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...

Succulent Paradise

Every so often, you really should visit David Bernstein’s nursery in Reseda, if only to get away from it all. Bernstein is one of the few remaining plant growers in the Valley open to the publi...

Aloe ferox and other Dazzling Succulents

It may be the most visible flowering perennial of the winter season and, as a bonus, is one of the easiest to grow. Its species name means fierce, a testament to its spiny foliage, yet its long and f...

Blind Man Grows Cactuses

GARDEN WONDERS Philip Bickley might be blind, but that hasn’t stopped him from growing more than 75 cactuses in his back yard – even when it means his wife, Mildred, has to pluck the need...

Torch Aloes Are Actually Soothing

Nearly everything that grows in South Africa will grow in the San Fernando Valley, too. That’s because the climates of these coastal corners of two continents are virtually mirror images of one...

Pig’s Ear and Other Orpines

There it was. A gem of the winter garden, flowering like it was the middle of May. I am always startled by winter bloomers. Not by the occasional rose, or by winter annuals with their predictable and...

Mellifluous, Pulchritudinous Plumeria

They say the most truly memorable moments in a person’s life can be compressed into the space of a few minutes. For gardeners, those extraordinary moments would no doubt include the sight of fi...

Sedum confusum: Dreamy Ground Cover

Sedum confusum is the ground cover of my dreams, and might be of yours. Sedum confusum doesn’t have a common name, and is appropriately possessed of uncommon qualities. Unlike ivy, gazania and ...

Exotic Species at California Cactus Center

Last Sunday, I was fortunate to spend a most enjoyable hour at the California Cactus Center in Pasadena, courtesy of Molly Thongthiraj who, along with her five sisters, operates the Center, a cactus ...