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 […]
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 […]
Rhododendron ‘Caractacus’ (Waterer Hybrid) has many magenta clusters, or trusses, of flowers in spring. (Image by Jessie Keith)
I cannot recall being in a Pacific Northwest garden that does not have rhododendrons and azaleas. Most gardens have many, and deservedly so. The hybrids can provide beautiful trusses of flowers throughout the spring and there are native species with smaller flowers but a very […]
The grand French Chateau de Villandry Ornamental Parterre Garden is in the foreground with the Ornamental Kitchen Garden in the background.
As with most things French, even vegetable gardens can be decidedly beautiful. What makes them so special are parterre potagers, a practice of creating symmetrical, geometric patterns with beds of vegetables of different colors and textures. Within the geometric beds, which are often lined with […]
Snowdrops break through ice of a forest floor in February.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, this past November and early December were very warm and mild. My tropical red-leaf bananas did not die until a hard freeze shortly before Christmas (almost unheard of), and many gardeners had summer- and fall-blooming plants still in flower. Neighbors showed me their 3-4 inch spring daffodils that had emerged and asked if they […]
Helleborus Cotton Candy (Image thanks to Terra Nova Nurseries)
In years past, Pacific Northwest gardeners have put their gardens to bed at the end of summer. This is changing. I see a greater trend towards maintaining garden color using ever-beautiful perennials and woody plants. This trend was reinforced while visiting a gardening friend last fall. He said that his garden looked too barren after he had removed […]
Large sprays of bright red berry-like fruits mature in time for holiday decorating.
In my old High Sierra home, I decorated with my own native Christmasberry (Heteromeles arbutifolia, USDA Zone 8) fruit every winter for nearly 20 years. Also called California toyon, this shrub produces large sprays of bright red fruits that are so seasonally welcome, I wondered why it was not more popular in landscaping.
Christmasberry makes […]
The ferocious spines of the golden barrel cactus make them very difficult to pot. (Image by Jessie Keith)
The golden barrel (Echinocactus grusonii) is America’s favorite cactus. All over the Southwest it has become a coveted living ornament in landscapes. When back lit by the sun, the bright canary-yellow spines literally glow, creating high drama against blue agaves and succulents. A big yellow cactus potted […]