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book inside with lupine

Fave Books; For Nature-Lovers, Travel-Lovers, and Nature-Travelers

Right about now is when many of us think of books. (ok, many of us think of books all the time…but…let me continue…) We think of books to gift to others. We think of books to suggest that others gift to us. We think of books to simply gift to ourselves. For me, the best books […]

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Evolving Ideas; Celebrating Botanical Milestones

  This is the time of year where we traditionally reflect on the past as well as look forward to the future. There have been a number of important anniversaries to celebrate this past year; 800 years since the Magna Carta, 250 years since the first French restaurant – and yes, 30 years since Saturday […]

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yerba all landscape

A Gift From The Garden; Native Groundcover Makes a Perfect Drink

Soothing and refreshing, all at the same time, a cup of tea centers me and gives a pleasant pause. The heady scent, of mint in particular, brings both comfort and focus. Sipping something warm and fragrant provides a meditative moment that can warm the body and soothe the soul.     Technically a flavorful herb […]

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johnny jump ups vertical

Fields of Flowers; Past and Present, Native and Not

Call it a ritual or a pilgrimage or just an old habit. Whatever you call it, every spring I must get eye-level with as many flowers as I can manage. For me personally, if comes from my childhood – where my family took, what we called “Sunday Drives”, in the spring. We loaded into the family […]

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Armeria; Versatile Water-Wise Beauty

Armeria, also known as Sea Pink or Sea Thrift, is a lovely plant for adding texture to small scale plant combinations.  It has neat-looking foliage, can take occasional foot-traffic and is deer resistant as well. Sea Thrifts have flowers that form a globe-shaped inflorescence at the top of a leaf-less stem, looking a bit like pink lollipops. […]

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Pinecones; Celebrating Nature’s Forms

This time of year I love to bring out my collection, yes I have several and no I don’t have Victorian cottages or snow globes or anything else that would officially be considered “collectible”, but what I do have is cones. I have been fascinated by the sculptural quality of pine cones, and other conifers, […]

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Moss Landing

California Dreaming; Native Vistas of the West

I grew up surrounded by the oak grasslands of California’s Central Coast. Childhood memories of ones surroundings are always powerful things, so of course that environment has influenced the garden design that I practice and my life-long love of the plants and landscapes of the West. Led by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), the third […]

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Flower Fireworks; Leucospermum Steals the Show

Spectacular,  intricate and colorful. Yes, these adjectives are often used to describe a firework display but they also apply to the flowers of plants in the genus Leucospermum. Commonly known as Pincushions or Spiders, which they also resemble, these sturdy flowers come from plants in the Protea family, native to South Africa.  Of all the […]

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Albright-Souza_Poppies_3840

California Poppy; Sunshine On A Stick

  I sat very still and inhaled deeply but I didn’t dare close my eyes. I was sitting cross-legged in a field of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) just off the road in Antelope Valley, California and I didn’t want to miss a moment of the pure golden light shining through the silky orange petals as […]

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Albright-Souza Miner's Lettuce Salad

California Native Edible; Miner’s Lettuce

Grandpa was born in 1901 in the small California mining town of Bodie.  At least, that’s the family legend. Bodie is now an official “ghost town” of the American West and is designated a National Historical Landmark that is well worth a visit. I suspect that this family connection to mining lore was part of […]

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