Author Archives: Kathy Ikeda

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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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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