What’s Happening In Southern California – Garden Edition November 2011

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.

On to Gardening Fun!

November 5, 2011

Native Plant Lecture
10 am to 12 noon at: College of the Canyons - Canyon Country Campus
17200 Sierra Highway, Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater
Santa Clarita, California 91351

This is the first lecture in a series that will explore native gardening while helping community members learn how they can adopt some of the environmentally sensitive and drought tolerant gardening techniques the Canyon Country campus has implemented into its landscaping design. This lecture will be presented by Kathy Sloan, an adjunct biology professor from the college and is appropriate for community members including children in grades 4 through 6. During the tour portion of the event, attendees will have the opportunity to take in the various natural settings and scenic views that make the Canyon Country campus so unique, while learning about the various drought-proof and fire-resistant landscape designs employed by the college.

Rose Society Show
12:30 – 4:30 at: William S. Hart Park / Hart Hall
24151 Newhall Avenue
Santa Clarita, California 91321

The public is invited to attend free of charge. Everyone is welcome to exhibit their home-grown roses at the show, including novices and children. You do not have to be a member of the rose society to exhibit, and there are no entry fees. Simply bring your roses in a container of water, and the rose society will furnish the vases and the entry tags. There will be 76 prizes. A free bouquet of roses will be given to new members who join the rose society at the rose show. Annual membership dues are $20, which includes 9 issues of the 12-page, award-winning newsletter “Rose Ecstasy” e-mailed in full color. For a complete show schedule and exhibit rules, contact Kitty Belendez at (661) 296-5033, or e-mail rosextckb@aol.com. Visit the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society web page at www.scvrs.homestead.com for extensive information about roses

November 13, 2011

Head out to a Design Destination!

Designers Tami Smight & Julie Molinare have been shopping flea markets & antique stores for select clients, let them help you find one of a kind treasures for your home and garden. On Sunday November 13, 2011 you are invited to….

Learn how to shop like a designer with a guided tour of the Rose Bowl Flea Market

  • Gain creative inspiration from two designers for the day!
  • Lean the art of accessorizing your home and garden!
  • Purchase one of a kind treasures that will make your home/garden sing!

  • Sunday November 13, 2011
  • 8:00 am: Meet at Courtyard by Marriott parking lot (in Santa Clarita at the 126)
  • Return between 1-3 pm
  • Dress for sunny, warm weather (layers work well) bring a hat & water!
  • Carry your own purchases to the car
  • Food and drinks available for purchase at the Bowl
  • Bring cash for purchases (some vendors do accept cc)
  • Your investment is $275/person --- Blog discount!!! $250/person
  • Fee includes transportation, parking, admission, items selection assistance & design advice.

This event is limited to only five (5) people!
email our team email and we will coordinate payment via cash, check or credit card

November 19, 2011

Landscape Education Class 9 am to noon
Soils & Fertilizers for the SCV – at Castaic Lake Water Agency on the hill above Central Park. Please RSVP to (661) 513-1230

There is a lot going on at Green Thumb (Newhall) Nursery this month! Green Thumb is located at: 23734 Newhall Avenue in Newhall, CA 91321 (661) 259-1071

November 12, 2011

Christmas Open House
This is a great event! Sandy bakes cookies; there will be a book signing “The Great Mrs. Claus” and the store is decorated to the hilt.

November 19, 2011

Christmas Tree Design at 10:00 am – This seminar will be presented by Kirki Coleman, and if you have seen the fantastic trees at the store over the years, you know that she REALLY knows what she is talking about.

November 25, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY – stay tuned for the a variety of events and there will be another book signing!

Descanso Gardens:
They have so much going here is a couple that I consider highlights:

11/5-6/11 – Chrysanthemum Show
11/1211 – Fruit Tree Pruning

and here is the link to their calendar:

LA Arboretum
This month 11/5-6/11 is Winter Cactus Show & Sale, as the Thursday talks with Lili Singer and Talks by Mike Brown. Click on the link for a complete listing.

Would you like to shop with TWO designers? Go on a Design Destination this month with Julie Molinare & Tami Smight – November 13, 2011 at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. You can send and email to HarmoniousHome@thegrassisalwaysgreener.net to reserve your spot! We are limiting this to ONLY FIVE people!!!

If you want to be reminded of all our upcoming events & receive awesome design tips please visit HarmoniousHomeTeam.com and sign up now!


Wordless Wednesday - Out of The Darkness Walk

Although I took lots of pretty plant photos on my walk, I just had to share some of the other sights I saw. I hope you enjoy them! Thank you to all of you that supported me, in getting to and exceeding my fundraising goal!

For more about my designs, take a look at my website!


Flea Market Finds

My friend and colleague Tami Smight and I share a love for antiques. We use them in our homes and gardens and we love to talk about them at Design Seminars around town.

Recently Tami & I had a chance to sit down and discuss how she came to love adding personality to her home and the homes of her clients re-using pieces of art and antiques.

Tami and I became friends a few years ago and I have been lucky enough to partner up with her on projects and in the Harmonious Home Team along with Elaine Giftos Wright. Tami is originally from Chicago, so we both enjoy the vibe and excitement when we head out east. Tami was an RN at UCLA, so she came to Interior Design with a special talent for nurturing and she helps her clients learn about themselves, their homes, and their design style. Inspired by her mother and sisters, she has had a thriving Interior Design business in Santa Clarita, California since 2004.

Julie: When did you start collecting antiques?

Tami: 1998 was the year we bought our current home, I started buying antiques to add character to our home because buying used items kept me within my budget –I found that I was drawn to them because they were beautiful, full of character and really became a part of my style.

J: Has anyone in particular influence your love of antiques & eclectic pieces?

T: Sue Sargent, my friend Dave’s mom. She was an antique dealer that I really looked up to. Since we are transplants Sue & Dave have invited us over for Christmas each year. I loved her home – I would spend time looking at all the pieces (and drool over many) and I couldn’t help but notice that it made her home feel comfortable and down to earth… and I love that! I also love that she would specially choose vintage toys for her grandchildren, so she was actually giving them precious heirlooms for the next generation.

J: It sounds like you feel she was creating family memories, I know when I have heard you speak about the holidays that plays into your tips.

T: Yes! I love creating family memories; I love that each gift can have a special story behind it. I want my children to have those kinds of memories too, and later to create them.

J: Why do you think antiques add to your home and garden d├ęcor?

T: They add an instant sense of history, they also give your space patina – and I love that. I love to mix old and new pieces; it gives the space the sense that it has been furnished over time, with love and care. It tells a story too.

J: What kind of people might think about adding antiques to their home and garden?

T: Anyone can benefit! I think it is great to start small, so you feel comfortable; take the container planting you have in your yard and replace it with an antique vessel of some sort, you can re-use the same plants – but give it a whole new look! You could also add some architectural elements - old iron finials, an armillary or an antique birdbath added to your planter bed would make them more of a focal point.

J: Where do you shop for antiques?

T: I started at the local Antique Mall, but my favorite is the monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market. I started two years as a fun outing and I go a few times each year now. I love to shop there because there is always an abundance of each type of piece I’m looking for so that I can both price shop, and style shop.

J: How do you select the right pieces?

T: I think it is good to start with a goal in mind, but keep an open mind. If something speaks to you – buy it! You’ll find the right place for it.

J: Can anyone shop for special pieces?

T: Yes, but it sure helps to have designers to inspire and guide you. Designers are also great about placement. You want your pieces well displayed, not hidden away in a corner or cabinet.

J: What do you bring with you when you shop?

T: If I have an area in mind I bring dimension, like for example the size of a wall I want a piece for. I also bring a tape measure, comfortable shoes, a hat, water and … an open mind!

J: Do you have a favorite piece that you have picked up over the years?

T: Yes! Now this shows just how you have to be in the right place at the right time. I went uncharacteristically unprepared and arrived at a stand just as the French dealer that I've been dying to buy a piece from was unloading her truck. When she unveiled a pair of blue shutters, I knew they would be perfect for my stairway. As I mentioned I didn't have a tape to measure them with, but when I got them home they fit to within ½” !

J: Obviously they were yours. That's the beauty of shopping with someone that has impeccable fashion sense!

Tami and I really enjoyed hanging around and chatting, about antiques but more importantly we enjoy shopping for them! So… we’re headed out to the Rose Bowl Flea Market on Sunday November 13, 2011 and … we’d love for you to join us!

Here are the details:

  • 8:00 am: Meet at Courtyard by Marriott parking lot (Santa Clarita, Ca.)
  • · Return between 1-3 pm
  • · Dress for sunny, warm weather (layers work well) bring a hat & water!
  • · Carry your own purchases to the car
  • · Food and drinks available for purchase at the Bowl
  • · Bring cash for purchases (some vendors do accept cc)
  • · Your investment is $275/person --- Blogger discount!!! $250/person
  • · Fee includes transportation, parking, admission, items selection assistance & design advice

This event is limited to only five (5) people!
email our team email and we will coordinate payment via cash, check or credit card

harmonioushome@thegrassisalwaysgreener.net for reservation

If you want to know more about Tami, check out her website ... and you can look at my website too while you're at it.


Wordless Wednesday - Autumn Blooms


Caesalpinia sp.

Calistemon 'Little John'

For more about my designs, visit my website


How to Care for Cuphea

Cuphea plants are great shrubs/perennials (depends on who you talk to) they are evergreen and come in lots of different sizes and colors. They can be used as a border plant, ground cover, or to fit a tight spot. I love that they are colorful, easy care, and in some cases just the right size for the overly small planter beds that I sometimes come up against! There are two very different types of cuphea that grow nicely in Southern California, the hysopifolia type (Mexican Heathers) which are a more shrub like type with wood stems and the ignea and lutea types (cigar plants) which are more like perennials with a softer stem.

Mexican Heathers (woody types)

Photo courtesy of Worldwide Exotics

These like good drainage with regular garden water. They attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees and are easily pruned to shape. The young plants are happy when given a fertilizer with extra phosphorus. This encourages root development, which in turn leads to beautiful flowers. Phosphorus is the second number on the fertilizer bag – so look for a higher middle number and you will have the right type. Well-established plants will also benefit from fertilization – especially in the spring.

Deadhead the flower blooms so you get lots more blooms during the growing season. If you aren’t sure what deadheading is, I’ll explain. Deadheading is pinching back the dead flowers at their base. When you do this you allow the plant to utilize the available nutrients for growing – not send nutrients to the dead flower head.

Cigar Plant (softer, more perennial types)

These types are known by the common name of cigar plant and firecracker plant. They have a long cigar shaped flower, in red/orange, pink, and even a yellow – they are very attractive to hummingbirds. They flower from summer and can last well into the winter months – only being cut off when frost (may) hit.

Once your cigar plant is well established in your garden it is a good idea to pinch it back at the tips, this will encourage more branching and in turn that means more flowers… You should prune your Cuphea so that it stays neat; it is also a pretty rapid grower so if you select one that is too large for the area you’ll need to keep up on it to keep it contained. You can also prune it back to the ground to promote healthy, new growth. So prune hard in early spring and late fall to shape. They don’t bloom well in full shade, but a little protection from mid day sun is good and make sure that you don’t over water.

If you live in a cold area the plant can be grown as a perennial by over wintering the plants indoors.

For more about my blog please visit my website!


Wordless Wednesday - Autumn Colors, Summer Heat

Troy the Tortoise


"Baby" Pumpkins

For more about my designs, visit my website.


Just a note...

Good morning!

Today is Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement for Jews all over the world. So I'm skipping my blog post for today but putting up lovely Pincushion flower for you to enjoy.

I'll add a post about caring for Cuphea in the next couple of days, so you won't be without your garden tips this week. Just not today.

Peace, peace to the far and to the near!
- Isaiah 57.19


Wordless Wednesday - Harvest Heat

Yellow Trumpet Vine

Fennel & Gaura

Red Hot Roses

For more about my designs, please visit my website!


Chores for your Southern California Garden - October

October is a great time to plant and do chores in Southern California! The weather is moderating a little, it’s not so blazing hot in the valleys but it is still warm enough so that the plants can really settle in and they can grow, grow, grow.

Here is a list of chores for you to fill your weekends with, because this is doubtlessly the start of the best months to be outdoors.

1. Divide Your Iris - If you haven’t divided your irises in the past 2-4 years, this is a great time to do that. You can plant your new divisions (and new plant if you want) because although September is optimal – October ain’t half bad either. Check out my post How to Care for Iris – to get all the details.

2. Plant New Plants - Love the idea of a year round (or three season) garden? This is a great time to buy and plant fall and winter blooming perennials and shrubs like Sedum Brilliant, Caryopteris, Echinacea, clivia, some ceanothus, nandinas (colorful leaves and berries) and more!

3. Cool Season Vegetable Tip - You can still be sowing your cool season vegetable seeds and as the month progresses you can plant 6 packs and 4” pots of those same veggies. I’m planning on planting lot of bok choy this year, because last year mine was FANTASTIC. You can also plant broccoli, kale, and lettuces… to name a few!

4. Colorful Autumn Trees - Keep your eyes open for trees that display fall color, they are starting to show their “true colors” so if you want a specific color autumn display October and November are good times to buy and plant those deciduous trees. Since your garden is yours, you can truly create a sanctuary by picking the plants (and colors) that you love!

5. Prune Your Trees - This month is also a nice time to prune your trees, it is cooling off so if you prune now and reduce your branches and therefore leaves, you will have less to rake as they fall. (this is not Oak pruning time)

6. California Native Plants - This is an excellent time to plan your native garden, the end of the month is the start of the native planting season because the fall and winter are the best time to plant them. You grab the winter water that comes around and you don’t plan them in the hot, hot heat.

7. Cool Season Annuals - Peruse your local nursery, the cool season annuals are starting to show up, including ornamental kale (one of my favorites for containers). Annuals don’t make up a very large part of my garden style, but they sure can add punch to a garden that is maturing

8. Beautiful Blooming Bulbs - You can continue to plant winter and spring blooming bulbs. The nurseries have a nice selection right now, as do online sources. They make an excellent addition to a container as well – and if you’re memory isn’t what it used to be will become an element of surprise when they burst into bloom.

9. Plant Ground Cover – Ground cover grows quite quickly during the month of October, it is warm enough but not too hot so it is easier to regulate your water and the plants tend not to dry out too easily. Look around to see where you could use some ground cover.

10. Prune Fall Flowering Plants – shrubs, and vines can be cut back now once they have finished blooming. The pruning will encourage new growth and flowers for next year.

11. Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! – If you haven’t grown your own, it’s time to shop for unusual pumpkins, squash and gourds! They make an excellent decoration throughout the holidays. Tami & I had such fun at our event a couple weeks ago talking about decorating. If you would like a copy of our presentation, please feel free to add your name to our Harmonious Home Team event list. We’ll be happy to send you the PowerPoint version of our presentation.

12. Fertilize cacti & succulents – it is a nice time to give a shot of fertilizer to blooming and growing succulents and cacti both in pots and in the ground.

13. Notice the Shadows - Take a little time during this time of the year to notice how the shadows are changing around your landscape. Notice what is getting sun and what is getting shade, it might shed some light on why some of your plants are not thriving. You may not realize what little sun they are really getting during the winter months, and by noticing you might decide to transplant a few.

14. Houseplants could use some TLC – Your indoor plants can use a little fertilizer, a spritz of water or maybe even a few hours outdoors in the sun or dappled sun (depending on the plant) to allow it to soak up some light for chlorophyll production.

Join Tami Smight and Julie Molinare at our Complimentary Design Seminar on October 9, 2011 at the Rose Society of Santa Clarita and learn how to “Make Your Garden Sing!” If you want a reminder of our event, as well as a copy of our Power Point Presentation, “How to Create Fall Harvest Splendor” please visit Harmonious Home Team.com and sign up now!

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