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Strelitzia reginae AKA: Bird of paradise Appearance: Tampa Bay origami, hummingbird methadone Origin: A fever dream rising from the ashes of an Anaheim Ramada Occupation: Trailer park socialite, patron saint of screenplays Scent:  Top notes of traffic median with a hard candy drydown Zones: Responsible for every bad date in Melbourne Applications: Facilitator of shoulder-pad...

Every weekend last summer, as we walked to and from the beach, we'd pass a south-facing succulent tour de force. But this hedge of Aloe arborescens (street name: torch aloe) didn't really get interesting until November. Welcome mats, schmelcome mats — by now you know that it's the welcome plants that...

At a Halloween party a couple weeks ago, the host, our friend Tom (winningly dressed as a 1930s lion tamer) told us we had to, had to, take a one-block detour to see one of the most spectacular ficus trees we would ever lay eyes on. We...

One of the things RB and C have in common is that we're late bloomers. We won't get into all the clammy high-school specifics, but it's something that we bond on. So — it's no surprise that late autumn flowers endear themselves to us. The cigar...

When our guava harvest is complete and the gin is infused, this is our drink of choice. Fleur de sel caramel sauce is a must, like the one we found from Praline's Patisserie at the La Jolla Open Aire Market. We found ourselves using the guava slice to...

Agave americana Common names: Century plant, maguey, American aloe Appearance: A jade crown in a dustbowl, hungry bats flitting past its teeth Occupation: Star of the long-running Wile E. Coyote Sculpture Hour Scent: A sugared buzzsaw with basenotes of musky sheriff. Zones: Throwing shade on your vegan pancakes outside Needles, CA History: Queen of the monocots,...

We live in a catty neighborhood. Between indulged strays and outdoor pets, cats are constantly drifting in and out of gardens on our block. Our favorite is the darling Petunia, who bears an uncanny resemblance to RB’s childhood kitty, Oakie. A purring puddle of fur, she's picky...

When one of our flowerbeds was in urgent need of some sprucing, we acted on a tip from a landscape architect friend and headed east to a wholesale nursery. The place turned out to be a sprawling, plant-hunting goldmine. The only hitch? We had to pretend...

We entered into our air plant relationship with a bunch of misconceptions. They're generally misunderstood; the mythology goes: they're easy (how difficult can they be — they're like the breatharians of the plant world), they're bland, flowerless, overpriced novelties at Home Depot. Alternatively, it's easy...