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A trunk full of plants

my trunk is filled with plants for the front yard from Evergreen Nursuery

After much planning I now have all our plants for the front yard! Actually this excludes the raised beds in front of the house where I want to put roses but for the main section we have it. I went Evergreen Nursery, a wholesale nursery that also sells to the public, and I bought the smaller sized plants (that were nearly a 1/4 of the price). At the nursery customers drive around and load their cars with plants and then pay at the exit. It is a bit time consuming to find exactly what you need but worth the price. Personally I really enjoy perusing the aisles looking at plants so the experience was fun.

This time I brought my sunset western gardening book as a handy reference as well and I was glad I was able to have that to make smart decisions.

Here is what I got.
7 pink Muhley Grass
9 red yucca
4 red bottle brus
h “little john”
4 small succulents
5 yellow flowers.

Starting Seeds

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Come on a journey with me starting seeds! You really don’t need much more than a seed packet. You can buy little containers for starting seeds like I did, but you can also make your own out of paper. I have used this tutorial recycling junk mail before.

I bought my seeds at my local Sprouts store when I was shopping. They are organic “Seeds of Change” brand. Place a few seeds in each container and cover with a little dirt.

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Cover the container, using clear plastic to make a little greenhouse and keep them moist.

Wish me luck!

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Indian Hawthorne Plant in bloom

Indian Hawthorn
The Indian Hawthorne plant(Raphiolepis indica) is a workhorse in the garden. These low maintenance bushes are drought tolerant once established and provide a good foundation to other plantings. In southern California many people refer to them as freeway plants because they are so ubiquitous on the sides of roads. Honestly, I walk by these plants all the time and I do not even give them a second look. This week though, I noticed Indian Hawthorne bushes everywhere, because these flowering shrubs have now exploded with little pink and white flowers and they are quite a site to behold.



Succulents at San Diego’s Safari Park

I have written before about how I almost enjoy the plants at the zoo more than the animals. They do such a great job there and I’ve noticed that in certain areas, much of the plant life is drought tolerant and there are some great examples of landscape design to be had. At our visit last week we headed to the Safari park in Escondido. This is quite a bit inland from the zoo and it gets hot during the summer months. Much of the landscaping reflects the different climate zone (I think zone 22, but not certain).

Aloes at the Safari Park in San Diego
Aloes at the Safari Park in San Diego

Safari Park Garden with tram
A planter of aloes in bloom and the tram that takes you on a tour to see the animals roaming on acres of land
Safari Park succulents
Beautiful succulent garden — those sticks really do look on fire
Safari Park succulent garden
Aloes at the Safari Park in San Diego Rock and succulent garden at the Safari Park
pincushion flowers and deer grass
Planter of deer grass and pin cushion flowers

Pink Muhly Grass – Seen at the San Diego Zoo

We have zoo memberships and frequent the San Diego zoo. There is a reason that it is famous as it really is an amazing zoo. The animals and enclosures are well done. The breeding and conservation programs are quite impressive. One thing that I do enjoy about going to the zoo is seeing the plants there. The Zoo has created each section to be representative of what might be seen in nature. As you walk through one area, it feel almost like a rain forest, where other parts feel more like dessert.

One of my favorite places to look at the garden is the elephant exhibit. It has many plants that grow really well in San Diego and when I go there I often take pictures of plants and trees that I like.
On my last visit thw Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) was in full show. The spring boasts flowers from many plants, but this grass is ahoy in the late summer and fall then little puffs of pink are on display. This plant is low maintenance and drought tolerant.

Height: 3 ft. tall
Spread: 3 ft. to 5 feet apart
Sun: Likes full sun but will tolerate part shade

Rare Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

By chance I happened to be at the San Diego Zoo on a 3rd Friday at 10:30am, walking toward the elephant area. I noticed that the sign said open (not pictured). So I strolled behind the buildings into a rather small room (large greenhouse, but small for the zoo). There were two volunteers and dozens of rare orchids. It was a delightful treat to see the different varieties.









Halloween Decor – How to turn a planter into a pumpkin

Halloween Planter
I previously blogged about this funky planter a few months ago after I scored it from Target. At that time I was thinking summer thoughts and not of Halloween decor.

While I like to get the house decorated for holidays, I can’t bring myself to spend a lot of cash doing it. This results in expressed creativity, but often only when the project is quite easy. This my friends, is one of those projects. While this planter looks kind of like a pumpkin, really I think that this could work for just about any potted plant that you have in your house.

1. Pick pot that you want to convert into pumpkin decor.

2. Cut out the eyes, nose, mouth, etc. for your pumpkin. I used black felt that I had for a different project.

3. Using double sided tape, adhere it to the planter… and that is it!

This planter resides in my entry and you can see it as you just enter the house. Here are two other pics that are in the same area, decorated with mostly found materials. The bats were drawn with pencil on black poster board and attached using blue painters tape. I am contemplating using black felt for these too.

Halloween decor

Halloween decor - bats

Can you dig it? (starting a dry creek bed)

dry creek bed, xeriscape,
Behold the beginning of xeriscape and a dry creek bed

Our soil is filled with river rocks, which I’ve always thought odd because we are on a hill. We used to live a mile away, but on the other side of the freeway, just south of the 8 and it was the same thing. Digging out a hole to plant a tree took MUCH longer than needed because of all the river rock. It is not much fun.

So from all of the demolition in the back yard (still need to write about the back yard) we unearthed many river rocks. The previous owners had their own rock pile as well. Between the two I thought that we might have enough to create a dry creek bed. My thought is that the more I xeriscape the less that I have to water and the more personality our yard gets. If I can do it on the cheap, by using found materials native to my area all the better! All that to say, I have now dug out a path for the dry creek bed in front of our house.

dry creek bed with weed barrier fabric
I laid a weed barrier fabric down before adding the rocks.

Over the course of a weekend I hauled rocks collected from my yard (yes my soil is filled with these) and placed them in the ditch that I made.
After the digging I took my trusty roll of weed barrier fabric and rolled it out above the dry creek bed. In areas like this where plants are not growing, it works amazingly well at keeping weeds at bay, at least for the first 5-7 years or so and then they start to get through. Even then, it is better than the places where you do not lay it.

The next several days, working for only about an hour in the morning (did I mention that I had the brilliant notion of doing this in the middle of a heat wave?) I placed the rocks into the trench.
View a mock up of what our front yard will hopefully look like.

Powdery Mildew on my plant

powdery mildew on plant
Here is a close up of the powdery mildew on the plant. It was pervasive and it actually had a funky smell to it.

We have a plant located in front of the garage that came with the house. It has been completely trouble free at this point and required little water that I have nearly ignored it. In June it was encroaching on the walkway so I trimmed it back the weekend before we hosted a rather large party. I water it very little, but my son often waters it and I think that might be the problem. He waters it overhead with the spray nozzle just beside it. A few weeks ago I noticed this rather healthy plant looking rather sad. On further examination I saw that a powdery mildew was on most of the leaves (except new growth). I have had experience with this in my last house on roses and I used a spray from the store. I really want to avoid the use of harsh chemicals if at all possible at this point. Floating around the internet, there seems to be two different recipes to try. One involving milk and water, and this one that changes the PH balance using baking soda. Powdery Mildew is actually a fungus/mold and it spreads when spores travel in the wind. I’ve read that you may not be able to eradicate it entirely, but it is possible to keep it under control and from effecting other plants.

pruned bush (before mildew)
I pruned this bush at the end of May. It was really healthy, but getting quite overgrown for the space

Recipe to combat Powdery Mildew (Pow!)

2 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
2 1/4 tsp. Dish Soap (I used Dawn)
2 1/4 tsp. Olive oil (can use most any oil)
1/2 gallon Water.

Mix ingredients and place in spray bottle and apply to plant.



  • It is a good idea to test a section first before applying to all of the plant.
  • Avoid watering overhead.
  • Spray in the morning before there is direct sunlight that could potentially burn the leaves with the spray on it.
  • Repeat Weekly.

I sprayed it once yesterday and this morning and while it seems to have helped there is still mildew. On closer examination I also found aphids and after spraying I do not see them. I’ll update on the progress.