Columbine, Convolvulus, and Kalanit

Columbine, a flower meant for every garden, is a study in irony.  Let’s start with its name.  Columbine is derived from columbo, the Latin word for dove.  If you take the flower and turn it ups...

Parkway Ground Cover

We are looking for a ground cover for our parkway (between the street and the sidewalk) that will be stronger than the grass and weeds that will inevitably try to regain ground there.  We know we wil...

Everybody Loves Bellflowers

Everyone loves bellflowers. They belong to the Campanulaceae family, an appropriate appellation since campanulate is the botanical term for bell-shaped flowers. It harkens back to those Italian campa...
blue periwinkle (Vinca Major)

Ground Cover to Plant Under Pine Trees

Q: I recently bought a house in Atwater Village (Silver Lake/Los Feliz area). There is a huge pine tree in my parkway strip and the ground below is covered with dead needles. The tree keeps it shady....

From Phenology to ‘Silver Falls’

According to Webster’s dictionary, phenology is the study of recurring biological phenomena as harbingers of seasonal change. For example, if you live in a northern state, phenologists would sa...

Galloping Groundcover

The Mexican primrose is just beginning to be noticed. For years, it was mysteriously absent from local nurseries as if there were a conspiracy against it. It deserves wider recognition, since it is a...

Parkway Plants

I am forever on the lookout for successful parkway plants. Here, parkways refer to those narrow strips of ground in residential neighborhoods between sidewalk and street. Traditionally, parkways have...

Gazania and Other Water-Wise Selections

There are lessons to be learned from the commercial landscape on the corner of Milbank Street and Sylmar Avenue, just east of Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. This landscape offers a hint of pleas...