Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Plant of the Week

Okay, here's the first entry in the (hopefully) regular Plant of the Week and it's ... centradenia floribunda, sometimes called Spanish Shawl. It's a hardy, low growing evergreen perennial that features fabulous reds and burgandys in its foliage. Spreading quickly, it can be grown in partial shade or in the cooler regions of our Bay Area in quite a bit of sun. Beginning in late spring, it produces masses of fuchsia pink flowers. We have some growing over the rock front of a pond area in Grand Lake Ace garden center and it's made itself at home. At first glance it looks like a weed but then people realize it's exceptionally lovely. I'm always on the outlook for interesting ground covers or things to spill over low walls and this has quickly become one of my favorite picks. Best of all, it's not fussy, is disease resistant and handles a variety of light conditions. Just prune to shape and you have a ready made great rock garden plant, morning sun ground cover or cascading plant. Though it likes some moisture, and loves getting splashed by our work pond, it isn't an overly thirsty plant. Sometimes you just love it when a plant "takes over" an area.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Upcoming New Features

With the newly arrived spring-like weather, people's thoughts are returning to their gardens. Bulbs are blooming or poking their heads up, the first spring annuals are arriving in nurseries and new dreams of gardening projects to realize in '09 are dancing like sugarplums in our heads.
Some of you know that I have a large sprawling garden in North Oakland, not far from Lake Merritt, and it certainly keeps me busy. After a long absence from gardening a decade ago, when I resumed I was so excited that I began buying an endless number of interesting plants. The result is that I now have more species of plants in my garden than some garden centers! Apart from the interest that holds for me -- there's always lots of plants in bloom no matter the time of year -- it has given me first hand knowledge of quite a variety of annuals, perennials and shrubs.
So, one of the regular features I'll be adding to this site is a section tentatively titled What's in Bloom. This will hopefully inspire some of you readers to explore adding that plant(s) to your own garden, or learn a bit more about a plant you already have.
Another new section coming will be a sort of To-Do list, perhaps updated twice a month, with timely advice on little projects for your garden.
I do encourage you to share your own experiences on this blog, so others may both benefit from your experience and share in the joy of our mutual passion.
Please feel free, as well, to suggest things you might like to see on this blog. Some of you may have questions, for example, on disease or pest issues in your garden. Or you may need help in finding a particularly unusual plant. If I can't help, perhaps another reader may be able to.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mouth Watering Plants

Want to read a fun article about how the scents of some flowers remind us of food? Check out my article in the San Francisco Chronicle last month on a few of these 'mouth watering' plants.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hello to everyone in the gardening community! Though it took me awhile to get this blog up and running, I'm hoping it will be an informative and expanded resource for those of you who love gardening. Some of you will come to this from my column in the San Francisco Chronicle Home & Garden section and others from the greater web itself but in any case welcome. Bear with me as I absorb the finer details of the blogging experience. This site will evolve as I figure out how best to share and, I'm hoping, from your feedback. Gardening is such a joyful, multi-layered experience that I'm sure there will be no shortage of ideas and hard won knowledge to share.
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