8 Knockout Flowers for a Fall Container Garden

When summer winds down, your container gardens may be looking past their prime. Perhaps a plant or two did not make it — or you’ve got the opposite problem: They did so well that they’re carrying over your container (sweet potato vine, anyone?) . If this is true, don’t fret. With the addition of a…

How to Care for Gaillardia Aristata Arizona Red Shade

Heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant and requiring minimum care, Gaillardia aristata “Arizona Red Shades,” a cultivar of this plant commonly called blanketflower, is up for just about anything, except moist soil. From spring through autumn, the big orange-red to yellow flowers bloom on 10- to 12-inch stalks. This cultivar grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones…

Great Design Plant: 'Roger's Red' California Wild Grape

A visual sign that a backyard is alive is always nice and satisfying. While evergreens are reputable garden standbys, it is the lively deciduous varieties that can really stimulate the senses and let us understand a brand new season is forthcoming. ‘Roger’s Red’ California wild grape is one such plant, and its distinguishing features come…

Great Design Plant: Purple Fountain Grass

Gardeners looking for feel and movement in their outside areas should take a look at decorative grasses, and among my favorites would be purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum). Its form and colour that is striking make it a useful and flexible addition to any backyard, and its easy care makes it a favorite among gardeners…

Great Design Plant Jasmine

Chilean Jasmine (Mandevilla laxa) is a summer-flowering blossom that will enliven your garden lounging with its merry white blossoms and sweet, gardenia-like odor. Train the vine up a wall or trellis to enjoy and nurture each square foot of your own garden. Botanical name: Mandevilla laxa (syn. Mandevilla suaveolens)Common title: Chilean JasmineUSDA zones: 8 to…

Create a Fire-Safe Garden — With Design

It’s that time again in Southern California. Fire season is in full force, with high temperatures and bone-dry fuel in our wildlands. As we observe firestorms anger across different parts of the nation, we’ve got our fingers crossed here in Santa Barbara, hoping to keep the wildfires out of our garden. However, in the event…

6 Unsung Spring-Blooming Trees

Flowering cherry, flowering crab apple, flowering plum: all spring-blooming trees you are bound to understand and adore. How do you not? I’d never be so callous as to diss those billowy, cheery signs of spring, however I am always on the search for something… well, different. You understand? Cherry blossoms are great and all, but…

Bring the Tropics for Your Garden

I love summer on the temperate East Coast, but I admit: Even when the mercury soars in Massachusetts, I sometimes wish it had been only a little more tropical. Luckily, plants using bold, bawdy foliage aren’t exclusive to warmer climes. Listed below are just five cold-hardy plants certain to bring sultry heat to any temperate…

Retro Houseplants Get a Brand New Look

Bear in mind the ubiquitous Boston fern, the baskets of Wandering Jew vines as well as the Swedish ivy monitoring from macramé-hung pots? Thanks to inventions among breeders, these oldies have evolved into modern houseplants. There’s a new interest in houseplants with technicolor blossoms and foliage. Check out some of the variegated leaf designs in…