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...

Succulents & Palms for Courtyard Planters

Deciding what to put in a courtyard planter can present an interesting conundrum. Found in most apartment buildings and multistory condominium complexes, courtyard planters have much in common, expos...

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...