Native Plant Workshop

Vitus californica covering our ugly chain link fence There’s a couple of common misconceptions amongst novice gardeners about native plants: 1. If you use native plants the whole garden has to be natives. In fact, it’s great to mix natives with non-native plants. The natives bring in beneficial wildlife, are hardy and are efficient in terms of water use. Flexibility is key here–go ahead and mix natives with vegetables, fruit...

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Advances in Gardening Series: The Perennial Herb Bed, Patience and Plant Spacing and Breaking Your Own Rules

ervative spacing. You can’t see from the picture, but this area (which is about 9′ x 6′) is planted with a rose geranium, culinary sage, white sage, yarrow, rosemary, lavender, aloe, lots of thyme and a sick native rose which is probably not going to make it. The spacing between the plants is not quite what it should be. Erik looks at it and shakes his head and does that thing with his mouth which means his lordship does not app...

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Interview With Apartment Gardener Helen Kim

...to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. Helen graciously sat down for an email interview to talk about her beautiful and useful garden: HOMEGROWN EVOLUTION: What’s your advice to folks who would like to try growing plants in an apartment windowsill? HELEN KIM: Well, since I didn’t start with any particular plant knowledge or skills (just a feeling that it would be lovely to have living things around my apartment–besides my...

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Saturday Linkages: Bitters, Dogs and Native Plants

...ow-to-eat-more-plant-based-meals-handout-now-available/ …. Eagle Rock backyard yields fresh fruit and food for the hungry http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2013/12/eagle-rock-backyard-yields-fresh-fruit-and-food-for-the-hungry/ … Native plants: restoring an idea–http://www.patternliteracy.com/116-native-plants-restoring-to-an-idea … In the U.S., recycling is often pigeonholed as… – Unconsumption http://disq.us/8gf2so  For these links and...

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LA’s Parkway Garden Dilemma: Not Fixed Yet

...mentals as well as their requirement to keep those ornamentals mowed unless you apply for an expensive permit. While I’m all for vegetable in the parkway, I also think that the city should be encouraging the planting of native and Mediterranean plants. My advice for the Bureau of Street Services for their new regulations: Consult the community: activists, landscape architects, non-profits and individuals like Ron Finley. If you had done...

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How to Deal with Extremely Root Bound Plants

First off, don’t buy root bound plants. It’s just a bad business, trouble and tears. In general, you should always try to buy the youngest plants you can find. They are healthier than plants which have spent more time in a pot, and will quickly grow to match the size of older, more expensive–and more likely than not–root bound plants. How do you know if the plant is root bound? Look at the bottom of the pot and see if ro...

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California poppy tea

opiates, it contains alkaloids that are similar enough that they might create a false positive on an urine test. I’ve also heard firm opinions from other sources that it absolutely will or will not show up. California Native Americans use Eschscholzia in their own way. According to Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West , the Chumash made a poultice of the pods to stop breast milk. For them, this was (is) the plant’s primary use....

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The Pinnacle of Permaculture: Tending the Wild

Book review: Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources by M. Kat Anderson, University of California Press, 2006 When the white man came to California, he found a verdant paradise: meadows thick with wildflowers and clover, stately groves of nut trees, abundant, healthy game and rivers full of fish. It was a land of endless bounty. The natives, often derogatorily called “Diggers...

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Piet Oudolf’s Enhanced Nature

...ll and produces seed heads towards the end of the season. Those seed heads provide visual interest and food for birds and other wildlife. I was also struck by how similar Oudolf’s gardens are to the edible landscapes of Native Californians as described by USDA botanist Kat Anderson. As Anderson has shown, the “wild” landscapes encountered by the first Europeans to visit the west coast were anything but wild. They were, in fact,...

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Polyculture

Here at SurviveLA we are experimenting with something called polyculture in the the garden. We read about it first in the worthy permaculture guide, Gaia’s Garden, by Toby Hemenway. Polyculture is the practice of planting a community of interrelated, interdependent plants, mimicking in your garden (in our case a raised vegetable bed) the complex relationships that are found between plants in nature. In the case of food crops, a polycultu...

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