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Series archive: The Global Garden

  • The Global Garden: A mission that produced a world of edible adventures

    The Global Garden: A mission that produced a world of edible adventures

    The Global Garden started two years ago with the mission of meeting the people and exploring the cultures of Los Angeles through the prism of what we plant. Now as 2013 comes to an end and I close out this series, I've been thinking back on how the experience has changed what I put into my own...

  • Time to plant arugula for homegrown greens with a kick

    Time to plant arugula for homegrown greens with a kick

    Feeling frisky after the salad? Maybe it’s the arugula. Arugula (Eruca sativa), a relative of mustard and often called rocket, at one time was considered an aphrodisiac. It was even banned in some gardens. It originated around the Mediterranean, where it has been a garden staple for centuries,...

  • With baseball plant, throw a curve into your windowsill garden

    With baseball plant, throw a curve into your windowsill garden

    In the spirit of the season, meet the baseball plant, sometimes sold as the baseball cactus, so named for the ribs that resemble the stitching on a ball. For some gardeners, it's a catch: slow growing, pest resistant, drought tolerant and undemanding -- a tiny, thornless, living sculpture that...

  • Planting marigolds, for Day of the Dead and beyond

    Planting marigolds, for Day of the Dead and beyond

    Marigolds were on double duty all summer long, brightening the garden while repelling pests -- aphids above-ground and root knot nematodes in the soil. Now that Day of the Dead is around the corner, marigolds' next-to-last job is at hand: The petals will get scattered into bright orange pathways...

  • Carrots: Three tricks to growing a healthy crop now

    Carrots: Three tricks to growing a healthy crop now

    At nearly every community garden in Los Angeles, and at every school garden too, someone is probably growing carrots. Sweet, crunchy and familiar, a freshly uprooted carrot is a fun surprise, like unwrapping a present, wrapped in earth. But even though the domesticated carrot (Daucus carota subspecies...

  • Lemon verbena: So many reasons to add aromatic plant to garden

    Lemon verbena: So many reasons to add aromatic plant to garden

    The next time the thermometer rises, consider following the example of Victorian women. In summer they would pack lemon verbena leaves in handkerchiefs and get some relief from the heat by inhaling the plant's pleasing perfume. Or try an updated version: Cut a few sprigs to put on the dashboard...

  • Golden barrel cactus, a hot pick for low-water landscapes

    Golden barrel cactus, a hot pick for low-water landscapes

    The golden barrel cactus may be endangered in Mexico, but the plant has found new life north of the border as a top accent in low-water landscapes. Sometimes called mother-in-law’s cushion, the golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) may not send out its crown of pale yellow blossoms for 15...

  • Camomile plants: from pretty flowers to homegrown tea

    Camomile plants: from pretty flowers to homegrown tea

    In summer, when the camomile is in full bloom and harvesting has begun, the gardeners at Stanford Avalon Community Garden in South L.A. let a portion of the field go to seed, ensuring a harvest down the line. Most of the gardeners here are from Mexico, where té de manzanilla (camomile tea) is about...

  • Santa Rita prickly pear -- a summer splash of purple in the garden

    Santa Rita prickly pear -- a summer splash of purple in the garden

    Prickly pear cactuses are so common in Southern California that they blend into the background, even now when the fruit, or tunas, are turning red-purple and dropping off. For the Santa Rita variety (Opuntia violaceae var. santa rita), it’s not about the fruit but rather the ornamental appeal....

  • Jerusalem artichokes, a lazy gardener's top crop?

    Jerusalem artichokes, a lazy gardener's top crop?

    One of the enduring lessons of gardening life is to remember the recommendations of other gardeners. More than a year ago, musician and edible gardening consultant Lauri Krantz told me that she was stunned by a harvest of Jerusalem artichokes from only eight plants. Krantz, whom I profiled last...

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