Author Archives: Nadia Zane

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 Native Plant Society.

Giving Water Two Lives

With the departure of winter rains, most of us have had to turn on the sprinklers by now to help plants thrive in our hot, dry summers. However, we can minimize water use in the landscape with practices such as choosing low-water use plants, applying mulch, and efficient irrigation practices. You can also reuse household […]

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Ants and Aphids: A Pesky Partnership

Late spring is prime time for one of our “favorite” plant pests: aphids. Temperatures are averaging in the 70s, and plants are still flush with tender, new growth from an unusually wet winter. Turn over a leaf, and you might see itsy-bitsy insects in a variety of colors, from lime green to brown, red or […]

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Try Water-Wise Plants This Spring

The abundant rains we received this past winter have our reservoirs feeling less empty, but any long-term California resident knows how quickly this can change. With spring weather comes the opportunity to make changes in the garden that reflect our need to conserve this precious resource. Although everyone’s garden is unique, there are plants of […]

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Managing Weeds Without Herbicides

Weeds. What would spring be without them? For some, weed-pulling is calming and meditative. For others, it is a loathsome task leading to feelings of anger, frustration, and orneriness. How can we maintain a weed-free garden and our mental health? Like illness in the human body, weeds are often a sign that something has gone […]

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Worms Turn Food Waste Into Garden Gold

One of the best ways to improve your soil and plant health is to apply compost, which is decomposed organic matter full of beneficial microbes. However, managing a pile takes time, space, a strong back, and the right kinds of organic materials to achieve the characterstics of quality compost. For those of you living on […]

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Why Soil is Better Than Dirt

  We’ve all heard the words “soil” and “dirt,” but what’s the difference? Both have the same basic components: particles of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter. The difference lies in how they function: dirt is where we stick our plants and dump water, fertilizers, and pesticides in the hopes of keeping plants alive; it […]

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Diagnosing Plant Problems Is Key to Success

Every gardener encounters problems at some point. Nature is our host, greeting gardeners’ hubris with humble pie served by drought, disease, and pest invasions. In the old days one could blame ignorance for missteps in managing pests and diseases; fortunately, our increased understanding of nature’s rules has allowed us to move beyond “spray and pray” […]

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Irrigation 101: Back to Basics

Few elements surpass water on your plants’ list of requirements. While some plants aren’t terribly picky about their watering schedule, some are more exacting and dislike irrational irrigation choices. The added complications of drought and water restrictions are enough to make your head spin. Can’t we simplify and pop outside to water whenever there’s nothing […]

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Improving Soil Health With Cover Crops

Cover crops are plants grown for the direct benefit of the soil rather than human consumption. They were known in ancient China and India and have been standard practice in many agricultural regions of the world, including colonial America. This changed in the 1940s when our WWII infrastructure was redirected toward the production of fertilizers, […]

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Indoor Plants Help Clean the Air

Many people are drawn to the aroma of a new car, a recently varnished cabinet in all its unscratched glory, or “spring fresh”- scented cleaners. We may revel in newness and hygiene, but the smells associated with “fresh and clean” are often due to toxins in a variety of household products. When released into the […]

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