Hosting A Garden Tour

A local APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) officer asked me to put a garden on their joint garden tour with Foothill College. Since the theme this year is small gardens, I just volunteered my own garden. Last Wednesday (5/27) was the day and about 50 people came for the tour. First benefit for me […]

Another Miracle Plant in the Bay Area

A friend first told me about this Boojum Tree (Fouquieria columnaris) in someone’s frontyard in Saratoga, California. I went for a revisit recently and took some pictures of this weirdly wonderful plant. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Baja California, more than 500 miles to the south of Bay Area.

Holy Bohdi Tree Outdoors in the Bay Area

Hiding behind the big IKEA and Home Depot shopping mall near University Avenue exit on highway 101 is this cute little Vietnamese buddhist temple. I visited there several years ago since its architecture has a lot of Chinese design element. About a month ago, I made another trip to see their water lotus in huge […]

Two Great New Plants from China (Part Two)

Cycas debaoensis is a rare cycad first discovered in 1996 in Debao county, GuangXi province in southern China. Photo to the right is my very own precious specimen bought last year (2007) from Palm and Cycad Exchange in Southern California. It is easily the most expensive plant I have ever bought, and my wife was […]

Two Great New Plants from China (Part One)

Even after over 100 years of exploration and collection, botanists are still discovering new plants in China, especially in the southwestern Province of Yunnan. Most amazingly, some of these new discoveries are fabulous ornamental plants that are sure to become wildly popular and thus widely available. In this first article, I will discuss Trachycarpus princeps […]

Fragrant Orchids of China

In the U.S., especially in California, when someone mentions cymbidium, it is usually a large potted evergreen semi-terrestrial orchid that comes to mind. This one has grassy leaves up to 3′ long and 1″ wide, with clusters of big pseudo-bulbs the size of large eggs. During winter and spring, many flower spikes shoot up from […]

Michelia alba – The King of Fragrant Plants

Michelia alba is an evergreen tropical tree from Southeast Asia beloved for its wonderfully fragrant flowers. In its native habitat, this tree can get to 30′ high and wide and is often used as a street tree. It is believed to be a hybrid between Michelia champaca (another fragrant tree in its own right and […]