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Garden Plotting: City Dwellers Get Country

Photo courtesy Shawna Coronado
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It's the third day of 80 degree-weather in Los Angeles and you may be feeling like we missed spring. Spring is planting time and that takes the right seeds. I've written about companies that offer really great product, but nothing is better than the experience of friends. Their favorites might be your favorites too. Seeing that there is no "Yelp" for backyard gardens, I rely on my cadre of gardeners, garden writers and twitter cohorts to aide my planting decisions for the 2011 Season. I've leaned over the virtual fence of the internet to ask for advice from my community of gardeners. I've asked a dozen of stellar plant geeks to share their favorites with you.

With the catalogs alone I always fall prey to temptation. We all need a filter sometimes and here we have my gardening cohorts' best intentions to rely upon. These garden "tweeps" from all over the "internets" were asked to submit their 2011 planting season conspiracy lists. These are gardeners and their dreams. Maybe you will glean from their years of killing plants some glimmer of brilliance for your own P. Allen Smith Garden Home (or in my case, Hovel). You can use their brains to act as a filter...I know I will.

And thank god I have smart friends like Shirley Bovshow, Billy Goodnik, Daniel Bowman SImon and even 14-year old chicken wrangler Orren Fox. After about 3 pages of any garden catalog perusal I'm just filled with the "gimmes." I'm stupid by way of desire. I'm overwhelmed with "new heirloom tomato introductions." Call it "gardener's last call." Any Beef Master Tom...ato will do. Why do those seed companies spend major chunks of their budget on photographer's sexy glamorr shots of eggplants and cucumbers? It works. After furious thumbing of pages I don't care if the varieties really don't work in my backyard's Sunset climate map. I'm tempted to make a go of it. Besides, it was 80 (feeling 90) over this winter weekend, so those maps are in need of a post-Kyoto-Climate-Treaty meltdown makeover anyway.

First up is Chicago's Shawna Coronado of Love that, right? She's @shawnacoronado if you'd like to follow her on Twitter and you'll find she's oh-so-constantly enthusiastic and encouraging as her readers kill plants. She adores compost and it is the magic that makes her, or anyone else's, garden rock. Hopefully you'll glean insight into her process (yes, there is one) as you get green at home. Shawna likes Burpee Home Gardens for her plants @BHGardens and Botanical Interests Seed Co @botanicalseeds for, well, seeds. You'd be wise to consider her lead as no matter the designers intention, the plants gotta' have heart. And yes it's Chicago 4 USDA Climate zones away from LA. All of these will grow in So Cal and some will do even better. Look at her garden as a menu and order what YOU like.