Just when the heat and dryness of a Southwestern summer are starting to get to you, fall brings some respite. The plus side of living in such a warm region is that we have a multitude of plants that look good at every time of the year. The following are some of my favorite shrubs with fall interest for our region; these plants offer beautiful flowers, interesting seed heads, or fiery fall foliage. Best of all, these three shrubs are native and perfectly adapted to our climate.

Golden-yellow rabbitbrush next to Russian sage
Golden-yellow rabbitbrush flowers look enchanting next to the purple ones of Russian sage (Salvia yangii syn. Perovskia atriplicifolia, Zones 5–9). Photo: Charles Mann

Rubber rabbitbrush

Ericameria nauseosa subsp. nauseosa var. glabrata, Zones 4–9

Rubber rabbitbrush, also called chamisa, is an excellent fall-blooming plant. This shrub is extremely drought tolerant, with very low water requirements. It’s also hardy up to 8,500

Read More

September 4th, 2022
Posted In: Gardening know how

Drought tolerant plants are at the top of the list if you have gaps to fill in your garden.

The record-breaking heat and drought in the UK this summer left our gardens fried and frazzled. And there are predictions that future years will also hold droughts and hotter temperatures.

But however hot or dry the long-term trend is, we can still have unexpectedly wet summers. Last summer there was twice the normal level of rainfall in my area.

So we don’t want to fill our gardens with drought tolerant plants which will struggle or die next time we have a wet summer.

So I’ve checked with some gardens I’ve known for some years, including my own, to see which plants did best in this year’s drought- but also looked good in last year’s unusually rainy summer.

Former garden designer and baking influencer,

Read More

June 16th, 2022
Posted In: Garden trends & design

If you want a pretty garden – on a budget – now is a brilliant time to find inspiration.

The garden design ideas at BBC Gardeners World Live, currently on 16th-19th June 2022 this year are very pretty.

Pretty garden ideas from BBC Gardeners World Live

There’s a theme of sustainability, recycling and wildlife friendly running through this year’s BBC Gardeners World Live, 16th-19th June. Sustainability and recycling saves you money too. The top garden is ‘Old is Gold’ designed by the Gordius Team and the picture below is the ‘Metamorphosis Garden’ designed by Rachel Pratt and Mike Baldwin.

Recycling saves you money – you don’t have to go out buy things. See what you’ve got that you don’t use, and how it can be used in the garden.

It’s sustainable because your old things – or someone else’s old things – aren’t being thrown away in landfill.


Read More

Tomatoes are an exciting choice when planning a garden. They’ll gladly drink your beer and even enjoy Epsom salts on occasion. Most people love to add them to their gardens because they’re relatively fast and easy to grow.

But, several pests will attack tomato plants if the opportunity arises. One of these is the infamous spider mite.

spider mite on tomato plantsPin

Spider Mites On Tomato Plants

Chances are if you see webs on your tomatoes, it’s not a spider but a fellow arachnid known as the spider mite.

These tiny pests can do a lot of damage to your tomato crop, but they’re not impossible to eliminate.

The Nasty Truth About Spider Mites

The two-spotted spider mite (Phytoseiulus persimilis) is the species most people talk about, but it’s not the only one that will target tomato plants.

There are approximately 12,000 species of spider mites, all in the family of Tetranychidae

Read More

Southern California seems to be one of those areas that’s feeling the impact of drought more critically than many other parts of the country. Yet as autumn begins, there is still the need for traditional harvesting, planting, and garden cleanup. But more than that, the coming winter months will determine next year’s water supply, the threat of wildfires, and our air quality. That makes this the time of year to prepare our gardens for the next 12 months. Maybe we will be fortunate enough to experience a rainy winter to relieve our gardens after so little precipitation. Or maybe the drought will continue. No one knows for sure. But it’s best to prepare for anything!

The autumn is becoming a more reliable time to plant than the springtime now that early scorching days in spring can fry vulnerable new growth. So here are some of the projects that can be

Read More