The Glorious Orchid Rockrose

Here’s a magnificent plant.  Orchid rockrose (Cistus x purpureus).  A Mediterranean plant.  Water thrifty.  Foliage fragrant when crushed.  Needs no water other than winter rain.  Ideally suite...

Mycorrhizae, Moss, and Baby Tears

What if Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” theory was wrong?  What if it turns out that “survival of the most cooperative” explains why some species are more successful than others? Research conducte...

Lawn Alternatives

Slowly, over the last few years, more and more front yards in Los Angeles have turned brown and stayed that way or, in some cases, turned to dirt.  It is no longer a stigma for the owner of any sort ...

The Greatness of Bulbs

Greatness may best be evaluated not by natural talent or achievement or an applause meter, but by response to adversity. The greatness of plants is thus demonstrated, since many of them can be cut to...

Getting Ready for Spring

Spring can turn the most casual observer of plants into a suddenly enthusiastic novice gardener.  Blinding displays of flowers are everywhere.  Who can resist them?  Just take a look at Lampranthus p...

New President, New Oval Office Plant

The results of the Presidential election were an unbelievable surprise to many people but, at least for plant watchers like myself, the backdrop to the photo of Trump and Obama in the Oval Office was...

Small is Beautiful in the Garden, too

“Small is Beautful” was a best-selling collection of essays on economics written in 1973. The lifestyle encourage by the author, E.F. Schumacher, would lead to “the maximum amount of well being with ...

What to do About Aging Ivy

“For years ivy has flourished on our hillsides.  This year, most of the ivy on the hillsides has died or withered and weeds  have overtaking the ivy.   The ivy is about 50 years old and receives full...

Columbine, Convolvulus, and Kalanit

Columbine, a flower meant for every garden, is a study in irony.  Let’s start with its name.  Columbine is derived from columbo, the Latin word for dove.  If you take the flower and turn it ups...