California’s Perpetual Drought

Note:  the following was written in February, 2018.  Last April, California’s governor declared, “The drought emergency is over,” but already, less than a year later, in the middle of a warm, dry win...

Autumn Beauties & Chewing Gum Plant

The bristling heat of this past summer may have finally given way to cooler autumn days, yet two plants continue to make a determined display of blazing orange flowers, reminiscent of the sun. In fac...

Drought Tolerant Garden in Tarzana

Carolyn and Mike Rothberg created a drought tolerant garden in Tarzana that not only saves water but serves as a comforting and tranquil respite from the storm of city life.  No matter how sprawling ...

The Curse of Asparagus Fern

Two weeks ago, I suggested drought tolerant asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri) as a possible ground cover for somewhat shady slopes.  I cautioned that it is “an extremely aggressive plant” and that...

Planting on Slopes

Slopes.  All over the greater Los Angeles area, from Santa Clarita to the Anaheim Hills, from San Bernardino to Santa Barbara, you have them.  Slopes. I do not envy people with slopes.  Aside from th...

Monocarpic Plants

For those of you who are into botanical trivia, see if you can answer the following existential (having to do with life and death) question: What do carrots, radishes, lettuce, agaves, fishtail palms...

Caring for Trees during a Drought

Suggestions for Sycamore Tree Irrigation We have eight sycamore trees on our property, planted about thirty years ago. They have survived on lawn sprinkler water and winter rains and I had hoped that...