Container Size For Bowers Vine

Gardening Question From Molly: Hello! I’ve purchased 4 15-gallon containers of Pandorea Jasminoides – Bowers Vine – that I want to train onto my wooden fence. I want to upgrade the containers which are currently plastic buckets. Would rectangular boxes work? I have a narrow driveway that needs to accommodate my car, so I can’t […]

Beach Front Plants for English Seacoast Gardens

Question from Katie: Hi Pat, just found your www site and saw it said, “Send a Q to Pat”, so, here goes… location: seaside, south-facing (in England: the sunny side), sheltered terrace.  Required: architectural, evergreen, “WOW!” plants that will tolerate minus 5 centigrade in winter, occasionally a little lower, but not “cold & wet” as […]

Plant Zinnias Seeds

Plant seeds of zinnias now. “Benary’s Giants” (sold as “Parks Picks” by the Park Seeds) is immune to mildew. Choose a spot in full sun, till the ground to spade depth, work in organic soil amendment and balanced fertilizer into the top six inches. Soak the soil, let settle overnight. Plant seeds one by one, […]

Planting on a Bank & Best Substitutes for Lawns

Question from Howard: We are a Homeowners association with a steep bank, 45 degrees or steeper, three blocks long and about 30 feet high. What drought tolerant plant(s) would you recommend? Also, what ground cover, if any, would you recommend to replace grass areas? Answer from Pat: Before I can answer your question, I need […]

Planting Summer Crops

1. Choose a site in full sun. 2. Build raised boxes or plant in ground. 3. For raised beds: Nail 1/8 ­1/4 hardware cloth on bottom of each box to keep out gophers. 4. Fill boxes with good-quality topsoil. 5. Cover the ground surrounding the raised boxes with landscape cloth or newspaper, 10-sheets thick, and […]

Native Plants Suitable For Planting Near A Coastal Lagoon

SHRUBS Adenostoma fasciculatum—Chamise Most abundant shrub in some local coastal chaparral, often called “Chamise chaparral”. Known for spring bloom but often flowers in fall. Arctostaphylos glandulosa, ssp. crassifolia—Del Mar manzanita Coastal manzanita endemic to local region. Arctostaphylos pumila—Sandmat manzanita Arctostaphylos uva-ursa—kinnikinnick From northern California but will grow here. Artemisia californica—California sagebrush888 Frequently found in old […]

Princess Plants (Tibouchina heteromalla and Tibouchina urvilleana.)

Question from Shannon: I have two sickly Princess Plants (Tibouchina heteromalla) that I planted about 3 months ago. I had had one at the beach (in Playa del Rey CA) that was as big as a house, hearty, and virtually care-free. The ones in question are planted further inland, in Culver City, where the air […]

Companion Planting Has No Scientific Basis but Planting a Wide Range of Crops Works

Question: The other thing you said was that companion planting has been proven ineffective – by that do you mean that researchers have failed to find that planting certain CROPS in proximity to each other does them ANY good? Or that certain non-crop plants actually do NOT provide benefit to crop plants… Yikes – that’s […]

Instructions for Building Raised Bed

Question: We live in Fallbrook and are looking to build one or more raised beds for planting vegetables. We purchased your Southern California Gardening book from Costco but can’t find any instructions on building the bed. Can you provide us with a link or two for designs/instructions that you would recommend? Answer from Pat: Years […]

Granulated Sulfur

Question from Robin: Hi. I have a problem and I need some advice. I spread granulated sulfur on the top of heavy clay soil. Hindsight shows me this is not optimum, and I would like your opinion on my options. I want to establish vegetables on the site. And I had wanted to do it […]