Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Chasmanthe
A South African native in the iris family, chasmanthe has 3-foot-tall, bright green, upright foliage that appears in autumn and sheathes 4-foot-tall flower spikes in winter, just when color is needed in the garden. C. floribunda has red-orange flowers along both sides of a single spike. C.f. duckittii has clear yellow flowers along both sides of branched spikes. The foliage dies back during summer, and I dig corms then only if I want to transplant them or give them away.

Clever Gardening Technique

Recycle Shoes Into Garden Clogs
Shoes that are no longer presentable in public can achieve new lives in the garden. I leave my old, battered Dr. Scholl's clogs outside the back door to the garden for quick and easy use. They could keep my feet well above moist and squishy soil, but since my pathways are well-mulched, the shoes don't require continuous cleaning. With only the addition of heavy socks in cold weather, they serve well year round. When I return from the garden, I kick them off and slip back into either my "house" or "public" shoes.

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