Author Archives: Lee Miller

Lee Miller

Lee Miller is a University of Delaware graduate and retired fisheries biologist, he gardens on 10 acres and makes wine each year with the help of a cadre of friends. However, his first love is gardening and he grows various fruit trees, heirloom tomatoes, gladiolus, daylilies, dahlias and roses among many others. He is a UC Master Gardener and an accredited National Garden Club flower show judge.

Joining the succulent parade.

Succulents and cacti are a new world-to me. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap and we are unlikely to be saps for liking these plants. Succulents have the ability to thrive on mist and dew, which makes them equipped to survive with scarce water sources. In our drought [...]

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Bare Root Season is here—time to plant

Bare root season is here at nurseries and stores and it is a relatively short season. The plants are dug when dormant, hence it lasts from now to about mid-February, so plan to get out and get those plants you want to grow next spring while the selection is at its best. The season is [...]

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Avoid problems with some smaller trees for shade and color.

Red maples in my neighbor's front garden.

A friend asked me recently if there are modest sized trees to plant for shade. Her recent experience was removing a Magnolia tree which had cracked up her driveway. The back-hoe operator, who took out the root-ball, said it was the largest he had ever removed. We have to be wary of planting trees that [...]

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Good soil is the gardener’s best asset.

Clay soils crack open in the dry season.

Gardening is not just about plants, landscapes, flowers and vegetables. There is always the basis of a great garden—the soil to consider. I always recommend to people who want to get back to the land or want to commit to serious gardening to check out the soil before they buy property. That said, I recently [...]

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What is your gardening style?

I have always been somewhat conflicted about human’s role in nature. I grew up with a 40 acre woodlot on our farm and always liked the wild woods I experienced as a kid. So I came to gardening with a mixed viewpoint. I wanted to garden somewhat on the wild side, but I know that [...]

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Evaluating garden successes and failures.

As summer passes it is a good time to count some of the successes and failures of gardening activities. One of my triumphs was getting rid of overwintering squash bugs early in the season, so that I did not have to deal with their offspring for the entire summer. Hence, we, and our neighbors, have [...]

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Essential winter vegetables; garlic and onions.

Garlic maturing in the garden shed. Always a good annual happening. Photo courtesy Lee Miller

In maintaining a household there are some things that you should never run out of—like flour, salt, sugar, toilet paper, onions and garlic. Onions and garlic are pretty essential ingredients of most culinary efforts and both are easy to grow winter vegetables. I start my onion seeds in a flat of compost in August and [...]

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Summer garden problems explored

Heat and tomato fruit set: The hot streak we had recently was not good for a lot of plants, but in particular not good for fruit set in tomatoes. Tomato blossoms drop off when daytime temperatures exceed 95 and night-time temperatures are above 70. Tomatoes in the sun may experience temperatures as much as 10 [...]

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Garden downsizing— losses lamented; smaller celebrated

One of the things that Master Gardeners and others teach new gardeners is to not bite off too much when starting to garden. With experience one can take on more efforts if you want to. Here is what one family magazine has to say, “Be realistic when you plan your first garden. Start small; you [...]

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Sages are great perennials in your border

Perennial borders are wonderful. Little or no annual planting, but some pruning and deadheading required from time to time to keep plants flowering. Sage advice is to include some sage plants, in your perennial flower bed. The true sages are Salvias, but Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, is not a true sage, nor is it from [...]

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    Lee Miller

    Lee Miller is a University of Delaware graduate and retired fisheries biologist, he gardens on 10 acres and makes wine each year with the help of a cadre of friends. However, his first love is gardening and he grows various fruit trees, heirloom ... Read Full

    Marcy Sousa

    Marcy Sousa is the San Joaquin County UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator. She is a Stockton native and enjoys teaching others about gardening. She has her bachelors from Stanislaus State in Permaculture. She has been with the program since 2007. Read Full

    Nadia Zane

    Nadia Zane is a UC Master Gardener, a landscape designer and Stockton native. She has a fondness for California native plants and sustainable landscaping, which she utilizes in her work for Native Beauty Garden Design. She is a member of the CA ... Read Full
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