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Author: mandmweb

Keep It Messy for Nature

Cultivar, Miranda monkeyflower I grow California native plants for many reasons. The biggest one is that I love California and the plants that evolved here. Who can resist the happy faces of our sticky monkeyflowers (Diplacus aurantiacus)? Also, it is nothing less than a miracle that the creamy flowers of California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) appear in the hottest, driest time of the year.  Camp Native Versus Camp Other Some might say that this is a frivolous argument at a time when global climate change and mass extinction threaten our very existence. In fact, gardeners who are concerned with environmental...

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Lawn out. Wildflowers in.

When you peel off a layer of turf grass, the soil beneath is often compacted, depleted of nutrients and life, and polluted with salts and other chemicals. These chemicals may have accumulated from ongoing applications of fertilizers and pesticides. Or possibly, poor irrigation practices – short, frequent watering periods – that leave behind salts found in our water, especially here in Southern California. Healthy soil, in contrast, is full of life – microbial organisms, insects, and other animals. This blog post is about how one can one change a boring, green desert called lawn into a vivacious, biodiverse Southern...

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3 Garden Pests – Thrips, Scales, Ants

I rarely write or talk about garden pests. Like many of you, I just want them to go away. However, wishing is sometimes not enough, so let’s talk. This summer I had three insect pests that I want to address: thrips, scales, and ants. The thrips are enjoying my barberry, while the scales are on toyon and other shrubs, The ants were (yes, past tense) on my prized manzanitas and one Ray Hartman ceanothus. There is a lot to cover here but I think many will gain something if I go through them one by one. And I’m sure...

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Elderberry Season

To Eat or Not to Eat Before eating the blue elderberries that are ripening up right now, I decided to check to make sure they are safe. An online perusal left me a little confused and unsure. There was only one report from the CDC of poisoning from elderberry juice. It happened here in California back in 1983. Eleven people were sickened and one hospitalized after drinking elderberry juice. All recovered quickly. Reassuring? Maybe not.  Turns out, they drank juice that they made by squeezing raw elderberries, twigs and stems included, through a sieve. Add sugar and apple juice,...

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Joshua Tree National Park

Last week I went to Yucca Valley to visit my daughter who lives and makes pottery there. Check out her website, zzieeceramics, and Etsy site to see or purchase her pieces. On June 8th and 9th she will be selling her work at the West Coast Craft Fair, so unless you can visit her in SF, you may have to wait a few weeks to get an online response. Cottage Cheese Vase from zzieeceramics She took a break from throwing, glazing and firing to join me on a botanical foray in Joshua Tree National Park. There were a surprising...

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