New Plants from NorCal Show

Every February I get a nice preview of most of the new things that will show up at our local nurseries by attending the NORCAL trade show in San Mateo Event Center. This one-day program is intended for all the wholesale vendors and suppliers to show their products to retail outlets. Naturally the most important […]

First Garden Tour of 2010

Right before the beginning of this week-long barrage of storms, I went on a tour to see a Persian fruit tree nursery (Pars Produce in Alamo, CA) and a hilltop garden in Lafayette. Even though the nursery was messy and had exorbitant prices, they do stock some unique fruit cultivars from Iran. I ended up […]

Christmas Flowers after Freeze

Winter can be dreadful even for USDA Zone 9 gardeners, especially when we saw temperature reading like this in my garden on December 7 (30F, or about -1C). The cold night before means that for the rest of winter we have to look at some damaged leaves, which are said to be better left on […]

New Ancient Plant Garden

Sorry if there is any confusion, but my topic today is a new garden of ancient plants at the San Francisco Botanical Garden near its north entrance . I happened upon this garden after I took my brother to the California Academy of Sciences last month. Even after a tour that is too brief, I […]

Rare China Doll in Mountain View

The title is a bit misleading, but I am talking about China Doll Tree, or Radermachera sinica, which is a common house plant. A friend told me about a mature tree in downtown Mountain View on Bush street near Dana. I went for a quick look a few months ago. This particular specimen is already […]

Showy Begonias

The tropical rain forests host more than 60% of world’s plant species and it seems to be especially blessed with plants sporting colorful foliage. One poster child is the Rex Begonias that blend a complete spectrum of colors into amazing patterns. Here are some I grow with the majority of them coming from Home Depot […]


A couple of weeks ago, I saw this exotic white apricot for sale in my local Trader Joes supermarket. I have read about this fruit in a NY Times article years ago and have kept it in mind since then. Probably because it is so new to the general public, there was even a free […]

Uncommon Palms for the Bay Area

Palms have been my favorite plant group lately. When I grew up in Beijing, which is at most USDA zone 6, I had almost no experience with palms except a particular kind of common and versatile fans made from palm leaves (most likely Livistona chinensis).


My son had a play-date last Sunday afternoon (5/24) and my wife said that we have not visited a garden together for quite some time. I guess I must have been really good in my previous life to be this blessed, so we decided to go visit Filoli. For those of you who do not […]