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Plants that can survive under California Pepper (Schinus molle) trees

Most California pepper trees you see will have nothing growing under them for two reasons: one is that they produce a chemical which is mildly poisonous to other plants, and the other is that they form a dense mat of surface roots. However, most of us don’t love the idea of bare earth or mulch under our pepper trees.

In scouring the web, I found plenty of information about plants that would grow under oaks and eucalyptus, the other two most common culprits, but very little about understory plantings for pepper trees. So, I have been assembling a list, and I’d like to share it. Any other plants that you know of that can survive under Schinus? If so, reach out and let me know- I’ll add it to the list!

Agave americana, Bergenia cordifolia, Cyclamen, Hedera (ivy), Lamium, Myoporum parvifolium, Rosmarinus prostratus, Sarcoccoca, Senecio mandralascae, Vinca minor.

Sage is featured in This Old House magazine

TOH_Outdoor Rm 1I’m so proud to have an outdoor living space featured in This Old House magazine. They were also kind enough to quote me giving some advice on creating your own outdoor living space. Outdoor living is definitely my passion- I love creating spaces that are personal and stylish. If you don’t get the magazine, you can check out the full article here.

Sage is featured on Houzz.com!

Make sure to check out this article by Houzz contributor Jennifer Christgau-Aquino on how to plan for your outdoor kitchen. She featured some photos of Sage work and there are even a few quotes from l’il ole me!

The link: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/63341331/list/how-to-cook-up-plans-for-a-deluxe-outdoor-kitchen

It’s time to cut back ornamental grasses

If you haven’t already, it is definitely time to cut back your ornamental grasses for the spring. What you see here is purple fountain grass that badly needs to be cut back. Last year’s grass has turned to straw, and the funny thing about straw is that it does not come back to life. Instead, when you cut it off, fresh new grass will grow back. To do it, you some twine to tie up the grass like you’re tying a ponytail. Then cut the whole ponytail off! At first, you will have a short haystack where your grass used to be, but within four weeks you will see fresh new grass.  

Encaustic tile is happy tile

Ashley Winn Design - Houzz (1)

Imagine for a moment that this was a kitchen instead of a laundry room. I think I’d be happy every time I cooked a meal in such a light, bright, and airy space. This design is by Ashley Winn Design out of Salt Lake City. She is doing some very stalkable work (if you stalk designers the way that I do that is). I think it can really pay off when people take a risk and use an actual color for their cabinets, especially this light sea blue (though I also love a stormy french grey-blue).

The designer also used encaustic tile for the flooring. Encaustic tile is cement tile where the colors and patterns are not actually done with glazes. Instead, the colors are created using powdered pigments in the clay so that the color is integral to the tile itself. The end result is a matte finish and timeless look, partly because the technique first rose in popularity in 13th century and has been around ever since and been through quite a few revivals. Since one of these revivals was in the 1920’s, these look completely at home in some of San Diego’s historic neighborhoods, like Southpark or Kensington, where many of the original houses were built in the late 20’s. Want to find some encaustic tile for your bungalow? Cement Tile Shop is a great resource and their visualizer will help you picture how it will look in your own home. Tierra y Fuego also sells them affordably. Grenada tile’s Echo collection also has some gorgeous options, including unusual Arabesque shapes.