Don’t Forget to Notice the Natives

You know you’re getting old when time worn clichés begin to ring true.  One of those clichés admonishes us: “don’t forget to stop and smell the roses,” to which I would add, “and don’t forget to stop...

Perennial Succulent Color

The gardener’s call for vivid color may be answered not only by water-needy annual flowers but by perennial, drought tolerant succulents as well.  Anyone who doubts the veracity of this claim need on...

Cactus Flowers Are ‘Incroyable’

Nowadays, it is rare to receive a letter by snail mail. You know, the old-fashioned way that mail was sent, before the advent of personal computers and email. Surely you remember. Not too long ago, t...

Tree Yuccas and Their Ilk

Gunilla and Michel Hamaoui, who live in Woodland Hills, sent me a photo of a tree whose identity they did not know. They also wanted to know how often it flowered. I did not know what kind of tree th...

Agave Nobility

Q. I planted a two-gallon-sized octopus agave in my front yard, where it receives full sun. It receives some filtered shade from a nearby tree but that is during the morning hours. During the month a...

Meet the Crassulas

There is one family of plants whose forms, flowers and foliage could keep a gardener enthralled for several lifetimes. None of the plants in this family needs more than twice-a-week watering and some...

Agaves & Kin

If you are looking to add drama to an exterior landscape or an interior design, you should consider agaves. The fibrous plants in this family (Agavaceae) are famous for growing slowly, requiring litt...

From Roof Gardens to Alpine Strawberries

With rapid change all around us, techniques for growing crops could soon undergo radical transformation as well. Inflation in food prices is due not only to food shortages – brought on by popul...

Sticks on Fire and Donkey Tail

I was driving on Vine Street in Hollywood the other day and there I saw it: a beat-up van with all manner of junk hammered or soldered onto doors, fenders and roof. Occasionally, you see such outland...