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Gardening

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.

January Garden Planner

It’s refreshing to be back in the garden. Finish any planting, especially of natives and other Mediterranean-climate plants, so that they benefit from winter rains.

Homegrown Ingredients

In her book The Art of French Vegetable Gardening, Louisa Jones describes French potagers, or kitchen gardens, as “perfection for both the plate and the eye.”

Invite Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Watching hummingbirds flit through your garden is an enjoyable pastime. Succulents and almost any aloe will attract them, but there is an assortment of cactus and perennial plants that will bring them in too. The list below from the plant palette at Waterwise Botanicals should help you invite these precious visitors to your landscape or garden.

Winter Gardening Tips

During winter months, there are several things you can do in your garden to protect plants through the chilly months and save water and energy.

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.
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