Saturday, February 26, 2011

Photo - Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima)

Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at author's
display garden at the 2010 San Diego County Fair.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nursery Review - Solana Succulents

One of the great things about living in San Diego is that our mild weather allows for dozens of pocket nurseries to thrive in all the nooks and crannies of the county.  As a landscape designer I love to discover these hidden gems.  Solana Succulents sits right on Highway 101, just north of Lomas Santa Fe Dr. and is so tiny you could drive right by it.  But whatever you do, you have to stop by and see it.
          Jeff Moore is the one man show behind the best little succulent nursery in town.  Filled with all kinds of unusual specimens along with some of my favorites like Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ and Echeveria ‘After Glow’, Solana Succulents has something for every succulent garden.   
Jeff is also great at recommending a perfect plant for each garden.  For small containers Jeff likes to recommend the new crinkly hybrids of Echeveria (see photo below).  Jeff also has some unusual Agaves for larger landscapes.  Going to Solana Succulents is like going on a little treasure hunt.  You never know what discovery lies around the corner.  In the middle of the nursery say hello to Lucy, the Cuban Iguana, sitting high on her perch.  Like Lucy there are wonderful little treasures to find at Solana Succulents.
Solana Succulents
355 N. Hwy 101
Solana Beach, CA 92075
(858) 259-4568
Echeveria 'Crinkly'

Lucy the "guard iguana"
Photos by Doug Kalal, taken at Solana Succulents.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photo - Nature Designs Landscaping

Photos by Doug Kalal and clients, taken at clients' gardens in
Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Encinitas.

Contractor Review - Nature Designs Landscaping

Whenever I see a landscape contractor’s truck driving by, one of the first things I look for is the contractor state license number on the side of the truck.  The number is always a six digit number that usually starts with a “7” or “8”.  The lower the number, the longer that contractor has been in business.  By far the lowest number of a contractor that I have ever worked with is “597755”.   That is the license number of Nature Designs Landscaping which has been in business for 25 years.
You might be asking, “So what? As long as the guy shows up on time and doesn’t rip me off, I can live with anything.”  I have done a number of jobs with Nature Designs Landscaping over the years and I have really come to appreciate the experience that Steve Jacobs and his crew brings to the job.  Experienced contractors like Steve are worth their weight in gold because they anticipate potential long range landscape problems and work to solve them.  Nature Designs always builds to the highest quality, so while the client may pay a little more up front, that extra quality really pays off in the long run with reduced maintenance costs on things such as broken irrigation heads, dead plants and malfunctioning lighting.
That experience also really shows when comes to building difficult garden elements such as water features and retaining walls.  Steve and his crew are true craftsmen who can take one of my sketches and turn it into a work of art that will win awards.  A picture is worth a thousand words so enjoy the photos of what Nature Designs Landscaping has built for my clients.

Nature Designs Landscaping

116 Hannalei Dr
Vista, CA 92083
(760) 945-4321

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lecture Schedule for March

See, touch and smell some great drought tolerant plants such as Salvias, California & Australian natives at a free lecture. "30 Great Drought Tolerant Plants for Your Garden," a 50-minute event featuring gorgeous photos, flowers, and fun tales from the field.   Here is my schedule for my March;
Friday, March 4th  12:00pm  
El Cajon Community Library,                 
201 E. Douglas, El Cajon
Saturday, March 19th  10:00am   
Bonita Community Library,               
4375 Bonita Rd, Bonita
Tuesday, March 22nd  6:00pm    
Tierrasanta Public Library,          
4985 La Cuenta Dr, San Diego
Tuesday, March 29th  6:00pm     
La Mesa Community Library,
8074 Allison Ave, La Mesa

Photo - Floribunda Rose 'Betty Boop'

Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Point Loma.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Garden Resources - Courtyard Pottery

Strolling down the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  You can explore a wide range of shops that have everything from clothing to furniture to garden accessories.  As a designer, I love to see all the different types of materials used by these talented artists.  At the far North end of the district is a cute little store call Courtyard Pottery.
This enchanting store has a wide range of pots and whimsical garden sculptures.  Geared for home owners with small spaces, Courtyard Pottery also sells a nice arrangement of succulents to complement the pots.  Succulents are fantastic container plants since they need very little water and maintenance.  The store is run by Tita Heimpel, a talented designer who can pull together a beautiful container of plants and deliver them to your home.  There is plenty of parking by her store so go check it out.  Mention that you read about the store in this blog to Tita and you will receive an additional 10% off any one item.
Courtyard Pottery

142 S. Cedros Ave   Suite A
Solana Beach, CA 92075
(858) 481-7687

Photos by Doug Kalal, taken at Courtyard Pottery.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Photo - Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Mesa

Prostrate Rosemary
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at Cuyamaca College.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Plant Review - Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

          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.  Coming in at a robust 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide, ‘Tuscan Blue’ is also the largest.   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!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Photo - Water Feature on a Retaining Wall

Photo taken by Doug Kalal at a client's garden in Encinitas.
This is a retaining wall with a stone facade. A water feature was built on the hill above the the wall.  The water cascades down the hill into a lovely pond at the foot of the wall.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gardening Tip - Feeding Roses

Roses can be pigs.  They just love to be fed.  To get a prize winning pig, you need to feed it the good stuff.  Roses are the same.  To get great roses, you need great food.  The best rose food available in San Diego is Ada Perry’s Magic Formula.  This food is only available at Walter Andersen Nurseries in Point Loma and Poway.  Ada Perry’s Magic Formula is made up of blood meal, gypsum, epsom salts, bone meal and other micronutrients.  In others words, it is a terrific stew for making your roses happy. One twenty pound bag will feed about 30 roses.  Each rose gets 2.5 cups in January and 2.5 cups in July and always water your roses thoroughly before feeding.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Photo - Walter Andersen Nursery

All photos by Doug Kalal, taken at Walter Andersen Nursery in Poway.

Nursery Review - Walter Andersen Nurseries

         Some people collect stamps, others collect beanie babies, but some of us just have to collect that next really cool plant.  For plant junkies like me, there is no better nursery than Walter Andersen Nursery in Poway and Point Loma.  Founded in 1928, the nursery in Point Loma has been run by the Andersen family for all 82 years of its existence. In 1996 the family added the second location in Poway.
          I love Andersen Nurseries for 2 reasons.  First, they have an amazing selection of plants.  I love salvias and they always have a tremendous variety of these wonderful hummingbird plants.  They also have spectacular selections of Camellias, Roses, California Natives (3 different types of Cleveland Sage alone), and fruit trees.
          I mentioned that there are 2 reasons I love Walter Andersen Nurseries.  The first is the plant selection.  The second is the service and here is an example.  I was with a client in Andersen last week to pick out small fruit trees for my client’s new mini orchard.  I had designed an orchard that was about 55’ long by 6’ wide and decided that 6 small fruit trees could fit in that area.  My client & I met with Greg Steffen at the Andersen location in Poway.  Greg listened carefully as my client talked about the type of fruit she was interested in, the growing environment and her desire to have some type of fruit all year around.  Walter Andersen Nurseries sells over 200 varieties of fruit trees and Greg did a great job of picking the best 6 for my client.  It is that type of outstanding service that has been a hallmark of Walter Andersen Nurseries for 3 generations.  By the way, here are the fruit trees picked for my client’s garden in Tierrasanta; Dwarf Little Cado Avocado, Dwarf Algerian Tangerine, Desert Delight Nectarine, Eva’s Pride Peach, Dwarf  Midnight Valencia Orange, and a Dwarf Meyer Lemon.  Here is their info;

Walter Andersen Nurseries

Pt. Loma

3642 Enterprise St
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 224-8271


12755 Danielson Court
Poway, CA 92064
(858) 513-4900

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lecture Schedule for February

See, touch and smell some great drought tolerant plants such as California & Australian natives along with unusual Salvias at a free lecture. "30 Great Drought Tolerant Plants for Your Garden," a 50-minute event featuring gorgeous photos, flowers, and fun tales from the field.   Here is my schedule for my February;
Tuesday, February 15th   6:00pm    
Allied Gardens Library,                 
5188 Zion Ave, San Diego
Tuesday, February 22nd  2:00pm    
Fallbrook Garden Club,               
341 Heald Lane, Fallbrook
Sunday, February 27th  11:30am     
Congregation Beth Israel,           
9001 Towne Centre Dr, San Diego

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Photo - Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Jolla.
ps: Yes, the leaves really do smell like pineapple!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Contractor Review - JCMS Landscaping

Ah, football season is about to end this Sunday and I am already missing watching my San Diego Chargers.  One of my favorite Chargers is Darren Sproles.  He was never the biggest dude on the field, but Sproles’ versatility always found a way to get the job done.   JCMS Landscaping is a lot like Darren Sproles, small but very versatile and hard working.
Founded in 1979 by Joseph Cryns, JCMS is now run by Joseph and his 2 grown sons, Jesse & Gabe.  Based in Santee, JCMS does landscaping installation and maintenance throughout the county, although I have worked with them primarily on East County jobs.
As a designer, I always know that if JCMS is on the job, then whatever I have designed will get installed correctly.  Retaining walls, patios, shade structures, lighting, water features, irrigation and drainage are among the landscape features that JCMS has installed for my clients over the years.  What I really appreciate however is what a client told me yesterday.  She was really impressed that JCMS was not only doing the job promised, on the time schedule promised, but that JCMS was focused on making sure that every aspect of the landscape looks as good as possible.  Here is their contact info, followed by some photos of what they have installed for my clients.

JCMS Landscaping
10638 Prospect Ave,
Santee, CA 92071

All photos by Doug Kalal, taken at clients' gardens in Tierrasanta & Spring Valley.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photo - Stone Top Tumbled Pavers

Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Ocean Beach.

Garden Elements - Tumbled Pavers

            Gardens generally consist of 2 elements, softscape (plants, lawn, trees, etc.) and hardscape (patios, pathways, water features, etc.).  This series on Garden Elements will touch on how to use hardscape to improve your garden.  Today’s topic is Tumbled Pavers. 
            Pavers are made from concrete and come in a wide range of colors and styles.  One particular style is the tumbled paver.  Manufacturers create this material by loading a standard paver into a long metal drum.  The drum is then spun.  This softens and chips the edges of the paver and gives the material an old world look.  Pavers are laid on top of a sand base and carefully fitted together with a synthetic piece of edging to hold the borders in place.  Depending on the style of paver, the client can choose from several different patterns from running bond to modified herringbone.
Tumbled pavers are my favorite material for creating patios.  They are only a little more expensive than concrete ($10-$15 per square foot installed for pavers, $8-$12 for concrete) but have a more attractive look. Pavers are also a permeable surface, which means that rainwater goes in between the seams of the pavers and does not runoff into the storm drain.  I especially love the Stone Top Tumbled Paver in brown as seen in the photo above. 
A terrific place to look at all the different styles of pavers is RCP in Santee.  They have a great showroom and wonderful sales staff.  Here is the info for that location, RCP also has stores in Chula Vista, Lemon Grove, Escondido and Encinitas.

RCP Block & Brick  
8755 Magnolia Ave, Santee,

Paver patios under construction.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Point Loma & Tierrasanta.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011