Garden Decor: Decorative Garden Trellis become a Tuteur (garden tower)

Decorative Garden Trellises become a Tuteur (garden tower)

A great reuse/upgrade for the standard trellis you find in most garden and home stores.

Spray paint in your favorite color, then wire them together upside down from their usual orientation. I am thinking I could even find a decorative pot or other “topper” to crown the tuteur — perhaps a triangle of copper sheeting? I could see doing these in Monet Blue for a striking addition to the garden. You could use it for growing clematis or other vines, roses or sweet peas.

.Garden tower

Via PInterest user Sandra Burr-Ming 

More information on garden tuteur…

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Photo: Japanese Garden, Glendale, CA via Instagram


Garden Vocabulary: Nitrogen Fixation

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Nitrogen Fixaton

“Nitrogen fixation is a process by which nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia (NH3).[1] Atmospheric nitrogen or molecular nitrogen (N2) is relatively inert: it does not easily react with other chemicals to form new compounds. Fixation processes free up the nitrogen atoms from their diatomic form (N2) to be used in other ways.” — 

For gardeners and farmers, nitrogen fixation is an important process as it is one way of improving soil. This is done by using crop rotation to plant nitrogen fixing plants, like legumes in rotation with nitrogen-heavy feeders such as corn. As the Wikipedia article mentions, Nitrogen is a fairly inactive gas. Even though is exits in large quantities in the atmosphere, it is very difficult to get it back into the soil where plants can make use of it.

One legume often used to crop rotation is the soybean. Growing up in farm land Ohio, soybeans, corn, wheat and timothy hay and alfalfa were common crops rotated through the fields. Alfalfa is another good nitrogen fixing crop, along with the soybeans, Using nitrogen fixing plants can help to reduce the amount of supplemental nutrients and fertilizer that might need to be added to a garden or farm field.

Alfalfa and clover are commonly used as nitrogen fixing “cover crops” which are grown not be harvested themselves, but rather to be turned into the soil during Spring planting to return the nitrogen they have gathered to the soil.

More information on stoma:


Previously on Garden Vocabulary:

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!

Photo: Matilija Poppy via Instagram


Photos: Propagation Project: Rosemary Cuttings

Here are some photos of the Rosemary cuttings I prepared yesterday. You can see the entire procedure in my Container Garden Update 22 video.



Previously in the Propagation Project:

Interesting Plant: Begonia “Escargot”

Interesting Plant: Begonia “Escargot”

Begonia escargot

Via M. Rosario Barraza on Pinterest

Interesting Plant: Begonia “Escargot”

‘Escargot’ takes its name from the snail-like curl pattern at the base of the leaf. The foliage is striking enough to stand on its own but it’s a good mixer, too. Use it with other foliage plants and brightly colored blooms. This is an extremely popular Rex hybrid begonia. -Rita Randolph, Rex begonias, Fine Gardening issue #120 — Fine Gardening

I love the spiral design on this plant, as well as the somewhat larger size than you usually see in a begonia. I could foresee several shadier spots in the garden that could benefit from something as striking as this. I think it would be an amazing focal point in any garden.

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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Event: 24th Annual Southern California Spring Garden Show – April 25-28

I just received notice of this year’s Southern California Spring Garden Show event and wanted to share that information with you. I really enjoyed visiting it with the family last year and will probably try to make it down again this year. Here is a slide show of photos from my 2012 visit.

For the love of trees design garden copy 

Here is the information on this year’s show, direct from their press release.

“The Garden as Art”

WHAT: The 24th Annual Southern California Spring Garden Show, the most highly anticipated garden event on the West Coast, is back at South Coast Plaza from April 25-28, 2013. “The Garden as Art” is this year’s theme featuring display gardens that represent a specific art piece, an artist or a period of art. Attendees will browse The Garden as Art displays created by landscape architects and university horticulture students during the four-day show (images attached).

Guests will also enjoy:
· Over 85 specialty garden lifestyle vendors offering everything from exotic plants to the latest garden accessories
· Competition/display gardens designed by landscape architects and designers
· Seminar and book signings by national garden professionals and authors
· For the kids: garden projects, crafts, storytellers and exotic animal shows
· A 20 foot tall floral centerpiece, inspired by Andy Warhol interpretation of Botticelli’s Venus and designed by Fiesta Floats of Arcadia
Continue reading Event: 24th Annual Southern California Spring Garden Show – April 25-28 →

Garden Inventory: Clytostoma callistegioides

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: Clytostoma callistegioides

“Evergreen vine with rapid-growing woody branches. Glossy dark-green leaves are a lovely contrast to the light lavender, trumpet-like flowers over a long blooming period. Easily grown in sun or part shade. —”

These vines have been in the garden since the beginning of our time here 16 years ago. Like most plants in the backyard, they don’t get nearly enough sun, but they seem to hang on and even flower on occasion. I am looking to make some cuttings from the existing vines so I can grow it in a more hospitable area, if possible.

This was one of the first Latin plant names I learned of the plants here in the garden when we first moved in. I have never really found a satisfactory common name and I sound fancy when I say it, so I use it to impress people. (LAUGH)

 Garden Inventory: Clytostoma callistegioides - 01

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Photos of Clytostoma callistegioides with closeups of flowers, leaves,  growing habit, and stems.

More information on Clytostoma callistegioides:

Previously on Garden Inventory:

Video: Container Garden Update 22 – Propagation Project Begins – Rosemary

Agn artwork

I start my long delayed propagation project by taking and preparing rosemary cuttings for rooting. I am looking for transplants to use as rosemary topiary and also to build a rosemary hedge, if possible. This could take a looooooong time, but you have to start somewhere.

PS Make sure you watch all the way to the end. 🙂

What’s happening in your garden? I’d love to know! Leave your questions and comments here or on any of the web and social media sites linked below!


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Music: “Whiskey on the Mississippi” Kevin MacLeod (  – Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Video: In the garden…April 5, 2013 – Checking in on old and new plants

“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.

Checking in on our potatoes, looking at blooming rose suckers and checking in on our recent additions


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

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