Myrtles and their Kin

When it comes to fragrant leaves and exotic barks, no trees can match the myrtles (Myrtaceae). The common myrtle (Myrtus communis) is the appropriate species to start with when introducing the distin...

Exciting Pittosporums & Grafted Gardenias

Once upon a time, when people wanted carefree evergreen foliage plants that came in a variety of shapes and sizes, they chose junipers. They could choose from green, blue, silvery-blue and gold-tippe...

Shrubs for Afternoon Sun

My garden and front yard are west-facing and thus they are receiving direct sun in the afternoon. We have tried some perennials that can take San Fernando Valley heat, like purple fountain grass and ...

Distinctive Broadleaf Evergreens

This is the time of year when flowers disappear and deciduous trees are denuded of their foliage. For serious plant watchers, it’s the time of year when foliage of evergreen trees, shrubs and g...

Poinsettias Grow Outside, Too

Poinsettia’s time is now. During most of the year, a poinsettia is just stems, or stems and green leaves. Only from late fall until the end of the year does it take on its scarlet color. But if...

Orange Jasmine & Firescaping

I bought an expensive five-gallon orange jasmine because I love the smell, but have no idea or information on taking care of it. How do I plant it and where is the best place for it? Sun? Shade? Eith...

Red Bird of Paradise

I just returned from Tucson, Ariz., where I saw desert birds of paradise in peak bloom. Desert birds of paradise are leguminous woody plants that only need to be watered occasionally and do not requi...

Luscious Lilacs

Queries concerning an assortment of garden plagues were received via e-mail during the past month. Q: We have a lilac bush that we purchased about a year and a half ago. The leaves are moldy, and it ...