Staghorn Fern Staggers the Mind

Otto von Bismarck, the powerful diplomatic deal maker of 19th century Europe, is famously quoted as saying that politics is “the art of the possible.”  Horticulture, by contrast, could be defined as ...

Intuition Is Key to Growing Plants

Los Angeles horticulturist Bill Paylen will tell it to you bluntly. Making flora flourish has nothing to do with how learned you are or how much money you spend on a particular plant. Nor does it hav...

Tropical Rhododendrons for You

It is a most lamentable form of floral deprivation that rhododendrons – those magnificent relatives of the azalea – are seldom seen in Los Angeles. The word rhododendron is derived from t...

Mildred Mathias and Her Garden Beauties

In 1993, I was exceptionally fortunate to make the acquaintance of Mildred Mathias. Mathias was a world-renowned UCLA botanist who was distinguished not only for her achievements in horticulture and ...

Plumeria

Question: What should I do, if anything, to protect my plumerias from severe cold and/or freezing? Can you provide any suggestions? I would hate to lose them due to what could be extremely cold tempe...

Frangipani, otherwise known as Plumeria

Q. I notice my potted plumeria are starting to drop leaves at an alarming rate now that summer has passed. Most are exposed to evening coolness, and I wonder if it is better to move them from their c...

Tropics Teach You About Plants

Anyone with more than a passing interest in plants should visit the tropics. A few hours of plant watching in the tropics provide an appreciation for the conditions that promote – or inhibit &#...

Tropical Selections for Sun Rich Gardens

The Garden Writers’ Association has released its report on garden trends for the coming year. Since fall is the most favorable season for planting, the new year has, in a sense, already begun. ...

Sunflowers and Elephant Ears

What the sunflower is to the plains of America, elephant’s ear is to the rain forests of tropical Asia. Depending on whether your outlook is artistic or gastronomic, you will look at a sunflowe...