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Articles written by Steve Smith

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Keeping the garden interesting in the winter

As the last of the fall color fades and our perennials melt to the ground, one would think that about all we would have to look forward to would be a bunch of sticks and dull evergreens. In reality,...

 

Fall is a magical time in the garden

As we move into the holidays I am keenly aware that it gets harder and harder for me to motivate you to play in the garden. I get it. You have been moving hoses around all summer, mowing the lawn ever...

 

Fall is just another blooming season

There are lots of reasons why we are drawn to different plants. Most often it is because we like their flowers. We purposefully design our gardens to allow us to incorporate as many different colors...

 

So, how do I prune my hydrangea?

Pruning blooming shrubs shouldn't be complicated! Generally speaking, if they bloom early in the spring before new foliage appears, we should prune them right after they finish blooming so they have...

 

Planting bulbs requires optimism

I think it is safe to say that any gardener worth his/her salt has got to be an eternal optimist. Whether we are planting seeds, bulbs, or actual plants, our focus is always on the end result, the...

 

The October To-Do List for gardeners

As predicted, the beginning of fall this year has been dry and warm. It's still a wonderful time to be outside in the yard. Here are my suggestions of what to do around the garden this month, while...

 

Late summer bloomers for the shade garden

Recently a good friend of mine complimented me on my column about late summer bloomers for the sunny border but lamented that she only had shade in her yard and couldn't take advantage of my advice....

 

Late summer pruning makes sense

Of all the chores that gardeners have to accomplish, pruning consistently remains the most mysterious, and I might add controversial. It is perpetually a source of endless conflict or disagreement...

 

In pursuit of the perfect lawn

Let's face it, for the most part the lawn is the man's domain. It is literally his "turf" and when left alone he can spend endless hours mowing, edging, aerating, de-thatching, feeding, reseeding,...

 

Fall is an excellent time for planting

Fall has always been my favorite time of year, especially when I lived in California and the summers were so oppressive. While August can feel like the doldrums, September is full of all sorts of...

 

Planting a fall vegetable garden

Believe it or not, it is time to start thinking about planting a fall veggie garden. Cooler nights and shorter days are the triggers that get our fall crops growing, so late August and early...

 

What does it mean to be 'Drought Tolerant'

It's been almost five decades since I had a college level plant physiology class and studied the process of how plants move water through their vascular systems and how they adapt to drought condition...

 

Answers to frequently asked questions

At the end of every column I write, is an invitation, to send in your questions about gardening issues you would like answers for. Here are three common ones I receive every year. Question: “Is it...

 

August is final lap of summer gardening

This is it folks, the final lap of the summer gardening season when all our hard work should come to a crescendo. August is high summer for us and perennials should be at the height of their glory,...

 

Attracting butterflies to your garden

Part of the joy of gardening, for me, is in watching feathered friends visit my yard and flit about the shrubs, flowers, feeders and water features. As much as I love my plants, these little...

 

Landscaping in layers gives garden style

Before I purchased the Sunnyside Nursery back in 1989, I owned a landscape contracting business in California where we designed, installed, and maintained residential, commercial, and municipal...

 

Mother Nature's hummingbird magnet

There are lots (and I mean lots) of choices for summer blooming perennials that will attract hummers into our gardens, but one genus really stands out in my mind as a "can't lose" choice: Salvia. Know...

 

Things to do for a fabulous July garden

According to my weather guru Rufus La Lone of the Weather Café, July is shaping up to be a very pleasant month for gardening. Here are 4 things to do to make our gardens look absolutely fabulous....

 

Celebrate National Pollinator Week

Roughly 10 or so years ago, the U.S. Senate made a unanimous decision (can anyone remember the last time the Senate made any kind of unanimous decision?) to establish a pollinator awareness week in...

 

It's time to get serious about watering

Last week I gave you several tips on how to become a better gardener. As promised, this week I will enlighten you on how to water properly. Good gardeners seem to have a sixth sense about when and...

 

How to become a green thumb gardener

I have often thought about what it is about some people that makes them good gardeners and what it is about others that makes them just the opposite. Like child prodigies, some individuals are just...

 

The June checklist for gardeners

What a crazy, back and forth spring this has been. It was the wettest on record, followed by the sunniest Memorial Day Weekend in 15 years and now we are into the unpredictable month of June when we...

 

The wonderful world of carnivorous bog plants

One of the things that has drawn me into the world of horticulture is the incredible diversity of plants that inhabit our planet. When you consider the range of environments from Death Valley to the...

 

Bonkers over Begonias

I confess, growing up in southern California, I have always had an affection for begonias. My very first purchase, at the young age of 8, was from the county fair and was a rhizomatous variety that I...

 

Here's how to have the best containers

It's time to move out of our comfort zone and get into container gardening in a whole new way. Gone are the days when we only put flowers in our pots. Gone are the days when everything had to be perfe...

 

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