Growing Plants Under Glass

Nathaniel Ward was an Englishman who loved to observe the behavior of insects and was fond of enclosing them in glass jars. Once, he forgot about one of his jars and, when he noticed it again, a fern...

Dragon Fruit

It’s about time you considered growing dragon fruit, also known as pitaya. Although dragon fruit is native to the Central American and South American tropics, I have seen it growing in the San Fernan...

Ganoderma, Adenium, Gazania, Beaucarnea

While walking our dogs in the neighborhood, I saw something I’ve never seen before.  It looked like a loaf of some kind of bread under a tree. Then I saw there were several other “loaves”. The bigges...

Titan Arums and Other Aroids

When it comes to indoor plants, one plant family (Araceae) is seen almost everywhere.  Known as aroids or arums, members of the family including devil’s ivy or pothos, philodendron, Dieffenbachia, Ne...

Botanical Expeditions with Dan Hinkley

Imagine that you are the director of Heronswood, a fifteen acre botanical garden and, when you come home at the end of the day, you are surrounded by a six and a half acre garden of your own.   Both ...

Bananas, Grapefruits, and Oak Tree Beetles

“I have banana trees that bloom and produce fruit of the ‘Ice Cream’ (also known as ‘Blue Java’) variety. I have heard that I should trim the flower off after a single cluster of bananas has formed o...

Flowers in the Dog Days of Summer

August 11 is the date when the dog days of summer, extending each year from July 3 until today, officially come to an end.  These days are characterized by extreme heat along with the lassitude and i...

Tequila Farmers

“Is the life of an Agave lengthened if its flower stalk is cut off early?  I noticed that the blue tequila agave farmers in Mexico keep them trimmed off.” Tom Gearhart, Valley Village That’s an excel...

Flamboyant Tree, Floating Row Cover

During the recent heat wave, something curious happened.  A tree that had every reason to burn or at least get mildly singed emerged unscathed. But first let’s mention some horticultural favorites th...

Misting, Elephant Food, Angel Pelargoniums

A heat wave is like a brushfire.  If it gets too intense, there is really not much you can do to blunt its force. Once a brushfire turns into a wildfire or major conflagration, all the prudent firesc...