Native home gardens: Taming the wild things

By Jennifer E. Beaver Staff Writer A few weeks back, I wrote about my struggle to appreciate native landscapes. The column was inspired by our home’s inclusion in the Lawn-to-Garden Incentive Program (lblawntogarden.com) sponsored by the Long Beach Water Department, which will pay $2.50 per square foot to replace thirsty lawns with select drought-tolerant plants.…

Growing Up

By Jennifer E. Beaver Ever get something stuck in your head? In my case, it’s a lemon cucumber. It all started with the cuke photo in my latest book, “Edible Gardening for California” (shameless self promotion– let’s get it out of the way). It’s a cute cuke– oval, pale yellow with stripes, about three inches…

Can a drought-tolerant landscape be beautiful?

By Jennifer E. Beaver I have a conflicted relationship with drought-tolerant gardens. I understand the need to conserve water. But the garden-shaped space in my heart is full of thirsty English cottage flowers draped artfully over a bower. So when I got a letter from the Long Beach Water Department saying I was eligible for…

Soccer award recognizes courageous player, commemorates fallen soldier

By Jennifer E. Beaver Staff Writer A fallen soldier’s passion for soccer will run through future generations thanks to his family and a handful of strangers who never met Sergeant Israel Garcia– former Poly High School soccer player and posthumous recipient of the Silver Star Award, the nation’s third-highest award for valor. Sgt. Garcia’s widow,…

How to Shop a Plant Sale

By Jennifer E. Beaver Gardeners, position your wheelbarrows. The spring plant sale season is about to begin. Make a list, get there early, wear your fast shoes and tote a bottle of water. And don’t be shy about politely elbowing your way toward the object of your desire. Think I’m kidding? Show up on opening…

Garden Variety: Chemical Dependency

By Jennifer E. Beaver Though it’s only February and technically more than a month till spring, fresh garden ideas are singing their siren songs. They trill from seed catalogs, beckoning you to grow some oddball lettuce. They waft hypnotically from nurseries and big-box stores and you suddenly find yourself contemplating some frilly six-pack or a…

Garden Variety: I’m dreaming of a potted Christmas

By Jennifer E. Beaver If ever there was a year for homemade presents from the garden, kitchen or craft table, this is it. My giftable plants go in pots this week, and the baking is underway. With peppermint chocolate bars and oatmeal scotchies lining the pantry and dozens of snickerdoodles, peanut blossoms and almond bars…

Garden Variety: A Book List for Gardeners

By Jennifer E. Beaver With Christmas right around the corner, you may be wondering what to give the gardener in your life. Choose the right book, and the lucky recipient will thank you all year long. Or grab one for yourself. The following reflect my personal preference for gardening books that have practical value. Many…

Making peace with fall in Southern California

By Jennifer E. Beaver Fall is planting season in southern California. Since I grew up on the opposite side of the country, I find this unsettling. Oh, sure, I understand that everything from sweet peas to broccoli flourishes in the still-warm California soil and thrives with winter rain. I appreciate the Mediterranean climate of my…