Wonders of Wigandia

For years, it had baffled me. I caught a glimpse of it every time I traveled north on Beverly Glen Boulevard, just as I began the ascent that ended at Mulholland Drive. At the base of the steep emban...

Beautiful Hebe Jeebies

For more than 15 years I had been watching them, those demure shrubs with decorous leaves yet few, if any, flowers. In truth, even the leaves had problems, as new shoots would die back the moment the...

Healthy Plants are Barely Watered

Five years ago, I visited Claire Martin’s garden in Winnetka and reported on several plants that were the picture of health despite minimal care on her part. A few days ago, I paid another visi...

Gardenias

Q. I’m the caretaker of an apartment building and I do our little flower garden. Way over 10 years ago I planted two gardenia plants together. I didn’t think they would even grow. Well, y...

In(toxic)ating Brunfelsia & Brugmansia

Brunfelsia and Brugmansia may sound like the names of fairytale twins — or siblings to the cruel Queen Brunhilda. As a matter of fact, Brunfelsia and Brugmansia are a pair of charismatic, volup...

Hebe (HEE-bee) for You & Me

Those of us who write about plants are among the most privileged of people. Our easy access to the world of plants puts us in constant touch with botanical treasures that remain hidden from most peop...

Nothing but Mallows

If I had to create a flower garden of plants belonging to a single family, I probably would choose Malvaceae, comprising the mallows and hibiscuses. Many of these plants have incredible flower displa...

Wonga Wonga

It happens when you least expect it: an encounter with a plant you have never seen before. To a plant lover, unfamiliar species are never just faces in a crowd. Each has its own distinctive identity,...