Grapes have been cultivated in the Mediterranean since ancient times.
The dry edible garden is rooted in classical civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea. The Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians shared their ancient local food crops throughout the western world. Some of the best are grapes, pomegranates, date palms, rosemary, artichokes, cardoons, and figs. All are still vital to contemporary agriculture in deserts and dry places around the world […]
Wildfire is ubiquitous in the west but has spread to new areas due to lack of forest thinning.
Wildfire is an equal opportunity killer. This year it took out multimillion-dollar vineyards in Napa County, CA just as ferociously as it destroyed lot and block subdivisions in Santa Rosa, CA, neither considered high fire hazard locations (click here for the California Fire Hazard Severity Zone map). For all […]
Adam’s needle (Yucca filamentosa) is an adaptable, bold landscape plant!
“This flower was made for the moon, as the Heliotrope is for the sun…and refuses to display her beauty in any other light.” This lovely Victorian quote, taken from the 1878 edition of Vicks Monthly Magazine, set off a fad for yucca plants. Though they flower in the sun, their blossoms become fragrant at dusk, […]
Created on a slight incline, this beautiful western rock garden featuring aloes, cacti, and local stones and cobble.
Alpine succulents from the Atlas Mountains flooded into 17th-century England where the climate and soils were totally unsuitable for growing them. This created a learning curve for English gardeners. Daily summer rains and great soil explains why their gardens are so fabulous, but succulents need high sun, fast draining […]
Short, dense perennials are the ultimate edge plants to tidy up after repairs to eroding edges.
Artists learn early on that the most important parts of a line are the beginning and end points. The quality of the start and end define the line’s value. No matter how light the line weight is between the two points, the line continuum will stay intact because the viewer will naturally […]
Ladybug adults and larvae (orange and black) waging war on black aphids!
Your garden is a battlefield with more life and death drama than the Serengeti during wildlife migrations. Among your beautiful plants and flowers there is that age-old war playing out every day as the insect world fights over who eats what. Some insects are pests that eat your plants – they are garden prey. Other […]
Prickly pear fruits are tangy and often deep red. (Opuntia ficus-indica shown)
Cactus fruit are a forgotten staple of hot climates where they ripen quickly with a very high sugar content. Fruits are cooked down into syrups, squeezed into icy drinks, made into jam, or eaten fresh after peeling. These native fruits of the American Southwest and Mexico are both a staple and a survival food, depending […]
Fruiting olive trees make resilient landscape specimens for edible landscaping in the West.
Olives (Olea europaea) originate from the Mediterranean region but have been important landscape trees in the American Southwest for the past 70 years, losing and gaining favor as trends change. After World War II, mature olive trees were transplanted to new family homes all over the West. Old trees were moved from California orchards […]
This relative of hollyhock loves growing along the dry edges of cactus and succulent gardens.
The American Southwest is rich in wildflowers, and a few have proved to be exceptional choices for arid gardens. When wildflowers perform well and are beautiful, they are ideal candidates for home landscapes filled with existing drought resistant plants. They also make exceptional problem solvers in desert gardens of cacti, succulents, and rocks where many […]
‘Wonderful’ is a popular orchard variety pomegranate that also grows well in home gardens.
Since antiquity the bright red seeds of the pomegranate (Punica granatum) have been likened to rubies. The fleshy seeds are a sign of the nutritional treasure hidden inside the fruit’s tough, leathery rind. The covering of these Middle Eastern fruits protects them from birds and dehydration, unlike fully exposed stone fruits and berries.
The pomegranate […]