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Southern California Gardening: Planning for the New Year

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

It’s time to transition from one gardening year to the next. Lowe’s Southern California gardening contributor shares what that’s like.

box of garden herbs and vegetables

By Bonnie Jo Manion

The year 2013 was a typical Southern California year, weatherwise. We had a little heat spell in August and September, but nothing like the previous year, which brought triple-digit temperatures to the coast.

This year Southern California is still experiencing below-normal rainfall. For instance Los Angeles received only 39 percent and San Diego received only 63 percent of normal rainfall, according to Internet rainfall statistics for Southern California. And we can expect more of the same, according to some forecasts.

“Little Ollie” olive trees

With that in mind I plan to continue to transition my landscape to plants that are drought tolerant and require less irrigation. I also want to grow more edibles and install a “workhorse” garden structure that looks good year-round. I’ll outfit it with low-maintenance plants such as olive trees (Olea europea), boxwood (Buxus), ‘Wheeler’s Dwarf’ pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).

Homegrown cauliflower

I derive a lot of satisfaction from my kitchen garden and edible landscape. I prefer to grow as much food as I can, eating whatever’s in season. Eating from my garden gives me more control over my food, not to mention unbelievable freshness and taste. I plan to add more edibles to my garden in the coming year.

Flat-leaf Italian parsley

I also intend to grow more quantities of herbs. I grow a lot of different herbs now, but I want more, especially of parsley, mint, basil, and thyme. Herbs look great in your landscape, as well as have culinary, medicinal, insect-repelling, and fragrance qualities.

Take some time over the winter to ponder over your gardening year ahead.

See more Southern California Gardening Articles.