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Arts & Leisure / The Whistling Gardener

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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 between some people and of all the classes that we...

 

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, watering and weeding, not to mention the time it...

 

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 gardening activities. Here are some highlights for...

 

Late bloomers for your garden

As we move from late August into early September it is not unusual to have our borders start to look a little tired. Part of this is due to us slacking off on the watering and deadheading, and part of it is due to the fact that most of us shop in...

 

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 September are the ideal time to make it happen. There are...

 

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 conditions so they can survive the dry summers. After some...

 

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 okay to plant when it is this hot?” Answer:...

 

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, ornamental grasses in a state of perfection, roses...

 

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 creatures are an "extra treat" that makes all my hard work...

 

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 landscapes. The bread and butter of the business was...

 

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. Known as sages in common language, salvias come in man...

 

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. PLANTING: Garden centers are stuffed with summer...

 

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 response to the worldwide concern over the decline...

 

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 much water to apply to their gardens. This...

 

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 gifted with the talents required to allow them to...

 

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 can either get “June Gloom” or glorious...

 

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 frozen tundra of the north and the fact that there...

 

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 grew for many years. As it got too large for its...

 

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 perfectly symmetrical and gone are the days when all th...

 

What to get mom for her special day

Oh, the eternal question... What should we get mom for her once a year special day? (Knowing that no matter what it is, it will never be commensurate to all the love and sacrifice she has given us.) Here are some ideas that might save you, if you...

 

Encouraging words for local gardeners

I know what you all are thinking: "Will spring ever come?" It's a fair question but I can assure you that spring has already come and we are well on our way to summer but that probably doesn't make you feel any better. Beyond a doubt, this has been...

 

Japanese maples are a great addition

One on my first plant addictions, that began years ago and will never be cured, is an affinity for all things Japanese maple. I just don't see how anyone can pass on a maple. Not only are they stunning architectural plant specimens to admire, but...

 

Spring is time to rediscover Rhodies

Springtime has arrived and the multitudes of Rhododendrons are blooming. Our state flower shines in every color imaginable – but what I am here to remind you of is one old adage - flowers come and flowers go - so discover the different foliages of Rhododendrons! We all salivate for spring...

 

It is time to take a stance

If you love gardening then chances are you probably also appreciate the arts and the humanities. I have always considered gardening a form of art and the warm and fuzzy feeling I get from being around plants is the same kind of feeling I receive...

 

Things to do in April

Considering all the cold and wet weather we have had and evidently will continue to have for at least the first half of April I could easily just refer you to my To Do list for both February and March and you would probably be just fine (you can...

 

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