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NEWS
October 23, 2013 | By L.A. at Home staff
Sure, you could carve up a jack-o'-lantern, but what did that innocent pumpkin ever do to you? The craft project of the moment is a kinder, gentler take on Halloween pumpkins that turns the gourds into succulent planters. The concept is credited to San Diego garden designer Laura Eubanks, who said she came up with the idea three years ago after buying a warty pumpkin at Trader Joe's and deciding to dress it up. Since then, the idea has taken off. “I have a workshop in my garage now, two helpers and enough business to keep me rockin' until Christmas,” Eubanks said by email.
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NEWS
October 23, 2013 | By L.A. at Home staff
Sure, you could carve up a jack-o'-lantern, but what did that innocent pumpkin ever do to you? The craft project of the moment is a kinder, gentler take on Halloween pumpkins that turns the gourds into succulent planters. The concept is credited to San Diego garden designer Laura Eubanks, who said she came up with the idea three years ago after buying a warty pumpkin at Trader Joe's and deciding to dress it up. Since then, the idea has taken off. “I have a workshop in my garage now, two helpers and enough business to keep me rockin' until Christmas,” Eubanks said by email.
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NEWS
July 16, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
In the world of succulents, the hundreds of species and cultivars of the hoya genus stand out. They are in the milkweed family, second only to orchids in the diversity of their flower forms and shapes. Lowland tropicals, hoyas are native to Southeast Asia, densely vining beneath the canopy in the rain forests of New Guinea. Cultivated by enthusiasts for hundreds of years, some of the most exotic hoyas come from the wilds of the Philippines. And yet you will find avid hoya collectors as far off as Sweden.
NEWS
October 1, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
The golden barrel cactus may be endangered in Mexico, but the plant has found new life north of the border as a top accent in low-water landscapes. Sometimes called mother-in-law's cushion, the golden barrel cactus ( Echinocactus grusonii ) may not send out its crown of pale yellow blossoms for 15 years, maybe more. The cactus can get 3 feet high and nearly as wide -- truly barrel sized. Although drought tolerant, regular watering will spur faster growth, said Shelly Jensen of Worldwide Exotics Nursery.
HOME & GARDEN
March 15, 2007
RE ["The Backyard in a Different Light," March 1]: I read your article and was surprised at the quote from the nursery manager at Roger's Gardens. Doing a succulent garden may be great for the summer, but the article was about the problems after a freeze. He must not be familiar with what happens to succulents during a freeze. In the Coachella Valley we lost Agave attenuata, Opuntia leptocaulis (pencil cactus) and many other succulents because their leaves turn to mush in freezing weather.
HOME & GARDEN
September 26, 2009 | Debra Lee Baldwin
To some, the plant may look like a tray of blue French fries. Dave Bernstein, owner of California Nursery Specialties in Reseda, describes the ground cover as "the velvet on which to set your garden's jewelry." To the rest of us, it's the succulent we're seeing everywhere , and with good reason. Though exotic-looking, blue senecio ( Senecio mandraliscae ) is easy to grow. The juicy-leaved plant needs significantly less water than a lawn or a flower bed. It does well on slopes and is lovely planted in drifts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 2009 | Cara Mia DiMassa
When construction workers removed the temporary fence around the new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, it was to downtown denizens like the unwrapping of a giant holiday present. After years of demolition and construction, the dusty corner at Spring and 2nd streets suddenly gave way to a burst of greenspace, complete with a lush front lawn of grass that would do any suburban ranch house proud. The space along 2nd Street is technically an adornment, but to residents and workers desperate for open space, they are glad to call it a park.
HOME & GARDEN
August 23, 2008 | Debra Lee Baldwin, Special to The Times
ANNA GOESER'S container gardens -- desert dioramas she calls Mojave bonsai -- started as simple arrangements of cactuses and succulents. Then she began to add roads, cars and people. "They became little worlds," she says. Her inspiration dates to the 1960s, when Goeser's grandfather had a cactus garden ornamented with old tractor parts. "He lived in Yucaipa," she says. "Houses had decorative rock instead of lawns, and huge columnar cactuses. Everything was flood-lighted at night.
NEWS
August 9, 2013 | By Barbara Thornburg
John Trager, curator of the desert collections at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, offers these five tips for growing cactus and succulents in containers:  1. Plant in a well-drained mix of 80% pumice and 20% compost. 2. Fertilize during the growing season, spring and summer. 3. Handle cactus carefully. Wear latex surgical gloves, which provide the dexterity you need without damaging the plant. If you have to handle larger specimens, use a piece of old carpeting or an old pair of pants.
HOME & GARDEN
September 26, 2009 | Lisa Boone
At a time when more people are getting serious about responsible landscaping, James Duell's garden is a reminder that you don't need a lot of space -- or water -- to create something inspiring. His exquisite design, a strip along the path to the guest house he rents in Culver City, is evidence of a love affair with plants and an eye for color. "I started landscaping almost 20 years ago, and it has been so much more than just an education," says Duell, who trained at the venerable Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and has worked at public and private properties, including the grounds of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.
NEWS
August 27, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
For most garden plants, flowering is a sign of renewed life. That's not the case with the succulent blue agave ( Agave tequilana ). Like other agaves, tequilana flowers only at the end of the plant's life. A 15-foot  asparagus-like stalk emerges from the center, sending out puffballs of flowers at the top. The mother plant then dies, but not before producing pups at its perimeter. Most blue agaves never get to that stage, however. The sugar-rich sap that develops prior to flowering can be fermented into the alcoholic drink called pulque; the heart, or pina, is used in the production of tequila.
NEWS
August 9, 2013 | By Barbara Thornburg
John Trager, curator of the desert collections at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, offers these five tips for growing cactus and succulents in containers:  1. Plant in a well-drained mix of 80% pumice and 20% compost. 2. Fertilize during the growing season, spring and summer. 3. Handle cactus carefully. Wear latex surgical gloves, which provide the dexterity you need without damaging the plant. If you have to handle larger specimens, use a piece of old carpeting or an old pair of pants.
NEWS
August 8, 2013 | By Barbara Thornburg
When author Kurt Kamm is not writing firefighting mysteries, you can find him on his terrace pacing among his pots of plants: 112 cactuses and succulents, at last count. “I often come out when I have a thorny issue in a plot I'm trying to work out,” he said with a grin. When Kamm moved into the two-story, 1960s home on the hillside bluff overlooking the Malibu Colony, the 100-foot-long terrace had not a single plant. Because he had a severe brown thumb and had never cared for a garden in his life, he began buying cactuses and succulents: “the biggest, cheapest, least troublesome thing I could plant,” he said.
NEWS
July 16, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
In the world of succulents, the hundreds of species and cultivars of the hoya genus stand out. They are in the milkweed family, second only to orchids in the diversity of their flower forms and shapes. Lowland tropicals, hoyas are native to Southeast Asia, densely vining beneath the canopy in the rain forests of New Guinea. Cultivated by enthusiasts for hundreds of years, some of the most exotic hoyas come from the wilds of the Philippines. And yet you will find avid hoya collectors as far off as Sweden.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 19, 2012 | By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
The City Hall park that was used - and some would say abused - byOccupy L.A.protesters last year reopened Thursday after a $1-million rehabilitation. With a smaller lawn and native succulents and salvias, the park will need one-third less water than it did before the demonstration, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, making it a "symbol of sustainability. " The mayor marked the reopening with a ceremony on the south lawn. But not everyone was invited. PHOTOS: City Hall park reopens A dozen Occupy protesters, who had been barred from entering by police, stood unhappily on the other side of a concrete and chain-link fence.
FOOD
May 12, 2011 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
Every time I'm in London, I somehow manage to find an excuse to eat at St. John Bar & Restaurant. That's a wonderful rustic restaurant for die-hard carnivores in northwest London from Fergus Henderson, author of the quirky but important cookbook "Nose to Tail Eating. " I didn't go there this time, but that was only because Henderson and business partner Trevor Gulliver had just opened St. John Hotel on Leicester Square in the West End and I wanted to eat there. It turns out I wasn't the only one. This and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal are two of the most sought-after reservations in one of the world's best eating cities.
NEWS
December 5, 1985 | GORDON SMITH
"A lot of people think these plants are ugly," said Carl Volkers. "And a lot of people probably don't like them because you can't touch them or hold them. People tend to think of them as prickly and ugly." He paused to look at the thousands of cactuses and succulents surrounding him in his "stock house"--one of two greenhouses where Volkers keeps the plants that provide seed for his cactus nursery in Vista.
NEWS
August 8, 2013 | By Barbara Thornburg
When author Kurt Kamm is not writing firefighting mysteries, you can find him on his terrace pacing among his pots of plants: 112 cactuses and succulents, at last count. “I often come out when I have a thorny issue in a plot I'm trying to work out,” he said with a grin. When Kamm moved into the two-story, 1960s home on the hillside bluff overlooking the Malibu Colony, the 100-foot-long terrace had not a single plant. Because he had a severe brown thumb and had never cared for a garden in his life, he began buying cactuses and succulents: “the biggest, cheapest, least troublesome thing I could plant,” he said.
HOME & GARDEN
January 23, 2010
If soggy flower beds and slippery slopes are keeping you out of the garden, two new books can replace the urge to plant with the inspiration to plan. Garden photographer and Home section contributor Debra Lee Baldwin takes on common design questions in her new book, "Succulent Container Gardens." Which plants? With which pots? For which spots on the patio, balcony or deck? Baldwin's book ($29.95 from Timber Press) delivers ideas, including a chapter on unusual succulent arrangements in unconventional containers.
FOOD
November 25, 2009 | By Reuben Muñoz
I'm a procrastinator, but I'm also very particular. So, even though the big dinner's near at hand, I refuse to settle for a supermarket florist boo-kay to grace the table that displays my holiday feast. I figure I can surely come up with something more interesting. I just need a formula to get my mind working. Like most holidays, Thanksgiving has its own images, symbols and color schemes associated with it. The whole pilgrim-Indian idea involves way too many buckles and feathers, so I instead settle on the old horn of plenty idea -- the basket-like cornucopia spilling over with a warmly colorful harvest bounty.
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