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How to help your houseplants thrive

Houseplants. They bring beautiful greenery and a soothing outdoor presence to artificial interior environments. They convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen. They help filter pollutants from sterile, indoor air. In other words, they’re simply miraculous! Houseplants are typically grown for their foliage; their leaves can range from tiny to huge, lacy to […]

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Complete the gardening experience by seed saving.

Saving seeds can be a fun thing to do and you can save seeds from plants that you find particularly satisfying. You can save a little money too. Some terms and definitions are in order to help understand the basics of seed saving. Self-pollination occurs on plants with ‘perfect flowers’ where the transfer of pollen […]

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Gardening mistakes we sometimes make

Gardening is like most human endeavors prone to making errors. Last year I had a great harvest of strawberries from April to July. These were plants that I dug up at my old home the previous fall and moved them to my new home in Morada. I spaced the plants about 12 inches apart and […]

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Understanding the sun exposure needs of plants

As we enter the hottest parts of our San Joaquin summer, sun is a timely topic.  Fall planting season will be here before we know it, and this is an excellent time for both experienced and budding landscapers to make plans for large-scale garden makeovers or the addition of a few new plants here and […]

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How to use the Master Gardener Help Desk

Has your garden been invaded by an insect pest, and you have no idea what it is or how to safely banish it from your yard? Is one of your beloved and formerly thriving plants suddenly looking stressed and unhealthy, and you have no clue what’s wrong? Is your garden suddenly plagued by unfamiliar and […]

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Lavender makes a beautiful summer addition to your garden.

It will soon be officially summer and time to enjoy summer blooms. In last week week’s column, Kathy Ikeda advocated for Salvias and they are a great flowering perennial for our California Mediterranean climate. Another flower group that I love to grow is Lavender which is also well suited to our dry, warm climate. It […]

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Create compact orchards for lots of fresh fruit.

Recently. Phil Pursel, representing David Wilson Nursery come to our monthly Master Gardener’s meeting to tell us about backyard fruit growing techniques. Yes, Master Gardeners do have meetings once a month to hear speakers to educate us on gardening issues and this one was very relevant. The size of home lots has shrunk noticeably in […]

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Superb and spectacular sages

Look up the word “sage” in the dictionary, and the first definitions are typically those referring to a wise person or the culinary herb. But the word also applies to a group of ornamental plants well known and loved by gardeners around the world. Sage plants belong to the genus Salvia, a word not to be […]

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New Zealand Garden Tour Finale

In the last report on our garden tour, I described some historic gardens in Hamilton. For me, it was one of the best parts of the trip, but there were still many excellent gardens to visit and I am sharing some of those with you today. Near Wellington we visited the Otari-Wilton’s Bush a Native […]

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A tour of New Zealand Gardens; Part 2

The Auckland Botanical Garden was a large expanse of lawns and trees, but a disappointment as the roses were not well tended. There were some worthy sculptor pieces in the gardens. We visited 21 gardens on this 2 week tour. Our first garden, Ayrlies, north of Auckland, is acknowledged by some as one of the […]

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