Waterwise Blog

Waterwise Blog

Gardening in Southern California

What a Rat's Nest!

My intent for tonight was to write about starting seeds for my summer garden.  The weather is nice and warm now, days in the 70s, nights in the 50s, just perfect for starting seeds outdoors, which is my preferred way to do it. I have a potting shed  – well,...

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Save water in your garden with my "Canary Test"

People constantly ask me how much and how often to water their plants.  There is no definitive answer.  It depends on your microclimate, the type of soil in your garden, the type of irrigation you use (drip, overhead, etc.) and more. That said, figuring out how to water your plants...

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Pass When it Comes to Pampas Grass

Ever drive along the roadways of California and notice a huge, fountainy grass with big, feathery, buff-colored plumes?  To the untrained eye, pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)  looks like a statuesque, beautiful grass, but oh!  Beware! Pampas spreads out of control In her wonderful horticultural history, Southern California Gardens, Victoria Padilla...

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How do you spell STRABISMUS?

Now that was strange! When I walked through the garden this morning, it was like walking through a pop-up book.  Everything seemed to be in super 3-d.  The shrubs stood way out against the fence.  The pathway meandered in a way I never saw before.  I wouldn’t have been surprised...

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Fall is for Fig – Pruning

Thanksgiving leftovers are almost eaten, my guests have all gone home, and it rained last night.  It was the first rain of the year.  Granted it was only a tenth of an inch, but to my rain-deprived brain, it sounded like a deluge. The skies have been gray all day,...

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Inspired by Flowers

One of my greatest honors is to have my work inspire others.  When students email me with stories and photos of their water-wise gardens inspired by one of my classes, for example, I am thrilled. Imagine my delight, then, to discover that my book, California Gardener’s Guide vII inspired a...

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The Fabric of Survival

I’ve read dozens of books, visited museums, seen countless exhibits, heard many many stories about the Holocaust. Still, each time I encounter the realities of what the Nazis did to millions of innocent people just like me, a deep pit develops in my gut, along with feelings of anger, horror,...

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Hidden Pleasures

Hidden Pleasures Plants are so amazing…. Last night, my husband and I took an evening stroll and as we stepped out the front door, I was struck by a sweet fragrance.   I couldn’t quite pinpoint its source, and since my husband was already half way up the street, I...

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Festival of Flavors!

What’s the surest way to get the most flavor from vegetables and fruits?  Grow em yourself…..from seed! Starting vegetables from seed was the topic of the talk I gave at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s Festival of Flavors this past Friday. The topic seemed fitting since the...

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Start Your Own Edible Vegetable and Herb Garden from Seeds

When I was speaking at the San Francisco Flower Show a few weeks ago, I  was asked to be on View From the Bay, an afternoon talk/variety show on the ABC TV affiliate in the bay area. I did a segment with correspondent Lisa Quinn (who is a hoot) where...

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The Water is ON

I just turned the water on. Is that a big deal? I’m talking about irrigation water. And YES its a big deal because it has been off since  October. Yes OCTOBER. How did I manage to avoid watering for nearly six months? Easy! I grow low water plants. When I...

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Time to Go Grassless!

Lots of green, no grass in my front garden I finally made front page news today!  The San Diego Union Tribune’s front page story was about people removing their lawns as a water-saving measure.  Reporter Mike Lee quoted me as a local expert: “It’s the beginning of the end of...

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