Sunday, September 26, 2010


Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont displays the ravishing beauty of California's wild plants. But the setting is so operatic, it can be hard to imagine this flora on a smaller stage, say, a patio or apartment balcony.

Unless you happen upon a nook where native plants are potted up for a more intimate performance.

On a foggy morning, a hummingbird swoops in for a sip of Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii, above). Impatiently, it probes the whorls of the petite lavender flowers. This sage is usually a sprawling shrub, but confined to a 5-gallon teal pot, the crisp reiterations of dainty leaves and blossoms have the restraint and precision of a Baroque concerto.

Many of Rancho's pots are tall. Low-growing species are raised 3 to 4 feet off the ground, offering a bird's- or bug's-eye experience of these intricate plants.

Click here to continue reading my LA Times story.


  1. Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing this. I'm off now to read the rest of the story.

  2. Kathryn,
    Thanks for your kind words. This blog has been thin of late because I spent a summer as a single mom. The hubby is home, so I hope to be back at it more regularly.

  3. Really well done for the blog.these are so sweet and pretty!
    potted plants


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