Category Archives: Uncategorized

Terrifying Landscapes

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hal-7I must have been bitten by a Ghoul or perhaps a Goblin because I’ve had Halloween on my mind for the last week. Not that we go trick or treating — my kids are grown and I haven’t carved a pumpkin in years. but there is still something fun and even endearing about this celebration of All Hallows’ Eve.

So, to exorcise this haunting obsession, here are some interesting and even terrifying takes on how one might celebrate this haunted holiday…

Trick or Treat

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hal-12Have A Frightful Halloween!

Backyard Magic – Creating Cozy Comfort

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Project Objective

The objective of this landscape design project was to take a small, unattractive 50s backyard and make it more attractive and functional. This included updating it to the 21st century with a living area, dining area and barbecue, but also using scale and imagination to make it appear larger than it actually is.

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Work Done

We began expanding the existing space by altering the shape of the low brick wall to provide more space and to raise it to chair height, providing additional seating. Old trees and unattractive shrubs were removed and replaced with plant material that reflected the color scheme (selected to accent the gray house) of white, green and burgundy.

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The water feature was enlarged with more stone to give a more natural look and enhanced with a larger pump to increase its water flow. The plants surrounding it were replaced with ones that helped focus the eye and make it appear natural to the site.

A retaining wall was installed to account for difference in elevation between the neighbors’ property and my client’s and the dilapidated wooden fence was replaced with tongue and grove fencing, painted to match the house.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Theodore Payne Foundation – California Native Plant Sale

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TheodorePayneFoundationAs a follow up to my previous blog/newsletter of California Native Plants, I just received this notification and I though anyone interested either in knowing more about them,  or perhaps purchasing some, might be interested.

Theodore Payne Foundation
for Wild Flowers and Native Plants, Inc.
10459 Tuxford Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352
818-768-1802, theodorepayne.org

FALL PLANT SALE
NATIVE NEWS

Dear Friend of TPF: Our 2014 Fall Plant Sale is just around the corner! It’s our biggest sale of the year, offering the region’s largest and most interesting selection of California native plants, seed and bulbs — with expert advice from TPF staff and volunteers.

Member Days: Friday-Saturday, October 10-11, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Members 15% plants, seed and bulbs
Not yet a member? Join at the door!
Discounts to All: Friday-Saturday, October 17-18, 8:30.a.m.-4:30.p.m.
Members 15% off plants, seed and bulbs
Non-members 10% off plants, seed and bulbs

Reduced hours through October 20.
Open Thursday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Closed Sunday-Wednesday)

FALL PLANT SALE
Save on plants, seed and bulbs!
MEMBER DAYS: Friday & Saturday, October 10-11, 8:30-4:30
Not yet a member? Join at the door!
DISCOUNTS TO ALL: Friday & Saturday, October 17-18, 8:30-4:30

IN THE NURSERY
Native Plants for Every Corner of the Garden

More than 600 different species and cultivars will be available on sale days, including these: Asclepias fascicularis (for monarch butterflies); Carpenteria californica; Fremontodendron (many varieties); Dudleya (more than 10 choices!); Eriogonum crocatum; Eriogonum ovalifolium; Iris (more than 20 choices!); Eriogonum ‘Shasta Sulfur’; Mammillaria dioica ; Arctostaphylos ‘Bart’s Beauty’; Arctostayphos hookeri ssp. franciscana; Artemisia ‘Montara’; Artemisia ‘Canyon Grey; Calystegia ‘Anacapa Pink’; Ceanothus leucodermis; Clinopodium douglasii; Cercis occidentalis; Malacothamnus ‘Casitas’; Opuntia basilaris; Romneya coulteri; plus a large selection of Mimulus, Salvia, Penstemon, Epilobium and Heuchera.

Expert advice will be available from TPF staff and volunteers.

All four sale days: TPF members receive 15% off plants
Friday & Saturday, October 17-18 ONLY: Non-members 10% off plants

Before you shop, check our online nursery inventory, updated every Thursday. It lists the plants by botanical and common name, with sizes and prices for each. For information on individual plants, see our online Native Plant Database.

IN THE STORE
Seed

TPF offers more than 200 species of native plant seed — all discounted during our fall sale!

Ready for sowing now: cool-season grasses and colorful wild flowers for all areas of the garden.

For glorious spring color, try Theodore Payne’s original Rainbow Mix.
For dry shade (works well under oaks), sow our Shady Mix.
For border fronts, use our Low-Growing Mix.
For tough soils, try the Roadside Mix.
For ornamental grasses, plant TPF’s Cool-Season Grass MIx.

Seed advice will be available during the sale. And don’t forget to pick up your horticultural sand — it helps to spread seed evenly and help protect seed from hungry birds!

All four sale days: TPF members receive 15% off seed
Friday & Saturday, October 17-18 ONLY: Non-members 10% off seed

Bulbs
In early autumn, our store shelves showcase dozens of California native bulbs, including common and rare species and cultivars, many propagated here at TPF. In the right spots, these native treasures will naturalize in your garden and return year after year. They also grow well in containers. Shop early for best selection.

NEW this year: Colorful bulb mixes — in limited quantities.
Bulb advice will be available during the sale.

All four sale days: TPF members receive 15% off bulbs
Friday & Saturday, October 17-18 ONLY: Non-members 10% off bulbs.

California Native Plants: Beautiful – Fragrant – Drought Tolerant

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sept-1I have written a number of blogs and newsletters concerning California’s drought, sustainable landscape design and the use of drought tolerant plants, the ways one can save water and save money, as well as how to help protect your property against wildfires.

All of this material has now been collected, including available down-loadable PDFs, on my website page, Sustainable Green Landscape Design, which I encourage you to check out and download. However … I’ve never looked specifically at California Native Plants and what a wonderful natural resource they are, particularly as our current drought looks like it’s becoming a permanent reality.

logoThe Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flower and Native Plants, located in Sun Valley, is dedicated to preserving, propagating and promoting California native plants, seeds and wild flowers – native treasures that conserve water and other resources, provide habitat for wildlife, and add color and fragrance to the garden.

The Foundation operates a year-round, retail nursery – should you decided to go native – offering the region’s largest and most interesting selection of California native plants – hundreds of different species and cultivars, many of which are drought tolerant and low maintenance. Their Education Center and Outreach programs offer classes and field trips for adults and children. You can easily spend a day there learning what California natives has to offer.

What follows are some pertinent thoughts and ideas I’ve selected from the Foundation’s California Native Plant Database.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Add A Stream To Your Drought-Tolerant Landscape

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House-w_streamThe New Normal

As California’s drought continues with no end in sight, I have had a substantial increase in client interest in turning front and back yards into drought-tolerant or Xeriscape landscapes.

The reason for this is obvious; it saves an enormous amount of water since grass can easily consume over half a gallon of water per square foot every time you water. To put that into perspective, a 100′ x 100′ lawn uses 6,230 gallons of water every time your sprinkler heads pup up. In addition to saving water and saving the cost of all of that water, it saves substantially on the amount of time and energy needed to maintain the landscape – no grass to cut and most native and drought-tolerant plants require little or no maintenance.

But What Will It Look Like?

This is the question every client asks after they acknowledge the importance of saving water. My answer is to tell them that drought-tolerant, Xeriscape landscaping has been done for centuries all along the Mediterranean, although it wasn’t called that; it was just the way folks created gardens when there was very little available water. And the gardens of the Costa Del Sol, the South of France, the Italian Riviera, and the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and Greece are filled with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the in the world and with nary a blade of grass in sight.

Add A Stream – Wet or Dry

There are a number of ways to turn a grassy front and/or back yard into a stunning drought-tolerant garden. Any well-designed landscape takes into the consideration the confirmation of the property and the architecture of the structure. It’s not just about ripping out the grass and sticking plants in the ground.

If you have the space and a little elevation, a stream can be created that can turn a boring piece of property into a stunning garden.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Tips to Help Trees Survive Drought

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Our California drought is not going away. In fact, given the current weather and worsening drought conditions, this fall will probably be the worst forest fire season in the state’s history. In addition, the state and local communities are significatly increasing regulations regarding the use of water for lawns and have added substantial fines for its misuse.

I came across this info graphic on ways to help your trees survive the drought. Even if you allow your grass to die or decided to replace it with drought-tollernat and native plants, your trees are not only a significant investment in money and time, they add substantial value of your property and provide a number of environmental contributions.  Providing the correct amount of water and right nutrients can help trees and plants survive through severe droughts. If you would like to print this out and keep it handy to refer to, please Click Here

Prepared by the California Urban Forests Council and Invest from the Ground Up to help landscapers and property owners help trees not only survive a drought, but thrive in one. 

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Additional Information

For more information on sustainable landscape design, water management and plant selection, here are links to articles I’ve written on the subject :

Birmingham Largest Green Wall in U.S. Airport

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When I saw this article in the blog,  Total Landscape Care, I thought, “What a brilliant way to greet passengers coming off a claustrophobic  flight.”

Birmingham Airport Garden-Wall
Birmingham Airport Garden Wall

While I love to travel, I, as I am sure most of you who don’t fly First Class, have come to dread the prospect of getting from here to there shoe-horned into those sardine cans in the sky. And when you do get to where you’re going and join the rest of your cabin mates pouring into the terminal, you’re most often greeted by a noisy, advertising-filled environment you can’t wait to get out of.

I am a great advocate of green walls whether you want to cover a boring piece of concrete or make a statement in your entrance hall. Green walls can be constructed in any number of ways, out of a range of materials and can host a diverse selection of plants.

The Blog

Flowers-Green-WallThe first thing travelers see when they get off of a plane at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, might not be welcoming faces. Instead, they will be greeted with the largest green wall in a U.S. airport.

The 1,400-square-foot living wall, called “Earth, Wind and Water: The Landscape of Alabama,” features 8,000 plants belonging to 60 species indigenous to the state, according to AL.com.

Living-WallDuring the past few years, the airport has undergone several renovations, and the wall goes toward the $201.6 million terminal modernization project. The green wall ties together themes from four regions in Alabama, showing plant life from the North Alabama uplands through the state’s river valleys and farmland to the coast, according to the site.

A few inches thick, the wall is covered with a layer of recycled fabric and an auto-irrigation system. Some of the species include orchids and insect-eating plants.

They also added hybrid pineapples, which will be harvested. The wall will be open to the public this month in Concourse C. 

One Of My Walls

Recently installed, this green wall was designed for full sun and uses a range of drought-tollerent plants. It serves as the visual backdrop for a fountain and  sculpture, helping to focus the eye in what is a large and very bright terrace.

Garden of Eva-2
Los Angeles Office of Homeland Security

 

SWIMMING POOLS – Ready To Take The Plunge?

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leanderWith summer now in full force, I thought this might be the ideal time to bring up the subject of swimming pools. Of course, this being Southern California a majority of my clients already have pools, but for those of you who don’t and are considering putting in an in-ground pool (above-ground pools I’ll leave to the vendors), here are some things to consider.

malibuMake A Plan

Adding an in-ground pool is not only a major expenditure, it’s time consuming and will disrupt you, your yard and your life. It is a permanent feature of your home and will be an important consideration should you ever decide to sell. So if you’re serious about taking it on, the first step is to review the following and make a plan:

  • Choosing The Site: take into consideration it’s orientation to your home – exits – decks – windows, the view, the sun, the trees, existing hardscape, accessibility for construction equipment, the type of soil and the slope of the land
  • Create A Budget: create a realistic budget detailing all of your desired features and what you think they might cost
  • Review Building Codes: while the details of your community’s building codes should be left to your contractor, it would be wise to get a general understanding of what the codes cover and how they might impact the construction and cost

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

California’s Extreme Drought, Explained

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California-Drought-ExplainedIf you’re interested in learning how California’s drought is and will impact not only us but our entire country, take a minute and watch this excellent, short  NY Times Video on what has happened, is happening and will continue to happen to this state. You might also consider what you can do to cut back on your water usage or rethink how you’re home is landscaped.

This drought isn’t going away and every one of us needs to consider how we’re going to deal with this as it continues to worsen. In addition to the impact this drought is having on our agricultural production, it has also  made wild and forest fires year-round events.

While there is nothing we can do about the rain there is something we can do about our water consumption.

For more information on sustainable landscape design, water management and plant selection, here are links to articles I’ve written on the subject :

And here are downloadable PDFs on the subject:

Water Conservation Information

Drought Tolerant Plant Selection

Plant Hardiness Zone Maps – Southern California

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USDA_Zone_Map_CA_SOne of the many services the US Department of Agriculture provides are Plant Hardiness Zonal Maps.

These maps include: state, region and country and come in a variety of resolutions from 72 ppi for viewing on a screen to 300 ppi for high quality printing. They also provide interactive maps that can tell you what the plant hardiness is for your particular zip code and audio for the hearing impaired.

Whether you’re just curious to know what plants can live in your neck of the woods or someone who is planning on putting in a vegetable garden or a residential or commercial landscape, this is an invaluable resource that you might want to check out before you start purchasing plants or digging holes in your garden – and don’t forget to  included it in your gardening bookmark file.

Knowledge is power, particularly in plant selection.  Here is where all this valuable information resides: USDA Agricultural Resource Service

“But tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardner.”
    – Thomas Jefferson