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Modern Meadows

Imagine a meadow garden — grasses and dainty wildflowers dancing in the breeze, alive with butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Now imagine one in an urban setting, rather than on country acres.

The ‘Dry Tropical’ Terraces of Bankers Hill

Annual holidays at their Mission Bay vacation home convinced Dick and Bobbie Vandervoort to retire here, but the Chicago couple knew they wanted a quieter neighborhood.

Swayed by Swedish Roots

Neighbors of Stina Lake have become accustomed to seeing her in gardening gear, weeding, pruning and even spreading manure around her half-acre property. Her family isn’t surprised to discover her on the roof wresting with an overgrown wisteria or on a sun-baked slope, slip-sliding as she digs a dozen planting holes.

The Water-wise But Colorful Garden

Create a lush garden with these drought-tolerant, easy-to-grow plants. Once established in your garden, they require only a little water.

Drought-Tolerant and Native Plants

If you are converting your yard to be drought tolerant, there are many plants from which to choose. First of all, be aware that there is a difference between drought-tolerant plants and natives. Drought tolerance refers to a measure of how well plants will survive during extended dry periods. Though they may have low water requirements, natives are best defined as those that have adapted to a specific location and have remained genetically unaltered by humans. After becoming established in your landscape, natives usually do not need supplemental water or feeding.

June Garden Planner

June’s fog-cooled days are ideal for enjoying and fine-tuning gardens before summer’s warm-up. Plant colorful summer bloomers and warm-season edibles. Adjust irrigation and add mulch. Guard against prolific pests. As you work, keep a notebook of changes to make during fall planting season. For inspiration, make time to visit San Diego County fair’s display gardens and expert talks.

Ready, Set, Compost

Composting is both an art and a science. But don’t let the science scare you. Composting can be boiled down to a few key steps.

Growing Strawberries

“Any strawberry variety you grow yourself will be better than anything you buy in the store,” says Chuck McGlung of Walter Andersen Nursery. “Strawberries are pretty easy to grow. They do not require tons of water, they are not deep rooted and they grow well in pots.” Here are his tips.

7 Tips for Landscaping Decisions

The water crisis facing California is serious and carries imminent environmental, financial and human impacts. Cash incentives are being used in some areas to get homeowners to voluntarily give up their lawns. The National Association of Landscape Professionals offers the following tips to help you make smart decisions before making any drastic changes to your yard.

Garden Guide - Thriller, Fillers, and Spillers

Make Room For Fragrance

A garden’s appeal is spread across our senses. We’re drawn in by the deep red of a rose; we reach out to touch its velvety petals; and we lean in to intensify our experience of its fragrance. Here’s how to appeal to the sense of smell in your garden.

Mini Garden Makeovers

Do you feel like your garden needs a complete makeover? Well, don’t let it overwhelm you. As with any large project, the best approach is to carve it into smaller, manageable tasks. Here are some ideas.

Thinning Fruit Trees

Nearly all fruit trees will benefit from some thinning. Proper thinning leads to larger, tastier fruit that is less likely to suffer from pests and disease. Here are three easy tips to guide you.

A Guide to Watering

The root zone of every plant requires three things: air, earth and water. Water is essential for the plant’s uptake of soil nutrients. Moisture in the soil also governs how deeply a plant sends its root into the earth, and this in turn is related to its ability to withstand drought. There is more to watering than simply turning on sprinklers. Dwindling resources demand you water efficiently.

Essential Edibles

Here are a few of my favorite essential veggies and herbs to grow. Some are common, some are new, but all are easy to grow. Give one a try this year.

Keeping the Spirit Alive

A Hillcrest home and its gardens share historical connections to Balboa Park, which is celebrating its centennial this year.

A Healthy and Tasty Reward

The sweet satisfaction of eating a salad or pasta made with fresh vegetables that you harvested only hours before in your back yard is something gardeners look forward to year after year. Here are a few of this year’s delectable new varieties of vegetables.

Setting Your Garden’s Tone

“Beneath all the moods and faces of my garden, there is one constant: its tone,” says Fran Sorin, author of Digging Deep. “No matter how bright or dark or stormy or cold it is, my garden has a very specific feeling that defines it: bold.” Here are some tips from Fran’s book in what to place in your garden to achieve a certain tone.

Garden Planner: March

Weather may swing back to rain and frost, but rising temperatures and longer days revive gardens and energize gardeners who plant and prune, fertilize and fine-tune everything from perennial beds to backyard orchards. Nurseries brim with tempting new plants, and opportunities abound to polish gardening skills and find design inspiration. Make time to enjoy the season of rebirth.

Herbs Shine a Light on History

Herbs are adored for food flavoring and their healing properties. Another feature of these little powerhouses is their ability to shine a light on history. In fact, almost every herb has a tale to tell. Here are some of them.
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