the future.

A Gardener's Notebook Logo Mug
A Gardener’s Notebook Logo Mug by douglasewelch
Design your own personal coffee mugs online at Zazzle.
 
As I was figuring out this process, I also put together this Koi Pond Mug, too.
 

Tomatomania 2013 is coming!

The annual Tomatomania events are scheduled and information is posted to their web site. Check out the events in your area and start planning what you might like to plant this year! — Douglas

 


TIME FOR TOMATOES!

IT’S HERE! FINALLY!

The season we’ve been waiting (and waiting…) for.

SoCal ‘Maniacs, our event schedule starts this week (March 8-10) at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar, then on to Encinitas and the San Diego Botanic Garden (March 16/17) before rallying at Tapia Brothers Farm Stand in Encino on March 22-24. If you haven’t checked in on the website please do that soon to get the extended schedule that includes West LA, La Canada, Fillmore, Sonoma, Ojai and others! We don’t want to miss you.

We’re making preparations for new sales this year in Laguna Beach, Orange County, Santa Barbara/Goleta and Menlo Park, so stay tuned. And Minnesota. Yes, Minnesota. Very exciting.

AND… as the West Coast revs up and begins to plant I’ll run out to the East Coast to speak at the Philadelphia Flower Show. While ‘maniacs out there can’t plant until later in the spring, we’ll talk all about prep and what to do in the meantime when Tomatomania hits the show Tuesday March 5. My presentation is at 4pm. Maybe I’ll see some of you there as this year’s show, BRILLIANT!, salutes British gardens and gardeners.

It’ll be a BIG season. Here’s hoping it rains on WEDNESDAYS (!) this year. : ) See you soon.

Link: Tomatomania Web Site and Schedule

Here is a video I shot with Scott Daigre in 2011 at the Tapia Bros Location of Tomatomania near my home.

Photos from 2011 event

Photo: Container Strawberries

Here are two photos of the strawberries coming ripe in my container garden.

Strawberries in my containers

Strawberries in my containers

Interesting Plant: Poached Egg Plant (Limnanthes douglasii)

Interesting Plant: Poached Egg Plant (Limnanthes douglasii)

poached-egg-flower

Source: plant-biology.com via Douglas on Pinterest

Limnanthes douglasii is a species of annual flowering plant in the family Limnanthaceae (meadowfoam) commonly known as poached egg plant or Douglas’ meadowfoam. It is native to California and Oregon, where it grows in wet, grassy habitat, such as vernal pools and spring meadows. It can grow in poorly drained clay soils. The plant was collected by the Scottish explorer and botanist David Douglas, who worked on the west coast of America in the 1820s. — Wikipedia.org

I would love to have some more native plants in my garden. This one might like it a bit wetter than I could provide here, so it would probably be hit or miss. That said, I have an area that I would love to fill with this — one of my defunct triangular azalea beds. Maybe I could find a small pack of seeds just to give it a try.

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More information on Limnanthes douglasii :

  

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Video: Container Garden Update 017 – Strawberries and preparing a recycled container into a seeding flat

Strawberries are almost ready to eat and watch as I turn a croissant container from the grocery store into a seeding tray complete with greenhouse top.

Can’t see the video above? Watch “Container Vegetable Garden Update 017” on YouTube

Watch the “Container Vegetable Garden” Playlist for all related videos

More info on growing strawberries:

   

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Music: “Whiskey on the MIssissippi” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)  – Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Free Native Sunflower Desktop, Tablet and Smartphone Wallpaper for March 2013

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, 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.

Desktop Wallpaper 

Download full-sized version

iPad/Tablet Wallpaper

Download full-sized iPad/Tablet wallpaper

iPhone4/Smartphone Wallpaper

 

Download full-sized iPhone 4 wallpaper

iPhone5/Smartphone Wallpaper

 

Download Full-sized iPhone 5 Wallpaper

 Previous garden wallpapers:

Garden Inventory: Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

Garden Inventory is a series where I begin an inventory of all the plants and trees in my garden. Along with some of my own pictures, I will link to various sources of information about each plant and tree so we can learn a little more together.

I would also like to highlight your special plants and tress. Pass along your favorite plants in the comments and I will use them for future Garden Inventory posts. — Douglas


Garden Inventory: Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

“Sequoia sempervirens (pronounced /sɨˈkɔɪ.ə sɛmpərˈvaɪrənz/)[1] is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae (formerly treated in Taxodiaceae). Common names include coast redwood, California redwood, and giant redwood. It is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living 1200–1800 years or more.[2] This species includes the tallest trees on Earth, reaching up to 379 feet (115.5 m) in height (without the roots) and up to 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter at breast height. Before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850s, this massive tree occurred naturally in an estimated 2,100,000 acres (8,500 km2) along much of coastal California (excluding southern California where rainfall is not sufficient) and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon within the United States. An estimated 95% or more of the original old-growth redwood forest has been cut down,[3] due to its excellent properties for use as lumber in construction.” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoia_sempervirens

We have 2 of these lovely trees in the garden and they are one of my favorite trees. First, their shaggy, dark red, bark is always attract and looks different from every angle. It requires almost no maintenance and survives well even in this heavily crowded back yard.

Of course, this tree will never reach the size of its native brothers and sisters growing in Northern California. For that they require a heavily organic soil and much more moisture than they would ever receive here in Los Angeles.  That said, they are stately and attractive trees. There are a few other examples in the neighborhood which appear to be much older, yet they still remain compact and attractive even as they grow larger.

At the bottom of the trunk, the redwood throws off a variety of what I guess would be called saplings, arising from its roots. These bring an interest to the trunk and contrast nicely with the red bark without obscuring it. You can see examples of this in the photos of the trunk below.

It is a bit difficult to get a good picture of its upper branches, as it is crowded by one of the ficus growing nearby, but there are a few examples in the photos, too.

 Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 01

Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 11Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 10Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 09Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 08Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 07

Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 06Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 05Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 04Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 03Garden Inventory: Sequoia sempervirens - 02

Photos of Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) closeups of leaves, fruit, growing habit, trunk and bark

More information on Ficus Bejamina:

   

Previously on Garden Inventory:

Photo: From the garden…

From the garden today -- for better or worse :). Time for some Spring cleanup but enjoyable all the same!

From the garden today — for better or worse :). Time for some Spring cleanup but enjoyable all the same!