Monday, April 30, 2012

Photo - Roses around a water fountain

In honor of the upcoming San Diego Rose Show,
I will be featuring roses in this blog for the next 2 weeks.
Tips on rose care, the best roses for San Diego,
and ideas for using roses in the landscape are
among the topics I will be covering inbetween now
and the May 12 & 13 Rose Show.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Japanese Lantern

Photo by Doug Kalal

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo - Chiapas Sage with Raindrop

This native of Mexico is also a great hummingbird plant.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in San Carlos

Photo - Dishwasher Pond

Near the end of Shepard's Canyon is Dishwasher Pond.
This pond is filled with fish, ducks and other birds and is
 a great place to take kids for a quick nature lesson.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Golden Wreath Wattle (Acacia saligna)

Shepard's Canyon runs through the heart of
Tierrasanta here in San Diego.  This trail through the
canyon is the same trail that I saw the field of
 California Poppies mentioned earlier in the blog.
These Golden Wattle trees grow down in the bottom
of the canyon where the winter rains form a creek each year.
Photos by Doug Kalal

Photo - California Poppy

The California Poppies are blooming in the canyon
down the street from my house.  This is the state
flower of California, an annual that reseeds itself each year.
This field was actually planted by cub scouts 3 years ago
and now it reblooms on its own each year.
Photos by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

San Diego Rose Show

Do you love roses?  Then you will want to come to the 2012 San Diego Rose Show on Mother's Day weekend and see over a thousand of your favorite rose blooms.  The show will be held May 12-13 at the Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley.  It will be open from noon to 5pm on Saturday the 12th and 9am to 4pm on Sunday the 13th.  Tickets are are just $5 each, with children under 18 free.  Tickets may be purchased at the door or at .

Photo - Water Lily

Water lilies are a great accent for ponds.  Here is a
great webpage for tips on how to plant and
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in El Cajon

Photo - Tiki

These tikis are always a fun focal point for a
tropical garden.  Backard X-Scapes has a
great selection of them, here is their webpage;
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in El Cajon

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photo - It's Spring!

It's finally Spring!
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Jolla

Photo - Shrub Rose 'Prospero'

This is one of my favorite of all the David Austin English Roses.
Prospero is a nice compact rose at 3' tall x 3' wide
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - FX Luminaire Lighting

Outdoor lighting really compliments the landscape
and house architecture.  My favorite insruments
come from FX Luminaire Lighting.
Here is their webpage for more info.
Photo provided by FX Luminaire

Photo - Wood Burning Firepit

Firepits can be either gas or wood powered.  This one
uses wood and creates a more romantic outdoor setting.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Jolla

Monday, April 23, 2012

Doug Kalal is speaking at the Encinitas Library this week

Want to improve your landscape but are not sure where to begin? “Patios, Pathways & Plants for Fixing Your Landscape” will give you great solutions for creating a dazzling outdoor environment at your home. This free presentation will cover a wide variety of topics such as the different types of materials to use for patios, plants for hummingbirds, what to do if you have shade areas or slopes, what drought tolerant plants are best for you. With dozens of plants and material examples to see, you’ll be inspired to transform your yard into a beautiful landscape! This lecture series will be coming to the Encinitas Libary on Wednesday, April 25th @ 6:00pm, 540 Cornish Dr., Encinitas, (760) 753-7376.

Photo - Scarlet Monkey Flower (Mimulus cardinalis)

This California native is also
rabbit resistant along with drought tolerant.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Santa Barbara Daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus)

This mounding perennial is heat tolerant and
drought tolerant as well as a great low
maintenance plant for California gardens.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Photo - Fern Leaf Lavender (Lavandula dentata)

This drought tolerant plant is also lovely
for small floral arrangements.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Mesa

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photo - Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis)

This California Native, drought tolerant ground cover is
also good for coastal gardens.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Photo - Antique Cobble Pavers in Mixed Colors

Antique Cobble Pavers have a nice old world feel to them
but are almost as affordable as concrete.
This patio mixed 2 different colors, "Brown" and "Gray"
to form a really interesting color combination.
RCP Block & Brick is a great place to shop for pavers.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Carlsbad

Photo - Squirrel

This little guy has been visiting my yard lately. 
Hopefully he leaves town before the peaches on my tree ripen.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Photo - White Bark California Lilac (Ceanothus leucodermis)

This stunning California native can be found growing wild
in the Julian and Ramona areas.  This photo was taken on
the way back from the desert last month.  This Ceanothus is
very drought tolerant and reaches 8 to 10 wide tall and wide.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Kashmir Cypress (Cupressus cashmeriana)

This majestic tree will reach 40 to 50 feet tall
and 10 to 20 feet wide.
Photo by Doug Kalal

100,000 Page Views!

Thank you to all my readers, web surfers, and Pinterest followers.  Last night the 2 Minute Gardener surpassed the 100,000 page view milestone!  This great mark was reached in only 16 months.  Thank you and keep sending in those ideas for photos and articles.

Friday, April 13, 2012

20 Terrific Plants for Slopes

Here are 20 drought tolerant plants for a wide variety of slopes in San Diego.  For steep slopes, stick to the shrubs and ground covers.
African Sumac

Bailey's Acacia

Mexican Palo Verde also known as
          Jerusalem Thorn Tree

Bank Acacia also known as Acacia redolens

Bar Harbor Juniper
Ceanothus 'Yankee Point'
Hopseed Bush

Orchid Rockrose
Pride of Madeira
Variegated Myrtle
Wichita Blue Juniper

California Fuchsia
Cleveland Sage

Monkey Flower

Creeping Myoporum

Freeway Daisy

Photo - Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans)

This drought tolerant plant is also great
for seaside gardens.  These photos were
taken at Tidelands Park in Coronado.
Photos by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Photo - Pork n Beans Sedum (Sedum rubrotinctum)

Here is a wonderful succulent ground cover that
gets covered with yellow flowers in the Spring.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Gro-Power

Photo by Doug Kalal

Gardening Tip - Fixing Poor Soils with Gro-Power

As mentioned in the 2 previous posts, hard clay soils present a series of challenges for growing healthy plants.  Gypsum is the best additive for removing salts from a clay soil.  Today’s post will talk about 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 product package for details).
      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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Photo - Garden Gypsum

This is available at Miramar Wholesale Nursery
and other good nurseries.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Gardening Tip - How to Fix Clay Soils with Gypsum

In the previous post I talked about identifying clay soils, now its time to fix the problem.  Clay soils have 2 basic problems that are harmful for healthy plant development.  The first is that the chemical makeup of clay soil tends to be high in salt and the salt is tightly bound to the soil particles.  This chemical composition also holds water tightly to the salt and soil, so that drainage is poor.  The second problem is that clay soils tend to be lacking in organic material and the soil micro-organisms that help plants to thrive.  Some California natives actually prefer this type of lean soil – but I will save that for another post.
      To address the first problem you need to add some gypsum to the soil.  Gypsum is another word for calcium sulfate, a chemical that replaces the sodium in the soil with calcium.  This chemical action helps to unlock the soil, getting all that salt to flush away from the root zone, which in turn lets the water drain away as well.  
      You can either use gypsum for a new landscape by mixing it into the soil with a rototiller, or by spreading it on an existing landscape and watering it in.  The standard gypsum powder takes awhile to take effect in the soil, so you can also use a liquid form of gypsum to speed up the process. There are various types and strengths of gypsum on the market, so always follow the label when it comes to how much to use.   Gypsum is not a fertilizer, so you will still have to feed the plants but it will allow the soil to better process future plant food.  Gypsum should only be used on clay soils; it is worthless for sandy soils.
      Since we have gone over the 2 minute mark, part 2 will have to wait until next time when I talk about Gro-Power.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Photo - Good Soil vs. Clay Soil

Here is sample of clay soil.  Notice the gray, chunky texture of the soil.
The molecules that make up clay soil are more tighly bound
together, which means the soils hold onto water more tightly than good soil.
Here is a sample of good potting soil.  It is darker and has
a finer texture than clay soil.  Water can drain better through
this kind of soil.

Photos by Doug Kalal

Gardening Tip - Identifying Clay Soil

San Diego is a gardener’s dream.  Our moderate temperatures mean that we can grow a dazzling array of plants all year.  The downside to San Diego is that in many parts of the county we have poor native soil for growing all those beauties we see in Sunset magazine.  There are several types of soil in the county.  Today’s post will cover heavy clay soil. 
      How do you know if you have this type of soil?  First dig a small shallow hole about 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep.  Is the soil hard to dig, even though you are not hitting any rocks?  Next fill it with water and let the water drain out of the hole into the soil.  Does the water drain quickly while you are standing there or does it just sit there like a really gross bird bath?  A really gross bird bath means you have clay soil. Still not sure?  Let the water drain completely out and then refill the hole with more water.  If the second batch of water drains slower than 1 inch per hour, you have clay soil.
      Another test is to scope out a handful of soil from that wet hole.  Does the soil feel like playdoh in your hand when you squeeze it or does it slip through your fingers in loose pieces?  Wet clay soil will feel like wet clay (thus the name).   Because of its dense structure, clay soil really holds onto the water which can drown a lot of great plants that need good drainage to survive.  So what can you do to fix this?  Tune in tomorrow when I will tell you how.

Photo - Country Manor Seating Wall

Seating walls are any kind of wall that is about 14 to 16
inches tall and at least 8 inches wide.
They can also be used as retaining walls or walls
for raised herb gardens.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Carlsbad.

Photo - Blood Red Trumpet Vine (Distictis buccinatoria)

This aggressive vine will grab onto any surface and cover it
with beautiful red flowers that hummingbirds love.
Do not put this vine on a wooded fence otherwise the vine
will destroy the fence over time.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Dymondia on a slope

Dymondia is a wonderful little ground cover
for small spaces.  Drought tolerant and ok for
foot traffic, Dymondia blooms in the spring.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Photo - Orchid Rockrose (Cistus x purpureus)

This wonderful drought-tolerant and rabbit resistant shrub
flowers every April.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Photo - California Fan Palm compared to a Mexican Fan Palm

Here is a great side by side comparison photo of a Mexican Fan Palm
(the skinny one on the left) and a California Fan Palm.
As you can see the California Fan Palm has a thicker trunk
and larger fronds.  California Fan Palms are also slower growing
than Mexican Fan Palms.  Both are drought tolerant palm trees
great for California (and Nevada where this photo was taken).
Photo by Doug Kalal