Author Archives: Kathy Ikeda

Kathy Ikeda

Kathy Ikeda is a UC Master Gardener, independent landscape designer, certified San Joaquin County Green Gardener, and Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL). She has called Stockton her home for 30 years, and enjoys sharing her love of plants, sustainable low-water-use landscaping, and the natural world with others. She’s a member of the California Native Plant Society, EcoLandscape California, and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, and has a background environmental planning, a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology, and an A.S. in Horticulture from San Joaquin Delta College.

Understanding the sun exposure needs of plants

As we enter the hottest parts of our San Joaquin summer, sun is a timely topic.  Fall planting season will be here before we know it, and this is an excellent time for both experienced and budding landscapers to make plans for large-scale garden makeovers or the addition of a few new plants here and […]

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How to use the Master Gardener Help Desk

Has your garden been invaded by an insect pest, and you have no idea what it is or how to safely banish it from your yard? Is one of your beloved and formerly thriving plants suddenly looking stressed and unhealthy, and you have no clue what’s wrong? Is your garden suddenly plagued by unfamiliar and […]

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Superb and spectacular sages

Look up the word “sage” in the dictionary, and the first definitions are typically those referring to a wise person or the culinary herb. But the word also applies to a group of ornamental plants well known and loved by gardeners around the world. Sage plants belong to the genus Salvia, a word not to be […]

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Restoring California’s native oaks

Imagine for a moment what our valley looked like only two centuries ago. Before the mass settlement of California, grizzly bears, herds of tule elk and deer, and sky-darkening flocks of migratory birds were common in what we now call San Joaquin County. Northern Valley Yokuts and Miwok communities lived and thrived within the oak […]

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A magnificent migration of painted ladies

If you’ve spent any time outside in the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a greater than normal number of butterflies flitting past. You’ve been privileged to witness the largest migration of painted lady butterflies in nearly 15 years. This miracle of nature was spawned by heavier than average winter and spring rainfall in the […]

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Straw bale gardening

Do you want to your own vegetables, but have minimal garden space, poor or heavy clay soil, or limited financial resources? Do you manage or want to begin a school or community garden, but need to start small or stretch limited funding? Do you want to give your children a fun adventure in growing their […]

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How to prune two popular grass-like plants

Several weeks ago, I wrote about how to prune ornamental grasses. This article covers a similar topic: how to care for two widely used and loved perennial plants that resemble oversized grasses. New Zealand flax (Phormium species) There are only two species of Phormium, but there are lots of named cultivars and hybrids with different sizes and […]

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It’s time for bare root planting

Have you been thinking of adding a fruit tree or two, some roses, or other productive plants to your garden? This is the perfect time for plants that are sold in “bare root” form. Most deciduous fruit and nut trees are available bare root: almonds, apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, walnuts, and […]

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Proper pruning of ornamental grasses

I have to admit, this article is about one of my pet peeves, plant butchering. I hope to educate homeowners and commercial landscapers about how the specific growth habits of different plants should dictate the appropriate pruning methods. If you remember only one rule from this article, it should be this: some plants should NOT […]

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Rain gardens

Now that wet weather has finally arrived, it seems a good time to write something about those little drops falling from the sky. You might ask, “What are rain gardens?” One writer has very aptly described them as gardens that “encompass all possible elements that can be used to capture, channel, divert and make the […]

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