Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday LaurieAnn

Iris (one of Grandma's favs)

Ornamental Strawberry

Calla Lily

For more about my designs please visit my website


April 2011 Gardening Events & More...

April Showers bring May flowers, and if April is anything like March, we’re going to have a lot of flowers this year! April has a lot to offer for the gardener and for the family, so take a look at these events and pick some that suit you!

As always, I want to remind you to shop local, and get the freshest produce around by heading out to the local Farmer’s Markets in Santa Clarita:

Sundays 8:00am – noon
College of The Canyons Parking Lot
Don’t forget to visit my friend Sarah from Worldwide Exotics
There is also another great Farmer’s Market:
Thursdays in Old Town Newhall from 3-7pm.

I was planning on going to Tomatomania the first weekend of April at Otto & Sons in Fillmore but am attending a workshop, so I’m going to have to shop this Sunday at Tomatomania’s Tapia Brothers event in Encino – that would be tomorrow (Sunday) because today I’m speaking at Green Thumb – please join Tami Smight and me for a Complimentary Design Seminar, "Make Your Garden Sing!" (if you are reading this early) at 10 am. The address is: 23734 Newhall Avenue in Newhall, Ca. 91321. We’d love to see you there!

Here are some other events that I thought you might enjoy.


Fri – Sat 4/1-2/11 – Otto & Sons Nursery in Fillmore
An amazing selection of tomatoes and more… If you are in the market for an heirloom or unusual tomato or pepper, this is the event for you. This on is my favorite location!

Build a Wildlife Garden at Descanso Gardens
Sat. 4/2/11 – 10am – noon – Maple
Attract birds and butterflies to your garden. Rachel Young, Native Garden horticulturist, will present this class, which discusses plantings and design elements to attract wildlife. She will also discuss using beneficial insects to reduce garden pests. Cost: $15 general public, $10 members.

Korean Stone Exhibit at the LA Arboretum
Saturday & Sunday – 4/2-3/11 9am-4pm
For centuries, Asian scholars have contemplated natural found stones for creative inspiration and meditation. In recent decades, the practice of stone appreciation has developed into an international art form.. This exhibit consists of water-polished and wind-blasted stones from rivers, beaches and deserts in North America, including a few examples from Korea.

Spring Plant Sale at the LA Arboretum
Saturday & Sunday - 4/2-3/11 – 9am – 4:30pm
The Arboretum spring plant sale will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 2 & 3. Come shop for berries, fruit trees, and heirloom tomatoes, a wide variety of annuals and perennials, and wonderful plants from our production nursery as well as specimens from our greenhouses. The library will also be selling books that are both plant related as well as an amazing collection of cookbooks. Look for more specific information on our web site in the coming months.

Arboretum Adventures at LA Arboretum
Sat 4/2/11 – 10am – noon Oak Room
Free with Admission
Meet by the fountain in front of the Oak Room.
Join your adventure guide as we explore the Arboretum. Each Saturday is new and exciting, and will have a different theme relating to nature. Come early, as space is limited to 25. Children of all ages are welcome! Family adventures will go on rain or shine so dress appropriately
This month: Tip Toe through the Herb Garden

Volunteer in the Outdoors – Santa Clarita
Sat & Sun 4/2-3/11 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: Training is free. Parking inside park is $7.
Ed Davis Park in Towsley Canyon
24255 The Old Road
Santa Clarita, California 91321
Volunteer to host the Sonya Thompson Nature Center in Towsley Canyon or provide park information for the general public. Volunteer training includes ecology, the cultural and natural history of MRCA parks, and visitor services in a park setting. Training is free. Parking inside park is $7.
For More Information, Lisa Ann Carrillo (310) 858-7272 x115 or email robin.smith@mrca.ca.gov

Flowering Trees Walk at Descanso Gardens
Sun 4/3/11 – 11 am Center Circle
Get a guided tour of Descanso’s beautiful spring-flowering trees. Curator Wen Wang leads the way! Free with Gardens admission

Plant Information 1st Tuesday of the month:
Tuesday 4/5/11 - 1:30-3:00pm / Bamboo Room – LA Arboretum
Frank McDonough, instructor
Free for Arboretum members/ free with Arboretum admission
Stay on top of the world of botany & horticulture when Arboretum botanist Frank McDonough covers various landscaping and gardening topics plus the latest news in gardening and plant science. Frank will also reveal some of the more important or unusual or entertaining questions that he and the volunteers have received from the public during the previous month. Bring your own plant questions for discussion. You never know what unique and fascinating topics will be addressed!
LA Arboretum

Thursday Garden Talks With Lili Singer – LA Arboretum
Thurs – 4/7/11 – 9:30 - noon – Palm Room
Spring 2011: 8 Thursdays, March 10 – April 28
(Please note special times for field trips, self-driven & require pre-registration)
$100 for the series, $20 per class / Reservations or you may pay at the door
Information and registration: 626.821.4623 or jill.berry@arboretum.org

Field Trip: Garden Jewels of Pasadena, 9:30am-12:30pm
On this excursion, we revisit two outstanding Pasadena landscapes that epitomize the beauty and joy of gardening in Southern California. First, we gather at Arlington Garden, a maturing public display of native and mediterranean climate plants. We’ll bask in wisteria and wildflowers and learn about habitat gardening from Mayita Dinos, the garden’s designer. Our second stop is the private Clark/Loxton garden, a colorful blend of edibles, containers, natives and other amazing plants and artifacts surrounding a beautiful Craftsman-style home. This time, as requested by the class, we’ll stay a little longer. Pre-registration requiredwww.arboretum.org

Mt. SAC Plant Sale at Descanso Gardens
Fri – Sun 4/8-10/11 9 am – 4pm – Magnolia Lawn
Students in the horticulture program at Mt. San Antonio College will sell a wide range of outdoor and indoor plants. Past sales have featured palms, clivia, ficus, perennials and assorted garden treasures. Free with Gardens admission: $8 adults, $6 seniors/students, $3 children 5-12, free for children 4 and younger.

Modern Rose Walk at Descanso Gardens
Sat 4/8/11 – 1pm Rose Garden
Amanda Everett, rose horticulturist, leads this walk showcasing our modern roses including some rare and exclusive varieties only found at Descanso Gardens. Learn about the organic care program in the Rose Garden, and receive many tips on how to grow roses organically at home. In addition, the walk will introduce many varieties of roses that are known for their hardiness and disease resistance. Free with Gardens admission

Iris & Bulb Show & Sale at the LA Arboretum
Sat & Sun 4/9-10/11- 9 am – 4:30 pm
Tall bearded, small bearded, and aril-bred irises will be on the display provided by the Southern California Iris Society and So. Cal. Hemerocallis & Amaryllis Society. Pacific Coast natives that have colors ranging from cream to blue-violet and Siberian Iris that flower throughout the summer will also be featured. Members will be available to answer cultural questions. Iris plants will be for sale. Free with admission

The Summer Garden in Southern California at LA Arboretum
Sat 4/9/11 – 10 am – noon – Palm Room
$25 members/$28 non-members
John Lyons, instructor
Prepare the garden for a full and bountiful summer season. This session will cover the transition from spring to summer, soil preparation, composting issues and summer plant selections including their care from planting to harvesting. Organic pest control will also be covered. www.thewovegarden.com

Around the World in 127 Acres LA Arboretum
Saturday 4/9/11 1:30-3pm
Survivor-plant: Swamp
You are a garden petunia dropped into the everglades of Florida ; what structures and strategies do you evolve to survive?.
$5 member/$7 non-member per class
Frank McDonough, Botanical Information Consultant, instructor
This class is held in the garden, and requires walking throughout the collections.
Rain or shine/Meet in the Arboretum Library

Thursday Garden Talks With Lili SingerLA Arboretum
Thurs – 4/14/11 – 9:30 - noon – Palm Room
Spring 2011: 8 Thursdays, March 10 – April 28
(Please note special times for field trips, self-driven & require pre-registration)
$100 for the series, $20 per class / Reservations or you may pay at the door
Information and registration: 626.821.4623 or jill.berry@arboretum.org

Growing Organic: The Delicious Yard with Jill Morganelli
Just in time for spring and summer planting! Join the Arboretum’s hard-working horticulturist and organic gardening specialist to talk about fruits and vegetables for Southern California home gardens, design strategies, companion plants and ways to ensure a bountiful healthful harvest. The morning includes a visit to the Arboretum’s organic vegetable garden

Earth/Arbor Day in Santa Clarita – Central Park, Saugus CA.
Join the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita for our Arbor Day Celebration Saturday, April 16th at Central Park, 10 am to 5 pm. The community gardeners will host activities in the garden that include tree planting, garden tours, children's activities, and much more. For more information email: communitygardensofsc@gmail.com

FREE landscape education class at Castaic Lake Water Agency
Sat. 4/16/2011 - 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
FREE landscape education class -- Irrigation Basics. Castaic Lake Water Agency on the hill above Central Park. Saturday. Please RSVP to (661) 513-1230.

Wildflower Walk at Descanso Gardens
Sun 4/17/11 – 1pm California Garden
Take in the fabulous spring blooms in the California Garden in this guided walk led by Rachel Young, native plant horticulturist. Enjoy the beauty and get some inspiration for your own garden. Meet at Center Circle. Free with Gardens admission: $8 adults, $6 seniors/students, $3 children 5-12, free for children 4 and younger.

Thursday Garden Talks With Lili Singer at the LA Arboretum
Thurs – 4/21/11 – 9:30 - noon – Palm Room
Spring 2011: 8 Thursdays, March 10 – April 28
(Please note special times for field trips, self-driven & require pre-registration)
$100 for the series, $20 per class / Reservations or you may pay at the door
Information and registration: 626.821.4623 or jill.berry@arboretum.org

Lecture and Field Trip: Landscaping As If the Watershed Matters with Drew Ready, Jason Casanova and Edward Belden, 9:30am -1:00pm
This lively session with representatives from the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council begins with a lecture at the Arboretum and ends with a self-driven visit to Elmer Avenue in Sun Valley, the first “Green Street” in the City of Los Angeles to use vegetated bio-swales and an infiltration gallery under a street to infiltrate stormwater – and the landscape is darned pretty, too! The Watershed Council’s numerous efforts to restore the health of our area’s watersheds include water and sustainable landscape training programs and invasive plant mapping and educational materials (available at weedwatch.org). Pre-registration required

Rose Show and Sale at the LA Arboretum
Saturday & Sunday, 4/23-24/11
Saturday: 1pm-5pm; Sunday: 10am-3pm
Grandifloras, hybrid teas, floribundas, miniatures and new and old varieties will be displayed by the Pacific Rose Society. Members will answer questions on cultural care. Shrubs of miniature and larger varieties, as well as cut flowers, will be on sale both days. Free with admission

Family Fun Class at LA Arboretum
Saturday 4/23/11 - 10am – 12noon – Oak Room
What exactly are fossils? How are they formed? Find out as we journey to the prehistoric jungle and make our own fossils! Join a demonstration on how to make fossils. Children and parents make a small sample in the classroom and then are given tools and guidelines to adventure out into the Arboretum to create more.

Santa Clarita Valley Green Drinks Meetup
Tuesday – 4/26/11 – 6pm
Salt Creek Grill
Towne Center
Valencia, CA 91355
Green Drinks allows for anyone concerned about environmental issues to get together over a drink. Green Drinks events are very simple, informal, unstructured, and self-organizing. We bring together the environmental community and have fun doing it! Please join

Thursday Garden Talks With Lili Singer at the LA Arboretum
Thurs – 4/28/11 – 9:30 - noon – Palm Room
Spring 2011: 8 Thursdays, March 10 – April 28
(Please note special times for field trips, self-driven & require pre-registration)
$100 for the series, $20 per class / Reservations or you may pay at the door
Information and registration: 626.821.4623 or jill.berry@arboretum.org

Past Landscapes, Present Tense: The Evolution of the Southern California Landscape with Rhett Beavers Remnant local landscapes from the 19th century onward are increasingly endangered by redevelopment, oblivion or just plain old age. Learn what remains from earlier times and how past landscapes impact the present. Rhett is a landscape architect and historian interested in settlement patterns and the ways the landscape changes over time to meet new requirements and uses. He teaches history and design in the Landscape Architecture Program at UCLA Extension.

African Violet Show & Sale at Descanso Gardens
Sat 4/30/11 – 9 am – 4pm
"Fooling Around with African Violets," a show sponsored by the Montrose African Violet Society, Burbank African Violet Society and The African Violet Council of Southern California.

Household Hazardous Waste and E-Waste Collection in Santa Clarita
Sat 4/30/2011 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
College of the Canyons South Parking Lot
26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, California 91355
Household Hazardous Waste and E-Waste Collection
Examples of what you CAN bring to a HHW collection:
Motor oil, oil filters, brake fluid
Used antifreeze
Paint, paint thinner, turpentine
Cleaners with acid or lye
Pesticides or herbicides
Household batteries or car batteries
Pool chemicals
CRT's, old TV's, misc. electronics

What you CANNOT bring to a HHW collection:
Radioactive Materials
Business Waste
White Goods (stoves, fridges, etc.)
For more information, please call 1-800-238-0172 or visit www.lacsd.org

For more on my designs, check out my website


Wordless Wednesday - Texture and Color

Loropetalum - Chinese Fringe Flower

Kalmia - Mountain Laurel

Grevillea noellii

For more about my designs visit my website


How To Care For California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

The California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica is the California State flower, it is a beautiful bright spot that is starting to pop in the landscape welcoming the warmer weather. The California poppy is nyctinastic, which means that it closes up at night and on cloudy days, so it is a fun plant for children. It is a perennial here in California but is used as a summer annual elsewhere. It can be grown from seed or from seedlings. If you buy a plant in a 4” pot or 1 gallon it will have soft nursery soil and transplanting will be easy, however care should be taken not to transplant from one part of your garden to the next because the taproot can be easily damaged and the plant will not survive. Since it re-seeds readily, your poppies will likely end up where they want to in the years to come.

Planting from seed is best done in the fall, broadcast the seeds over well-drained cultivated soil and be sure that they receive water. They are a drought tolerant plant, but need water to germinate. This is one of those California natives that you can easily mix into a non-native garden bed because if they are irrigated it will just extend their flowering season. Now is a great time of the year (March/April) to plant the 4” pots that you will start finding in the nursery. If you chose a variety of California poppy hybrids (different colors) and plant them in succession your bed will look beautiful for many months. In mild climates these flowers will bloom from spring through summer.

Poppy care is pretty straightforward; remove the spent blooms, dead stems and leaves. It is also good to cut them way back once in a while to let them revitalize. they They are great on a hillside, parking strip, or anywhere that they can fill up a big area. If you use them as a backdrop they will serve you well and you won’t have to fuss a lot with maintenance. One caution – they do not make a great front and center focal point because they get ratty looking on their way out and then you have to maintain them so… Use them in the right spots. They also pair very well with the other native “poppies”.

You can create a mixed poppy field by planting them as the lowest layer with Bush Poppy (Dendromecon rigida) and Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) – the Bush Poppy gets 4’-8’ high and 4’-6’ wide and the Matilija gets 5’-8’ high and spreads so be sure that you have room! Because the Matilija spreads, I would plant fewer than you want and pull out new arrivals once you have gotten to the amount you want. You can always share them with friends! All three of these like well-drained soils (the Matilija is more forgiving and can adapt to most soil types) so don’t plant the California & Bush Poppies if you have clay soil.

My final note: please, please, please take care what types of California Poppies you plant if your planting area is adjacent to an area that already has native poppies growing. If you plant hybrids you could be introducing a problem. The seed varieties can interbreed and eliminate the native varieties. If you want further information on planting near an existing native planting, please check out The Theodore Payne Foundation – they are an amazing resource.

For more about my designs please visit my website


Wordless Wednesday - LA & SCV



My first blooming Daylily

For more about my design visit my website


Antiques That Inspire

Inspiration is all around us, you just need to take a moment to look around, take a breath and take it all in. Whether you find inspiration in magazines or walking the neighborhoods you cherish there is much to be found that we can imitate or repurpose in our gardens.

One of my favorite sources of inspiration is taking trips outside my usual domain; it is a lovely way to find inspirations pieces for an entire motif, or just the right piece for a bare spot in your garden. I often shop at local antique stores and tag sales at home and when I visit my family, luckily I share that love with my friends.

My friend and colleague, Tami Smight of Tami Smight Interiors and fellow Harmonious Home Team member, has written a great blog post about Antiques For Your Garden that I would like to share with you.

I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did, and I hope that you join Tami & I at Green Thumb Nursery - 23724 Newhall Avenue in Newhall, Ca. on March 26, 2011 at 10 am as we offer a complimentary design seminar called, “Make Your Garden Sing”.

Please RSVP for the seminar by emailing: rsvp@thegrassisalwaysgreener.net with your name and the code GGB326

For more about my designs visit my website.



Wordless Wednesday - Color & Interest


Artichoke Leaves

Sweet Pea Shrub


What To Do In Your Southern California Garden In March

Last year about this time I started a monthly blog post to remind you what to do in your garden each month. The year is now complete, so now I can start linking to my old posts. I promise that as I have new insights I will add them to your monthly reminders.

I hope that these reminders will help you to maintain your garden without having to give it too much thought so you can enjoy your time outdoors improving both your garden and your state of mind. I know that when I’m working in the garden I am much more grounded because feeling the earth between my fingers (and sometimes my toes) does wonders!

Last year at the end of March Tami Smight & I gave at talk at Green Thumb Nursery, so you will see that mentioned in my post – we are doing it again this year, but please show up on March 26, 2011 and NOT the date listed at the bottom of my last year's post… unless you are a time traveler and can go back to 2010 in which case we will be happy to see you at both events!

Thank you again for allowing me to reach into your life and give you a little shout out each week, I am so proud that I stuck to my gardening reminders and I hope you are proud of yourself as well! Click on the link for the March Reminders.


For more on my designs visit my website


Wordless Wednesday - March Madness

Spanish Lavender

Little John Bottlebrush

Breath of Heaven

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