Author Archives: Kathy Ikeda

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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Leave the leaves this fall

Autumn is here! Although the fall season officially began more than two months ago, it finally feels as if it’s arrived. The cooler temperatures are invigorating and a welcome change, and rainstorms during the last two weeks have brought much-needed precipitation and relief from smoky skies. Fall is one of my favorite times of year. […]

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The birds and the berries

Fall is upon us, and with the season comes a profusion of color. But it’s not just leaves that bring autumn color and beauty; berries do too. Bird-friendly, berry-producing shrubs have a lot of environmental value. They help sustain and nourish bird populations, providing energy in the form of fruit and seeds when other sources […]

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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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