Blog

Bluebird In The Coal Mine?

Posted on Mar 19, 2018

Bluebird In The Coal Mine?

A growing body of work is sounding the alarm about the destructive effects of man-made noise on wildlife and our ecosystems.  Anyone familiar with the constant noisy landscape practices of leaf blowing, mowing, chain-sawing and shearing will understand the connection.  For example, noise from a leaf blower in the garden disrupts birds ability to communicate with each other and that stresses…

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Observations in the Garden: Ally or Enemy?

Posted on Sep 18, 2017

Observations in the Garden:  Ally or Enemy?

In the garden, mantids have a reputation for eating pests.  However, as generalist predators they eat whatever meal wanders by. Like most mantids, garden species are ambush hunters and can often be found hanging around flowers, a rich source of insect prey such as bees, wasps, and butterflies.   The science swings back and forth on whether mantids are truly beneficial…

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Dear Landscapers

Posted on Jul 17, 2017

Dear Landscapers

Dear Landscapers, This is a call to raise the bar of our industry. Hit and run landscaping makes a mockery of the art of landscape gardening.  The primary tool you use in your outdoor janitorial work is the leaf blower. This is one of the reasons that drove us to become dedicated ecological gardeners. We believe that the use of…

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Beauty or Beast?

Posted on Jul 14, 2017

Beauty or Beast?

Good intentions sometimes end up going to extreme.  Landscaping to save water is a good example.  Owners of some homes turn their yards into plastic grass, pavement or thinly planted rock-scapes.  Others let the plants and trees wither and die from lack of water.   Water conservation does not mean no water.  Through careful plant selection and proper watering techniques, you can save water…

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How To Find And Keep A Good Gardener

Posted on Jun 24, 2017

How To Find And Keep A Good Gardener

By Cass Turnbull Periodically, people come up to me and say that they have a hard time finding and keeping good garden help. I can imagine it would be difficult. For one thing, how are you supposed to know if they are any good? You can’t just ask them, “Are you a good pruner?” It’s like asking someone if they…

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Break From Conformity!

Posted on Jun 17, 2017

Break From Conformity!

Angelenos lead the nation in the creativity and diversity of our architecture, our fashion, our tech. So, why do we continue to dump fertilizers and pesticides around our homes in a desperate attempt to look like one another?  To look like suburban Ohio?  We can do better! Yarrow Meadow Lawn There are few lawn alternatives more visually arresting and flexible…

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The Dirt On Dr Seuss and Pesticides

Posted on Jun 5, 2017

The Dirt On Dr Seuss and Pesticides

Dr. Seuss is best known for his allegorical children’s books on themes like protecting the environment, shunning materialism, and embracing multiculturalism. But before books like Green Eggs and Ham, Seuss also worked on commercial art for a pesticide company. In particular, Seuss helped to make Flit, and the Flit gun, a household word in the “war on bugs.” Back when Theodor Seuss Geisel was…

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When Is The Best Time To Plant In So Cal?

Posted on May 17, 2017

When Is The Best Time To Plant In So Cal?

A successful approach to plant installation is based on plants natural establishment rhythms, not project deadlines. Planting in summer can be very risky, especially in the hot Valley’s and interiors of Southern California. Here, we spend most of our time planning not planting. Contrary to popular belief, planting in the Fall is bad, too. This is because the microorganisms and…

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PESTICIDE REFORM – WEEDS AND THE ECOLOGICAL GARDEN

Posted on Apr 9, 2017

PESTICIDE REFORM – WEEDS AND THE ECOLOGICAL GARDEN

Horticulture tells us to cultivate the soil to control weeds; ecology tells us that the more the soil is disturbed the more weeds grow. Nevertheless, if gardening know-how is the product of observation over time, then this guideline for orthodoxy is long overdue: Pulling weeds always fails. Pulling weeds disturbs the soil, and disturbing the soil activates seed germination that…

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Natural Systems Are Complex, But Creating An Ecosystem-Based Garden Doesn’t Have To Be

Posted on Apr 5, 2017

Natural Systems Are Complex, But Creating An Ecosystem-Based Garden Doesn’t Have To Be

In nature, everything is connected. When we unzip nature to use isolated solutions to our gardening problems we override the many dynamic associations that are interwoven throughout healthy natural systems. Designing and managing an ecologically strong garden requires us to appreciate naturally occurring plant communities and understand how to care for the overall health of the garden. Our efforts to manage water,…

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