An Alameda Garden: 2015

Monday, November 09, 2015

Books on Sale

There's a great sale going on this week at the bookshop at Quarto (the parent company of my publisher, Cool Springs Press). You can get California Fruit and Vegetable Gardening for $18.39 (down from the regular price of $22.99) and California Month-by-Month Gardening for $19.99 (regular price $24.99). Plus you can enter the promo code VETS15 to save an additional 30%. Plus, there's free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Lots of other books are on sale so it might be a great time to do some early Christmas shopping! (Promo code expires 11/16/2015.)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Talking About Fall Edibles

I had big fun this afternoon at Orchard Nursery in Lafayette picking out edibles for my talk this Saturday morning--like a kid in a candy store! What a great nursery this is! I can't believe I haven't been here before. If you're in the area, please join us on Saturday!

Topic: The Best Edibles for Fall and Winter
When: Saturday, October 17, 10:00 a.m.
Where: Orchard Nursery, 4010 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ohuhu Expandable Garden Hose: Product Review

Who's tired of lugging around heavy rubber hoses to water the garden? I know I am! I've been trying out the Ohuhu expandable garden hose the last few months and you can read my review of it at

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

What to Do in the Garden in October

With any luck, El Nino rains will start kicking in in another month or so, but it's likely we have at least one more month of dry, dry, dry. For October, let's focus on cleaning up and preparing for the hoped-for rainy season as well as beginning the first plantings for next spring.


  • Your soil may be pretty tired after a productive summer. This is a good time to run a soil test to see what, if any, nutrients are lacking.
  • Make sure your garden is ready for whatever amount of rainfall and winter storms El Nino may bring. That means clearing debris, removing dead or damaged branches, and securing or protecting garden furniture and ornaments.
  • Update your garden journal or make notes on your calendar regarding what worked and what didn't work in your summer garden. You'll be glad next year to have these reminders so you can adjust your garden plans and avoid repeating mistakes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cultivating Garden Style

I haven't found many garden design books that I think do a good job of presenting design concepts in a way that non-designers can relate to without taking a cookie-cutter approach that leaves no room for personalization. Rochelle Greayer's book Cultivating Garden Style is different. Check out my book review at

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What to Do in the Garden in September

During the heat waves that often occur in September, my gardening advice is to do as little as possible. Keep the garden as well-watered as you can given our current water restrictions, but other than that, don't risk heat stroke by taking on strenuous gardening tasks while the temperatures remain high. Once the heat wave passes, here's where you can focus your energy this month:


  • As days get shorter, it's a good time to re-evaluate your outdoor lighting, both for safety and for ambiance. You may need to adjust timers or want to install newer, more efficient LED ligthts.
  • It's time to shop for spring-blooming bulbs! Make a plan for how many you're going to add and what types, then shop the fall catalogs or local garden centers for the best price.
  • Map out a system for rotating your fall crops by plant family. For example, plan on planting something from the Brassicaceae family, such as broccoli or kale, where you grew your tomatoes (Solanaceae family), or beets (Amaranthaceae) in the spot where you grew beans (Leguminosae). By rotating plant families, you can break cycles of certain pests that may overwinter or diseases that settle into the soil.
  • There's still time to check with your water utility to see if you qualify for rebates for reducing your lawn.
  • Make a list of the plants you want to transplant from one spot in your garden to another. Once you identify the plants to be moved you can watch for the optimal time to transplant.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gary Bukovnik Watercolor Exhibition at UC Botanical Garden

Vase of Roses
If you can get to the UC Botanical Garden in the next couple weeks, you can enjoy more than the garden's insanely large collection of amazing plants. Starting today and running through September 3rd, the garden is hosting an exhibit of floral watercolors by artist Gary Bukovnik. Bukovnik is a Bay Area artist whose work has been shown in major museums across the country.

If you want to meet the artist himself, you can attend a salon and reception on August 30th ($50/$40 for members; space is limited and you must register in advance. And if you've always wanted to explore watercolor painting, you can enroll in a day-long workshop with Bukovnik at the garden on September 3rd ($200/$175 members). You'll learn the principles of working with watercolors and benefit from the artist's unique perspective on seeing and representing plants in paint.
Spring Fever, Tumbling Composition

For details and to register for the salon or workshop, click here.

Friday, August 21, 2015

How to Choose and Site a Garden Bench

Have a seat! We're going to talk about one of my favorite elements in a garden--benches. Ever since I started going on garden tours and to garden shows, I've become a little obsessed with benches in the garden. They are an inviting way to add structure and style to your garden, as well as a way of establishing or augmenting a focal point.

Choosing a Bench

There is a seemingly endless range of styles for garden benches, from formal or traditional to funky and eccentric, as well as a wide array of materials. Before you try to select a bench, you should consider what role you want it to play in your garden. If your garden has a woodland style, you may want a bench that will blend with that setting, such as natural wood or faux bois concrete. In a traditional garden, a classically styled bench of wood or wrought iron will suit. Got a Bohemian garden? Then you can really push the boundaries and select a bench with color and flair.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Newsletter Launched!

I feel like celebrating a little! This week I finally launched the first issue of my email newsletter, "Time in the Garden." This is a project I've been wanting to start for a long time and it felt great to finally get it out there. If you haven't subscribed, you're missing out on one simple email a month that will remind you what gardening tasks you should be taking care of that month, as well as offer news, reviews, and recipes to help you make the most of your precious garden time. Click here to subscribe!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cook This: Yellow and White Summer Succotash

I never even knew that I liked succotash until I had it at the Homestead Restaurant in Oakland about a year ago. Prior to that, the turnoff for me was that succotash was made with lima beans, one of the few beans I've never taken a liking to. But Homestead made a delicious fresh succotash with white beans instead of lima beans and served it with a poached egg on top and a side of fried sourdough bread. Yummy!

So with all the great summer corn available (alas! not from my garden, which is too small to grow corn), it seems like a good time to take Homestead's version of succotash and give it a little bit of my own twist. I did that by making it a strictly yellow and white dish--white corn, yellow onion, white beans, yellow bell pepper, and of course a sunny poached egg on top. I kept the seasoning extremely simple (just salt and pepper) so the fresh corn taste doesn't get overwhelmed, but if you want it more seasoned you could add some thyme. Couldn't be easier and it makes a nice light summer meal for brunch or dinner.

Yellow and White Summer  Succotash

2 ears white corn (about 1 1/2 cups)
Olive oil
1/2  yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1 yellow squash (such as 'Yellow Eight Ball'), diced
White wine
1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
4 eggs (1 egg per serving), poached (see Note)

Using a sharp knife and standing the ear of corn on its end, slice the corn kernels off of the cobs. Set aside.

Heat a large fry pan on medium heat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute the onion until translucent, stirring as needed to avoid burning. Add bell pepper and cook a minute or two before adding the squash. Add a splash of white wine and cover the pan for a couple minutes to steam. Add the corn. Cook another minute or two and then add the beans. Cook just until the beans are heated through and add salt and pepper to taste. Plate the succotash and top each serving with a poached egg and another dash of salt and pepper. Serve with warm or toasted bread on the side. Serves 4 generously.

Note: To poach an egg, bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a depth of about 3 inches to a simmer (so that you can see steam rising and tiny bubbles on the sides of the pan). Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. (You can poach an egg without vinegar, but the vinegar helps the egg white to set and hold together, which makes for a much better poached egg.) Crack and ease a raw egg into the simmering water. Gently nudge the egg around in the water a bit but be careful not to break the yolk. The timing depends entirely on how cooked you like your eggs, but 2 1/2 to 3 minutes in the water will give you an egg with the whites cooked through and the yolk still runny, which I think is just right. Scoop the egg out carefully with a slotted spoon, allowing as much water as possible to run off, then turn the egg out to drain onto a paper towel folded in quarters. Carefully turn the egg over onto the plated succotash.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Tale of 7 Mulches: How to Choose the Right One for Your Garden

If there is one business to be in during this stubborn drought, it might be the mulch business. Mulching your garden provides so many benefits, not the least of which are minimizing evaporation and suppressing water-stealing weeds, both important objectives in a drought. But there are many materials, both organic and non-organic, that you can use as as mulch. How do you choose? Following are the pros and cons of some of the best and/or most popular options.

1. Bark or Wood Chips

Among the most commonly used mulches, bark and wood chips are easily available in bags from garden centers but can also be obtained (sometimes for free) from tree services. Wood chips can be slow to deteriorate, but they can temporarily bind up nitrogen in the soil as they do, which robs nearby plants of needed nutrition. Bark chips can also be toxic to plants if they are too fresh. You can also buy bags of colored wood chip mulches (generally red, brown, and black).

Monday, August 10, 2015

What to Do in the Garden in August


  • To get ready for the planting to be done in the fall, clean up your potting area and organize your tools, pots, and seeds.
  • Fall catalogs from nurseries are probably starting to arrive in your mailbox. Take some time to peruse them and order spring-blooming bulbs and other plants you want to add to your garden.
  • Are you ready for the final major harvests of the year? Make sure you're fully stocked on canning/freezing/dehydrating equipment to preserve your crops.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Talking About Vertical Gardening

Interested in finding out how to maximize your gardening space by growing edibles vertically? Come to the meeting of the Alameda Backyard Growers tomorrow night where I'll be talking about ways to get your edibles to grow up. The talk and the meeting are free and I'll be selling copies of my books, California Fruit and Vegetable Gardening and California Month-by-Month Gardening, afterward. Hope to see you there!

"Growing Edibles on the Up and Up:
Vertical Gardening Techniques for Fruits and Vegetables"

Alameda Backyard Growers monthly meeting
Rythmix Cultural Works
2513 Blanding Ave.
Monday, August 10, 2015
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Photo: Heidi Hornberger

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Creating a Pet-Friendly Garden

It's not hard to make your garden a safe and fun place for dogs and cats, but it does take a little planning, and maybe some training.

You may want to create an enclosed area so that your pet is limited to one part of your garden and is safe from predators. Make sure that it includes a shaded area so that he has a place to retreat to when the sun is too intense. Make sure as well that there is fresh water always available and that it can't be knocked over.

Know which plants in your garden are toxic. Most animals seem to know what plants are poisonous and when they do eat the wrong thing, they usually spit it back up in pretty short order. But if you know what plants are toxic, you can take steps to keep your pets away.

There's a greater chance that your pet could be poisoned by fertilizers  and soil amendments than by toxic plants, so keep all containers of pesticides and fertilizers safely out of your pets' reach. Don't assume that even organic products are safe. Amendments like bone meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, and cocoa bean hulls used as mulch can smell very appealing but can make an animal very sick.

Use the carrot-and-stick approach in selecting plant materials. Use tall or thorny plants as barriers to keep animals out of certain areas and plants with appealing scents to lure them toward the areas that are pet-friendly. Cats dislike citrus scents but love catnip, catmint, and cat thyme. Dogs may be turned off by natural repellents like citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) or some scented geraniums like Pelargonium 'Citronella'.

Keep other animals safe from your pets. Adding a bell to your cat's collar can make it harder for him to attack songbirds. It may also be necessary to keep pet chickens in a separate part of the garden or install a barrier to a pond containing fish.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Cat Grasses and Other Kitty Treats: You Can Grow That!

Cats (and some dogs) love to nibble at grass, but you may not want to encourage them to chew on the lawn, particularly if the lawn's been treated with non-organic amendments or pesticides. Planting a pot of grasses especially for your pets will encourage them to leave other plants alone (particularly housecats that sometimes nibble out of boredom). You can sow seeds of just about any annual cereal grass but many seed companies sell packets of grass mixes especially for cats. These combinations of rye, oats, barley, and wheat are very appealing to cats, especially when you fertilize them with a shot of fish emulsion.

Growing Annual Grasses

Choose a wide, shallow pot, such as a bulb pot, to sow the seeds in. Fill it up to about an inch from the top with potting soil, then sprinkle the grass seeds over the top. Aim to space the seeds about 1/4 inch apart. Sprinkle about 1/2 inch of potting mix over the seeds and press to get good contact between the soil and seeds. Water well and place where it will get at least a half-day of sun. Keep evenly moist and seeds should germinate within a week. Wait until the grass is a couple inches high before giving it to your cats to nibble. Water regularly and feed with a fish emulsion solution every couple of weeks. If you plant a container every 4 to 6 weeks, you'll have a steady crop of grass to keep your cats happy.

Growing Catmint and Catnip

While cat grasses are fast-growing and tasty (if you're a cat), they are annuals, which means you need to re-sow seeds in order to keep them continuously growing. Catmint (Nepeta mussinii) and catnip (Nepeta cataria) are herbaceous perennials, meaning that they will die back to the roots in the winter, but re-sprout from the same root system in the spring. They also both contain the organic compound called nepetalactone, which is known to attract felines. In other words, catmint and catnip are recreational drugs for cats.

Linus, the undergardener, looking for catnip
Catmint and catnip need full sun. Sow seeds in the spring or plant container-grown plants in the spring or fall. They will  grow into mounded plants between 12 and 18 inches high. Catmint in particular makes a nice groundcover. Both plants will develop flower spikes (catmint flowers are lavender and catnip can be white/pink/lavender). When the flowers fade, just cut them back and the plant will be rebloom. Although they tend to be hardy plants that will grow in almost any soil, they do best when fed every couple weeks with a weak organic fertilizer. With regular feeding they'll be better able to withstand the constant nibbling that they will have to endure.


There are several companies that offer seed mixes for cat grasses as well as catmint or catnip seeds. My favorites include Renee's Garden Seeds, Burpee, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, and Botanical Interests. You can also use pre-seeded disks, available from Botanical Interests, which are more expensive, but easy to use and result in more even sprouting.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Collapsible Rain Barrels: Maybe the Best Idea Ever!

I just found this listing on Groupon for a collapsible rain barrel. I've been slow to embrace the idea of installing a rain barrel in my garden simply because I knew that even in a non-drought year it would sit empty, taking up room in my garden or in the driveway for most if not all of the summer. But given how severe the drought has been, I've finally started shopping around for one.

But this collapsible rain barrel has caught my eye. I love the idea that I could easily take it down during the winter (assuming we get rain again during the winter), and only put it up in the summer when rain is in the forecast. Then after it's empty again, poof! I can fold it up and put it away until it's needed the next time.

The question is, is it durable? Has anyone tried one of these yet? For the price, even the steeply discounted Groupon price, I would want it to last at least a few years. Please leave a comment if you have any experience with these!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

How to Grow Epiphytes (aka Air Plants)

Orchids and staghorn ferns are two kinds of epiphytes.
One trend in houseplants that comes around every so often is a resurgence of interest in epiphytes. Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants, but they aren't parasites. In their natural habitats they take moisture and nutrition from the air and the rain without robbing the plants they dwell on of any nutrients. For that reason epiphytes are often called "air plants." You'll often see epiphytes attached to driftwood or shells, or even hung directly on a wall. They can live perfectly happily outdoors under the right conditions, but their soilless state and ability to grow on just about anything make them a natural choice for a houseplant. Common epiphytes include some types of orchids, bromeliads, anthuriums, philodendrons, staghorn ferns, and Spanish moss.

Epiphytic orchid growing
on a piece of tree branch
But don't let the term "air plant" mislead you. Epiphytes can't survive in your home on just air. Once or twice a week you should submerge your epiphytes in room temperature water for up to three or four hours. You can use municipal tap water on them, but they'll appreciate rain water, bottled water, or well water even more and will likely bloom more quickly with it. For extra nutrition, you can mix a half-strength dose of orchid food into the bathwater once a month.

The proper lighting is important too. Situate them in bright, indirect light, just like they'd find if they were perched high into a dense canopy of a tree. Direct sunlight could dry them out too much.

Dry air can also be a problem, so during the summer months if your home is either very hot or very air-conditioned, you should give your epiphytes a spritz of water every couple days in between soakings.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

How to Repot a Citrus Tree

Do you have a potted citrus tree that's been in the container for three years or more? It's time to repot it! You'll find your tree will be completely reinvigorated when you repot it and move it up to a slightly larger container--if you do it right. For years the conventional wisdom has been to prune the roots when you repot a container-grown tree, but I just came across this video from the folks at who, following the advice of the citrus experts at Four Winds Growers, now advise that you skip the root-pruning. They tell you exactly how to repot a citrus tree, what kind of soil mix to use, and how to feed it. Check it out.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Reminder: Water-Wise Gardening Talk at Mill Valley Public Library

Just a reminder that I'll be at the Mill Valley Public Library tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. to talk about water-wise gardening. I'll be discussing the new water restrictions, tips and techniques for watering your garden as effectively and efficiently as possible, and most importantly, exactly what sort of rain dance we're supposed to do to ensure that El Niño comes to our rescue. I'll also have copies of my books for sale following the talk. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 25, 11:00 a.m.
Mill Valley Public Library
Creekside Room
375 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Picture This: Pond Reflections

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

4 Things About Weed-Trimmers I Learned the Hard Way

One of my most-needed garden tools is also my most-hated garden tool: the weed-trimmer (or as I affectionately refer to it, the %*#&$! weed-trimmer. I depend on it to keep down weeds in the many cracks in my driveway and patio as well as the odd nooks and crannies that I haven't yet filled with plants. I depend on it, yet I've often found the tool to be gutless, awkward, and an ergonomic nightmare.

I bought my first weed-trimmer used, a cordless model by Troy-Bilt if I remember correctly, from the same couple I bought my house from. I don't remember what I paid for it, but whatever it was, it was too much. The thing was heavy and had a battery life that could be measured in sneezes--not nearly enough to get through the weed-trimming chores on even my small urban lot. When the battery ultimately gave up the ghost and could no longer be recharged, and I discovered that the cost of a new battery was roughly the same, or in some cases more than, a completely new weed-trimmer, I moved on to another models, first cordless and then finally corded, each one with its own set of disappointments and frustrations. (I've never tried a gas trimmer, however, so my comments here will not address their pros and cons.) Along the way, however, I learned a few things I wish I'd known from the get-go.

Size Matters--As Do Shape and Weight

Having purchased a couple of weed-trimmers online, I learned the hard way that it's a good idea to actually go to a store where you can see and preferably hold the tool to get a better sense of the size. There is typically an adjustable shaft that you can set to a length that will hopefully work for you, but if you're rather short or particularly tall, some models will have you either stooping to reach the weeds if the trimmer's too short for you or holding your arms at an odd angle if the trimmer's too long. Taller people tend to prefer models with a straight shaft; shorter people generally do better with a curved-shaft trimmer. You should also consider the weight. Because of the angle you need to hold a weed-trimmer at, even the lightest models can start to feel heavy sooner than you might expect. Make sure you're going to be able to handle it for the length of time you'll need to get through your clean-up.

Feeding Matters Too

Check out how the string feeds out from the spool. Some feed automatically, others you have to bump against the ground to feed out more string. That bumping thing gets old real fast, so look for something that feeds automatically. I also found that I prefer dual-feed trimmers--that is, ones that feed out two lines from one spool simultaneously. They just seem to cut more efficiently.

Cordless Is Not Necessarily as Convenient as You Might Think

When I first started using a weed-trimmer I assumed that the cordless models would just naturally be more convenient than dragging a long electrical cord around behind me. But the weight difference between cordless, which can run upwards of about 8 lbs., and corded, which generally weigh between 5 and 7 lbs., can easily cancel out the benefits of the cordless models' go-anywhere range. Those extra few pounds can matter greatly when you have a lot of trimming to do and you have to take breaks because your arms and back are getting tired. Ditto when you have to take breaks to recharge the battery on the cordless model--especially since the breaks will need to be several hours or even a day long for a full recharge. I found that with a 50- or 100-ft. long heavy-duty extension cord, a corded trimmer was more convenient for me because it was lighter-weight and could run as long as I needed, making my most-hated garden chore quicker to get through.

Price Does Not Always Reflect Quality

This was the biggest surprise for me. When a heavier-duty, higher-priced cordless model I'd been using and cussing at on a regular basis finally bit the dust in the middle of cleaning up my driveway, I got mad and stormed over to Home Depot, where I purchased the least expensive model they had--a corded 4-amp trimmer by Homelite. It is smaller, and therefore more comfortable for someone of my height (5'4"). It weighs in at about 5 lbs., so I can generally get through what I need to do without inciting a backache. It has an automatic, dual-feed line that rarely sticks like some of my other trimmers did. All in all, it has been more dependable and easier to use than any other model I've tried. The cost: just $30!

(It should go without saying that it's important to follow all the manufacturer's safety recommendations when using any string-trimmer, not the least of which is to wear fully closed shoes and safety glasses.)

I still hate using a weed-trimmer but finding a model with fewer annoying issues helps me hate it a bit less. There are certainly other considerations to investigate when choosing a weed-trimmer but these are the issues I particularly wish I'd known about up front. I could have saved myself a lot of swearing over the years.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Picture This: Facetime in the Garden

Photo taken on GWA Symposium garden tour, Indianapolis, 2011

Monday, July 20, 2015

From Edible Gardening to Cuisine Gardening

If you're ready to take your vegetable garden to the next level, consider planting an array of vegetables, fruits, and herbs from one particular cuisine. By having the specialty items favored in the dishes of certain cultures readily available to you in your own edible garden, you'll open up so many more possibilities for your home cooking.

Pick any cuisine you love. Mexican? You can plant avocados, jicama, chili peppers, cilantro. Italian? Tomatoes, of course, and eggplant, zucchini, garlic, basil, fennel. How about North African cuisine? Apricots, lentils, olives, ginger, peppermint, even saffron.

Some of the cuisines that require more specialized ingredients come from the Southeast Asian countries. And to simplify things for you, Steve Asbell has put together a tremendously helpful post on his blog, The Rainforest Garden, that outlines more than 30 vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices that are commonly used in Thai cooking and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Want to know how to grow turmeric, arrowroot, or yard-long beans? He's got you covered. And what's more, many of these plants are beautiful as well as flavorful, so they can be tucked in among your ornamental plants.

Gardening by cuisine gives you a palette of ingredients to cook with, which makes preparing some of those complicated foreign dishes more accessible and saves you from the trip to the international food aisle of the grocery store to pick up this or that special item. All it takes is planting a bit of the world in your backyard.

Illustration: Steve Asbell

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Are You Following Me?

I've been doing some virtual housekeeping (so much less strenuous than the real kind of housekeeping) and making an effort to organize my social media life. You're going to see a lot more activity on this blog than you have in a long time, starting next week. And not just on this blog, but on the other social media channels I participate in. So if you don't want to miss anything, make sure you're following me.

For starters, you can subscribe to this blog to have new posts delivered to your email inbox or through an RSS feed. Just fill out the Follow By Email or Subscribe To boxes in the right-hand column.

And to follow me in other social media, look here:

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Man Behind the Knock Out Roses

Check out this article in the Washington Post about Will Radler, the amateur rose breeder who developed the Knock Out line of roses. I don't think it's fair to fault the Knock Outs because they don't fave a fragrance (with the exception of the yellow Sunny Knock Out rose). There are plenty of worthwhile flowers that don't have a fragrance, although I admit not many unscented flowers are allowed in my garden.If you ask me, Knock Out roses, with their disease resistance (except for rose rosette disease) and no-deadheading, have earned their popularity.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Talking About Water-Wise Gardening...

I had a great time visiting the A.K. Smiley Library in Redlands on Monday night to talk about the very hot topic of water-wise gardening. I'll next be crossing the bay to talk about it at the Mill Valley Public Library on Saturday, July 25th at 11:00 a.m. Do you have any questions about low-water gardening and coping with the new water restrictions? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Upcoming Garden Talks in Southern California

Hey, SoCal folks! I'm hitting the road and coming south to do two garden talks next week at libraries in Redlands and Moreno Valley. Here are the details:

Monday, July 13th, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Water-Wise Gardening 2.0

As California’s drought drags on, we’re now living under new, much more challenging water restrictions. Come and learn how you can meet the challenges presented by those new restrictions and still keep your garden going. We'll discuss watering techniques, drought-tolerant plants and hydrozoning, lawn alternatives, and more. 
125 W. Vine Street
(909) 798-7565

Tuesday, July 14th, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
California Month-by-Month Gardening

Learn how to plan, plant, care for, water, fertilize and troubleshoot your garden every month of the year.
25480 Alessandro Blvd.
Moreno Valley
(951) 413-3880

The talks are free and I'll have books for sale at the end of each talk.
Hope to see you there!

Photo credit: M Kasahara

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Sign Up for "Time in the Garden"

I have long wanted to start a monthly newsletter about gardening but somehow or another, it kept getting moved to the bottom of my to-do list. But no more. This is the month that I'll be launching my newsletter, "Time in the Garden with Claire Splan"! Here's what you'll get if you subscribe:

  • A monthly to-do list for your California garden
  • Tips on saving time on gardening tasks
  • Links to helpful reviews of new gardening products and books
  • Recipes for your home-grown fruits and veggies
  • News and ideas to try out in your own garden
It's free, of course! And no spam, ever--I promise! Click here to sign up.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

California Month-by-Month Gardening Wins Award!

Great news to share! California Month-by-Month Gardening has received a Silver Award in the Garden Writers Association Media Awards Program! Judges said "If I lived in California I'd want this book. I'm not generally a fan of month by month guides, but this one has tons of great information and very useful, and clear, photography" and "Friendly tone. Consistent and easy-to-follow sections." Have you ordered your copy yet?

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