Favorite Gardening Books

 Gardening books are everywhere but occasionally you find one 
that is like a handbook.
This is the case for me, with a book called:

 Southern California Gardening; 
a Month-by-Month Guide 
By Pat Welsh.

Pats book was first published in 1992 
and the revised edition was released in 2000.
Tens of thousands of copies have been sold.  

The book covers everything from weather and climate,
 to soil and pest problems and just about everything else in between.

 The monthly "to do" list is invaluable and the 
 month by month format, makes this book really user friendly.
I think I have read it cover to cover a dozen times!

Pat has been an avid gardener all of her adult life 
and she sees a new type of garden in the twenty-first century:

"I foresee the emergence of an entirely new garden style, a new and innovative formality of design that will provide cheerfulness, excitement , and a greater ease of upkeep"

She calls the new garden type: 

"a more structured space,
 with formality of design 
and informality of planting"

I couldn't believe it when I read those words.

That is my garden!!!

 The garden design is the structured foot print but...

 the foot print is filled with plants that are allowed to grow freely, as they were intended, without much upkeep.
 This is the key to sustainability, I think.
Having many diverse and different plant species makes the garden 
more enjoyable and interesting; 
for everyone...including the critters, birds and valuable insects.

Pat included a great guide on how to grow wildflowers in the garden, 
 so I thought I would give this a try.

I started with California poppies because they seemed like they would be easy 
 re-seed year after year.

The seed packets came mixed with rice hulls which make them easier to see when you are scattering them.
 I sowed the seeds back in October and 
much to my surprise, I got tons of flowers.

 I have used them in little bouquets with the sweet peas 
and some other things like grape vine tendrils and celery stalks.
 Something about that bright orange flower is so wonderful...
I guess that's why it's the California state flower!  
If you ever travel up the coast this time of year there are acres of poppies and other beautiful native wildflowers, dotting the foot hills and coastline.
 For me, the best thing about having a garden is enjoying what is gives back
 after all of the hard work.  
But I agree with Pat, 
 less upkeep 
is really the goal.  

Someone should combine the fragrance of 
sweet peas and lavender into a perfume!
Or maybe they already have....

Next year I will be a bit more creative with the wildflower garden, I promise Pat! 

But in the meantime I will enjoy my little poppies.

And if you love to garden, please pick up Pats book!

Happy Gardening


  1. Your garden (and photographs!) are gorgeous! Here in Georgia we b-a-k-i-n-g from the heat and dealing with a major drought - so the only thing I can do in my garden is water, water, water (and pray for rain). Guess I will live vicariously through yours. Thanks for the eye candy!

  2. I die!!! This is absolutely gorgeous!! This may be a totally stupid question...but would that book work for other place besides Southern California? Is it totally area specific...or are there many other useful tips and tricks? I used to live there and totally wish I still did!!

  3. You have the most gorgeous gardens! Love all your beautiful blooms! Thanks for sharing.

  4. LOVE LOVE that arrangement Kelley!! We have weeds everywhere in our new backyard....except for poppies :) Gotta luv their hardiness! Did you know it is illegal to pick or kill the California Poppy in the wild (orange ones)....crazy, huh?!
    And yes, the hillsides here on the coast are filled with orange (poppies), purple(lupin) and yellow mustard - GORGEOUS!!

  5. I LOVE your property! Such success with the wild poppies! Loveliness abounds in your garden. My grandmother grew poppies and they remain one of my favorite but tricky here in NE Ohio where I live. I love California gardening...lucky you!


  6. Kelley ~ Love, love, love the photos and the inspiration. Gardening is on hold awhile for me. We live near Palm Springs and everything is about to shrivel and dry up with the 120 degree heat approaching. It's a dream to have a garden again and I love what you've done. I will purchase Pat's book and keep it close by!

    I follow your lovely blog closely and I really enjoy it! You're very talented.

  7. Heaven! I love poppies - they are so happy. California gardens are the best! I'm going to have to check that book out :) Gorgeous photos, Kel.

    Wasn't today pure perfection?!? I love this weather.
    xo Isa

  8. thank you all so much....more news about Pat on the next post!

    Happy gardening...now go get dirty.

    xo kelley

  9. Your garden is turning out so nice Kelley! So funny you are posting about this book, it was recommended to me by the lady I bought my David Austins from. She said the author is from Del Mar. I haven't got it yet, but maybe I should.

  10. Oh my gosh, what beautiful beautiful gardens you have put together! I know it must take years to get to that point .... I guess I better get started and pick up Pat's book! Thanks!

  11. I think I have two of her books and they are SO helpful for this area. Your little flower arrangement is so pretty. Such a happy mix of colors. I saw poppies blooming along the roadside today and thought to myself, "i should take a picture". Didn't have my camera! Maybe tomorrow!

  12. As we bake here in FL, I continue to be inspired by your beautiful photographs. This drought has played havoc with even our "drought-resistant" plants. We are desperately awaiting the summer rains!
    Jane (Artfully graced)

  13. Kelley, your garden is just beautiful! I'm originally a California girl and I must say, I do miss the spring with those gorgeous orange poppies! Have a wonderful summer in the garden!

  14. Your garden is beautiful! I just bought all the flowers for my pots yesterday. Here in CO it just got warm enough to plant! The cold lingered this year. Can't wait to get it done so I can enjoy!

  15. Kelley,
    I used to have a gardening business and when my partner and I discovered Pat's book it was a God send. We used her advice and followed her guide for monthly maintenance for all of our customers. I still use it as a guide to keep my own cottage garden looking as good as possible with minimal hours (I now work full time in a corporate setting).
    Your garden is an inspiration.

  16. Thanks as always for the inspiration, Kelley. We are tackling a neglected landscape around a hundred year old house we bought in March and can certainly apply these ideas. What kind of camera are you using? Your photos are extraordinarily vivid and jump off the page!
    Love your blog!
    Ronnie in coastal Georgia

  17. lovely! jealous actually...its so hot in Houston that watering will not even help...ugh praying for rain these days! enjoying your side of the world! xoxo's Nancy

  18. I have so much gardening to do, Kelley! How dare you remind me!?!?!? LOL! Love your gardens!

  19. incredibly gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    wow. mouth watering.



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