February 3, 2014

Drought Tolerant Gardening

by Shelly

Living in Southern California my entire life, I have grown accustomed to hearing how we should conserve our water and cut back our use.  Even when a year seems particularly “rainy” and wet, it seems we just never have quite enough water for the mass amounts of people that live here.  This year unfortunately, as those of you who live in the area know, we are in a real bind .  We’ve gotten some rain the past week, but given we are so late in the season it is doubtful that we will catch up to the rain needed to meet our needs for the year.

As an avid gardener, the threat of water shortages does not bode well with my soon to be spring time planting!  Looking over my sad, winter-barren yard the other day, I started to scheme up some ideas on how to make my yard look nice this spring without the need for lots of water to keep it looking good.

My garden tends to lean towards country English/formal English. I’d probably say it’s more semi-formal English…not that it exists in the gardening world, but that’s close to what it actually is. In any case, I like lots of roses, boxwoods, ferns, hydrangea and gardenias.  These aren’t all the best for times of drought. So I’m thinking of repotting all our hanging baskets and pots with succulents and ornamental grasses and replacing some of the water heavy plants (once they inevitably die) with lots of lavender, white shrub roses (which I already have a ton of actually), and herbs.

The goal is to make the yard more Mediterranean feeling for the time being and who knows, maybe I’ll start to like it better! Above our some of the ideas I found for pots, etc.  Definitely more of a Napa feeling no? Below are some ideas on what, where and how to plant a drought tolerant yard or patio.


Hedges or Privacy Screens: 

{via daves garden}

1. Pacific Wax Myrtle

Great screen or hedge plant. Tolerates wind. Sun to partial shade.


{via sf gate}

2. California Bay Laurel

One of my very favorites! Aromatic with yellow flowers December to May. Can use the leaves for cooking, although it is a bit stronger than regular bay.



{ via this old house}

3. Privet Ligustrum

Another fav! We actually just planted a long hedge of this in our backyard to gain some privacy. Classic look..think Hamptons! Tough as nails and very tolerant of air pollution. Perfect for So Cal unfortunately.



Container Plants and Hanging Baskets:

1. Verbena or Lantana

Hardy and easy to grow. Heat and drought tolerant. Full sun! Makes beautiful, cascading baskets for your patio!


2. Lavender

This can be used in pots for a Napa wine country feel or just grow straight in the ground. Either way looks beautiful and grows so easily! Smells amazing. Use dried flowers in sweater boxes as insect repellant or just to make your home smell wonderful!


(via valeaston}

3. California Poppy

So, so pretty and colorful! These work anywhere…containers, hanging baskets or straight in the ground. Flowers spring to summer. A great place to buy poppies is here!




Often overlooked when selecting plants for the garden, grasses add so much….dramatic backgrounds,

soft edges, interesting foliage colors and textures ranging from spiky to soft and silky. These varieties are very
drought tolerant.

1. Sheep Fescue

2. Deer Grass

3. Purple Needle Grass

4. Giant Wild Rye



Best All Around:

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite plant of the moment, succulents. They seem to come back around every 20 years or so. I remember my mom being big into them when I was just out of high school. Now here we are, exactly 20 years later (my big 20th hs reunion is this year eek! ) and she is all over the succulent trend again. They are great in just about any application….containers, wreaths, wall hangings, hanging baskets, or in the ground.  I like to mix these in with other plants like herbs, roses, or citrus trees when doing pots. They give a nice modern edge to a container.  The trick is to make sure the soil is very well drained. They don’t like to sit in wet dirt. So, make sure you are mix your regular potting soil with a good amount of gravel mix before dumping into a container. Once you plant the succulent into the mix, it looks nice to top the soil with decorative stones or aquarium gravel. It gives the pot a nice finished look!


 I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to make your yard or patio garden pretty this spring, even during this horrible drought.  Please share any other water saving yard ideas and plants with me!  I love to learn new gardening tips!



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August 28, 2010

Garden shop heaven!

by Shelly

Last weekend we went on a little family trip to Roger’s Gardens down in Newport Beach.  I’m pretty into gardening these days and I’ve been told by more than a few people, “Oh my gosh, YOU haven’t been there yet?”.  No, I hadn’t…until last week! I’m glad we finally went!

Seriously, I was not expecting shopping for plants to be a fun experience for the whole family.  But this place is GORGEOUS beyond belief. You could probably throw a wedding in this place it is THAT pretty. Here are some pics from our little trip…

Beautiful hanging baskets.
How pretty would these glass balls look in the garden OR in a bowl on your cocktail table?
Quite possibly my very favorite part of the whole store…hydrangeas in deep blue!
Showing the flowers to my budding mini gardener.
Absolutely stunning for your front door.
This tree was just stunning in person with all the brightly colored baskets hanging from it! A dinner party underneath would be so fun!
The Anglophile in me just can’t get enough of fresh, green topiaries and lots of ivy.
On closer inspection I realized these lovely bouquets are FAKE! See, there are SOME realistic looking silk flowers. But they’re hard to find and usually quite pricey…as they proved to be!
The kiddo really wanted to bring this cool owl home with her. I can’t blame her..too cute!

Pretty succulents in terracotta containers.
And at last, the English rose that will end up in our garden very soon! An Abraham Darby rose…so English sounding.

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I’ve decided I am going to start a monthly posting called “A Few of My Favorite Things”.  This will be a collection of things that I’m loving at the current time. It may be clothing, food, music, home stuff, whatever… But it will always be new and different. I might also ask my fellow blogger friends to guest blog their “favs” to make it fun and interesting.  So let’s kick it off with some things I’m crushing on right now….

Galbraith and Paul Fabrics

I spotted this line in one of my design mags recently and immediately set up a trade account with them and got samples. Once I got the samples I was in AWE!!! So fun, so pretty, and so unique. I’m considering using the green tile fabric and the aqua and green medallion fabric on the lower left for pillows and/or to recover an accent chair in my living room.

The fabric is designed by Liz Galbraith and is hand blocked. They also do beautiful custom rugs and wallpaper!

Domino Feb.2008
 Domino March 2009
Better Homes and Gardens October 2006

English Gardens
I’ve always loved English garden design, but it wasn’t until we moved to our new home that I became a serious fan.  Our backyard was remodeled by the previous owners in an English style. Although they attempted to recreate this look, they sort of fell short. I’ve spent the last few months ripping out the old plants that were not right and overgrown and put in lots of fresh herbs, lavender, lamb’s ear…you get the picture. Its coming together slowly. And I can’t wait for the weather to really warm up so we can sit back there with friends, have wine and appetizers and enjoy the scenery. Here are some gardens that have really inspired me.
Ina Garten’s garden 
 More of Ina’s garden via Food Network
via Velvet and Linen…
Yes, I know..not really an English garden, but I’m loving pea gravel right now and this looks SO cozy!

Miss Trish for Target 

 via target addict blogspot

I bought a pair of these cuties for my little cutie right before Easter. Every time I go into Target I now run to the shoe section because our awesome babysitter Liz somehow always scores the cutest shoes there. Or maybe its just that whatever she puts on looks super cute. One of the two…I’m going with the latter. Anywho, I was SHOCKED when I saw these and for the price how could I resist!? I’ve been wanting a pair of Trish’s for a few years now, but can never come up with a good enough excuse to buy a pair of sandals over $100. My husband would kill me..literally. When I bought a pair for my toddler they didn’t yet have the women’s version in store yet. They do now though!
What things have you been obsessing over lately? I’d love to hear!

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