You don’t blog much

September 26, 2011

Hello fellow gardeners! I’m glad you reached out and found me here. Even though I’ve retired from the newspaper community, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped communicating. You can join me these ways:

Sign up for my daily dose of garden news at Dirt du jour…where I deliver a wee bit of something gardening in your email inbox on weekdays.

Shop gardening at Dirt Couture where you’ll find finely crafted and curated home and garden supplies made in the good ‘ol USA.

I am also available (finally!) for garden consultations. Not sure how to handle a certain space in your landscape? Need advice about your vegetable garden? Want a simple and inexpensive design or a solid start on raised beds? Call me toll-free at 888-752-2557. Serving Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

Buttons as mulch

May 19, 2011

Why not when you think about it?

Adding a dash of color and pairing perfectly with smaller succulents, buttons make a wonderful and water-friendly mulch for potted arrangements. And you could go on and on with color/plant combinations.

Cedar deer fence

April 21, 2011

Every once in a while you come across a completely pretty deer fence that not only does not obstruct the view, it actually adds to it.

This one by landscape designer Lisa Byon featured in House Beautiful magazine.

Garden recipe avocados

April 17, 2011

It gets a bit tricky when it comes time to harvest avocados. The best answer is pick when they are mature. And mature is not the same as ripe.

Since there are so many types of backyard avocados maturity is difficult to determine until you’ve known your own tree for a few years. Avocados do not ripen on the tree. It is only after they are picked that they soften up.

But maturity means they are full grown for the type of avocado you are growing. You will want them to give them plenty of time to develop their full oil content before picking. This can be 6 to 8 months after the bloom period if you garden by the calendar.

In general, a mature avocado will be dull, not bright and shiny. When cut, the seed will have a brown paper coating and will not be fleshy and white

An immature avocado will taste watery when soft, unlike the rich, buttery flavor of an avocado that has developed its full oil content. Sometimes when the largest avocados begin to drop from the tree it indicates that the rest will reach maturity soon.

Since avocados actually reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, use them as a sandwich dressing in place of mayonnaise.

Purdue’s hort department recommends an avocado, cream cheese and pineapple juice blend as a dressing for fruit salads. My favorite: sliced tomatoes and avocados sprinkled with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

And here’s a link for growing your own from seed from, believe it or not, the California Avocado Commission.


Inspired by mustard

Oh yeah, I get it. Not supposed to love wild mustard. Invasive plant, and all. But frankly, when the mustard blooms in early spring I can’t help but love the hillsides in Southern California. The blooms are one of my all-time favorite smells. Mustard, brought here by Spanish Missionaries in the 1800s, was the inspiration […]

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Dan Hinkley update

There are too many reasons to have a garden crush on Dan Hinkley. In the 80s his nursery, Heronswood is where we spent the bulk of our retirement funds on strange and unusual plants. And I am proud to say that two of the plants I bought there are still alive: a lime green pelargonium […]

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Terrarium + african violet = perfect fit

Come to think of it, African violets are perfect for humid terrarium environments. And these, created by Beverly Turner at M & M Nursery are too cute. Morning sun is what African violets like, and a weak feed during the bloom season. But be careful you don’t burn them as a glass terrarium in direct […]

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Tulips when less is more

You’ve heard before: drifts, drifts, drifts. When planting bulbs you’ll get more impact if you plant many of one kind instead of one of this and that. These parrot tulips in orange, pink and yellow look fantastic because there is an of eye-full. And they especially stand out against the all green lawn. If you […]

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Proving you can plant a kitchen garden anywhere

In this pretty potager from Cote Maison magazine, kitchen garden edibles and herbs are tucked into an ornamental garden. What’s more, it’s about as raised garden bed as you can get. This kitchen garden doesn’t take up much room either, and gets the best sun in the morning and reflected heat from the stone wall […]

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Tovah Martin blogs about terrariums

Tovah Martin, the gal that wrote the book The New Terrarium is blogging, appropriately for H. Potter the manufacturers of Wardian cases and tabletop terrariums. If you are a little confused about what to do to care your terrarium, vent it, feed it, clean the glass, and (we didn’t even think about this) turn your […]

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