Setting up a pattern of less frequent, but more thorough watering of lawns during the early morning hours establishes a deeper root system, retards disease and uses water more efficiently.
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Lakewood, CA 90712
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"Gardens are a form of autobiography."
~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture Magazine, August/September 1993
The Special Order Fruit Tree (SOFT) program is here. Check out the selection of deciduous fruit trees that can be ordered from Dave Wilson Nursery. The program runs until November 6, 2015 .
- Be careful of the heat. Wear a hat and sunscreen; drink plenty of water. Try to do outside work in the morning or evening, when it is cooler.
- Be sure to trim trees and vines growing near swimming pools.
- Choose crape myrtles.
- Clean off the stems from agapanthus and daylilies that have already bloomed.
- Control fireblight by removing disfigured branches and twigs.
- Control pests and diseases that cause dead brown patches on cool-season lawns.
- Control pests on fuchsias.
- Control rose pests and diseases.
- Control white grubs on cool-season lawns.
- Cut back your petunias in mid-August to keep them flowering.
- Cut off the suckers from deciduous fruit trees.
- Do not fertilize deciduous fruit trees.
- Feed fuchsias, tuberous begonias, water lilies, cymbidiums, ferns and tropicals.
- Feed warm-season lawns. Feed cool-season lawns only if they show signs of yellowing.
- If you started biennials from seed in July, fertilize them with fish emulsion at weekly intervals.
- Fertilize roses.
- Give fuchsias a light pruning.
- Control weeds by mulching, cultivating, and hand-pulling.
- Pick out and purchase cassias and flame eucalyptus.
- Plant papayas, bananas, and palms.
- Plant tropicals in coastal zones.
- Prune and train wisteria.
- Prune and train your espaliers through the growing season.
- Pull out dead crabgrass if you have previously treated it with weed killer.
- Purchase and plant succulents, cacti, and euphorbias.
- Remove dead and dying foliage from date palms.
- Remove suckers from roses.
- Stop pinching chrysanthemums.
- Study your irrigation system; check for malfunctioning heads. On drip irrigation systems, flush filters and headers.
- Transplant palms.
- Water warm-season lawns deeply at least once a week in most zones. Water cool-season lawns more shallowly and frequently. Follow local water restrictions, of course.
- Water, water water! Be sure to keep container plants and garden beds watered well.
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Everyone knows that life is challenging and stressful. In today's hectic world, what could be better than adding another element of relaxation to the place we treat as our own personal oasis--our home?
Experiencing nature is a popular way for many people to de-stress; wouldn't it be great to have an area that serves as a retreat, accessible at all times, right in your own backyard?
The area you choose could be a shady patio or a quiet corner of the garden. Try to choose a spot where you are not likely to hear traffic noise or the sounds of neighbors.
For instance, if your neighbors entertain frequently outdoors, your quiet spot should probably not be adjacent to that area. Also, be sure that this area can be relatively private.
It should not be visible from the adjacent properties or the street and, if it is, you should be able to screen it with plantings or structures.
When planning the garden, consider what you will hear, see, smell and touch. Make sure that the elements you choose will give you a peaceful, calm feeling rather than exciting your senses.
As a general rule, choose elements that will provide softer, lighter sounds, lighter fragrances and more muted colors.
Many people find the sounds of a wind chime to be very relaxing; you can choose from many different tones, from light and tinkling to deeper, more sonorous sounds. If you really enjoy the sounds of chimes you could choose several in complementary tones.
The sound and appearance of water is an element that promotes almost instantaneous relaxation for most people.
A small fountain, either purchased or constructed from a beautiful ceramic pot, would be a great choice for a small area or patio. A small area would also accommodate a rock column fountain; it consists of one or more standing rocks that have been drilled so that the water comes up through the center and trickles gently down the face of the rock.
The water then percolates through some stones at the base of the rocks; the basin is actually underground, so there is no visible standing water to contend with.
When choosing your plant palette, green should be the predominant foliage color. The color green is widely known to promote relaxation.
You could choose plants with different colors of green foliage and, if the area is very dark, the addition of a few plants with variegated foliage (preferably white and green) would help to lighten the area.
Flowers (if any) should be chosen from the cooler color range such as white, lavender or blue; brighter colors (red, yellow, orange) excite the senses, while cooler colors promote relaxation.
Incorporate some plants that will provide fragrance at different times of the year.
Select some comfortable seating. This could be a weathered teak bench, a comfy rocking chair or glider or even a hammock.
The floor of the area should tie in with the natural elements already used; loose-laid slate or flagstone (possibly with a small groundcover such as pink thyme or scotch moss growing between the stones) would be ideal.
The final step is to select one or two carefully-considered garden art pieces. If you are spiritual, this could be a St. Francis or St. Fiacre statue, a Buddha or some other piece that has special meaning to you.
It might also be a bird bath, gazing ball or some beautiful blown-glass pieces hanging in the trees.
A beautiful garden plaque hanging on a fence can accentuate the plant material surrounding it and provide a focal point of the garden.
With careful consideration and a little planning, you can create an area that will provide peace and tranquility to all who enter, right in your own backyard.
These days, not even a backyard garden is free from danger. The vegetables and flowers over which you've labored so lovingly are prey for aphids, cutworms, mealy bugs, and many others.
Using chemical pesticides is so last century. We now know that broad-spectrum conventional pesticides not only kill the bad bugs, they rub out the good ones as well.
In fact, more and more insects are showing resistance to heavy-duty chemical pesticides. In a controlled experiment, fruit flies were exposed to DDT. Not only did it not kill them, the fruit flies had developed a way to metabolize the pesticide and use it as food!
Unfortunately, we've been finding out more and more that ingesting chemicals on the things that we eat can have a negative effect on us.
We are what we eat. No matter how carefully you wash your vegetables that have been treated with chemicals, there is no guarantee that they don't still contain traces.
Luckily, there are natural predators that help keep our gardens free of pests. We can fight bugs with bugs!
Beneficial insects are nature's way of stabilizing pest populations. Take for example, the common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea). Actually, take the offspring of this "aphid lion"; the adult lays her eggs on the foliage, each on the top of hair-like filaments.
In a few days, the lacewing eggs hatch and the tiny larvae emerge with their voracious appetites for aphids, spider mites and red mites, thrips, whiteflies, long-tailed mealy bugs, the eggs of leafhoppers, moths and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae and tobacco budworms.
The larvae look like miniature alligators with tiny ice tong-like pincers that inject paralyzing venom. They then draw out the bodily fluids of their victim.
It's not necessarily pretty, but they will help to keep your crops from being destroyed by these pests. Many gardeners will find these in their gardens already, but they have become a staple at many garden centers, where they are sold to be released in your garden.
Green lacewing larvae can be released on numerous plants such as cotton, sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, apples and strawberries. About 10 lacewing eggs per plant, or 1,000 eggs per 200 sq. ft. will control a moderate aphid population.
During the two to three weeks in the larvae stage they will each devour up to 200 victims a week.
After this, they pupate by spinning a cocoon with silken thread and approximately five days later the adults emerge to complete the life cycle. There are five or six overlapping generations each season.
Since the larvae feed for about two weeks, a second release, two weeks later, might be necessary.
Chrysoperla carnea, the "original" green lacewing just may prove to be the best all-purpose predator for your home garden.
The Top 5 Mistakes Made by the New Gardener
1. Planting at the
wrong time of year:
What this means will vary from place to place. While in some charmed
places most things can be planted year-round, the majority of locales
have definite planting seasons. For instance, in many areas of the
Southwest, fall is considered the best time to plant most shrubs,
trees, groundcover and lawns; if you live in the eastern part of the
U.S., however, you will wait until spring to install most of these
This timing issue also comes into play with annual flowers and
vegetables. Some flowers and vegetables like the warmth of the
spring and summer, while others prefer the coolness of the fall and
winter. The goal is to time your planting for the earliest part of
the season you are planting for, but not too early. Let's use
marigolds (a summer annual) for an example. This plant likes heat,
but can freeze if the temperatures are too cold. In some areas, you
might begin seeing marigolds for sale in the late winter. Can you
plant them then? Of course. Should you? Maybe not. Why? While it
might work--if temperatures don't drop too low--you could be
replacing your plants if they do.
If you are not sure whether to plant
something at a certain time, please ask us; we will tell you whether
it's the best time or if you would be better off waiting. Many
garden centers serve a fairly large geographical area and these areas
oftentimes have differing microclimates. That is why you will
sometimes see plants in your local garden center that may be out of
season for your particular area. The other thing to keep in mind is
not to plant too late. Planting too late will not allow your flower
or vegetable to achieve maturity before the cold (or warm) weather
comes and stops it in its tracks!
2. Planting in the wrong exposure:
While some plants will take any exposure, most prefer predominantly
sun or mostly shade. When you are shopping for your plant, take
notice of where the plant is situated in the garden center; this will
give you a good idea of where it will be happiest in your garden. If
you're not sure, ask.
3. Planting in the wrong zone:
Just because you see a pretty plant growing in the sun, does not
necessarily mean it will grow in the sun in your garden. Some plants
prefer hot, dry areas and some prefer cool, misty spots. This is
where the USDA Climate Zone chart (or in the west, the Sunset Western
Garden Climate Zone chart) will really help. Most plants sold in
garden centers are marked with their appropriate climate zone or if
they are not, the garden center staff can tell you if it will grow in
4. Planting plants with
different water requirements near each other:
Some plants prefer dry, well-drained soil and others like more water.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you will be able to
manage the two effectively when they are planted next to each other--you won't. Save yourself the angst and use plants with similar
needs together. The plants will be happier--and so will you.
5. Watering too often, too
much, not often enough or not deep enough:
Whew! The above may seem like a contradiction, but what we're
trying to say is that plants have different watering needs and soils
(because of their differing compositions) respond to water
The most common mistake in regard to water is not watering enough (in
terms of frequency) and not watering long enough (in terms of
volume). A small plant can dry out quickly, especially in warm
weather. When first planted, it should be regularly monitored to
observe its water needs. Also, you need to leave the water on long
enough to saturate the entire root-ball of the plant (for some things,
this might be longer than you think). Standing over the plant and
giving it a quick shower with your hose will probably not be enough.
Also, deeper watering encourages roots to go down, thus increasing
the plant's drought tolerance.
On the other side of the coin is the gardener who is so dedicated that he/she waters constantly.
This is not good either. Too much water (especially in heavy soils) can cause disease; eventually the roots of the plant will rot.
So, strive for vigilance but not obsession
when applying water to the garden.
But wait, there's more. Stay tuned for 5 More Mistakes Made by
the New Gardener...
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What You'll Need:
- 2 pounds new red potatoes, scrubbed
- 6 eggs
- 1 pound bacon
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
Step by Step:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.
- Drain and set in the refrigerator to cool.
- Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat.
- Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
- Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.
- Drain, crumble and set aside.
- Chop the cooled potatoes, leaving skin on.
- Add to a large bowl, along with the eggs, bacon, onion and celery. Add mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill for an hour before serving.