Audio: Douglas is Interviewed for The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener Podcast

An Interview with Joey and Holly Baird of The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener podcast.


Here is my interview (from a longer episode) of The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener podcast. The entire show is 90 minutes, so I excerpted my 30 minute interview to share with you.

We talk about my gardening origins, the oddities of gardening in Los Angeles, container gardens and more.

I hope you enjoy it!

Listen to the show

Video: In the garden…Potato Planting Project

“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.

Today, a Potato Planting Project. Can you turn leftover pantry potatoes into more food? Let’s see!


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

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Your likes and subscriptions directly reflect how many other viewers are suggested this video.


Today, a Potato Planting Project. Can you turn leftover pantry potatoes into more food? Let’s see!

Garden Vocabulary: Epiphyte

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!


An epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object (such as a building or a telegraph wire), derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it. Epiphytes are usually found in the temperate zone (e.g., many mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae) or in the tropics (e.g., many ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads).

Read the entire article on Wikipedia, Epiphyte

Growing up in Ohio, my biggest experience with epiphytes was lichen, molds and fungus. Running around the wood lots and fence rows that surrounded the various farms, you would often come across all sorts. Moving to California, though, exposed me to a host of tropical epiphytes I had never seen before. Visiting various garden, both public and private, I encountered staghorn ferns, orchids, bromeliads and more.

For me, epiphytes always look as if they are part of the structure that supports them, as then blend in almost seamlessly, but instead they gain their water and nutrients from the air, not roots placed in soil. Those of from the American South will be familiar with an epiphyte in the form of Spanish Moss which hangs form many trees and seems almost a visible icon for southern life. Others may only be aware if epiphytes in the form of the ubiquitous “air plants” that one sees at nearly any community art show. Here in California, you typically see them nestled into pieces of driftwood or small rocks and declared as “care free house plants.”

Further reading on Epiphyte:


Previously on Garden Vocabulary:

TomatoU tele seminar series from Tomatomania and Ardenwoods Edibles

Join Tomatomania and Ardenwoods Edibles for

February 11, 18 and 25
JOIN US! sign up at:

Learn everything you’ll need to know about growing tomatoes in three 90-minute class meetings
access via phone or your computer — handouts — Q&A opportunity and some special goodie giveaways.

Tomatomania seminar

Interesting Plant: Coleus “Religious Radish”

Mentioned by @SassyNancy during this week’s #gardenchat (1/14/2013)

Download Transcript of this chat

Coleus religious radish 

Coleus “Religious Radish” from Proven Winners. (Solenostemon scutellarioides)

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More information on Coleus:


Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Promo: Douglas interviewed on the Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener Podcast

I recorded an interview with Joel and Holly over at the Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener Podcast and it will be released this Wednesday, January 16, 2013 on their web site.

Here is the promo for that show…

Subscribe to A Gardener’s Notebook via iTunes, follow AGN on Twitter or Join the AGN Mailing List to get immediate notice when the show is released.

Video: Container Garden Update 011 – Frost in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles

Frost? In Los Angeles? You bet!


Can’t see the video above? Watch “Container Vegetable Garden Update 011” on YouTube

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

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

Frost in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles!


According to my go-to weather prediction and history site,, we did indeed drop below 32F last this morning around 5-6am. Luckily, it only remained below freezing for about about an hour.

A friend reported frost on their car this morning, so that seems to confirm that frost did hit, at least in certain areas of the San Fernando Valley. I am glad I covered my container plants last night. Tonight’s predictions are only around 34F, so we should be ok, but I will keep an eye on the temperature just to make sure we don’t lose anything.

Garden Inventory: Azalea

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: Azalea

“Azaleas (pron.: /əˈzeɪliə/) are flowering shrubs comprising two of the eight subgenera of the genus Rhododendron, Tsutsuji (evergreen) and Pentanthera (deciduous). Azaleas bloom in spring in the Northern hemisphere and in winter in the Southern hemisphere, their flowers often lasting several weeks. Shade tolerant, they prefer living near or under trees.” —

This house came with a veritable boat-load of azalea. The previous owners obviously loved the, as much as they loved trees. There are a variety of naturalistic plantings featured along the house foundation and then a series of geometric beds, shaped into triangles, that contained heavy plantings of azalea and juniper. These were kept close-cropped, using hedge trimmers.

Unfortunately, these triangular beds have suffered heavily over the years from bad pruning habits, overcrowding and drought. We have removed 2 complete beds so far and will probably end up removing nearly all of them eventually. The junipers, especially, died under the onslaught of the spreading azalea. In some cases, I am preserving 2-3 azalea in each bed and “re-naturalizing” them — allowing them to spread out naturally instead of trying to prime them into a specific shape.

All of my azalea are pink, as can be seen the photos, but they also come in white, and red varieties. Mine all bloom around this time of year every year, although there was at least one year when I pruned at the wrong time and reduced my blooms to nearly nothing. I have since learned that you should prune them as soon as the current flowering ends so that you don’t accidentally chop off all the buds forming for the next season.

Azalea can look both vibrant and yet exceedingly delicate when you inspect the center of the flower with its filament-like stamen and pistils.

Azalea will propagate themselves fairly easily using a technique know as layering. Wherever a branch touches appropriate soil, roots can form, allowing you to eventually trim off the newly formed plant for use elsewhere in your garden. (See Propagating Azaleas using Layering for more info)

Garden Inventory: Azalea - 1

Garden Inventory: Azalea - 5 Garden Inventory: Azalea - 4 

Garden Inventory: Azalea - 3 Garden Inventory: Azalea - 2

Photos of Azalea plant with closeups of leaves, flowers and stems

More information on Azalea:


Previously on Garden Inventory:

Garden Alphabet: Lantana

 Garden Alphabet: Lantana

Link: Lantana from

Previously in Garden Alphabet: