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Why it’s so hard to get grass to grow in Southern California yards

Q: My house is on a slope, but the bottom will not grow grass no matter how much I water it. I put rolls of sod down and a week later it’s burned. What would you do? A: When new homes are constructed in California, the soil must be super-compacted to protect against earthquake damage. This is one reason it’s so difficult to garden – the soil lacks any natural structure or organic matter. We’ve seen builders install sod over this super-compacted concrete-like soil, and it looks good until escrow ...
Tags: Gardening, California, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Orange County, Riverside County, Southern California, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, San Fernando Valley, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF


How Trader Joe’s unlikely story of success almost didn’t get told

Long before Trader Joe’s sold a buffet of fancy foreign cheeses, it had Brie. And Trader Joe’s had Brie first. The story of how the Southern California-based grocery chain cornered the market on gooey French cheese is just one of the tales told in Joe Coulombe’s business memoir, “Becoming Trader Joe: How I did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys.” Coulombe, who grew up on an avocado farm in Del Mar, died in February 2020 at his Pasadena home at the age of 89. However, with author Patty C...
Tags: Europe, Books, Texas, California, La, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Tokyo, Watson, Pasadena, Monrovia, Pronto, Joe, Southern California, Montrose


Why Matthew Specktor went ‘Crashing’ into the lives of Southern California’s creative people

Matthew Specktor, author of the novels “That Summertime Sound” and “American Dream Machine,” was working on a TV pilot when he realized he just wasn’t enjoying the process. But he knew what did sound appealing: Writing about other creative people, like the artist and writer Eve Babitz and a list that eventually included director Hal Ashby, singer-songwriter Warren Zevon and actress Tuesday Weld among them. “On a particularly depressing day when I was slogging along with the pilot, I thought, ‘I ...
Tags: Books, Hollywood, London, Instagram, California, Wikipedia, Los Angeles, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Southern California, Montrose, West Hollywood, Lucille Ball, Los Angeles California, Los Angeles Review of Books


A nursery full of unusual exotic plants you will want to take home with you

Whenever I visit Worldwide Exotics Nursery, I see something I’ve never seen before. It’s a nursery with lots of unusual selections and many of them appeal to the “I gotta have one” mentality of the incurable plant lover. Now that the pandemic is abating, however, much of the nursery’s stock has been depleted. Proprietor Shelley Jennings informed me that delayed beautification of our surroundings has led to a horticultural buying frenzy, especially where the kind of exotic fare she grows is conce...
Tags: Gardening, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, South Africa, Lowe, Rancho Palos Verdes, Euphorbia, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun, Home + Garden, Top Stories Breeze


15 free Comic-Con @Home panels to watch during the virtual comic convention July 23-25

With the in-person version of San Diego Comic-Con on pause for the pandemic, the annual celebration of popular culture arrives online again for a second Comic-Con @Home, which runs from Friday to Sunday, July 23-25, with a few early offerings on Wednesday and Thursday, July 21-22. We’ve scoured the program looking for old friends — Hello, Her Universe fashion show at 6 p.m. Friday. It’s also fun to make new discoveries, such as the promising Greatest Geek Year Ever: 1981 Week — Why’d It Have to ...
Tags: Apple, Books, Hbo, John Lewis, Movies, Melissa Mcbride, White House, Amc, Time, Ray Bradbury, Sport, Gotham, Netflix, Things To Do, Soccer, San Diego


Here are the bestsellers at Southern California’s independent bookstores

The SoCal Indie Bestseller Lis for the sales week ended Sunday, July 18 is based on reporting from the independent booksellers of Southern California, the California Independent Booksellers Alliance and IndieBound. For an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.org. HARDCOVER FICTION 1. Malibu Rising: Taylor Jenkins Reid 2. Falling: T.J. Newman 3. The Midnight Library: Matt Haig 4. The Cellist: Daniel Silva 5. Klara and the Sun: Kazuo Ishiguro 6. The Paper Palace: Miranda Cowley Helle...
Tags: Books, Hollywood, Stephen King, America, Sport, Fox, Things To Do, Soccer, George Orwell, Michael Wolff, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Green, Brit Bennett, Malibu


Community meetings in the San Fernando Valley, July 19-26

  San Fernando Valley Historical Society meets on July 22 outdoors at the Andres Pico Adobe in Mission Hills. (Google Street View)   Community meetings bring people together for exchange of ideas and memorable shared experiences. Here’s a sampling of  meetings in the San Fernando Valley.   Wings Over Wendy’s: Veterans of all services and ages, and their supporters, meet from 8:30-11 a.m. every Monday of the month. Guest speakers scheduled for meetings. Currently, the group is also offering ...
Tags: Gardening, New York, Movies, Charity, Mike Malone, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Veterans, Community, Marissa, Book Club, Local News, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Voice, Sherman


What to do with a fig tree with curling leaves and a plum tree with yellowing, disfigured leaves

Q: My fig tree is looking distressed lately. I have been watering it regularly, but the leaves are curled, drooping, and drying out. I also have a plum tree that is looking sad. All the new leaves are yellowing and curled up. That tree also has been watered regularly. What could be the problem? A: Your fig tree looks very sad indeed. One of your photos shows a split in the trunk, so this could be the source of the problem. Sometimes, when a tree receives a lot more water than usual, the cambium ...
Tags: Gardening, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Orange County, Riverside County, Gophers, Los Angeles County, South Bay, San Bernardino County, San Fernando Valley, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Home + Garden, Top Stories SGVT


How often should I water this plant? Some advice for that popular gardening question

I have a nectarine tree that is five years old and currently has fruit on it. How many times a week should I water it? – Donna Vanega, north El Monte When it comes to gardening and horticulture, there is no more frequently asked question than, “How often should I water?” There are so many factors at work when it comes to watering that it is impossible to provide a standard answer to this question. The best advice is simply not to water according to a fixed schedule, taking into account soil type...
Tags: Gardening, California, Los Angeles, Usda, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Glendale, University Of California, Southern California, Valley, South Bay, Burbank, Corona, San Fernando Valley, Tujunga


It took Chris Stuck 20 years to get published. Now he’s not holding back.

Chris Stuck’s debut short story collection, “Give My Love to the Savages” was a long time coming — two decades after getting his MFA in creative writing. Now that Stuck has finally made it at age 45, he is not holding back. The book’s first story tracks the life of a biracial man like Stuck from the first time he heard the N-word – in kindergarten – through decades of American racism that is sometimes casual, sometimes pointed, but always personal. Stuck follows that poignant and personal t...
Tags: Books, US, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Yale, David Bowie, Portland, Marilyn Monroe, Harry Potter, White, Black, Joyce Carol Oates, Southern California, Montrose, MFA


Enter the overgrown tunnel of plants into Montrose’s Lost Books, sister to LA’s Last Bookstore

There’s no sign. No phone number. No website. But if you venture in through the Instagram-ready tunnel of plants and greenery, you’ll emerge into the world of Lost Books. Located in Montrose in northeast Los Angeles County, the shop, which opened quietly in late June, is a sister to downtown L.A.’s Last Bookstore, the massive store and tourist spot known for its huge inventory and its own picture-perfect archway and book-related sculptures and photo spots. Related links A $10,000 gift cert...
Tags: Books, Instagram, California, La, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Yale, Marilyn Monroe, Joyce Carol Oates, Southern California, Montrose, Josh, Spencer, Los Angeles County, Tustin


Here are the bestsellers at Southern California’s independent bookstores

The SoCal Indie Bestseller List for the sales week ended July 11 is based on reporting from the independent booksellers of Southern California, the California Independent Booksellers Alliance and IndieBound. For an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.org. HARDCOVER FICTION 1. Malibu Rising: Taylor Jenkins Reid 2. Falling: T.J. Newman 3. The Paper Palace: Miranda Cowley Heller 4. Project Hail Mary: Andy Weir 5. The Midnight Library: Matt Haig 6. Klara and the Sun: Kazuo Ishiguro 7....
Tags: Books, Hollywood, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Los Angeles, Sport, Fox, Things To Do, Soccer, George Orwell, Yale, Marilyn Monroe, Salem, Quentin Tarantino, William Golding, Coca Cola


Joyce Carol Oates talks Marilyn Monroe clones and more in ‘Night, Neon’ story collection

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” Or so goes the Internet-popular quote by Joyce Carol Oates, who the New Yorker called “American’s preeminent fiction writer,” author of nearly five dozen novels – not to mention her memoir, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays and essays. But be warned: To slip into the other’s skin in an Oates’ story often is to be brought into psychological disturbance ...
Tags: Books, Hollywood, Greece, Obama, America, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Yale, New Jersey, Marilyn Monroe, Princeton, Coca Cola, Joyce Carol Oates, Southern California, Princeton University


Nearly 50 years after dropping out to live with J.D. Salinger, Joyce Maynard is a Yale student with a new novel

Joyce Maynard is 67 now and, in a sense, has come full circle. She returned to Yale University as a student in 2018 — she’s a junior now — after dropping out on the first day of her sophomore year in 1972. Back then, she left her scholarship and friends behind to move into a cabin in the New Hampshire woods with reclusive “Catcher in the Rye” novelist J.D. Salinger at his urging. He was 53. Salinger had sought her out shortly after she’d found national fame as a teen for writing a New York Times...
Tags: Books, La, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Bob Dylan, New Hampshire, Yale, New York Times, Richard Thompson, Coca Cola, Vanity Fair, New York Times Magazine, Usc, Bay Area, Southern California


Thriller novelist Karin Slaughter talks new book ‘False Witness,’ cooking with Coca-Cola

Author Karin Slaughter has staked out a distinct territory for her mysteries and thrillers, setting her 10-title Will Trent series in Atlanta and her seven-title Grant County series, five standalone novels and 10 novellas in Georgia. “I know there are other people writing mysteries set here, but I could probably take them in an arm-wrestling match,” she once told me. “The South is who I am.” Slaughter, 50. was born in Jonesboro, 18 miles from Atlanta, a town so small at the time that “if yo...
Tags: Books, Australia, La, Atlanta, Georgia, Sport, Netflix, Things To Do, Soccer, Vancouver, Slaughter, Coca Cola, Usc, Southern California, Samsonite, Cathy


Why this ‘Mystery’ gardenia is blooming despite the heat and drought conditions

Nearly two decades ago, I planted a ‘Mystery’ gardenia. Today it is over six feet tall and currently covered with fragrant white blooms that reach up to five inches across when fully open. I have been thinking about this gardenia — which needs no more water than my California lilac (ceanothus) — as the local drought conditions intensify. Also blooming now are my six-foot-tall chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) with magnificent purple, spire-shaped inflorescences. It’s on a similarly sparse water r...
Tags: Gardening, Australia, California, China, Africa, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, South Africa, North America, South Carolina, Joe, Oceania, Southern California, Charleston South Carolina, Alexander Garden


Dana Spiotta’s ‘Wayward’ takes on a topic not often discussed in novels, and here’s why

Dana Spiotta’s latest novel “Wayward” is set just four years ago, in 2017, but the author said the upheavals of 2020 alone were drastic enough to make that recent time seem like historical fiction. “It was the pandemic and then the George Floyd murder and then the election,” she says by phone from Syracuse, New York. “I was very determined to make it just 2017 and true to that moment.” Falling somewhere between drama and dark comedy, “Wayward” shows a family unraveling against the backdrop of ge...
Tags: Books, California, La, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, United States, Bravo, Tokyo, James Taylor, Syracuse, Joni Mitchell, Sam, Usc, Southern California, Trump


What to do to revive azaleas and lavender in the garden

Q: Can you give me some tips on reviving these plants? I have changed the soil on my azaleas, but they don’t seem to be thriving. The middle one is old and I’m afraid it may be dead. The others are 1-year-old. The lavender is 2 months old. All of them were purchased from a local warehouse store. A: Azaleas are acid-loving, so they benefit from being grown in a container in potting mix especially formulated for acid-loving plants. When choosing a container for your new plant, pick one that is jus...
Tags: Gardening, California, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Orange County, Riverside County, Pat, Los Angeles County, South Bay, San Bernardino County, San Fernando Valley, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Home + Garden


Here are the bestsellers at Southern California’s independent bookstores

The SoCal Indie Bestseller List for the sales week ended July 4 is based on reporting from the independent booksellers of Southern California, the California Independent Booksellers Alliance and IndieBound. For an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.org. HARDCOVER FICTION 1. The Midnight Library: Matt Haig 2. Malibu Rising: Taylor Jenkins Reid 3. Project Hail Mary: Andy Weir, Ballantine 4. The Last Thing He Told Me: Laura Dave 5. Klara and the Sun: Kazuo Ishiguro 6. The Invisible ...
Tags: Books, Usa, Hollywood, La, Neil Gaiman, America, Los Angeles, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, George Orwell, House, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Green


How this South Bay ‘flower shaman’ ended up on HBO Max’s ‘Full Bloom’

Ever since she was a little girl, Jenny Barker had a special connection with flowers. As a 5-year-old she would spend time in her grandfather’s garden where she would be allowed to cut flowers and bring them into his house. “I knew at a little girl age that I had a deep connection to the flowers more than someone else,” the 41-year-old Palos Verdes Peninsula resident said, explaining that that was the beginning of her journey as a “flower shaman.” The long-time florist and owner of Magical Bloom...
Tags: Gardening, Hbo, TV, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Streaming, Jack, Don, Barker, Jenny, San Fernando Valley, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR


How USC professor George J. Sánchez sees the future in LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood

When George J. Sánchez’s parents came to Los Angeles from Mexico, they first settled in Boyle Heights. While his family ended up moving to Gardenia and then Whittier, they always returned to Boyle Heights and always had family there.  “There was a sense that it was different — Boyle Heights was welcoming when most parts of Los Angeles were not,” says Sánchez, author of “Becoming Mexican American” and now “Boyle Heights: How a Los Angeles Neighborhood Became the Future of American Democracy....
Tags: Books, Hollywood, California, Mexico, La, Los Angeles, Sport, Chicago, Things To Do, Soccer, Brooklyn, Healthcare, New Orleans, Usc, Southern California, Sánchez


Community meetings in the San Fernando Valley, July 5-12

  Wings Over Wendy’s veterans group meets every Monday at 7401 Shoup Avenue in West Hills. (Google Street View)   Community meetings bring people together for exchange of ideas and memorable shared experiences. Here’s a sampling of  meetings in the San Fernando Valley.   Wings Over Wendy’s: Veterans of all services and ages, and their supporters, meet from 8:30-11 a.m. every Monday of the month. Guest speakers scheduled for meetings. Currently, the group is also offering the meetings on Zoo...
Tags: Health, Facebook, Gardening, New York, Charity, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Veterans, Community, Book Club, Local News, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Voice, Agatha Christie, Kamala Harris


How to rid your plants of these garden pests while keeping monarch caterpillars safe

“I planted a milkweed plant a few weeks back. It’s growing well but it has developed an infestation of small creatures, maybe one-sixteenth of an inch long, who also leave a shiny reflective spotty surface to the leaves. What treatment would you recommend to get rid of them that at the same time will not prove harmful to monarch caterpillars which hopefully will come in mass in the future?” — Richie Locasso, Hemet The creatures you describe are oleander aphids, also known as plant lice. The...
Tags: Gardening, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Hoyas, University of Minnesota, Neem, Vincas, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Top Stories IVDB, Top Stories RDF, Top Stories Sun, Home + Garden, Top Stories Breeze


‘The Sweetness of Water’ explores race, sexuality and violence in the post Civil War-era South

“The Sweetness of Water,” the debut novel from Nathan Harris, starts quietly, with curmudgeonly George Walker traipsing around his property outside of the town of Old Ox, Georgia. Even his first encounter on his land with two recently emancipated Black men, Prentiss and Landry, gives no hints of all that is to come. This haunting and powerful book, set just as the Civil War is ending, is a meditation on a number of still-relevant issues about class, race and sexuality. It explores the deep and...
Tags: Books, Hollywood, California, San Francisco, Georgia, Sport, Austin, Things To Do, West, Britain, Soccer, Harry Potter, Eric Garner, White, Southern California, George


How to figure out which pest is eating the sunflowers

Q: Something is eating my sunflower leaves! I don’t see any insects, but there are chunks missing out of the leaves. How do I find out what’s causing this damage? I don’t want to spray anything that will kill the butterflies, ladybugs, bees, and other “nice” bugs. A: Your photo shows light to moderate damage on the leaves. Something’s definitely eating them, but it doesn’t look like the plant is in any danger of being stripped of all its leaves. Often, insects and other critters will do their da...
Tags: Gardening, California, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Orange County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, San Fernando Valley, Top Stories LADN, Top Stories OCR, Top Stories PE, Home + Garden, Top Stories SGVT


A shocking murder in the street and the forgotten history behind ‘The Great Mistake’

Jonathan Lee had already written two novels in his native England when he moved to New York a decade ago to try to, as the song goes, make it there. One morning he went for a walk in Central Park and saw a plaque on a remote bench honoring Andrew Haswell Green as “The Father of New York” and “Directing Genius of Central Park.” “That was it,” says Lee, the author of “The Great Mistake,” which explores Green’s private and professional life and his shockingly public 1903 murder in a case of mist...
Tags: Books, England, New York, Hollywood, La, New York City, Sport, Green, Things To Do, Soccer, Brooklyn, Margaret Thatcher, Manhattan, New York Public Library, Moses, Virginia Woolf


Here are the bestsellers at Southern California’s independent bookstores

The SoCal Indie Bestseller List for the sales week ended June 27. Based on reporting from the independent booksellers of Southern California, the California Independent Booksellers Alliance and IndieBound. For an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.org. HARDCOVER FICTION 1. Malibu Rising: Taylor Jenkins Reid 2. Project Hail Mary: Andy Weir 3. The Midnight Library: Matt Haig 4. Klara and the Sun: Kazuo Ishiguro 5. The Hill We Climb: Amanda Gorman 6. The Other Black Girl: Zakiya Dal...
Tags: Books, Hollywood, Ray Bradbury, Los Angeles, Sport, Fox, Things To Do, Soccer, George Orwell, House, Richard, Michael Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Green, Terry Pratchett, Malcolm Gladwell


‘Machete’ man Danny Trejo writes about redemption, Hollywood and his taco empire in new memoir

Danny Trejo’s life has always been an open book. The actor, restaurateur and music industry executive has long talked openly about his past life of crime, his time spent in prison and his unlikely rise in Hollywood as a prolific actor. Now, he’s written all these stories down in a memoir titled “Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood,” which is available in both English and Spanish editions July 6 via Atria Books. The book covers all aspects of his life, including his time in prison,...
Tags: Books, Hollywood, Movies, Los Angeles, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, Streaming, Los Angeles City Council, Arcadia, Maywood, Inglewood, Los Angeles Rams, Trejo, San Quentin, Danny Trejo


‘Orphan Train’ author Christina Baker Kline talks book party with Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand

In “The Exiles,” a young governess named Evangeline is wrongly convicted of stealing a ruby ring and sentenced to be shipped from Victorian England to Australia for 14 years of labor. It’s a journey into the unknown for Evangeline and the other women she meets onboard a slave ship-turned-convict transport in Christina Baker Kline’s most recent novel. And in its own way, the book itself traveled stormy seas to an uncertain destination given its arrival in August 2020 in a literary world turned up...
Tags: Books, Reese Witherspoon, Australia, California, La, Sport, Things To Do, Soccer, New York Times, Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Picoult, San Marino, Ruth Reichl, Victorian England, Chang, Kristin


Cheryl Diamond’s ‘Nowhere Girl’ reveals a painful childhood on the run with her fugitive family

Cheryl Diamond grew up living outside the law. Her family was perpetually on the run, and by the time she was 12, she’d spent time in India, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Germany, Romania, Egypt, Israel and America.  It all seemed exciting to a little kid. She describes having a charming father, a beautiful mother and two older siblings, and as well as being homeschooled, she says she was taught to shoplift as a way to stick it to corporate, consumer culture. But all of this exacted a steep...
Tags: Books, Berlin, America, Sport, Diamond, Rome, Things To Do, Soccer, Jones, Malibu, Interpol, Cheryl, Watergate, Crohn, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Martha Wells



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