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, it’s also one of the greenest. This is a city which boasts the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, Malibu, Westwood, Brentwood and the pride of the San Fernando Valley – Woodland Hills. A drive through any of these cities and you will see some of the most gorgeous landscaping you’ve ever witnessed. Many of these homes belong to famous people of course and they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their landscaping. But, as beautiful as LA is, there are very specific challenges to landscaping here. The first is the weather. LA is in a desert region. The average temperature is in the 70’s. It rarely rains and it never snows. But, we do get firestorms, windstorms and the ever-dreaded earthquake. So, how does one think about landscaping when it could possibly be blown away tomorrow, or get swallowed up by a quake. Another major issue here is water. It may not be long before the state issues the need to start conserving water in a big way. Even though we live by the world’s largest body of water, it’s not drinkable and it can’t water our gardens. To landscape, you must know what grows well in California weather. The dry heat can really kill a lot of trees, plants and flowers, so be careful what you buy and when you plant it. This means you need to work with a professional landscaper. That means you can end up putting out a lot of money. Before you go out and hire a landscaper, check out the various companies in your area. Ask your neighbors who they’ve used and what they charged. The problem is there are a lot of wealthy people in LA and they’re accustomed to paying top dollar for services. This translates into these same services wanting the same kind of money from everyone. You have to let them know you’re looking around before you’re going to hire anyone. In order to avoid landscaping problems after the fact,
everyone should familiarize themselves with California State Law (Section 4291, Public Resources Code) as this section of the code refers to native vegetation and the rules for dealing with it. This particular website can familiarize all Californians with the rules http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/gtr-050/landscaping.html. Fountain grass, or Pennisetum setaceum, is a native plant that comes in two varieties in southern California and they often weak havoc with many people’s gardens. They grow wild and they will choke your plants. So, whenever you begin landscaping, make sure you know how close any fountain grass is to your property. Fountain grass is known as an invasive or aggressive plant. A small list of invasive plants to watch out for in your area include: European beach grass, Cheat grass, Pampas grass, Artichoke Thistle, Himalayan Blackberry, Wild fennel, Scotch Broom, Cape Ivy and German Ivy. However, there are other invasive plants that can completely overrun your garden. Some of them are: Leafy spurge, Russian olive, and the Edible fig. If you go here http://www.cal-ipc.org/ip/inventory/pdf/Inventory1999.pdf , you will find an inventory of all the invasive plants you need to watch out for in your area. The California Department of Conservation has declared that oil and gas seeps are a growing problem for landscaping in the state. It’s best to check out their website to find out more information before you begin planting or landscaping - http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/seeps/. The last issue to consider is pest and insect control. This site http://bugguide.net/node/view/28627 has been set up to help you identify the insects in your area to watch out for as you protect your home and garden. WHOLESALE LANDSCAPING RESOURCES IN LA
One of the good things about life in a big city like LA is that even though it’s generally very expensive, there are also bargains to be found. However, like everything in this city you first have to make sure that whomever you call will come to the area where you live. So, if you live out in Culver City and a business is located at Topanga Canyon and Ventura Blvd., they may or may not be willing to drive out that far. But, don’t assume. Always ask. One of the best and possibly the first place to go is Orchard Supply Hardware. This is no ordinary hardware store. They also have a huge garden center in each of their stores. Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and they have stores through the LA area. So, chances are they are somewhere near you. If you go to their main website – www.osh.com, then you can use the store locator feature and find their nearest location. They sell beautiful plants, soil, garden accessories and tools all at affordable prices. Another excellent wholesaler is Concord. Even though they sell other items, they have a huge stock of plants, trees, bushes and fruit (http://www.dollaritem.com/Wholesale-Flowers-Others.asp). Now, the thing about Concord is they only have the one location but you can purchase online if you’re willing. Personally, I’d rather see the plants first. They’re located on 46th Street which is a bit far if you live in the Valley, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Westwood, Santa Monica or quite a few other places, but the drive might just be worth it. One of the most enduring features of Los Angeles are the beautiful palm trees one sees in the movies and in photographs. Actually, there are several varieties of palms and since they’re in great demand out here, the best wholesaler for palm trees is Kendall Palm Trees (http://www.kendallpalms.com/index.htm). They’re located out in Fallbrook, so you might want to check them out online, or give them a call to make sure they have what
you want before you drive all that way. But, their website is enormously helpful and you can likely find all the information you need before you get in the car. If you happen to find yourself living in the Valley (Woodland Hills, Encino, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, Van Nuys) then Platinum Landscape & Design in Woodland Hills is likely for you. They do things the old fashioned way – no website. You give them a call, they come over and give an estimate. Their convenient location makes it easy for them to travel throughout the valley and assess your landscaping needs. Four Seasons Wholesale Nursery is another fantastic place for gardening supplies and landscaping expertise. They are also located in Northridge on Nordhoff St. which is close to Northridge Mall. If you live further out in the Valley towards Granada Hills or Northridge, then Western Gardens Wholesale Nursery is more likely for you. They’re located in Northridge on Lassen Street, which makes them another convenient location. But, if you’re looking for the Valley’s largest wholesale nursery, then look no further than Ultra Greens Wholesale Nursery. They’re located in Sylmar which is really right in the center of the Valley and this makes them a fantastic choice (http://www.ultragreens.com/). Each of these wholesale suppliers can provide you with excellent, professional landscaping advice and tips. But, like everything in Los Angeles, before you drive off somewhere, check them out online, or give them a call. Landscaping services are very popular in Los Angeles and there are always busier and less busy times to go in. And that’s important in LA. Gardening with Color California is a state famous for its biodiversity. In simple terms, we live in a state that is full of gorgeous plants and flowers which in full bloom provide a feast of color. If you
want to create an array of color in your LA garden, then look no further than all of the native plants California has to offer. Gardening with native plants is a way to create a natural spectacle surrounding your home. Native plants grow best (as do all plants) when they’re in a familiar environment. Another advantage to native plants is they don’t need any fertilizer and they add to the beauty of your home. If you’re looking to create a garden with lovely lavenders and pretty periwinkles then you want to plant the California Wild Lilac. Just like its name, it comes in beautiful shades of light to deep indigo. In the same color/shade range you’ll find the enigmatic Wooly Blue Curls. This small shrub will not grow as tall as the lilac but at only 1.5 feet it’s a gorgeous addition to any garden. The Mystery Rose is very much like its name. It doesn’t look like a traditional rose but the colors are in a light shade of rose and pink, just like its name. The Marmot is a glorious California flower that also comes in beautiful shades of mauve and periwinkle. It’s technical name is the Globe Gilia. With its long thin green stem and a bulbous ball of purple fur-like petals it would be very nice alongside the lilac and the wooly blues. The Wild Lupin is a sensational flower with an unusual shape. Its violet colored petals sway out from a green center which looks a little bit like an aloe plant but it’s not. If you’re creating any garden in these colors, you don’t want to leave this one out. There are other colors in the spectrum of course and one of the ways to go is with the yellows and oranges. Perhaps one of the most famous in this range is the California Poppy, probably because it’s the State Flower. A simple shape yet stunning array of colors highlights this flower. Its outside edges are a pale orange which gave way to a bright orange and end in fiery red at the other side. An excellent complement to the poppy is the Wild Monkey Flower. True to its unusual name, this flower is more of a deep orange/red and
distinguished with a bright yellow center. It’s only five small petals on a long stem but in a garden with other bushes and flowers, it would stand out nicely. The Sitka Columbine is perhaps one of the more esoteric of California flowers. Five orange/red spires with yellow at the tips and base make this a perfect flower for a more eclectic style of garden. The Canyon Sunflower must be considered for any garden in this color range. Although it looks nothing like a traditional sunflower its bright yellow curled petals around a small center would be a nice change to all the orange and red in your garden. A more traditional and well-known plant is also perfect for this style of garden. The Tiger or Leopard Lily is an exotic looking flower with an array of brown and yellow spots (like its name) and when it flares its petals, watch out! The final suggestion is to fill any garden with native fruit plants and trees. Strawberries, pomegranates, oranges, lemons and grapefruit literally grow wild in California. These bushes and trees will not only provide you with a great deal of additional color but they’ll also save you money the next time you buy fruit. Drought Resistant and Maintenance Free Landscaping in Los Angeles A reality of life in Los Angeles is that we don’t get much water. In fact, it hardly ever rains at all. This is an arid region and it has a tendency to displaying drought-like qualities. Your yard can become extremely dehydrated and your plants, trees and bushes will die quickly in LA if they’re not drought-resistant. The good news is there is a long list of trees and perennials you can plant in your yard that not only beautify your space but also use little water. However, before you start putting those bulbs in the ground, make sure you know which plants are best for LA. A tip on the technical terminology – drought resistance landscaping is called xeriscaping (the x is pronounced like a “z”). The Thuja Green Giant grows up to five feet tall and is perfect for the California
weather pattern. Alongside this cone-shaped tree, here are several more that are droughtresistant and grow well in LA: the Royal Empress Tree (grows up to 12 feet tall), the Leyland Cyprus (grows up to 4 feet tall), the Tulip Poplar which grows up to 6 feet tall and is a vivid yellow, the brilliant Summer Red Maple and its cousin the Scarlet Red Maple and the ever popular, Weeping Willow for those days when you want to lay on your back and gaze at the summer sky. One of the easiest drought-resistant and pest resistant bushes to grow is the blueberry. Plus, you can eat them! Perhaps one of the most popular and brightly colored bushes in this category is the Azalia. You can see them in gardens all over LA and California. Other drought-resistant plants and tree for this region include the oak tree, rose bushes, maple trees, cherry trees, and apple trees. Once again you can have a beautiful garden, use minimal water and have fresh fruit for the home. If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands and you simply can’t devote hours to pruning your bushes but you want to admire your landscaping, here are some tips for the LA garden. One thing that many people are doing is creating rock gardens where the rocks are coordinated with some very low maintenance plants such as palms, cacti, and aloe vera. This gives your garden a nice southwestern theme and it is a very nice overall look. If you still want more green, than consider planting clover instead of grass. Clover grows well in California and again it adds a nice lush appearance to your garden. Another very low maintenance plan is to plant moss instead of grass or a combination of moss and clover. Palm trees are not only drought resistant, they’re also very low maintenance. These lovely giant green fans literally grow on their own with little to no help from you. Aside from all the trees, flowers and bushes you can plant, remember that the more you plant, the more work you have. It’s a simple equation, so
think about the kind of garden or landscaping you desire and then ask yourself if you’re willing to do the work, or you can afford to have someone do it for you. If neither of these are true, then adjust your landscaping plan accordingly. For example, most rose bushes require a tremendous amount of care. The same is true for many perennials (but not all). Talk to a local landscaper, or better yet head down to one of the local wholesalers mentioned earlier and ask them about the best plants for low maintenance. Another strategy for low maintenance is to plant hedges and intersperse them with a brick or rock patio. This requires almost no work at all. Plus, a patio lined with hedges can be very beautiful. You can also add lovely accessories such as wicker chairs, wrought iron pieces and colorful garden gnomes.
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