The Dry Garden: Hummers and snapdragons

Channel Islands native Galvezia speciosa amounts to a year-round hummingbird feeder on a negligible water budget. Cal Poly Pomona landscape architect Bob Perry recommends the hybrid 'Firecracker' (above) as being compact and therefore suitable to many gardens. Photo: Bob Perry / Land Design Publishing

If you are considering a hummingbird feeder, try buying a plant instead of a bottle.

For what seems like a year-round fountain of nectar, make that plant a bush snapdragon. Galvezia speciosa, as this Channel Island native is more properly known, flowers four out of four seasons and 365 days a year. Its bright red tubular blossoms clearly evolved with hummingbirds as pollinators, and the birds will stake out your garden the instant the plant goes in the ground.

They are very hard to kill; Galvezia’s only weakness is susceptibility to freezing. Other than that, they can be used throughout most of Southern California. The

Dry people

Lili Singer inside one of the greenhouses at the Theodore Payne Foundation, where she is Special Projects Coordinator. Singer also teaches regular Thursday garden classes at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Click on the image to be taken to the Theodore Payne Foundation. Photo: Emily Green / Chance of Rain

That pillar of Southern Californian horticulture Lili Singer will be among the experts taking part in “garden chats” at the Los Angeles Garden Show in Arcadia over the next three days. Singer will be talking about the single most important choice that a homeowner makes when planting a garden: the selection of trees.

Also among the workshop presenters focussing on dry gardening will be Bob Perry, author of Landscape Plants for California Gardens. His emphasis will be on establishing a cohesive garden palette. Los Angeles County Arboretum horticulturist Jill Morganelli will lead discussion of

Fuzzy hubs and mass extinction

It’s easy to mock the language of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Center Proposed Five-Year Strategy, so I’m going to. Consider it a nervous laugh. This proposed framework for “fuzzy hubs” of various government agencies to cope with collapsing eco-systems and mass extinction deserves at least something that conveys how scary it is. Here is a sample of the kind of language being used by government scientists as the politicians who supposedly direct their activities argue over a climate change bill:

… climate change is already driving observable changes on the landscape, and will bring additional, large-scale changes in the coming decades. Many of these changes will have direct implications to wildlife and fish species and communities, and the habitats and ecosystems upon which they depend. For example, we are likely to see shifts in species’ ranges; changes in timing of breeding seasons and animal migrations; disassembly of

May fully loaded

Click here for newly compiled May listings of Southern Californian plant sales, garden tours, lectures, hikes, restoration projects and shows. If you have an event that you would like included, please e-mail the details and links to [@]

Santa Barbara’s asphalt volcanoes

From National Geographic News: Strange undersea domes spotted off the California coast are extinct “asphalt volcanoes” made from a mixture of hardened crude oil and marine fossils … But there’s little point in harvesting the asphalt mounds for fuel. “The quality of the material is very poor. … It’s not worth something like light sweet crude,” said lead study author David Valentine, an earth scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Click here to keep reading. Via Aquafornia.

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