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An Exploding Blue Surprise & More

May 5, 2015


I’m often asked why I prefer hand watering to drip or some other irrigation system. The short answer is that I prefer to water everything myself because I’m afraid I might miss something. See, if I entrust the watering needs of my garden to someone — or something — else I might miss the baby’s first step, its first word, its first exploding tassel-topped purple turban. Okay, so I mixed things up there a bit but what I’m referring to is shown in the photo above. While watering I looked up at my favorite super-tall blue cactus and noticed that its fruit had somehow . . . exploded?

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The Return of Vickie

April 24, 2015

Vickie’s most wanted

 What can I say about Vickie Perez? Let’s see, she’s friendly, knows how to spin a good yarn, is a dog lover and a loyal friend to those lucky enough to call her one. Oh, and she’s talented, really gosh darned talented. Of course if she were here watching me type these words she’d become all shy and aw shucks-y … but that modesty is just another part of her appeal. Vicky has become something unexpected around here: She is a break-out Rancho Reubidoux star! This means that no matter what else is going on, no matter what’s being posted (or not, due to medical hiatus on my part), the post where I introduced Vickie to RR readers will have visitors (click to read it here). They come for photos of her planters for their own blogs, websites or Pinterest pages, where they are picked up again, and so on … So, while she’s had thousands of viewers here, who even knows how many other thousands have seen her projects elsewhere? Aside from driving up RR’s stats, Vickie’s also done something priceless for me: She unlocked my creativity. How? By letting me in on her artistic process, and by sharing her innovative problem solving decisions. Without Vickie I would not have come up with the palm scoop planter, the TV-front planter, even the fan screen planter!

If there’s a negative quality Vickie and I share, it’s an artistic sensitivity that keeps us from ever being referred to as prolific. We require so many variables be aligned before we embark on a project that we can be immobilized when they’re not just so. So, I’m very happy to report that the planets have aligned and all conditions are optimum because Vickie’s back! She’s been hard at work creating tons of new succulent gardens that will be for sale at this weekend’s Riverside Flower Show and Garden Tour event held at the Elks Lodge. Here’s a look at just some of the quirky-ingenious pieces Vickie will have for sale (full show information will be at end of post).

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Cross-Pollination Opportunity

April 21, 2015



Landscape designer and non-secateur blogger, Dustin Gimbel, hosted the latest version of his Cross-Pollination Garden Party in Long Beach recently. And, as usual, it was a lively event featuring delicious food and drink, stimulating conversation and the chance to catch up with talented folks from a variety of creative disciplines. This iteration I collaborated with Gimbel on the invitation for the party — his concept, my artwork — and when it was finished we agreed it was pretty awesome. So why not share? To that end I’ve applied the design to both tee-shirts (shown above on local chanteuse and model, Alexandra) and on prints (framed and unframed), both available now at my Society 6 shop. Click over to find links for both. Proceeds from all sales will go toward future Cross-Pollination events.

And you can catch Dustin at South Coast Plaza this weekend at the Arts & Leisure Show Garden, part of its Southern California Spring Garden Show. Find out more by clicking here, or by going to his Facebook page: click here.

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Down the Street and Out of the Ordinary: Joe’s Place

April 18, 2015


Down the Street and Out of the Ordinary is a series that will acquaint Rancho Reubidoux readers with singular local gardens and their creators.


Joe’s place is literally steps away from the Rancho on Redwood Drive. Ironically, it was because I couldn’t see it that I took notice of it at all. From street level, a ground-covered slope and tall bamboo fence choked with vines, hid the house completely. I’d see an elderly gentleman out front occasionally; I made it a point to say hello. Then came a time I stopped seeing the man and I feared the inevitable. For a while, nothing, then: Changes. Big ones. The bamboo fence and vines disappeared and the ground-cover was stripped away completely. I could see the house, finally, and the front yard was now a blank slate. I was intrigued; what would happen next? I feared another lawn might be added to the already lawn-heavy area. Then I embarked on my latest surgical adventure and had to wait until I began walking again to catch up with the yard and its changes, a period of almost 8 months. Walking down the street again for the first time, I got chills: The house that had been obscured behind a green veil now faced a vision from prehistory, or maybe a desert planet. I had to meet the person behind the transformation …

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April 7, 2015

Every once in a while Paul and I will be struck by the beauty of our surroundings, exclaiming to each other how lucky we feel to live where we live. This is not to say that everyone would feel the same; we understand that many of our neighbors would find the Rancho a strange place. Unlike many (most) homes in our town we have no lawn, roses are extinct here, and sprinklers don’t come to hissing life morning and night. Maybe it’s because this place is something we’ve created that we appreciate it so; the same way the parents of an odd looking child look upon it and smile. Still, visitors do proclaim its loveliness, its charms. The intent of this post is to exhibit via photography some of what makes our outdoor spaces so special. Think of them as moments from a sunny spring day, Rancho Reubidoux style.



Our palo verdes are in dazzling bloom and I love seeing them contrasted against weathered wood and deep blue sky.

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Some of Its Parts

April 2, 2015


Okay, so it took a collection of 9 cast iron manhole covers (the details above are from my faves) and 1 oblong vintage meter cover . . .


4 amazing corner stones (that’s them above) and a galaxy’s worth of pebbles . . .

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Newly Notable

March 24, 2015


“Oh, hello there”, my octopus agave seems to be saying from its spot between the pepper trees on 14th St. Quite self-effacing coming from a large succulent with a seeming writhing base, with a central stalk that easily extends to almost 20-feet. I had been monitoring my modest friend all last week, waiting for the day the buds that bristled on its stalk’s would open; my secret hope that it might happen on the first day of spring, 2015. Well, disregarding ceremony and my wishes completely, a full 5-inches of the agave’s lowest buds opened the day before that momentous seasonal occurrence . . .

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