Weed cloth always fails

One of the few things that weed cloth is good for is growing weeds. Fugitive dust settling in the gravel or wood mulch topping soon creates a potting mix perfect for rye grass, burclover or whatever seeds might blow in.

Avoiding pollution, drought’s evil twin

Drought has rewritten accepted orthodoxy about yard care. Among the things to do: water less often, more deeply. Rake. Compost. Squarely on the list of things not to do: fertilize, apply pesticides or use leaf blowers. Advice from a veteran garden writer about dry season good practice.

Third year in the garden

Successes, failure, a few good sources and seemingly endless engineering challenges in building an Altadena orchard that harvests local rainwater.

Two years in Altadena

Lawn removal, asphalt removal, wildflower conversion crops and rainwater harvesting are touched on in this two year picture diary from an Altadena, California garden

Aroused by rain

The appearance of this mushroom after a much-needed rain in the Los Angeles foothills demanded that I Find The Camera. In the interim between putting the photo on Facebook this morning with a request for an ID and getting a response to an e-mailed query from Los Angeles County Natural History Museum mycologist Florence Nishida this evening, speculation as to its genus involved unbridled merriment. Southern California resident treasure, memoirist Erika Schickel, ventured that it was a Micropenisula shlongaeria. My own suspicion had been a Phallus anthonyweinerii. After more ribald speculation and some genuine mycological story-telling on the social network, Nishida’s response by e-mail in early evening had a “eureka” quality.

You are a lucky girl,” she wrote, “nature has gifted you with a stinkhorn, aka phalloid fungus. It’s probably Lysurus borealis, though another species is very common in southern California, Lysurus mokusin. Just looking at your

keep looking »
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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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