Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Plant of the Month: December 2010

Lavatera assurgentiflora , Island Mallow, Mission Mallow, Malva Rosa: shrub growing to 12 ft. with 3-5" maple-like leaves. Rosy/lavender white striped flowers, 2-3" wide and resembling a single Hollyhock, bloom nearly all year.  Drought resistant, Lavatera can be used as a fast growing windbreak hedge.  This plant is a Channel Islands native, but naturalized along coastal California. Needs sun, but has low water requirements.  The jewel-like flowers are attractive to hummingbirds.
To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants

Monday, November 1, 2010

Plant of the Month: November 2010

Aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis, is a drought-tolerant succulent that requires well drained soil.  The leaves are used for medicinal properties, especially effective for burns. Clustering rosettes of fleshy leaves.  Blooms in the winter with yellow flowers atop a dense spike on a 3-ft stalk. Leaves grow from 1-2 ft. with a spread of 2-3 ft.
To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants

Friday, October 1, 2010

Plant of the Month: October 2010

Arctostaphylos of the species uva-ursi, is commonly known as manzanita and has several other common names: sandberry, kinnikinnick and bearberry.  Evergreen western natives, that range from full size shrubs to small trees.  The cultivar 'Point Reyes' is prostrate, spreading and rooting up to 15' in width, with dark green leaves on closely set branches.Waxy bell-like white or pinkish and tiny apple-like pink or red fruit. Heat and drought tolerant. Good on hillsides, near coast.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Plant of the Month: September 2010

Agave shawii  The Coastal Century Plant is a large sized perennial succulent with a rosette of sharply pointed leaves. Sends up a tall yellow flower spike, annually. Fire-retardant, drought-resistant, tolerates poor soil but requires excellent drainage. 1 ft. to 3 ft. high, 5 ft. wide. 

To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Plant of the Month: August 2010

Salvia greggii ,  Autumn Sage or Cherry Sage is a 3-4' tall shrub with 1/2"-1" leaves and 1" rosy red spikelike flower clusters in late spring and summer (fall through spring in the desert).  Drought tolerant near the coast.  Can be sheared into a hedge. Also in pink and salmon varieties.

To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Plant of the Month: July 2010

Salvia leucantha, Mexican Brush Sage
  • Blooms summer and fall with velvety purple spikes and small white flowers.
  • Drought tolerant. 3-4 ft. tall and wide.
  • Fast growing, full sun or light shade. 
  • This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

    To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Plant of the Month: June 2010

    Echium candicans (Echium fastuosum) 'Pride of Madeira' is a shrubby perennial, very drought resistant with dramatic spike-like bluish purple flower clusters blooming May-June. Effective on slopes for erosion control or at back of a flower border or against walls. 6 ft. high.

    To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants, visit

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Plant of the Month: May 2010

    Cercis occidentalis Western Redbud is a shrub or small tree with 10-18 ft. height and spread. Visually interesting all year long, displaying magenta flowers for a 3 week period in the spring, blue-green foliage in summer, light yellow or red foliage in the fall and red-brown seed pods in winter.  This variety of Cercis is drought tolerant and can work well on dry, seldom watered banks.

    To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants, visit

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    Landscape in Transition Garden Tour

    A Garden Tour hosted by the American Society of Landscape Architects is scheduled for May 1, 2010.

    " A Landscape in Transition" is a guided Bus Tour of private residential gardens and public projects designed by professional Landscape Architects. The tour will highlight the professional work of Landscape Architects and will showcase ways to make existing landscapes drought tolerant. The tour includes a residential landscape installed by and currently maintained by Steven Smith Landscape, Inc.  Please visit the residential installation and maintenance galleries on our website for photos for this and other projects.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Palm Removal and Installation

    Steven Smith Landscape was contacted recently by an Association that had a sick Phoenix canariensis palm tree.  We determined that the tree died from a Fusarium infection. Fusarium 'wilt' is caused by a soil fungus Fusarium oxysporum and is the most common infection affecting palm trees.This causes older, lower fronds to turn yellow, wilt and die followed by the upper leaves. The die off of fronds is very rapid and eventually the entire plant dies. There is no cure for this disease and trees must be removed.  It can be spread by contaminated pruning tools.  New tools or disinfected tools need to be used to curb the spread of the disease.

       We removed the tree and replaced it with a
    36" box Chamaerops humilis which is resistant to infection.
    Chris Cutler, Maintenance Superintendent - Steven Smith Landscape, Inc.

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    Plant of the Month: April 2010

    Calliandra eriophylla known commonly as Fairy Duster, is a low spreading shrub which is native to deserts and arid grasslands in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and Mexico. Pink Flower clusters bloom February through May, with deep pink to red stamens and bipinnate leaves. 3 ft. tall, 4-5 ft. wide. Highly drought resistant.

    To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants, visit

    Monday, March 15, 2010


    if your yard is like my yard all this wonderful rain has turned it into a thriving green field - of weeds! so this weekend while the sun was shining, i put on my old clothes and headed outdoors to pluck the bad plants from the good. weeds are water hogs and take from all my beautiful plants- like all my paper whites just coming up.

    around my lantana, i came across a particularly virulent mass of weeds and just dug in. i love to pull weeds- one of the easiest ways to beautify any space. plus you get your hands dirty and i love the feeling when the earth releases the roots. right away, i felt the stings of many tiny invisible needles and realized these weeds were probably stinging nettles. now, i knew i should get up right away, wash my hands and find my gloves. but i was in a groove and didn't want to stop. plus, you can't get dirty with gloves on and i am always afraid that spiders have nested in the fingers of my gloves- so despite having many pairs i usually weed without them.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Plant of the Month: March 2010

    Anigozanthos flavidus Kangaroo Paw is an evergreen perennial native to Western Australia. Clumps of dark green sword shaped leaves grow to 3 ft. or more. Anigozanthos come in a variety of colors: red, purple, green, or yellow; flowers are tubular shaped with a woolly texture. A. flavidus is yellow green, tinged with red. Blooms late spring to fall, but spent flowers need to be cut to the ground.

    The photo shows this variety in a poolside planter bed, installed by Steven Smith Landscape.

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Plant of the Month: February 2010

    Cercidium 'Desert Museum'. Also known as the Palo Verde, this deciduous desert tree is very hardy and features a bright yellow floral display in spring, ample shade, and colorful bark. In 3-5 years it can reach 20 ft. tall and wide. The 'Desert Museum'is a clean, thornless tree, with few seedpods. Re-bloom possible in summer. To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants, visit

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Plant of the Month: January 2010

    Westringia fruticosa Coast rosemary. An evergreen shrub requiring little to moderate water and full sun. Green to gray-green leaves with white undersides. Small white flowers that bloom all year in mild climates. 3-6 ft. tall, 5-10 ft. wide. To see more suggestions for drought resistant landscape plants, visit