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Grounded and Centered

A former avocado orchard in Fallbrook plays with formal and informal spaces, color, shapes and texture. Here, a stacked flagstone fountain is the centerpiece of a rock patio, surrounded by layers of Mexican feather grass, bougainvillea, roses and succulents.

June Garden Planner

Gardeners take advantage of June’s seasonal overcast to work outdoors. There’s plenty to admire in gardens now, from the last daffodil to the first cherry tomato, and plenty to do before summer. Finish any plantings, adjust irrigation and renew moisture-holding mulch. Save time to visit the San Diego County Fair to enjoy display gardens that inspire.

Native Plant Trio

After wandering through Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, I was intrigued by a trio of native plants that I noted for their beauty, versatility and design interest. Here is information on each of them.

Rose Bugs

Roses are fair game for pests and diseases. Here are some of the most common ailments and how to rein them in.

April Garden Planner

Spring is the best season in San Diego gardens. Warmer weather beckons everyone outside to delight in flowers, fragrance, and flitting birds and butterflies. Gardeners wrap up planting and mulching tasks to keep gardens glorious and productive summer through fall.

How to Grow Lifesaver Plants

Huernia zebrina looks like somebody glued Lifesaver candies to it, but Mother Nature did it all on her own. Despite the fact that its leaves resemble cactus spines, this member of the milkweed family is not a cactus. Yellow, starfish-shaped flowers are striped with fine, reddish lines and a big, red Lifesaver candy-like middle. This low-grower, also known as a Lifesaver plant, is fun for all ages to grow.

Taming the Ups and Downs

Horticulturist Kate Sessions often gets credit for the early landscape behind Ellen Preston’s historic Mission Hills home. After extensive research on the 1913 bungalow perched on a steep canyon edge, Ellen concluded, “It’s probably an urban legend.

Bee Friendly

As you’ve likely heard, bees’ numbers are in decline, and they need our support. Fortunately, sowing a few tiny seeds can make a big difference. Growing bee-attracting plants in your garden not only provides them with quality food, but also aids in production of vegetables like squash and cucumbers, which rely on bees for pollination. Here are some plants to try.

DIY Tomato Supports

Tomatoes are one of several crops that are best grown in your own garden. This year, I tried a new support system for my tomato vines. It keeps plants off the ground, improving airflow and reducing the risk of soil-borne diseases. It helps make weeding a snap, and it’s reusable year after year.

Small-Space Gardening

Even those fortunate enough to have a huge yard may have a small side yard or patio that needs an intimate design for a smaller space. Or you may desire to create an inviting vignette within a vast space. And condo and apartment dwellers can grow an array of plants on a deck or balcony.

Between a Rock and an Easy Place

March Garden Planner

Storms and frosts may linger, but gardens generally enjoy a growth spurt that delivers bouquets and bounty in the months ahead. Gardeners scurry to plant, prune and fine-tune everything from perennial borders to backyard orchards and vegetable beds.

Court Gesture

In our climate, we don’t need much prodding to get us outside; and with homeowners looking for alternatives to water-thirsty yards, a bocce ball court is a great addition.

A Full Palette

Downsizing from a home on 2 1/2 acres to a condo less than half the size was daunting for Fallbrook artist Carol Reardon. Never-theless, the garden enthusiast jumped into her new back yard with purpose.

February 2016 Garden Planner

February is often fickle — luring us into the garden with springtime sun, then chasing us indoors with cold, pelting rain. When weather permits, finish any planting, including one more crop of cool-season vegetables that mature quickly. Longer, warming days encourage seeds to sprout, bulbs to bloom and trees to bud. Still keep watch for frosts and protect sensitive plants.

Keep Your Garden Healthy in Dry Times

As a lifelong gardener, I sympathize with people who worry that they must watch their flowers and lawns wither in the name of water conservation. But I have great news: It’s possible to keep your garden and save water at the same time. Here are my top 10 tips for keeping your garden healthy while doing your part to conserve water.

Determine Your Landscape Style

When you create a landscape plan, consider many elements. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your landscaper to determine your style.

Mass Plantings Dos and Don’ts

Choosing a plant and then filling a garden bed with mass plantings of just that one plant is a good-looking solution to a small garden because it adds design strength. It’s also a brilliant way to reduce maintenance, because a mass of thickly planted plants tends to stay ahead of the weeds. But there are a few tricks to making it a huge success.

Selecting Tomato Varieties

Tomatoes are categorized into two main types: determinate and indeterminate. There are dozens of varieties from which to choose in each category. Here’s how to decide what might work best for you in your garden.

Rose Pruning Simplified

January and February are the best months to prune roses in San Diego. Here are four easy steps to help you get the job done.
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