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Gardening Smarter in Southern California

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lowe's Southern California garden contributor Bonnie Manion shares five tips for gardening smarter in 2013.

Succulents resist heat and are perfect for climates where heat spikes are expected

As gardeners we never really stop learning. Here are some ways I intend to garden smarter in 2013. I hope they help you too!

1. Fine-tune Your Watering
Place plants with similar needs together. Water early in the morning to prevent evaporation. Use efficient irrigation methods such as soaker hoses and microsprinklers. Use programmable timers on your irrigation. Adjust your watering schedule according to the season. Adjust your sprinklers or irrigation to water plants and not the sidewalks and driveways.

2. Compost in Your Own Backyard
Creating compost from yard waste, kitchen scraps and animal manure (if you have access to livestock) means you end up with this wonderful material called humus. Humus is the best organic soil amendment you can add. Over time it creates the “perfect soil” and is sustainable. It saves you money on buying soil amendments, your plants retain moisture better, you save money by conserving water, and you are recycling rather than sending all of this to landfills. In Southern California our soil tends to be alkaline, and adding humus naturally corrects and balances it.

3. Grow Plants with Multiseason Interest
Look for trees, shrubs and other plants that are hardy and beautiful through several seasons, if not year-round. Examples are olive trees (Olea europea), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), boxwood (Buxus), iris, purple potato shrub (Lycianthes rantonetti), purple hopseed bush (Dodonaea viscosa purpurea), Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), ‘Little Gem’ magnolia, New Zealand flax (Phormium), purple feather grass (Pennisetum advena) and Texas privet (Ligustrum texanum).

4. Use More Succulents in Containers
Additional heat spikes are expected this year, but succulents will weather the heat. Succulents are low maintenance, drought tolerant, textural and come in many beautiful tones to complement every garden palette.

5. Tap into Your Local Garden Clubs and Programs
You will hear expert knowledge on latest trends and ideas to implement. Support your local garden tours and take your camera. Local gardeners are glad to share projects and ideas that work in their gardens.