DIG THIS! SLO Landscape Strategies

Just A Cup Of Rain For Me, Thanks!

For much of the year, gardeners in our Mediterranean climate gaze at the dusty, golden hills dreaming of the first shower that will bring verdance back to the parched earth. During the summer months, irrigation from our public water supply keeps our plants from drying out, but it’s difficult to mimic all the benefits of natural rainwater.

Watering isolated areas of your garden’s soil with drip irrigation and sprinklers is good, but often the root zone isn’t thoroughly saturated. After a while what the plants really crave is a good, penetrating soak. Whether we get 9 inches or 29 inches, nothing fully recharges the soil or revitalizes the plants like a good, solid rain.


Our garden, composed mostly of succulents, gets watered quarterly—that’s only four times a year. Compare that with your average fine fescue lawn, or Kentucky blue grass, that need a drink at least twice a week. The trick is establishing your plants’ roots properly, right off the bat. The way to do that is this:

  • Make sure you have plenty of mulch on your garden for trapping moisture, wherever it comes from.
  • Water for longer periods of time, not in short, frequent bursts
  • Water less often.

This trains your plant to extend their roots far down into the soil, making them more efficient water-seekers. Plants whose roots are too near the surface are high-maintenance complainers!

The Mulvihill Home: GBG Buzz!

We’re famous! Our friends at Tolosa Press graciously printed an article we wrote about the historic Anholm House’s garden restoration. Head over to their website to download whichever version of the News is your favorite: the SLO City News, the Coastal News, or the Bay News. Then search for “Gabriel” and we’ll pop right up. Let us know your feedback, and if you’d love to see your own garden in lights (or in ink), drop us a line. Look for future GBG spotlights in Tolosa Press publications!

Plant of the Month: California Poppy

You’ve seen them sprouting for about a month now–waxy yellows, creamy oranges, and maybe some rusty reds. Our California state flower, the California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, begins its season in the cool spring months when rains are plentiful and the days are beginning to think about getting warmer. While we love the ubiquitous melon-colored poppy, this month we’re featuring the lesser-known cultivar ‘Mahogany Red.’

While Eschscholzia californica is a U.S. native, its certain of it cultivated varieties originate elsewhere. ‘Mahogany Red’ found its way to being across the pond, in England.We find the ‘Mahogany’ to be a refreshing spin on traditional stock, and enjoy working it into gardens here or there. The ‘Mahogany’ often reseeds itself, though sometimes performs as an annual, and is just as drought-tolerant as its orange and yellow brethren.

WonderMondo has set up a website devoted to wildflower chasers. Our state flower is prominently displayed on this page–check it out!