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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Backyard X-Scapes

Creating outdoor rooms takes an artful combination of many elements; plants, hardscapes, and lighting to name a few.  Once you are past the plants and pavers, that wonderful space still could use another fun element like a water fountain or a statue.  The largest selection of all those wonderful items can be found at a great store called Backyard X-Scapes.
          Located at the 5-805 merge and off of Sorrento Valley Road, Backyard X-Scapes carries over 5,000 items to make your backyard more than just a garden. Geared for both the home owner and the industry professional, Backyard X-Scapes also carries a monster catalog selection to supplement the impressive inventory.
Stop in and say hi to Steve Raketich.  Steve and his great staff will help you find the perfect accessory for your garden.
Backyard X-Scapes
10835 Sorrento Valley Rd
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 643-9030
 
 
 
 
Photos by Doug Kalal
 
 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Photo - Blue Chalk Sticks (Senecio mandraliscae)

Here is good tough succulent that can be used as a ground cover.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Carlsbad

Friday, December 7, 2012

Photo - Zebra Miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus')

Here is another cool ornamental grass.
Zebra Grass reaches 3 feet in height and width.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in University City

Photo - Variegated Miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus')

This beautiful ornamental grass reaches 4 feet in height and width.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in University City

Photo - Yellow Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus)

This drought tolerant plant from Australia does great here in San Diego.
Kangaroo Paws are also great cut flowers and hummingbird plants.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Carlsbad

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Photo - Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Here is another drought tolerant plant that is also
great for hummingbirds and slopes.  Cleveland Sage
is a California native that can reach 7 feet in width
and 3 feet in height.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's house in Pacific Beach

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Photo - Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Prostrate Rosemary is a terrific plant for San Diego gardens.
This drought tolerant plant is also great for slopes and cooking.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Plant Tip - Growing Rosemary


       Ah Rosemary!  Doesn’t the thought of that wonderful plant just make your mouth water?  Rosemary Chicken, Beef with Rosemary, Cornish Game Hens with Garlic & Rosemary.  Of all the drought tolerant plants that do well in San Diego, Rosemary is the most versatile.  Beautiful blue flowers in the winter, good for slopes and flat areas, full sun to part shade under trees, Rosemary is one of my favorite plants.
       There are basically 3 types of Rosemary.  The first is Tuscan Blue Rosemary.  This is the variety ordered by chefs in great restaurants.  ‘Tuscan Blue’ is the most flavorful of all the rosemary varieties.  It is however, also the tallest.  ‘Tuscan Blue’ comes in at a robust 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide.   Next are the medium sized varieties.  ‘Ingram’ and ‘Lockwood de Forrest’ grow about 4 feet and wide.  The last type of rosemary is the prostrate variety.  ‘Huntington Carpet’ reaches 18 inches tall and 6 feet wide and is great for slopes. Rosemary is a great plant for areas that receive full sun during some part of the year and shade during other parts of the year (such as under deciduous trees).  Walter Andersen Nursery also sells a pink rosemary that does well in a container.

          Here is a link to some recipes for using all that Rosemary.  Enjoy!

Photo - Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)

 
 
This native of Texas and Mexico if both a drought tolerant
and hummingbird plant.  Autumn Sages will grow to about
3 feet in width and 2 feet in height.
Photos by Doug Kalal
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

200,000 Page Views

Thank you blog readers!  Today my blog passed the 200,000 page view milestone!

Photo - Tequila Sunrise Coprosma

This little shrub has a dazzling array of colors from the foliage.
Tequila Sunrise Coprosma looks best when it gets some afternoon
shade and will reach about 2-3 feet tall.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's house in Kensington

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photo - Forest Pansy Redbud (Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy')

Here is my favorite small tree for San Diego gardens.
The Forest Pansy Redbud is covered with pink flowers in
early spring, followed by dramatic purple foliage for the next 3-4 months.
In late summer the foliage turns green and then in October it will
change color again to look like this.
Photos by Doug Kalal
 

Photo - Cattleya Orchid

Cattleya Orchids prefer to be grown in plastic pots
with exposure to bright indirect light.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Jolla

Monday, October 22, 2012

Photo - Landscape Timber Stairs

Landscape timber stairs are made from bolting together
pressure treated 6" x 6" timbers and then back filled
with decomposed granite.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Carlsbad

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Photo - American Sweet Gum Tree (Liquidamber sp.)

Here in San Diego, there are few trees that deliver
a fall color show like the Liquidamber.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo - Kangaroo Paws mixed with Variegated Hebe

Here is a fun combo against a wall.  The taller
Kangaroo Paws look great from inside the house,
and the smaller Hebe help hide the bottoms of the Kangaroo Paws.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's house in Pacific Beach

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Photo - Outdoor Dining Room

 
 
Photos by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Jolla


 

Photo - Floating Concrete Pathway

There are lots of ways to use concrete for a pathway.
One way, as shown here, is to make a series of
concrete islands.  This lends itself to a modern type of garden.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Point Loma

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Photo - Angel Trumpet Tree Flower (Brugmansia sp.)

The flowers from this tree give off a heavenly scent.
But beware, the leaves and flowers are poisonous.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Kensington

Monday, October 8, 2012

Photo - Blue Point Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point')

This drought tolerant shrub reaches 8-10 feet
in height and 3 feet in width, making it a great
plant for flanking walkways.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Pacific Beach

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Photo - Country Manor Retaining Wall

This patio was built using Country Manor Keystone
retaining walls to level off at upper dining area.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Jolla

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Photo - Brick Pathway Lined with Dymondia

Dymondia is nice alternative to grass because it
is more drought tolerant (half the water of most lawns)
and much lower maintenance (no mowing needed).
Photo by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Photo - Taupata Gold Coprosma (Coprosma bauri 'Taupata Gold')

Here is a great shrub for brightening up shady areas against
your house.  The glossy, variegated foliage contrasts beautifully
with other shrubs.  Coprosma is also a great low maintenance
and drought tolerant plant. 
Taupata Gold gets about 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Kennsington

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Photo - Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum)

Purple Fountain Grass is a hardy, drought tolerant
ornamental grass that can reach 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide.
This grass looks best if you trim it down to 2 feet in May and November.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Sorrento Valley.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Photo - Rose Scented Geranium (pelargonium graveolens)

The foliage of this tough geranium has a wonderful
fragrance and is great for adding to floral bouquets.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Photo - Stonetop Pavers

Stonetop pavers are a beautiful material for patios and pathways.
Here is the RCP Block & Brick's web page for more info;
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's house in Encinitas

Photo - Agave 'Blue Glow'

Here is a beautiful multi-color agave that only gets
about 3 feet tall.  Like most agaves this one has a very sharp
terminal spine on each leaf.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Photo - Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus)

Kangaroo Paws are wonderful drought tolerant
plants from Australia.  They are also good for cut
flowers and hummingbirds.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Carlsbad.

Photo - Gro-Power

Gro-Power is a soil conditioner that adds organic material and mico-organisms back into the soil. Without these micro-organisms, the soil cannot process any plant food for the roots of your plants.  Gro-Power can be used in both new and existing landscapes.  I recommend applying Gro-Power in January and July.  Gro-Power is available at most nurseries and garden centers.
 
Photo by Doug Kalal

Gardening Tip - How to improve your soil with Gro-Power


      Gro-Power is a soil conditioner that adds organic material and mico-organisms back into the soil.  Without these micro-organisms, the soil cannot process any plant food for the roots of your plants.  Basically, trying to feed plants stuck in hard clay soil is like trying to eat pizza with your mouth wired shut.  The food just has nowhere to go.  With an organic fertilizer like Gro-Power, the plant roots can actively process the nutrients in the soil.
      Gro-Power can be used in both new and existing landscapes.  For new landscapes, rototill Gro-Power in at the rate of 150 lbs for every 1,000 sq ft.  For existing landscapes, use 1 to 5 cups based on plant size every 6 months (see package for details).  It usually takes 1-2 weeks for you to see a difference in your plants.  I recommend applying Gro-Power in January and July.
      Using gypsum and Gro-Power will help turn that rock hard clay soil into a better environment for your garden.  Gro-Power is available at most nurseries and garden centers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photo - Bear's Breech (Acanthus mollis)

Here's a big beatuful plant with large leaves
and tall (over 4' high) flower spikes.
Bear's Breech blooms in the late Spring and early Summer.
This perennial will go dormant in the winter in areas
of overnight winter tempatures below 40 degrees,
but they will come back by the following Spring.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's house in Pacific Beach

Photo - Solid Roof Shade Structure

This shade structure was designed with short walls so that guests
would have a sense of enclosure in this outdoor room.
Notice the wrap around water feature with bridge.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's house in Tierrasanta

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Photo - Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Cleveland Sage is a good plant for both drought tolerant
and bird friendly gardens. Notice the finch in this photo.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Pacific Beach

Photo - Eastern Redbud 'Forest Pansy' (Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy')

This is a terrific tree for small spaces.  This redbud
has pink flowers in the spring and fall color in autumn.
In San Diego, these trees typically reach 15 feet tall and wide.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Monday, September 10, 2012

The New 2 Minute Gardener

Hello blog readers. 
After 18 months I have decided to overhaul the look of the "2 Minute Gardener".  In the coming days I will be dropping some of the old categories and adding new ones.  I would love your feedback on ways to improve this blog. So send me your comments. 
Thanks,
Doug

Photo - Country Manor Pillar

Country Manor Keystone can be used for more than
just retaining walls as seen in this photo where it
was used to build an entrance pillar.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Photo - Flagstone Over Concrete Patio

Here is a flagstone patio where the flagstone
was mortared on top of concrete.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in University City

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Photo - Black Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)

This vine can be agressive and run all over the place.
Black Eyed Susan Vines look best trained on a fence.
The more sun the vine gets, the more blooms you get.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Kensington

Monday, July 16, 2012

Photo - Pondless Water Feature with Flagstone

Want a water feature without standing water?
This water feature hides the reservoir under the flagstone patio
so the water flows toward the patio and then disappears.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Kensington.

Photo - Pincushion Protea (Leucospermum sp. 'Cordifolium Orange')

Proteas are wonderful drought tolerant plants that
also make great cut flowers.  They can be fussy about soil,
so make sure to add some gypsum and GroPower Plus
to the soil before planting.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in University City

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Photo - Chinese Foxglove (Rehmannia elata)

This unusual perennial is a great cut flower
as well as a good hummingbird plant.
Chinese Foxglove will go dormant in the winter
and start blooming around April.
This plant likes direct morning sun and some
shade in the middle on the day.
The flower stalks usually reaches 4 feet tall,
although I have one stalk that is climbing
through a tree and has reached 8 feet tall.
Just like regular Foxglove, all parts of this plant
are poisonous.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Concrete Pathway Accented with Field Turf

Here is an interesting way to spruce up concrete,
with Field Turf in the expansion joints.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Friday, July 13, 2012

Photo - Starfire Cuphea (Cuphea lanceolata 'Starfire')

Starfire Cuphea is a terrific hummingbird perennial for San Diego.
This plant blooms all year in the coastal areas and for 10 months
in colder inland areas.  Starfire Cuphea will reach about 3 feet wide
and tall. The plant is self cleaning, so just give it a haircut with
some hedge trimmers in early Spring to keep it tidy.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's house in La Jolla

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Photo - Shredded Mulch compared to Gorilla Hair Mulch

By request, here are photos of Gorilla Hair Mulch
and Shredded Mulch.

This is shredded mulch.

This is Gorilla Hair Mulch.

Photos by Doug Kalal

Garden Resources - Balboa Park Rose Garden


The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park
is one of the great rose gardens of America.
This garden has about 2,500 rose bushes representing almost
200 different varieties (all with labels). 
Dick Streeper was one of the driving forces
behind the creation of this magnificent garden 37 years ago,
and he is still active in its upkeep today.
The garden is located at 2525 Park Blvd, directly across the street
from the Natural History Museum.
Here is some more info on this great treasure.
Photos by Doug Kalal

Photo -Artificial Grass on Slope

One way to have a nice green slope in front of your home is use artificial turf.  This works best for a design with clean simple lines.  ...