Showing posts from February, 2013

'Hot Wings' Tatarian Maple - a Great Small Tree

photo from
HOT WINGS® Tatarian Maple was discovered in Colorado. It appeared as a chance-seedling in the production fields of Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery in 1993. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

This particular tree stood out from all the other Tatarian maples for six weeks every summer with its breath-taking scarlet red samaras that contrasted boldly with the green foliage. It looked like it was in bloom in July. In the spring, clusters of yellow-white flowers covered the tree after the leaves appear. Fall leaf color transformed from orange-red on the outside of the tree to yellow in the middle.

In time, Plant Select® offered to patent it and promote it. It is now readily available in local nurseries.

If you want a small single or multi-stem wide spreading ornamental tree that reaches 18 - 25 feet tall ( with a spread of 20 feet) and offers year round interest, is tolerant of alkaline soils and is cold-hardy then this …

Singing the Praises of the tough but beautiful Little Bluestem

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm
When the American Horticultural Society - - decided to create a large meadow at their headquarters, River Farm, in Virginia the first plant they seeded was Little Bluestem.

 They applied 100 pounds of Bluestem seed. The Latin name is Schizachyrium scoparium or skiz-ah-KEER-ee-um sko-PAR-ee-um.

Why was this the first plant they seeded? Because Little Bluestem is a wonderful, durable, upright,clump forming grass that is eminently suitable for 'meadow making'. taken by Andy Wasowski, and Sally Wasowski

Little Bluestem is native to almost all of the United States and parts of Canada. It is found in  45 of the 50 states, making it the most abundant of all native grasses.

It is drought and flood-tolerant, can grow in light shade and thrives in relatively poor, sharply drained soil. It is found in woodland glades and both upland and lowland prairies.
The most thrilling aspect to me about this plant is the unusual depth of its dense, …

Place yourself in a wonderful beautiful garden...

Swami Radhananda, the director of Yasodhara Ashram in British Columbia, Canada, has sage advice for the overstressed denizens of the 21st century:

“When you desire peace, visualize your favorite place and go there whenever you want.

Place yourself in a wonderful beautiful garden – see your favorite trees, flowers, smell the most beautiful scents, feel the warm air, hear the birds sing.

 It is a very simple practice….

Sitting quietly, constructively using the senses, is one way to relax and to rest to your central nervous system. The mind is absorbed, contained, and focused…”

Swami Radhananda describes the secret of a serenity garden. Within such a place, you can be carried away by the quiet offerings of a glorious natural world.

Your mind relaxes and loosens as you focus on colors, scents, the sunlight, birdsong or the breeze. That nervous energy within you slows down and you breathe in the moment.

The proverbial 'power of now' - sedates you.


SunSparkler™ Sedums - A Great Choice for Sunny Gardens

SunSparkler™ SedumsIf you have a hot, dry garden and want almost 2 months of vibrant color then try Chris Hansen's collection of  brilliantly colored, quick-spreading, ultra-tough and long-lived sedum cultivars  - SunSparklers™.  Zones 4-9.

SunSparkler™ sedums stand up to cold as well as heat, and once established, do not mind poor soil fertility or long periods of drought.

They are great for containers that you often forget to water ( me...).

And there is no better plant for sunny banks, slopes, and rocky garden spots.

These perennials may reach 6 to 8 inches high and spread 18 inches wide within a single season. Butterflies adore the flowers and deer may avoid nibbling the leaves ( it depends). 
Sedum 'Cherry Tart'

'Cherry Tart' has cherry-red, 6" high foliage and 3 season interest.  Deep pink blooms appear in late summer (opening in clusters 5 inches wide) that butterflies love. In mid-fall the red foliage is ablaze in all its glory.

Given good drainage it will n…

Garden of Oz in Los Angeles

Somewhere in Beachwood Canyon in the Hollywood Hills (beneath the Hollywood Sign) in Los Angeles, way up high, is a hidden garden that you may have heard of, once in a lullaby. 

It is a treasure trove of recycled garden art - multi-color mosaics and hand painted tiles mixed with old Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels glued or otherwise embedded in the rockwork.
And add to this a riot of plants and flowers cascading over benches, and fountains. It even contains a pathway paved with yellow bricks.

Aclosed iron gate announces the Garden of Oz.And outside the mailbox reads “Letters to Oz”.

Perhaps a  flying monkey swoops down each day to pick up the mail.

The story goes that Gail, the garden's owner, was an adviser to the Pope back in the day. She created this multi faith garden and gave all the children who live nearby a key to get inside whenever they please. And it's been said that the Dali Llama once sent 15 of his monks to bless the garden which features menorahs, statues, and mandal…

Smaller is More Beautiful…in praise of small gardens

If small is beautiful then....smaller must be more beautiful.
At least that is what I tell myself as I survey my postage stamp of a backyard. I remind myself that some of the sweetest of serene spaces are small gardens, tucked away, out of sight.

My small verdant retreat is where I can place a chair or two, sip a cup of tea, tend to the garden, admire my planters of foliage or even write my blog, ‘pleine aire’, so to speak …

Small gardens call for small plants – although normal size plants look great when first planted, in the years that ensue they may grow to overwhelm the space… To prevent that I have a few suggestions for some hardy, compact and delightful perennial plants.

The following diminutive plants are perfect for small gardens, in containers, along walkways, in rock gardens or as low growing ‘filler’ plants in plant beds.

Sedumis a sun loving, easy to grow succulent. Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' is one of my favorites. It rows about 6 inches high and spreads out among r…

The Most Perfect Vegetable Garden, Ever

This is a post from a few years ago but I had a conversation about this vegie garden with someone last week. And since it is Oscar time again, I thought it would be fun to share this info again -

Last night I saw a wonderful film, 'It's Complicated'. I thought the story and the acting were just great but what really blew my socks off was ...the vegetable garden.   
WOW! If they gave out Oscars for best greensman ( and they should) then, hands-down, this year it should go to Dan Odrejko.

I have to quote Deborah Netburn of the the L.A. Times on this garden because she says exactly how I felt about the vegie garden in 'It's Complicated':

" Its lushness, colorfulness, perkiness ... well, it's almost pornographic. One doesn't know whether to envy it, or to be concerned about anyone that eats from it."

Oh yeah! The last vegetable garden - of a sort -  that made such an impression on me was in Woody Allen's 'Sleeper'.   Remember the celery…