Author Archives: Kathy Ikeda

A healthy approach to garden pest management

For as long as human beings have been cultivating crops and growing ornamental plants, pest control has been an important to-do. Anyone who grows plants for food or pleasure must also be concerned with the organisms that might harm those plants. The word “pest” in garden lingo is fairly all encompassing. It can refer to […]

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Special fall plant sales and garden events

Fall is a wonderful time to “think garden.” The peak heat of summer is over, garden events abound, and it’s a perfect time to plant. The late fall months (October and November) are especially ideal for re-landscaping or planting a new garden. Cooler daytime temperature means that plants experience less transplanting shock, while warm soil […]

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The carpenter bee – friend or foe?

We usually think of carpenter bees as those bulky, black bees that buzz loudly around our yards and burrow into wood, earning them a reputation as pest insects to be eliminated. You might be surprised to learn better side of these interesting native bees! Three different species of large carpenter bees live in California, all […]

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Contemplating climate change and gardening

After several days of scorching temperatures and skies dusky with smoke from local wildfires, it seems an appropriate time to consider how climate change will affect the plant life that gardeners love so dearly. As our California weather patterns become more unpredictable, it’s inevitable that changes will occur to our local ecosystems. Forests stressed by […]

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Deadheading: what it is and why it’s important

What is deadheading? The word sounds somewhat sinister, and if you belong to a certain generation, you might associate the term with those avid fans of a certain 1970s rock band. (Followers of the group The Grateful Dead are known as “Deadheads.”) While the word might lead to amusing confusion, a gardener’s use of the […]

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Here comes the sun (and what gardeners should know about it)

As I pondered a topic for this article, brilliant rays of sunlight penetrated the dark rain clouds, bathing my garden with a beautiful rosy glow. What perfect and timely inspiration. With respect to gardens, our sun is far more than a “mass of incandescent gas” (term borrowed from the song “Why Does the Sun Shine?”); […]

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Gardens as a metaphor for life

An acquaintance recently told me about a favorite and once thriving shrub that was in serious decline.  The problem: over time, branches from a nearby tree had grown and spread so widely that they were shading out the sun-loving plant. The only viable options: severely prune back the mature tree and destroy its structure, or […]

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Master Gardeners – we’re here to help you

Have you ever wondered where to go for advice about landscaping or vegetable gardening? Does a pest problem have you stumped? Do you need guidance on how and when to prune your favorite specimen plant or fruit tree? Master Gardeners are here to help! The Master Gardener Program is administered by the University of California […]

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Winter blooming plants to brighten the garden

Winter is a thankfully slow and sleepy season in the garden. Fallen leaves have been cleared away, lawns need less mowing, and busy gardeners can take a breather from the never-ending maintenance chores of the warm growing season. Once the weather turns cool and cloudy, what better way to chase away the winter doldrums than […]

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Seed swapping: a rewarding way to grow your garden

                Fall is an excellent time to harvest and preserve seeds for planting next year. Warm season vegetable crops are winding down their production, and those overripe or dried out squash, melons, tomatoes, eggplants, and more are a fantastic source of seeds for a “repeat performance” next year. […]

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