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

Monrovia Nursery discovered A Gardener’s Notebook somehow and they have reached out to me with an offer to try some of their plants and share my experiences with you. While they have provided me a budget to buy the plants, the opinions expressed here are my own, of course. (SMILE) If you would care to check to Monrovia’s selection, either online or in your local garden store, you can use the links throughout the article to find their complete catalog and list of vendors.

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Where to start?

The first step is to select what plants I will purchase and plant here in my own Southern California garden. Today, I visited too local garden stores — one large home store and one smaller garden chain — to see what they had available.

For this exercise, I am mainly focusing on water wise plants, much like every other gardener here in the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles and beyond. While The Valley isn’t really a desert — our year’s are quite dry for 9 months or so and then subject to varying levels of rain in the Winter months. RIght now, we are in the depths of a long running drought, as we often are, so paring bak on the amount of water your garden needs is a prime concern. Many people in my neighborhood are taking advantage of programs that pay for the removal of their lawns so that they can be replaced with water wise garden alternatives. I can count at least 20, if not more, homes on my typical neighborhood walk that have done just that. You may have seen me highlighting water wise plants information from our local Metropolitan Water District site – I do this to help get the world out to my fellow gardeners, so it only makes sense that I try to save water in my garden.

After looking around the garden center for 30 minutes or so, I came across 2 possible candidates for my free plants. I’d be interested in hearing what you think about these choices and, perhaps, what other Monrovia plants might be a better choice. There are some limitations, of course. Not all plants grow well in our Mediterranean climate and, unfortunately, the variety of Monrovia plants available at my local garden stores isn’t very extensive. I wish I was able to choose anything from the catalog, but alas we all must face the limitations we are given.

Here are the 2 candidate plants which are of interest to me and available locally. Which do you think are most interesting? What experience due you have with them — good or bad? What other recommendations from the Monrovia catalog would you recommend for my garden? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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California Buckwheat (I don’t find this plant in the online Monrovia catalog. Perhaps it is a regional speciality?)

I love the look of our native California Buckwheat when I am out walking in the hills. The prolific white flowers turn to a rusty brown as they dry while the leaves remain mostly evergreen. I have tried my hand at gathering buckwheat seeds in the wild, but I have never been successful at propagating it myself. Perhaps this would be a good way to get it growing in my garden.

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Dwarf New Zealand Tea Tree (Search for Tea Tree from the main page)

I came across the New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum) on one of my photo walks about a year ago, (See my earlier blog post — Interesting Plant: Australian/New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium)) I was immediately taken with its amazing color and prolific flowers. So much so, that I had to spend a bit of time researching exactly what it was. This example is a dwarf variety, which is more in keeping with my garden size and needs. I loved the full-sized versions, but really don’t have a place to fit them in the limited area that has full sun. I think this dwarf variety, though, will fit in quite nicely in some bare spots in the front garden when the elderly azaleas have suffered from their age, their pruning and the limited water they get.

Let me know what you think in the comments. While plant availability is somewhat limited, I might drive around a bit more to find something particularly special from Monrovia. I plan in purchasing and getting these in the ground sometime this weekend, so get your comments in soon.

Link: Monrovia Home and Garden Information

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