The Dry Garden: Ask Persephone


Plant a pomegranate and the hole you dig drives straight through time — Persephone deep, founding fathers deep. Pomegranates are in Greek and Persian mythology, the Bible, the Koran, on the seal of the British Royal College of Physicians. Scholarly gardening articles cite pomegranates as having figured in gardens in the colonial Carolinas. Spanish settlers brought them to California. Search the botanical name Punica granatum in technical journals and you find the chemists at L’Oreal are onto them: Pomegranates are named in a new patent for shampoo. Health publications carry studies on the anti-oxidant properties. Martha Stewarts everywhere recommend dried pomegranates for Christmas wreaths.

But gardeners can turn up a lot of trivia without learning one key fact: how to tell when they are ripe. (Hint: the one above isn’t). Click here to keep reading about growing pomegranates to crimson readiness in this week’s Dry Garden column in the

The Dry Garden: Knowing harm

Many years ago, as a photographer and I were at work on photo essay for a Sunday magazine about some of the more accident-prone people in Britain, we found that home gardeners were high among the klutzes known by UK emergency room attendants as “heart sink patients.” Evidently the repeated sight of them made the hearts of emergency room staff sink. Their favorite times for calamity were three-day weekends, when in numbers disproportionate to the general population they fell off ladders, cut their fingers and sprained their backs. The photographer and I hoped that the photo series might reveal something about the mad cap determination of gardeners. However, before we had a chance to undertake the series in earnest, the photographer died in a plane crash.

Since moving to Los Angeles and taking up gardening, I’ve thought about that aborted series every Labor Day weekend for more than a decade.

The Dry Garden: I should


In a crowded world, original observations are few. One of mine is that beets taste good with everything — provided that you like beets. Another is that the good people of Los Angeles might be struck dumb if denied the phrase “you should,” with a close second being, “you shouldn’t.” … Instead of recommending that you do as I do this week, it seemed marginally less bossy simply to impart a few of the things that I am currently telling myself to do. Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.


The Dry Garden: Mulch now

The end is in sight. On Sept. 30, California’s “water year” will end and meteorologists will begin measuring rain for another 12-month cycle. Gardeners will begin planting with the expectation of help from seasonal rains. Before then, however, we must get through August and September. Atop the to-do list: irrigate and mulch.

Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.

The Dry Garden: Summer dormancy

Emily Green, that would be me, is on vacation (read thinning the persimmon tree so the wood doesn’t give way under the weight of a bumper crop), but click here for ten LA Times Dry Garden columns about what to do while a garden enters summer dormancy.

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