Wordless Wednesday - Blazing Leaves

Maple leaves

Sage against autumn leaves

Colorful leaves

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


What's Happening in souther California - Garden Edition December 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 Garden Fun!

Sat/Sun December 3 & 4 , 2011

Placerita Canyon Nature Center Annual Craft Faire
10am – 4 pm
Make your own quality wreaths or Yule logs. A multitude of crafts are available for the kids to make. All materials are supplied. All items are reasonably priced from $2 to $16. The Gift Shop will be open and a food truck will be on site. This is the only fund-raiser of the year, and the funds help the center to care for their animals and run public programs. No credit cards please; checks and cash only. For more information, call 661.259.7721

Sunday December 11, 2011

Planting Natives at the Community Garden of Santa Clarita – Central Park Site
Please stop in 9am - ??? to help us!

Saturday December 17, 2011

Holiday Birds – Bird Walk
8-10 am
Ed Davis Park in Towsley Canyon
24255 The Old Road
Santa Clarita, California 91321
The year-end has a long tradition of bird watching and counting. Let’s celebrate our local birds on this easy hike. Beginning birders are welcome. Binoculars optional. 2 hours. Meet at Towsley Canyon’s front parking lot. Free programs, parking $7 inside park. Contact (310) 858-7272 x131 or Park link: http://lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=10

Friday December 23, 2011

Get The Kids Out of the House Nature Walk
8 am – 10 am
Pico Canyon’s Front Entry – opposite historic Mentryville
We have just the right plan to get the kids and visiting family out of the house so you can wrap presents. Send them to the park for a couple of hours of fresh air and cool nature stuff. 2 hours. The program is free, parking $7 inside park. Contact (310) 858-7272 x131 or try the Park link Sponsored by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and presented by the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority.

Monday December 26, 2011

Green Thumb Christmas Clearance Sale
Pick up some amazing deals on the beautiful ornaments and d├ęcor that might not have been swooped up during the holidays.

Descanso Gardens:
I had a wonderful time this week at Descanso visiting with friends and taking in the sites. There were still some chrysanthemums, the fall colors were amazing and the camellias are starting to bloom! They also have a few holiday events, that you might want to take in.

Saturday & Sunday December 10 & 11 is a big day:
Breakfast with Santa at the Gardens 9:30 – 11
Holiday Boutique 10am – 4 pm
And on Saturday the 10th – there is also wreath making at 10 am and 2 pm

Here is the link to their calendar

Oh, and YES! I did get to see the vertical garden - check out one of my photos.

LA Arboretum

The gardens are ablaze with fall color, and there are still a few programs to take advantage of this month.

Saturday December 3, 2011 –
10am – 12pm – Arboretum Adventures – The Cactus Garden
12pm – 4pm – Organic Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

For more about the upcoming events – check out this link

I hope that you have a fun month – there are sill a lot of gardening events to attend, and don’t forget to use your imagination to create some unique gardening gifts for your friends and family!

For more about my designs, please visit my website


Wordless Wednesday - Chrysanthemums at Descanso Gardens

Purple Intermediate Incurve Chrysanthemum

Yellow Spider Chrysanthemum

Fancy (don't know what kind of) Chrysanthemum

For more about my designs take a look at my website


Gifts that keep on keepin' on!

If you are reading my blog you just might be a plant lover! If that is the case, why not give some beautiful plants to those lucky enough to be on your list?

Creating a beautiful container design for your friends ensure that you are on their minds all year. Here are a few tips for creating a great design:

  • Decide whether you want to go for holiday colors or your friend's color scheme and stick to it!

  • Pick a beautiful container (and make sure it is large enough for all you want to put in it) if you are in SCV, try Green Thumb Nursery or Green Nursery, they both have fantastic selections!

  • Select a stand out plant as your “thriller” and build around that. Camellias are a nice choice as are an agave and echiverea, or one of my favorites a Duranta. (Yes, your friends will eventually replant them into the garden as they grow too large --- added bonus!)

  • Think outside the box – what about throwing in some edibles as filler? This is a great time to design using leafy greens! My favorites are red mustard, a beautiful red veined sorrel, and arugula (because I use it in salads to spice things up).

  • Don’t forget something cascading – it gives you three layers of plants and adds dimension.

  • Add a surprise to your container. Bury some bulbs of beautiful spring flowers in your container and you will certainly delight your friends again come springtime.

I love designing containers; as a matter of fact I love designing! For more about my landscape designs, take a look at my website


Wordless Wednesday - November's Beauty

Cassia in bloom

Hachiya Persimmon

Tumble Weed! Wind alert

For more about my designs please visit my website.


My Favorite Books

I have been taking both my portfolio and a couple of favorite books with me lately on first time client meetings and they have been met with great excitement!

I have had more than one person ask me to send them links to one or the other of the books I carry or have been furiously scribbling away while we are looking at beautiful, inspirational photographs.

I love to get new ideas from other talented designers and horticulturalists and both of these books give me inspiration every time I turn the pages.

I was lucky to attend a book signing last year sponsored by APLD where Carol Bornstein and Bart O'Brien were speaking. I had been anxiously awaiting the publication of their book, Reimagining The California Lawn, (written along with David Fross) since I had heard Carol speak during the summer of 2010 at the Pacific Horticultural Symposium. This book has proved to be everything that I had anticipated and more. I thought it would just be for my use, but find that it inspires my clients to think outside their standard comfort zone because the photographs are so amazing.

I have always loved edibles, since I have been a kid in New York, our family had fruit trees, berry bushes, and always a vegetable garden. I have been adding edibles to my garden designs when ever even the slightest opportunity presents itself. When I heard about the next book - I was VERY excited! I have never had the opportunity to meet Ivette Soler, author of the Edible Front Yard, but I follow her on twitter and was kept up to date on the status of her book until its publication. This book has beautiful photographs by Ann Summa and is a must have for anyone thinking of adding edibles to their landscape - either in the front yard, or anywhere else.

I hope you take a moment to look at the links to these books, gain some inspiration, and maybe add to your collection.


For more about my designs, please check out my website.


Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday Aidan & Loren!

Toyon Berries

Santa Barbara Daisy

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

For more about my designs visit my website


What To Do In Your Southern California Garden in November

Tomorrow we “Fall Back” (if you are reading this in 2011) don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour and enjoy and extra hour of sleep. I am a winter baby and a night bird, so I just love this time of year! I hope you enjoy it too.

Here is your list of gardening chores for November, grab a cup of cocoa, a hot spiced cider, put your gardening gloves on and get out into that Southern California Garden!

1. Plant Winter Vegetables – If you haven’t turned over your summer veggie crops to winter, get a move on! I’m big on bok choy and Chinese vegetables this year, and I’m tucking a lot of leafy greens and leafy red greens (oxymoron?) into my container designs! Even if you don’t love deep red mustard greens to eat, they pack a powerful punch with some blood red snapdragons in a pot! For more about those winter edibles, check out my post. How To Grow Winter Veggies

2. Plant Cool Season Herbs – Try some dill, parsley, cilantro, and chives. They flourish in the cooler weather. Your tender summer herbs like basils and French tarragon can be put into pretty pots and brought into the kitchen to extend their use. Your oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage should continue to do just fine, they are perennial and don’t need replanting.

3. Fall Clean Up – Clear out around your fruit trees. It is time to discard old leaves under your trees, split fruit, you can also check your berry plants. Remove old raspberry & blackberry canes now – and let the plants breath. You can also thin them out and move some to new locations.

4. Plant Winter Blooming Shrubs, vines, and perennials. Plant your Clivia, Carolina Jessaming Hardenbergia, Breath of Heaven, Ceanothus, and Cyclamen (which are a great Christmas addition) now and they will be well established and blooming in the winter months

5. Select new deciduous trees – November is a great time to select a colorful new tree for your yard. If you select while the leaves are changing you are more likely to get just the color you like best. Remember planting on the south or west side of your home will help save energy. Cooling you house in summer, and defoliating in winter to let more sun into your home.

6. Prune Evergreen Trees - November is the time to trim evergreen shrubs; you can also remove & replace overgrown shrubs if necessary. Don’t prune evergreen OAKS!!!! They should be pruned in the summer.

7. California Native Plants - This is an excellent time start planting that native garden you planned last month, Fall and winter are the best time to plant natives because your plants will receive the winter water that comes around and they are happy not to be planted in the hot, hot heat.

8. Plant Cool Season Annuals - Peruse your local nursery, the cool season annuals are starting to show up, ageratum, and pansies – also think out of the box and plant some kale or mustard greens in pots or right in the ground. 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.

9. Fertilize - This should be your last fertilizer application of the year—that includes your lawn! So don’t let this opportunity slip by. You’ll want to feed citrus trees with a citrus fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound per foot of tree spread. It is also a great time to fertilize summer bloomers with a high organic phosphorus fertilizer. The phosphorus takes some time to absorb into the plant so November application will mean May – July flowering plants. Remember that the organics will be dog attractants, so be sure to keep an eye on those digging pups!
Note for Palm Trees, shrubs, and ornamentals:

I like slow-release fertilizers because they provide a steady supply of nutrients for the plants over a long period of time. The main advantage of a slow release fertilizer is its convenience. As you can imagine, slow release fertilizers do not need to be applied as often as water-soluble fertilizers. The optimum fertilizer regimen is three applications per year: once in early spring, once in early summer, and once in late fall. Use a balanced fertilizer (equal numbers) with micronutrients.

Give those houseplants their last fertilizer for the winter too – lower light, and heaters will stress them out if you force more growth, but please don’t stop watering them!

10. Plant Citrus Trees – There is still a nice selection of fruit trees, and they might be on sale to make room for Christmas Trees! Check your local nursery (not big box stores) for the varieties that grow best in your area.

11. Repot Cacti & Succulents – If they are outgrowing their container and are not in bloom, it is a good time to give them a new fresh look for the holidays? Who doesn’t like a new outfit

12. Look for Bare Root Plants – You can keep an eye open for bare root plants, in California we can plant them right through February. Fruit trees, grapes, roses – keep a look out for your favorites and save money!

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. Since the time has changed you will get a completely different view than last month!

14. Mulch! - Don’t forget to apply a nice 3” layer of mulch to your plants. It will keep them warm, discourage weeds, and help retain the winter rains.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, I’m available for consultations, and designs – I would love to be a part of your project!

I would also like to remind you that next Sunday November 13, 2011 – Tami Smight and I are going on a Design Destination and we’d love to have you along.
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
  • 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 --- discount!!! $250/person
  • Fee includes transportation, parking, admission, items selection assistance & design advice.

This event is limited to only five (5) people and we only have THREE (3) spots left!
email our team email and we will coordinate payment via cash, check or credit card


Wordless Wednesday - Texture & Color

Melianthus major

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon)

Texas Ranger & friend

For more about my designs, please visit my website

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