A Gardener’s Notebook is happy to once again partner with Monrovia Plants as part of their “Embrace Your Space” program. We get $30 in credit to purchase Monrovia Plants and try them out right here in our own garden.

Embrace Your Space with Monrovia Plants

Embrace Your Space with Monrovia Plants


“Embrace Your Space” is all about making the best of whatever type of garden you have, from containers on your patio to large, food producing spaces feeding fresh fruit to your friends and family. Last month in “Splurge On Spring” we focused on the edibles — planting a grape and blackberry along our expansive back wall. This time, though, we are focusing on decorative plants for some of the problem areas in the garden. 

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My wife, Rosanne, was the deciding factor in half of these plants. She was taken with 2, in particular, which we hadn’t even been thinking about, but ones that I think will make a great addition to the garden.

I tried something a bit different for this video. I have been working with Snapchat lately, to see how it might integrate into all my other social media work, I created a story — in real time — for my Snapchat viewers as I headed out to the local garden center to choose our plants. Then, I took the entire story, exported it from Snapchat, and created this video. I’ll create a more traditional AGN video when I get these plants out in the garden, but I will be doing more Snapchats and live streams and make use of new technologies as they arise. You can follow me on Snapchat at LostinLACA or by using this Snap Code.


Here were our choices to “Embrace the Space” of our garden and make it even more beautiful.

White astilbe Red astilbe

Hot lips sageHeliotrope


View complete scans of these garden tags and their information for each plant using these links:

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Since our choices rely on what our local nursery has in stock, I usually take a methodical approach to finding the Monrovia Plants I want to add to my garden I start at the rear of the lot and work my way forward, noting each plant the catches my eye and adding it to a mental list (and sometimes even a physical list) to return to later. I am quite surprised at the variety available to gardeners these days and often find plants I know nothing about. If I didn’t take the time to walk the aisles, I would have missed some great ideas.

Last time, we were on a mission to find edible plants for the garden, so we headed right to the grapes and berries section. This time, though, we were much more open in our ideas as to what plants might help us “Embrace Your Space”, so we wandered a lot more.

We went a bit over our $30 allowance, but I think it will be well worth it. I have been thinking about astilbe for a long time as something that could be added to the woodland garden fringes to bring a bit of green and color to an area that is otherwise a bit drab.The red and the white should make a good combination, too.

I was ready to make my selections and leave after I found these astilbe. While we were walking around, though, Rosanne found 2 plants that called out to her. The first was Hot Lips Sage (Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’). She loved the small red and white flowers and, since she is a television writer, the oblique reference to the Hot Lips Houlihan character from M*A*S*H cemented her wish to add it to our garden. Here in the San Fernando Valley we can always use more waterwise plants like this sage, as we convert the front garden away from more thirsty plants. This should be a nice, rather showy, plant to face the street, as was the buckwheat we purchased as part of last year’s “Spring Into Beauty” Monrovia program.

Finally, Rosanne picked out this Iowa Heliotrope. She loved the dark purple flowers and the thick sculpted leaves. It was only when I was unloading the heliotrope that I noticed its wonderful fragrance, too. That will certainly be a nice addition to the lavender and orange blossoms we smell in the garden each spring.

We had unseasonable rain showers yesterday afternoon and evening, so while the new plants got a good soaking, we’ll probably need to wait a day or two before we get them in the ground. This will give us some time to think about where we want to place them, too.

I’ll be back with additional blog posts and videos along each step of the process. Come back soon. Subscribe to the blog and YouTube Channel for immediate notice when we post.