Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine

  • 17 Favorite Fragrant Flowers

    Grow these bloomers to perfume your garden-and your home.

    Lilac (Syringa x 'Declaration')
    Star-shaped reddish purple flowers appear in large dramatic clusters in early spring. The scent is spicy sweet-the essence of spring. The deciduous shrub reaches 6 to 8 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide; it takes full sun, or light shade in the hottest climates. Most lilacs bloom best in regions with winter chill (Sunset climate zones A1-A3; 1-11, 14-16). In mild winter areas (zones 18-22), try Descanso Hybrids.

    'Scarlet Pineapple' sage'Scarlet Pineapple' sage
    'Scarlet Pineapple' sage (Salvia elegans)

    This shrubby perennial reaches 4 feet tall, and has bright red flowers and foliage that smells like ripe pineapple. Zones 5-24.

    Lemon verbenaLemon verbena
    Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla)

    A tall, lanky deciduous shrub, it has lemon-scented leaves and lilac or white flowers. Zones 9, 10, 12-21.

    Angelwing jasmineAngelwing jasmine
    Angelwing jasmine (Jasminum laurifolium nitidum)

    This semi-evergreen vine has glossy green leaves and pinwheel-shaped white flowers. Sunset

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  • Top 10 Memorial Day Weekend Picnic Spots

    Grab the family and celebrate the long weekend at these choice locations throughout the West.

    SoCal spots:
    Balboa IslandBalboa Island
    Balboa Island

    Lay out your blanket: Hershey's Market is a historic food stop with fresh produce and quality meats--offering the makings of a prime beach picnic. For an afternoon treat, stop by Balboa Candy for vintage sweets like wax lips and Boston Baked Beans. Sugar N Spice and Cinnamon Roll Fair are just as satisfying to any sweet tooth.

    Family time: Hop on the historic Balboa Island Ferry to the Balboa Peninsula where you'll find Fun Zone. With a handful of carnival rides like a ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a carousel, as well as an arcade and laser tag, kids will stay entertained for hours. Newport's gorgeous beaches are also perfect for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. Or take a family bike ride along the oceanfront boardwalk.

    Make it a weekend: Stay in one of Balboa's quaint hotels like the Balboa Inn, or hang with nature at one of the island's RV

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  • 37 Easy Camping Recipes

    Our guide for what to prep and pack for delicious food in the great outdoors.

  • Top 25 Spots for Last-minute Camping

    25 favorite no-reservation campgrounds from California to Colorado.
    A crowd-free view of Kings Creek in Lassen Volcanic National Park.A crowd-free view of Kings Creek in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
    Lassen Volcanic National Park

    > Juniper Lake: Tucked into the southeast corner of the park, this 18-site campground has one drawback: no running water. (So bring your own, or a purifier.) But the pluses are many: a stunning lakeside location; the nearby half-mile hike to Inspiration Point, where you'll see half of Northern California from the summit.
    >Plan B: Warner Valley Campground, in the south-central part of the park, also gorgeous, is near the Devil's Kitchen geothermal area.

    North Coast
    >Pomo Canyon in Sonoma Coast State Park:
    Up and over a ridge from Goat Rock Beach, a quiet canyon holds 20 redwood-shaded walk-in sites. They're spread out enough to give you privacy but not so much that it's a long schlep from the car. A 3-mile hike gets you up to the ridge for big views of the coast and the mouth of the Russian River, then down to the beach.
    >Plan B: Nearby Willow

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  • 10 Tasty Salads with Chicken

    Celebrate the flavors of the West with these easy, fresh salad recipes.

  • 19 Best Heirloom Edible Plants

    Time-tested edibles give you a world of diversity in your own backyard--and delicious flavors on your table.
    What is an heirloom?What is an heirloom?

    What is an heirloom?
    Although debate rages on the exact definition, an heirloom is-it's generally agreed-an open-pollinated variety of fruit or vegetable developed before mass commer­cial hybridization began in the 1950s. As such, its seeds grow true: The offspring look and taste just like their parents. Handed down from generation to generation, heirlooms have tended to be selected for flavor, not how well they survive shipping or how perfect they look. That's why 'Brandywine' tomatoes are so sweet and juicy, lemon cucumbers so zesty and crunchy, and 'Red Kuri' winter squash so creamy and nutty-flavored. And even if they're not the classic, flawlessly symmetrical specimens we're used to seeing in grocery stores, they're gorgeous in their own fascinating, idiosyncratic ways.

    Lemon cucumberLemon cucumber
    Lemon cucumber
    Eat it like an apple or use it to garnish cold drinks. It's crisp and

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  • 20 Healthy Snacks

    Great bars, chips, snack mixes, dips, and cool treats-with no regrets.

  • Top 10 Mother's Day Activities

    Give mom the priceless gift of experience this year-plan a day doing what she loves best.
    For the devoted home cookFor the devoted home cook
    For the devoted home cook

    Instead of cooking for mom, plan a day of cooking an amazing meal with her. Treat her to a copy of The Sunset Cookbook, filled with all the Western-style dishes she loves. Plan a menu of her faves, do the grocery shopping, and clean up afterward so mom is free to simply have fun in the kitchen.
    > More: 14 iconic Sunset Cookbook recipes

    For the foodieFor the foodie
    For the foodie
    OK, you can do the Mother's Day brunch, but think outside the box by assembling a DIY picnic of amazing, made-in-the-West delicacies. Need some recommendations? Check out where to find top-notch products in our list below.
    > More:
    Olive oil
    Wild mushrooms
    Artisanal chocolates

    For the wine loverFor the wine lover
    For the wine lover
    Impress mom with your wine savvy by arranging an at-home tasting of the year's best special occasion wines (because who's more special than mom?). Alternatively, treat her

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  • 21 Idea-filled Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Set the scene for great outdoor parties or just dinner for two.

    Tuscan dining: The courtyardTuscan dining: The courtyard
    Tuscan dining: The courtyard

    Designer Paul Hendershot calls his Ojai, Calif. garden "a Mediterranean courtyard without walls."
    The centerpiece is a concrete-topped table (more on that next photo).
    Inspired by the casual elegance of Mediterranean-style gardens, Hendershot carpeted his patio with pea gravel. "It feels good to walk on when barefoot," he says.
    A pepper tree provides light shade on hot days. To complement the tree ― and the garden's overall look ― Hendershot also planted boxwood, 'Provence' lavender, Myrtus communis 'Compacta' (which he likes for its scent), and upright rosemary.

    Tuscan dining: The tableTuscan dining: The table
    Tuscan dining: The table
    A cast-concrete table is the focal point of the outdoor dining area. "It used to belong to a friend, and I lusted after it for years before I bought it from her," designer Hendershot says.
    The table has been such a hit with friends that he now takes orders to build similar models on-site in his area

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  • 20 Easy Cinco De Mayo Recipes

    Crisp Crab Tacos, Chorizo-Beef Nachos, Turkey Enchiladas, and more flavors of the West.


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