March 2011

California Native Plants31 Mar 2011 11:35 am

The first Monkey Flower of Spring 2011 is….

Mimulus “Georgie White”

Wow! That’s my new favorite Monkey Flower.

News31 Mar 2011 08:30 am

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is getting a long awaited and much needed makeover.

They’ve had to take out some trees and agaves that had outgrown their beds or had reached the end of their life span, Harrington says, “which has given us bigger areas to work with.”

The beds are being rejuvenated with fresh soil, building them back up to their original size, and new plants are being added. Rocks of various sizes are being included both as a mulch and to give the beds a natural look.

Erosion and compaction had brought some of the beds down below the levels of the pathways, Kemble says. And it wasn’t just a matter of aesthetics. Some of the plants were suffering from a lack of oxygen in the compacted soil.

Click the link for some great photos of the garden through the years. Big succulents.

California Native Plants30 Mar 2011 12:31 pm

The first Asclepias bloom of the year is A. tuberosa, a California native milkweed.


News30 Mar 2011 11:46 am

The reviews keep coming in.

North Coast Gardening really liked Annie’s booth. Dozens of photos of everything from the succulents to the cabbages.

Garden Rant really focused on a hideous suburban garden display, with a rant.

California Native Plants&News30 Mar 2011 10:01 am

Go on a Native Garden Tour of the Palos Verde Peninsula and beyond.

(T)he eighth annual Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour, April 9 and 10… is a self-guided tour of gardens from Sylmar to Long Beach and from Monrovia to Venice to Santa Monica, including a number of gardens in the South Bay.

While this may be the mother of all garden tours by the vastness of properties on display, it’s not your grandmother’s garden tour with tea and crumpets.

My grandmother never served tea and crumpets during a garden tour. Had she had a garden that was on a tour of Brookline gardens, she would probably have served her famous chopped liver.

The garden of Anne O’Brien of Torrance will showcase shade natives, including plants for habitat, fragrance and cut bouquets, during the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour.

Here’s the gardens my grandmother took me to.

National Parks30 Mar 2011 09:19 am

It’s finally spring here.

And in the deserts of California too. From Desert-USA down in Anza-Borrego.

News30 Mar 2011 07:18 am

The Sacramento Bee has a nice review, not too many pictures though.

High winds, torrents of rain and slippery bridges couldn’t keep them away.

Thousands of gardeners from across Northern California braved this week’s wild weather to see spectacular one-of-a-kind displays – and shop for rare plants and artful accessories – at the 26th annual San Francisco Flower and Garden Show

I suppose if I had braved the weather to get to the Garden Show I too would have started my review with a comment on the horrid weather. But I didn’t. And this week it’s sunny (spring-like) indeed.

Arizona State University students created a display of succulents for the San Francisco show. DEBBIE ARRINGTON/

Nice Pachycereuses the Arizonans have there. They are from Mexico you know. I wonder why they didn’t pick a native Arizona cactus?

Berkeley Gardens29 Mar 2011 03:20 pm

On my day off.


California Native Plants29 Mar 2011 06:58 am

Another California Lilac in bloom.

Ceanothus gloriosus is a very short, wide spreading deer-resistant bee-attracting plant. To 12″ high, but 6 to 8 feet wide. The smaller native bees really go to town around these. I wonder why they call it the Pt. Reyes Ceanothus?

Pt. Reyes National Seashore is beautiful. Almost as Beautiful as the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Blogs28 Mar 2011 10:23 am

The first of the Garden Show reviews.

Googly-eyed Cactus by Sproutopia at the SF Garden Show, via Far Out Flora with Sproutopia’s Dinosaurs via Garden Wise Guy.

Focusing on the structures from Garden Porn, including the succulent wall panel shed.

I’ll update as more blogs post their reviews, so let me know as they appear.

News28 Mar 2011 07:59 am

Today’s Weather report for Northern California: Spring!

California Native Plants28 Mar 2011 07:54 am

Ceanothus “Anchor Bay”

This holly-leafed Ceanothus will get about 2ft. tall and spread fairly wide. I like to say around 6ft., but if you leave it be it can go 8ft. But you shouldn’t let it go totally wild, you know. A little pruning helps.

All of the holly-leafed Ceanothuses are deer resistent. Most of the Ceanothuses are in bloom around about now. Floral scented flowers!

Photography27 Mar 2011 10:06 am

The Euphorbia-naming contest Friday was a lot of fun, don’t you think?

Here’s another variegated spurge that we have but this one’s name is better than the last one’s, so no contest today. Sorry.

Euphorbia “Silver Swan”

It’s still kind of stupid, but not the end of the world.

Photography26 Mar 2011 09:39 am

Anigozanthos “Tequila Sunrise” is very orange. Here we see the beautiful colorful paws not yet open. Still sunny out for the photo though. Imagine that! Stupid rain.

Questions25 Mar 2011 11:48 am

I noticed this odd looking browning patch on one of my cacti shortly after I had purchased it. I’m not sure if it’s part of a natural process or if it’s a sign of an unhealthy cactus. Could you shed any light on this? I’ve felt the spot with my finger, and it has a different texture to the rest of the cactus, and it seems almost like a callus of some kind (can Cacti get calluses?). The spot is tougher and more rigid than the rest of the cactus, so I’m just a little concerned. The woman at the store advised me to water it every 2 weeks and give it all purpose fertilizer ever 7-8 weeks, but neglected to tell me the last time either of these had been done while the cactus was in the store, though I promptly watered the cactus when I discovered the soil to be dry as a bone, so I’m thinking that lack of fertilizer may be the cause.

Am I right or entirely missing the mark?

I hope to hear from you soon.


It looks like your plant is “barking” over an old infection or injury. This is normal and is the way cactus age and deal with this sort of thing. But do watch it for getting soft as that means the infection is winning and the plant is rotting. But it looks like yours is doing fine.
Take care,
Contests&Photography25 Mar 2011 09:45 am

Euphorbia “Ascot Rainbow” is one of the Euphorbia x martinii hybrids, and a patented one at that (PP21401).

I don’t know how this one got past Hap since he doesn’t like for us to carry the variegated spurges.

I also don’t know what the name “Ascot Rainbow” means. I don’t see any ascots here, and I don’t see no stinkin’ rainbow.

Personally, I would like to call this one, “Prim Morning” but then I’m an idiot. Sounds like a contest time! Best new name for this patented variegated spurge wins something! If you’re local, a really nice water wand. If you’re not local, how about a box of biodegradeable kitchen bags? Or if you prefer, a Cactus Pup.

More info about it if you care to keep digging before coming up with a better name.

Whippets25 Mar 2011 06:39 am

News24 Mar 2011 01:13 pm

Are you going to the Garden Show this week? It is stormy out, I know, so if you’re not here’s a video recap. Lot’s of succulents this year, again.

The overview is pretty nice, even if the music is overblown.

Photography24 Mar 2011 09:37 am

Anigozanthos “Yellow Gem”

I love the closeups of these little open paws. They’re very pretty even when the blooms are not open as they stay very colorful for quite awhile. And then they pop open and POW, kangaroo paw punch in the nose.

It’s a good thing I stock up on photos when it’s sunny out, because it’s not sunny out at all right now. Very stormy. Today is a good day to come by the nursery and get lots of personal service since I don’t suspect there’ll be too many people braving the storms.

Travel24 Mar 2011 07:54 am

My final pictures from the recent New York trip are from the Natural History Museum’s Butterfly House. Everyone loves a Butterfly House, it turns out, including the teenage nephews.

These pretty pictures don’t have a lot to do with this blog, except the butterflies are all sitting on plants. And one of the plants is the Jatropha integerrima, a Central American succulent shrub with pretty red flowers. Good stuff.

I couldn’t capture any of the blue butterflies with my cell phone camera – for some reason blues are harder than oranges. But click through at the end for a special moth photo.

One more shot after the break… (more…)

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