Regenerative Landscape Architecture
19 Apr 2019

A Mystic’s List of Perennial Plants

Two Performers For My List of Perennial Plants

People often tell me that they love the way I speak about plants and the landscape on my website.  I definitely do express a unique perspective on non-human species and other organic elements of this beautiful, magical planet.  In this post, I will list perennial plants that provide multiple ecosystem services* to us and focus on the mystical side of the plant world, which I have worked with in my professional ecological landscape design business for the last 15 years.

image: list perennial plantsI fell in love with Nature** as a child.  I lived on a houseboat in Sausalito, and back then it was okay to wander for literally hours through the shipyards by myself.  Generation X understands this.  It was on those long, unsupervised walks that I discovered near-blinding pockets of magic.  I would remember them for life.  One was a tall stand of Anise (Pimpinella anisum) which had been colonized by a group of Ladybugs.  The sun was shining on their brilliant red shells, popping them against the vibrant green stems.  I stood surrounded by the wonderful scent of the plant and pinched several small lace clumps to savor the flavor, being careful not to scoop up any Ladybugs on accident.

I will list perennial plants that I talk about in this post at the bottom, so you can take that to a garden center near you or order plants online more easily.  Anyway, in addition to it providing one of my first mystical experiences, it turns out that Anise is quite an amazing plant.  Cultivated in Egypt and other ancient societies, it provides us with antioxidant-rich essential oil used widely for flavoring and preventing food spoilage.  Mediterranean countries use it to craft alcoholic beverages named Arak, Raki, Ouzo, Anis, Pastis, Sambuca, and Zivania.  The seeds are edible, as are the flowers and lace-like tops.  As illustrated in the story of one of my adventure walks as a child, beneficial insects like it.  Ladybugs will take care of aphid problems on plants, and many garden centers now sell them in refrigerated mesh bags to take home and release on your garden.  I always tell clients to spritz them lightly with water mixed with a few drops of mild (non-toxic!) dish soap before releasing them.  This temporarily seals their wings, and they give up trying to fly off and instead settle in to munch the aphids in your garden.  Anise oil used as aromatherapy relieves stress.  What a service in this world of commercial barragementt! Anise is toxic to mosquitos and several other insects nobody wants in their garden.  Conifer seedlings beset by the pine weevil, for instance, are able to grow up with application of Anise.

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15 Mar 2019

What Is The Best Mulch To Use In Los Angeles?

In L.A. What is the Best Mulch to Use?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed the barren, compacted parkways all around L.A.  Most of them have at least some plant life, some have trash, others nothing at all.  Just sun-baked, bleached dirt.  My guess is that most of you reading this are not quite as nerdy as I am about the health of our parkways.  Like, you may never have asked what is the best mulch to use in your yard or the planting strip out front of your house or apartment, known as a parkway.  Technically, the city owns parkways, but citizens must maintain them.  Perhaps where we can come together is that parkways could stand a makeover.  I’m here to share my techniques for revitalizing the parkways of L.A., cheaply and with little work on your part.

The methods I use with my clients are super simple, yet they, like most Permaculture techniques, pack a massive punch.  In the field, ecological designers like me call this sort of approach, where minimal effort produces maximum results, a fulcrum move.  The idea is that a fulcrum moves only a little at the joint, but at its end it swings wide.  In other words, you put in little work to effect a change, but the landscape jumps into action and sweeping change is the result.  Another great benefit of using fulcrum moves like the ones I’m going to share with you here, is that your costs are reduced.  That’s right, your water bill will go down, and if you pay a “mow, blow, and go” landscaper, you won’t need them to maintain your parkway as much, if at all.

If this sounds good to you, read on.

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22 Feb 2019

Five Southern California Plants That Reduce Maintenance and Water Costs

image: Southern California Plants

Plants do a lot for human beings. If I were to try and list all of the services provided by the Plant Kingdom to the Animal Kingdom, it might amount to an encyclopedia set.  Most of us know about a handful taught to us in school:  plants breathe out oxygen, provide shade, and offer us delicious produce to eat.  In this article, I'd like to share a few of the many additional gifts we get from Southern California plants by highlighting a few species you can grow if you live in Los Angeles County.

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05 Jul 2018

Is $75K Buried In Your Soil?

Buried Treasure Found

Do you loveimage: buried treasure found stories of buried treasure found?  Most of us have at one point dwelt for a moment on how neat it would be to find a jar of gold coins buried on our property.  Before I was born, my dad did exactly that, at his parents’ Mount Tamalpias home.  Going back years later, he dug but could not find the jar of stored wealth.  Did someone else discover his stash?  Or did he simply forget where he had buried it?  Now it’s too late to find out, since there are new owners who probably don’t want holes or strangers in their yard.  But what if he had known what I’m about to tell you?  He could have avoided all that digging and the loss of some precious metal coins worth a lot more than their mint value today.

I don’t want you to make the same mistake, not that you necessarily would do what my dad did, but I’m excited to share with you my  method of getting a lot of money out of the ground your home sits on.

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14 Jun 2018

Desertification Reversal Isn’t Only Possible, It’s Simple

How to Easily Reverse Desertification

image: desertificationIn my experience as a designer and an intuitive, forest destruction is the single most dangerous activity of mankind.  The result of taking out trees is the decline of the landscape toward desertification, or entropy.  I’ve always shaken my head at the mainstream tale we’ve been told about entropy being Earth’s natural tendency.  If you’ve spent as much time gazing into Nature as I have, you probably agree that this is a flat out lie.  To anyone watching, natural systems move automatically toward a climax ecosystem state unless they are disturbed to a degree that breaks down the inherent ability of the system to recover.  In extreme cases of deforestation, true deserts occur, such as the Sahara in Africa.

An Egyptian Take On Desertification

Speaking of the Motherland, on the subject of desertification I find the research of those wise and brave enough to disregard Egyptology to be important here.  They are the most fun researchers and writers IMHO (in my humble opinion) because they are boldly willing to pass right by the misinformation campaigns fed to the world.  Read More

19 Apr 2018

How to Make Extra Money At Home: Turn Raw Land Into a Cash-Producing Business

Raw Land As a Cash-Cow:  How to Make Extra Money at Home

If you’re not earning income from your property, you might be wasting its potential.  If you’re serious about learning how to make extra money at home, why not transform your landscape into a living ATM?

image: cash crops I’m talking about permaculture design.  Transforming your yard into a productive oasis is the most sustainable shortcut to long-term returns.  And in this post, I’ll teach you exactly how to do it.  If you’re unsure about transforming your existing property, what if I told you a permaculture master plan could save you money on materials and labor while offering you the potential of an income-generating cottage industry you can operate from home?

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