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Putting it All Together

After “I do”s in front of a justice of the peace, Mary Ann Stepnowsky and Tom Clark repeated their vows a year later before friends and family gathered in their back yard. Pictures show the bride and groom on a patch of lawn framed by the mountain vistas that enchanted them when they first visited the modern ranch perched high above El Cajon.

November Garden Planner

In this month of giving thanks, gardeners hope to be grateful for wet weather — perhaps an El Niño effect. Before rain falls, get natives in the ground to benefit from winter weather.

Permutations in Paradise

Repeat visitors, like expert members of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America or garden lovers on the Fallbrook Garden Club tour, know they will discover intriguing new additions to Wanda Mallen and Gary Vincent’s 2-acre plant paradise.

Cut It Out

An entrance is an opportunity to impress. Instead of standard, solid steps, these cantilevered concrete platforms accessorized with greenery create a more elegant look.

Fertilizing Your Landscape Trees

Fertilizer is often misunderstood and misused. It is not really direct food for trees, but instead a boost providing the ingredients needed for photosynthesis and growth. A frequent misconception is that fertilizer should be applied only when minerals are lacking or absent in the soil. However, it also can maintain a good chemical balance within the soil all year long. Here are some tree fertilizer tips.

The Structural Approach

When Alan and Mary Schulman bought a house in The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, they planned to give it what Mary calls “a facelift.” As so often happens, one thing led to another and the project turned into a major renovation.

Field of Vision

Opening up a seascape sets the stage for a spectacular garden tableau

Succulent Success

San Diego County’s semi-arid climate can take some getting used to for transplants from wetter parts of the world. This holds true for plants and people alike.

Landmark Looks

San Diego owes much of its horticultural history to the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, which marks its 100-year anniversary this year.

Gardening for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds have delighted birdwatchers for centuries. Their bright, iridescent colors, rapid flight and the ability to hover are a few of the traits that make them unique. To attract hummingbirds to your garden, plant trees and shrubs for them to perch in and nest and nectar-rich flowering annuals and perennials. Add hummingbird feeders and a source of water.

August Garden Planner

Hot weather this month slows the pace of life — and gardening. Complete outdoor chores early in the day; cooler morning temperatures are best for harvesting fruits and veggies or snipping flowers for bouquets and herbs for cooking. Then relax in the shade. Before you know it, the pace will quicken again as San Diego’s next planting season arrives.

Modern Meadows

Imagine a meadow garden — grasses and dainty wildflowers dancing in the breeze, alive with butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Now imagine one in an urban setting, rather than on country acres.

The Best Plants for Beneficial Bugs

Choose a diverse mixture of plants with differing floral architecture, bloom times and growth habits and watch a place of beauty become a garden teeming with insect life. Here is a small sampling of the plants listed in Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden by Jessica Walliser.

Modern Meadows

Imagine a meadow garden — grasses and dainty wildflowers dancing in the breeze, alive with butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Now imagine one in an urban setting, rather than on country acres.

The ‘Dry Tropical’ Terraces of Bankers Hill

Annual holidays at their Mission Bay vacation home convinced Dick and Bobbie Vandervoort to retire here, but the Chicago couple knew they wanted a quieter neighborhood.

Swayed by Swedish Roots

Neighbors of Stina Lake have become accustomed to seeing her in gardening gear, weeding, pruning and even spreading manure around her half-acre property. Her family isn’t surprised to discover her on the roof wresting with an overgrown wisteria or on a sun-baked slope, slip-sliding as she digs a dozen planting holes.

The Water-wise But Colorful Garden

Create a lush garden with these drought-tolerant, easy-to-grow plants. Once established in your garden, they require only a little water.

Drought-Tolerant and Native Plants

If you are converting your yard to be drought tolerant, there are many plants from which to choose. First of all, be aware that there is a difference between drought-tolerant plants and natives. Drought tolerance refers to a measure of how well plants will survive during extended dry periods. Though they may have low water requirements, natives are best defined as those that have adapted to a specific location and have remained genetically unaltered by humans. After becoming established in your landscape, natives usually do not need supplemental water or feeding.

June Garden Planner

June’s fog-cooled days are ideal for enjoying and fine-tuning gardens before summer’s warm-up. Plant colorful summer bloomers and warm-season edibles. Adjust irrigation and add mulch. Guard against prolific pests. As you work, keep a notebook of changes to make during fall planting season. For inspiration, make time to visit San Diego County fair’s display gardens and expert talks.

Ready, Set, Compost

Composting is both an art and a science. But don’t let the science scare you. Composting can be boiled down to a few key steps.
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