Sharing Secrets  

Sharing Secrets is a great way to tap into the incredible wealth of knowledge our members possess!  We publish Sharing Secrets responses in the monthly Let's Talk Plants newsletter and also pose the following month question for members. We invite our members to email suggestions for the monthly question as well as answers and suggestions for this month's question.

In this forum, we invite members to continue the discussion by adding new posts. 

If you are a non-member, you may read the posts but may not comment.

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  • Fri, July 01, 2016 8:26 AM | Anonymous

    Charlotte Getz: We are still watering everything in the yard, on a two-time per week basis, unless it rains and we turn off the irrigation. Trees and shrubs are still doing well because I have mulched them all with a two- to three-inch layer of compost. The compost retains the moisture around the plants and retards weed growth.  

    Candace Kohl: I have changed some of my watering to drip emitters for all areas, but I am cutting back water on the grass and flowers, more than the trees and shrubs. Also, I have called in a professional for advice on my many Torrey pine trees. Some of them do look a bit under stress, but most are fine. (92014)

    Gabrielle Ivany: Last year’s lack of rain and hot summer, combined with the watering restrictions, certainly affected my trees. Some of the branches on my big olive tree died back last year. I hand water more. I diverted some of the water from a close-by downspout to the olive tree via a French drain. That seems to have helped this tree. However, I could not save my young peach tree, in a different location, even though it, too, was hand watered more. I am thinking of getting rain barrels. (92128)

    Susan M. Oddo: Heat is the main enemy, and with a variety of 20- to 30-year old trees, tall Callistemon and other shrubs, the shade canopy helps hold in moisture. This year we are adding mulch over much of the property and reducing water consumption by about another 20 percent (already cut back 35 percent). We find that reducing weekly surface irrigation to trees and giving them a deep, slow drink once every two weeks has actually made them healthier and uses less water. We will also have the two 80-foot Torrey pines laced, which reduces the amount of water the trees need. We will do the same with the coast live oaks, which have germinated naturally on the lower half of the property. They receive enough water to, hopefully, keep them healthy enough to resist the new fungus and beetle invasion.  

    Pat Welsh: The changes in my plants this year are quite the opposite of what one would expect. Everything has grown more rapidly than usual and flowered more profusely. Faster rate of growth of Chinese wisteria, Lady Banks rose, bougainvillea, Victorian box (Pittosporum undulatum), and Geraldton waxflower (Chamelaucium unicatum) has been particularly noticeable. I think all of this might be due to the greenhouse effect, since plants inhale carbon dioxide. Greater amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere theoretically should mean that, through photosynthesis, plants can create greater amounts of sugar, which they need for growth. (The jury is still out on this with the scientific community since tests have resulted in conflicting evidence.) However, I noticed the same thing happened with plants all over Del Mar after the backcountry fires caused thick smoke to blanket our town for a couple of months. A few months later every flowering tree, shrub, or vine bloomed its head off and many plants, including Monterey cypress, put on more growth than usual. 

    Kristie Hildebrandt: We live in Escondido in a hilly, rural area and have 67 hedge plants surrounding our backyard for privacy. Nine of them are Carolina Laurel Cherry and were planted in a retaining wall 1-1/2 years ago. The rest are Ficus nitida; 22 of the F. nitida were planted about five years ago and the rest were planted about two years ago. All are on drip. About one year ago I had some guys come to trim everything and they noticed that in the tops, I had thrips and gall wasps on the F. nitida and had some other chewers on the laurels (most are 18 feet tall now). Up to that time, I had never had any problems but I think reducing the water added some stress, which caused the insects to move in. I read that gull wasps were not harmful but would disfigure the hedges and cause leaf drop. I also read that the thrips could kill my F. nitida. The chewers on the laurels were beginning to wreak havoc. Big investment here with 67 of them and I did not want to lose any. I engaged an agricultural pest control company that was recommended by Grangetto’s. They’ve injected each hedge plant twice in the last year, which included fertilizer (every six months). All are doing well now. Still prior gall wasp damage, but nothing new, no thrips and no chewers. Everything has been thriving but I have been trying to keep a close eye out, even in the tippy-tops, to make sure all stays well.

    Sue Ann Scheck: Pruning shrubs and trees in the right season! Deep watering when necessary, also removing mature plant material when it is entirely spent to make room for healthy, living specimens. Some of our shrubs are 25 years old.   

    Jackie: My peach tree has much less fruit than usual this year despite an abundance of green leaves and my 25+ year old Magnolia grandiflora is losing lots more leaves than usual for this time of year, though still producing many flowers and new leaves.  

    Walter Andersen: I moved recently, so with the re-landscaping we chose more low water use plants, including leptospermum, puya, cistus, kalanchoe, aeonium, cycads, and Acacia cognata ‘Cousin Itt’ (spectacular plant). Lots of bark mulch covering the soil and a DIG watering system. In a very private, shady area I have my Platycerium (staghorn fern) collection (also on a DIG system) with some ferns and bromeliads in the ground. We replaced old gravel areas with concrete pavers and the horrible looking lawn is now artificial turf. A new supplemental planting of Acacia redolens helps the ice plant hold the steep bank in the back. Calliandra surinamensis was planted near the bottom of the bank to add height and blooms.    

    Tom Biggart: The whole scenario is pretty hopeless! We have lost a huge Araucaria and a mature Banksia integrifolia. As the mature trees and shrubs die we replace them with tougher plants or…. Plant Oxalis!!  

    Paula Suttle: I slow water mature trees by putting the hose at the base, at a very low trickle and leave it for a day or two. I have been gathering fallen debris from other parts of the garden to spread on open areas that attract unwanted weeds. I am letting attractive wildflowers that volunteer remain where they grow. I have tried four or five native grasses, but only one did well and spread (I forget which one). I stick to natives when I plant shop. I don’t trim overhanging plants as much so that I don’t cut down on shade. I place water-loving (more water needy plants) near faucets.

    Jessica Colton: I have a mature Palo Verde in my front yard. I estimate she is probably 50-60 years old. This old girl was looking pretty bad this year and although she doesn’t drink very much water, I just assumed the drought was part of the problem. With her age she has lost a lot of her green and is brown so I didn’t pay much attention to her condition until one day my neighbor left a note exclaiming that she had never seen my beautiful tree look so terrible. That scared me… and after a much closer look at the dead leaves I realized I had an emergency on my hands. So I called a pest service and found out it wasn’t the drought, she had tree mites in a bad way. I had to have two treatments done on her, but now she is full of leaves and happy again. My magnolia, on the other hand is more affected by the drought and I have been watering on my designated days, or once a week. I’m looking forward to hearing what other are doing.

    Tina Ivany: I had a rain barrel installed last October, a 205-gallon Bushman tank. It filled up several times from the rain we got. I used the water to deeply irrigate some of my bushes and trees, with the trees getting first dibs. My goal was to store the water in the ground as opposed to the tank. The plants loved  the water and grew quite a bit. I know they had been stressed and it was fun to watch all that lovely water soak in, guilt free. The leaves on my camellias have never been so glossy! 


  • Wed, June 01, 2016 8:22 AM | Anonymous

    Bea Ericksen: I would prefer roses be planted in the ground, they just do not get enough water in a container. (I have 95 roses.)

    Stephen A. Zolezzi: Roses do just fine in a container so long as they are watered 2 to 3 times a week, depending on the weather. Use a rich planting mix (A-1 soil, Queen of Show mix), re-pot every 2 to 3 years and trim roots, apply top dressing yearly, fertilize every 4 to 6 weeks during growing season, deadhead as needed, and check for bugs, much like any other potted plant. Right?  

    Catherine Tylka: Roses in big containers are a piece of cake. They love being in big, red clay planters with drip pans. Water to your heart’s content, but stop when the drip pan is full. They can live with only a once a week watering, and I put them on the back porch, under the lattice and they are thriving! (zip code 92026)

    Dwyn Daniels Robbie: One of the key elements to growing good roses in pots is the ability to change out the soil every three years, at least. Using the best quality soil is also important. I use Queen of Show mix from Hanson’s and add more perlite, worm castings, powdered kelp and essential minerals. If you don’t replace the soil, my observation is that the rose bush refuses to put out basal breaks. It is also more difficult to gauge watering needs in a pot. At least two times a week, I water until I see leakage coming from the base of the pot. I also water the surface once a week, as the feeder roots of a rose are in the top 3-4 inches. I always have a 2-inch layer of mulch covering the top of the pot and gently push it aside when I fertilize. I try to collect rain water from my gutters and this pure water is poured into the pots at a rate of 3 gallons for a 30 gallon pot at least twice a year. Also important is utilizing a large enough container to allow the roots to expand and grow. Some of my large climbing roses are in 40-gallon pots and the hybrid teas/floribundas are in 20- to 25-gallon pots. Miniatures are mainly confined to 5-7 gallon pots. If I had the ability, none of my roses would be potted… the reality is they perform better when placed directly into the soil (I have sandy, loamy soil). Nature has left a 100-year old Torrey Pine in my garden and it does rob anything it can from the soil. Make sure to water thoroughly prior to fertilizing and then just a bit after the rose is placed. Pots do not allow for the roots to escape the horrors of being burned by too much fertilizer, so also lessen the recommended dosage of fertilizer. My former mentor, Phil Ash, taught me that the best type of pot is a plastic one. The pottery and ceramic containers continually leach salt into the soil. If you want you may do as I have and place a plastic pot inside a ceramic pot for visual pleasure without the harmful mineral exposure. (Master Rosarian, Certified ARS Horticultural Rose Judge)    

    Jim Bishop: Don’t! Unless you are in love with roses, absolutely have to grow them, and only have a small, sunny patio or balcony to grow things, you should consider growing something else in containers. Here’s why: Roses require regular water (even more in containers) and should never be allowed to fully dry out. They require regular maintenance and even so will be dormant or not in bloom several months of the year. They need to be cut back after each bloom cycle. They need regular feeding to continue growing and blooming. They also will likely need sprays or systemic pesticides to control disease or bugs. They will likely be short lived in pots or start performing poorly after a few years and need replacing with new plants or new soil after a few years. Instead, consider growing something that is easier to maintain and needs less water. First on the list would be succulents or one or more of the many colorful members of the bromeliad family. If you want year-round bloom, many of the Euphorbia milli hybrids or related cultivars can last decades in a pot, aren’t anymore thorny than many roses, and won’t mind if you miss a watering or two. Another option for the same amount of water and care: you can grow all your own salad greens in a few pots.   

    Winnie Krushensky: I’m just learning myself!

    Gay Sinclair: I have pretty good luck growing roses in big ceramic pots, about 22” in diameter by 23” in height. I put something in the bottom so there is good drainage. My patio is fairly sheltered and gets lots of sun. They are thirsty. Each January when I prune them and remove all the leaves and old mulch, I soak the plants and ground with a pre-emergent spray. Then I give them some new potting soil, ½ cup of Epsom salts, and new bark mulch. I have each container on a small trolley so they are moveable, and rotate them about once a month to distribute the sun evenly. I soak egg shells in water and as the jar fills up, pour the water on a few plants. This is sort of random, but an old lady friend when I was a kid did that and her roses were beautiful, so I do it. I also feed them every 4-6 weeks, starting in February, usually with Bayer’s weed and feed. I think about being organic, but this gets such good results, I just use it most months. I choose plants for their fragrance and then color. I live near the beach in La Jolla, so if mildew is a problem with a particular bush, no matter how fragrant it is, it has to go. I try to pick off yellow leaves as they appear. After a few months they get unshapely, as I like to cut them and am not always concerned with the overall shape. But they bloom from mid- to late February thru December, so they must be happy. (zip code 92037)


  • Sun, May 01, 2016 8:19 AM | Anonymous

    Jane Morton: I could not do without any of the cistus (rockrose). I have many varieties, in several colors and sizes and really enjoy them, as they are often the first to bloom each year. I especially like that they are wonderful hillside plants, are covered with flowers during a long bloom, and use almost no water, once established. My most recent is the large, white saucer sized flower (Cistus ‘Blanca’) that is expected to reach seven feet on a south facing hillside, near the coast; planted next to an area of Cape Plumbago. I am rewarded with a year-long show of flowers. (92075)

     

    Marilyn Wilson: Grevilleas from Australia. I have several varieties and at least one is blooming all the time. I’m a cut-flower girl, and grevilleas make excellent cut flowers.  

    Tynan Wyatt: Sweet almond verbena (Aloysia virgata)! Goodness, that fragrance never gets old and the butterflies and bees love it too!

    Catherine Tylka: I love my aloes. They blossom year round, if you have a variety. The hummingbirds love them too, and all the people I share them with. (92026)    

    Nancy Woodard: I love salvias. There are so many different colors, sizes, and bloom times. There is always something gorgeous to see. The scent of the leaves fills the surrounding area with a wonderful aroma. It is always a pleasure to work in the garden nearby.

    Christine Vargas: Brugmansia! I have double white, yellow and pink and love the aroma in the evening – it is scentsational!

    Nick Stavros: Abutilon – I think of this as the “bread and butter” for hummingbirds. Sure, they love all the other things that bloom in the garden, but Abutilon always seems to have something blooming, especially when nothing else is in bloom.

    Pat Venolia: Oh my gosh, this question is like being asked to pick the favorite of my four children… it can’t be done! However, predictably I’ll say camellias… but then I’ll also list roses (‘Sevillana’), and alstroemeria. (92084)

    Jean Emery:  If you like bright orange (I do), I have had a Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) growing in a big pot for almost four years. I hack it back once a year and fertilize; it withstands forgetfulness, neglect, and watering restrictions. Almost constantly in bloom and is like a hummingbird feeder without the fuss!

    Michelle Sund: Hesperaloe paviflora – the hummingbirds LOVE it!

    Al and Dora Jean Myrick: Lady Banks’ rose (Rosa banksiae), covers our west side garden on a giant, ten-foot high trellis, ¾ of the length of the house. It begins to bloom in late February and many blossoms last until mid-April. It is practically thornless, takes little care or water and is virtually pest-free and never needs dead-heading or pruning. Our west side one is white, but we also have a yellow one farther down the canyon. In its blossoming peak it resembles a snowy white cloud, 40 feet long, 10-15 feet deep and 15 feet wide (but it would grow wider and longer if we let it.) How could anything else beat this in the spring? In the summer it is a shade tree!

    Jeannine Romero: That’s like asking to choose my favorite child. It is hard to choose just one, but I would have to go with lavender and any jasmine. Why? I think that is what heaven must smell like.  

    Karin Peterson: White and pink rockrose. Beautiful flowers, good screening, and does not need much water or attention. (92067)

    Kathleen Voltin: Gardenia; I absolutely love the fragrance of my ‘Mystery’ gardenias, and they look so beautiful while opening. I traveled with a cut flower in a ziplock baggie and it stayed fresh for days without water. Quite a remarkable and resilient flower!

    Susan Halenza: Alstroemeria: 1) It brings happy colors (wide range) to my garden and has a long blooming season. 2) Returns to flower the following year. 3) Makes great arrangements.  

    Janet Segvich: Alstroemeria: Long bloom period, easy to care for, variety of lovely, showy colors, heights from dwarf to tall, can be easily moved, and they spread. Most of all, they seem to really like my yard.

    Chris Drayer: Aloes – Some of the most beautiful flowers on some of the toughest and most versatile plants available for our gardens.  

    Jason Chen: Some flowering things I can’t be without. I can’t live without camellias. Probably last on many people’s list of plants, but what other shade plant looks great year-round, with dark green foliage and blooms when little else is flowering during the dead of winter? Relatively drought tolerant when established, it is definitely my go-to plant. The palette is so varied. Not just the traditional big and blousy ones, I tend to like the specialty cultivars, Higos, species and yellow flowering types. Or for the foliage, color/textures or contorted branching of ‘Unryu’. (92123)  

    Elizabeth Woodward: Do I have to pick just one? There are two flowers that I cannot do without in my garden: Alstroemeria ‘Casablanca’ that I purchased through Liz Youngflesh at Garden Glories Nursery. They are tall beauties with a free spirit and brighten my garden from late winter through summer. There are plenty of blooms to grace my garden and enough to cut and bring inside or make a bouquet for a friend. I love many of the Alstroemerias but ‘Casablanca’ is my favorite. My other favorites are the Hardy Garden Gerbera (Gerbera ‘Drakensberg’). These incredible, daisy-like flowers bloom nonstop and are resistant to pests and disease. Mine have been blooming their little hearts out for over seven years. They are a bit difficult to find. I bought my first ones at the San Diego Botanic Garden Fall Plant Sale in white and pink. Once in awhile I have spotted them at a nursery and usually scoop them up for myself or to give to someone else.

    Constance Forest: I have to say pelargoniums, commonly called geraniums. Yes, I know they are not exotic and you can find them in any nursery and most yards, but the blooms and the leaves are shaped and colored in myriad ways, and it is the most forgiving plant I know. It may not thrive in all soils and exposures, but it will usually survive and provide color even when it is neglected. I have not even mentioned the various scents pelargoniums provide. Though I admit to sometimes taking my ‘peles’ for granted, I would miss them terribly if they were not in my garden.

    Tim Biggart: The plant that pops into my mind is the lowly, yet lovely yellow Oxalis that forms a carpet of yellow in my front garden. Its arrival and departure are early and rapid but still it leaves a long lasting impression, reminding me how wonderful plants can be.

    Vivian Black: The iris; it has multiple blooms and gives such delight to all passersby. I have about two dozen yellow Iris plants. They are a delight to share as they keep producing for me and my friends.

    Gail Nye: Trichocereus cactus, so much fun to watch. Flowers don’t last long, but they are popping out all over.

    Carol Brewer: Roses are my favorite flowers, as they bloom several times a year and some of them have great perfume. Our number two favorites are Martha Washington perlargoniums, as they have a wide range of bloom colors and bloom shapes, but sadly, no perfume. (The picture is of our garden this year).

    Dawn Standke: The flowering plant that I wouldn’t want to do without is passion vine – which is cheating a little bit because I would want to keep both kinds: Passiflora edulis that gives me flowers and delicious passion fruit, plus my purple passion vine that doesn’t produce fruit but attracts Gulf fritillary butterflies. The caterpillars eat the leaves, but they have not defoliated the vine and the flowers are a nectar source for the adult butterflies. Purple passion vine is also an amazingly low water user. We have it growing with no irrigation at all; it may have its roots over in our neighbor’s backyard. Between the two vines we have attention getting flowers, fruit, and butterflies. We’re so glad to live in San Diego, where growing passion vine is easy. (92129)  

     


  • Fri, April 01, 2016 8:17 AM | Anonymous

    Vivian Black: I like Early Girl and Momotoro tomatoes.

    Linda Chisari: Carmello!  

    Lynne Blackman: Our climate is coastal and we have the best results with Carmello and Juliet, which I order from Natural Gardening Co. I used to plant Stupice, but plants (from several sources) seemed to lack strength.

    Lynlee Austel-Slayter: The best one is the heirloom tomato bin at People’s Co-op in Ocean Beach; available year round, organic, and cheap by comparison with growing your own.    

    Constance Forest: I have had very good luck with the variety San Diego, developed for this climate. I have not been able to find it at chains like Home Depot, but it was always available at Grangetto’s in Fallbrook.

    Christine Vargas: Celebrity.

    Sue Martin: Stupice and Early Girl perform the best for me, only two blocks from the ocean. During especially cool, foggy summers, everything mildews and shrivels. Planting tomatoes in April instead of May could make a difference, but sometimes my winter garden is still finishing up.

    Roy Wilburn:  Celebrity, BHN 1021, and Skyway have worked well for me in Poway. All three are determinant varieties. We also grow many types of cherry tomatoes, such as SunGold, Favorita, Nova, Yellow Pear, and Black Cherry. All these varieties can be found at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, on line. Also check the websites of Totally Tomato and TomatoFest. I grew tomatoes commercially on the coast of Baja, which is just like our coastal areas, now I get to tackle the heat of Poway in the summer. I am of the opinion that you can grow any variety you like, anywhere in San Diego County. You might want to prune your tomatoes more on the coast since sunburn is not an issue. Inland San Diego might make you want to prune less, when expecting tomatoes in the heat of late summer. This should provide more foliage for less burning. Using black shade cloth will help your fruit from sunburn in the hot inland areas.

    Jim Bishop:  I grow only two tomato varieties; Sweet 100 and Better Girl. I grow my tomatoes in pots, so I only have a couple of plants. I’ve found heirloom and grafted varieties don’t produce enough fruit to be worth the effort. Sweet 100 is perennial and I have had the same plant for several years. Since it isn’t a hybrid, any plants that come from the fruit match the parent plant. It is one of the best tasting tomatoes I’ve ever grown. It fruits on and off all year, with the biggest crop in early summer. Usually I have just enough to eat right off the vine or in salads. Better Girl gives a couple of crops per year, mostly in the summer. The fruit is not large, but it doesn’t split as easily as other varieties. It is a perfect size for sandwiches or salads. Both varieties are great with basil, which we also grow in pots.

    Charlotte Getz: I live in Encinitas, just two miles from the coast. I have had good luck with Stupice, SunGold, and Early Girl. I have tried many other varieties and they have not done well with the marine layers we get in the morning and at night in May and June, and sometimes in April.

    Katie Pelisek: Early Girl and SunGold are staples in our garden. Last year we tried Spoon and it was a huge hit at the Boys and Girls Club!

    Doris Enberg: I love SunGold cherry tomatoes.

    Sheila Busch: I always have good production of SunGold cherry tomatoes. They are also the best tasting I have ever had. They hold up to the brutal sun and heavy clay soil in Escondido.

    Walter Andersen: There are so many tomatoes it can be very confusing. I live about 10 miles from the coast. I have found these are very good for my area: San Diego hybrid (sometimes sold as Otay), Celebrity, Champion, Sweet 100 (cherry-like but not as sprawling).

    Una Marie Pierce: Every year it seems as if I get the best tomatoes from the plants that come up as volunteers. I have three going just now and I’m waiting to see what I have.

    Jason Chen: I’ve tried many and probably my favorites have been Momotoro Gold, Black Krim, Black Trifele, Black Cherry and my absolute favorite, Anna Russian (I love the sweet meatiness of it, great cooked and fresh). I think the main thing is watering and cutting suckers and extra canes out of the plants. Unfortunately last year I had an issue with nematodes and fusarium wilt, big time, especially when it was warm with the summer rains. I’ll have to try them in containers this year or spread out crab shells and organically combat the nematodes; not sure about the fusarium aside from buying resistant varieties.

    Vince Lazaneo: I grew Litt’l Bites cherry, a window box tomato from Renee’s Garden for the first time last year and have planted it again. I grew the plants from seed in five gallon pots and had a big harvest of cherry sized fruit from the small plants. They were tasty and did not crack during my winter harvest. I don’t know how the plant would perform if it was planted in the ground.

    Lucy Warren: I love SunGold; tough, reliable, and sweet little yellow bites for a long season—yum.

    Arlene Watters: Cherokee Purple.

    Gabrielle Ivany: I have had good luck with San Diego and Lemon Boy tomatoes. (92128)

    Susi Torre-Bueno:It’s been tremendously frustrating to grow tomatoes – any kind – at our home in Vista due to the @#$%^& squirrels. I’m going to try SunGold and Sweet 100 this year, but expect I’ll have far better luck buying them at the Farmers’ Market.

     


  • Tue, March 01, 2016 8:15 AM | Anonymous

    Marilyn Wilson: Mail Order. PlantDelights.com (if you buy something, they’ll start sending you large printed catalogs). BrentandBeckysBulbs.com (they have spring-flowering bulb and summer-flowering bulb printed catalogs, including a chart showing when blooms, height, zone, etc., along with some perennials, too). Kartuz.com (this nursery is in Vista. You can visit 9-noon and 1-3pm, Tuesday through Saturday, 1408 Sunset Drive, Vista). 

    Pat Venolia: Last week I took my second trip to Ventura County for Australian natives, stopping by Green Thumb International Nursery in Ventura (oh my gosh, what a nursery) on my way up to Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria and the Australian Native Plant Nursery in Casitas Springs. Found everything I wanted and came home with 18 plants. Call before going to be sure they’re open. It just occurred to me that I should include Robin’s Ausachica Nursery in El Cajon as a place to get neat plants. I’ve gotten a couple of nice Aussies from her (they sometimes sell plants at our meetings, too).  

    Jo Casterline: If you’re looking for Australian plants and like a Valley Center adventure, go to Obra Verde. Check out the website for information: obraverde-flowers.com.

    Tandy Pfost: Big time collectors should go to Rancho Soledad nursery in Rancho Santa Fe. Other retail North County sources are: Solana Succulents (see page 16), Gardens by the Sea and Anderson’s La Costa Nursery (see page 17; p.s., I work there).    

    Marilyn Wieland: Kartuz Greenhouses, 1408 Sunset Drive, Vista, CA; kartuz.com. Call before visiting (760-941-3613).

    Gerald D. Stewart: Gerald Stewart struggled making the decision to give up his best sources, but in the end decided to do just that in hopes others sharing theirs will give him leads to new sources. Locally Walter Andersen Nursery in Point Loma and Poway (see page 16), and Green Thumb Super Garden Center in San Marcos (see inside front cover), often have rare stuff, but when it’s gone, it’s gone, so you need to keep checking (as if taking time to walk those plant paradises regularly on Saturday mornings before somebody else scores the prizes is a problem for die-hard gardeners); Kartuz in Vista (see above); Oasis in Escondido; and Rancho Soledad Nursery in Rancho Santa Fe. Online they offer wide selections of plants (as opposed to specialty nurseries like Geraniaceae.com that specialize in a focused type of plants) include: Plant Delights, Glasshouse Works (you need to be patient, but they’ve got stuff I’ve not seen anywhere else); Logee’s Greenhouses; Forest Farm; Cistus Nursery; and Joy Creek Nursery. The other trick to finding rare stuff is to shop at every nursery you pass. Jean and Mike Kashkin (Deena Altman of Altman’s is their daughter) had Fuchsialand Nursery in Culver City many years ago, and offered stuff other retailers didn’t. Talking to Mike a few years back for an article for the San Diego Geranium Society’s newsletter, I asked him how they had stuff no one else did. He said often on days they were closed he and Jean would hop in the van and see what other retailers were offering. When they stumbled across something rare, they bought it and propagated it to sell in their nursery. Persistent home gardeners can stumble across stuff just like the Kashkins did.

    Cathy Tylka: I have found the Master Gardener’s plant sale and the Cactus and Succulent Society’s plant sales, great places for rare plants.

    Tammy Schwab: My go to nurseries: Rancho Soledad Nursery, Oasis Waterwise Gardens (Escondido), and Plant Play Nursery (Carlsbad). I also power shop every botanical garden and club plant sale in the Spring and Fall!

    Tynan Wyatt: These are my top three mail order sources when I want something unusual: lifestyleseeds.co.za; logees.com; chileflora.com. Lifestyle Seeds and Chileflora are great sources for Mediterranean seeds, while Logees is pretty much for my special houseplant/high maintenance needs plants that have something special about them.

    Steve Zolezzi: Exotic Gardens has relocated to East County just off Interstate 8 at the Lake Jennings exit. They offer a large selection of succulents and cactus, many hard to find and collector specimens at very reasonable prices. I like to support the small independents. The address is 14269 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon, 92021.

    Ralph Evans: Rare and less common cycads, African plants, and palms, many one of a kind are found at Botanical Partners Vista, home of Bamboo Headquarters.

    Jim Bishop: One of my favorite and most dependable plant sources for 20 years has been the plant vendors at our monthly meetings. Through them I’ve been introduced to many plants that I might not have otherwise tried to grow. Most know that our members like rare and/or unusual plants, so there is almost always something worth checking out. Plus, there is usually someone knowledgeable; staffing the table and you can ask them questions about the plants. Often times they bring plants that go with the theme or the speaker topic for the evening.

    Candace Kohl: I hope to hear some useful things in answer to this question. I have found that specialized plant societies (with associated annual sales) and the people in them, are often very good at finding and sharing rare stuff. Most of the other plant nuts I know are very generous with information and divisions. I have two nurseries in Tucson that I often visit when I drive over; Plants for the Southwest and Arid Lands. Once they know I am serious they will sometimes sell things that they otherwise would not. I have not tried buying plants on line, although I have seen some tempting stuff listed. I would rather see the size and condition of what I am paying for.

    Stuart Robinson: I don’t know. I use Walter Andersen Nursery (see page 16) and Mission Hills Nursery for patio and indoor plants; wouldn’t know where to go for rare specimens.

    Vivian Blackstone: San Diego Rare Fruit Growers, a large group of San Diego gardeners. There is a San Diego Central group and a North County group. I have a lot of trees from them as I was a member for several years and cultivated many rare trees.

    J.R. Miles: Floribunda Palms in Keaau, Hawaii is a great source of rare palm seedlings. Anderson’s La Costa Nursery (see page 17) sometimes has some of the less common plants, but sometimes you will need to be careful of the labeling.

    Sheila Busch: Kartuz Greenhouses, Vista (see above); Annie’s Annuals mail order; Buena Creek Gardens, San Marcos.

    Wanda Mallen: Favorite sources for rare plants, mail order: Arid Lands and Out of Africa for succulents, Tropiflora for bromeliads and other tropicals, Plant Delights for woodland plants and agaves. There are local plant club sales, particularly the inter-city cactus and succulent show every August at the Los Angeles Arboretum. Local nurseries: Walter Andersen (see page 16), Armstrong Nurseries, and the Green Thumb Nursery (see inside front cover). You just need to look and prepare to be surprised.

    Debra Lee Baldwin: One of San Diego’s best kept secrets is Peta Crist’s Rare Succulents Nursery in Rainbow (off I-15 north of Escondido). Petra caters primarily to collectors, is known nationwide (she judges at the Philadelphia Flower show), has won numerous Cactus and Succulent Society trophies, and has pristine greenhouses full of amazing, perfectly grown succulents. I’ve shot several You Tube videos there. It’s well worth visiting, and Petra’s a gracious guide, but do be considerate of her time. Go in a group and plant to purchase plants. By appointment, contact her at info@raresucculents.com.

    Walter Andersen: Let’s see now… a good place to find rare plants? I would start at Walter Andersen Nursery (see page 16), they have two locations, San Diego, near Old Town—Marine Base area and Poway Business Park. Both stores stock the common plants, often used, but also a great assortment of unusual plants you don’t see every day at other nurseries. There is a great selection of Moosa Creek California Native Plants (see page 17) that are becoming more popular because of water restrictions. The Cactus and Succulent selections have grown a lot for the same reason, but there always seems to be some new plant for indoors, or outside as a curiosity. Check out the many varieties of Playcerium, common name staghorn fern. While you are checking these, be sure to check the many other fern selections available, both indoors and out in the shade. For things that are super unusual check out Kartuz Greenhouses in Vista (see above). You should probably call to be sure of the hours.

    Ruth Sewell: Take a walk in your neighborhood, if you see something interesting, knock on the door and introduce yourself and ask for a snip.

    Susi Torre-Bueno: Great question!  Some of my favorite local sources for rare succulents are Serra Gardens (Fallbrook, see page 12), Oasis Water Efficient Gardens (Escondido), Solana Succulents (Solana Beach, see page 16), and Waterwise Botanicals (Bonsall). For other kinds of plants I've sometimes found rare items at Green Thumb Nursery (San Marcos, see inside front cover), Anderson's LaCosta Nursery (Encinitas, see page 17), and Walter Andersen Nursery (San Diego and Poway, see page 16). I’ve also had great success finding uncommon plants at the spring and fall plant sales at the U. C. Riverside arboretum, although I can’t always go because they often conflict with garden events closer to home.


  • Mon, February 01, 2016 8:12 AM | Anonymous

    Vivian Black: Cutting back in 2016. Yes I plan to do a heavy pruning, as the trees have grown and are extending and overlapping into other trees and the neighbors’ yards. So if there are people/gardeners looking for starts; fig trees, grapes, thornless blackberries, Nandina domestica, or geraniums, you can come get starts in January.

    Joan Braunstein: I am going to follow Pat Welsh’s book, Southern California Organic Gardening, Month by Month. Also my interests are leaning toward native plants, so I am going to learn more about them.  

    Chuck Carroll: I have been experimenting with greywater from the washing machine and the showers. For the past three months I have been hauling greywater, one bucket at a time, to some specific plants in the garden. The results have been very encouraging. Plants that would normally get watered less than once a week are now getting water three times a week. The plants are doing better than ever and my water bill has gone down. My New Year’s plan is to install a greywater system.  

    Candace Bandel: I plan to replace my yard with more drought-tolerant plants. But I do not want to look like a desert landscape.

    Tynan Wyatt: I plan to install more hardscape, walkways, and raised planting/sitting areas. I’ve realized I’ll enjoy the garden a whole lot more if I can actually get to it! Plus, the permeable cobblestone and flagstone pathways will act as a very good water retaining mulch for the adjacent plants.

    Susi Torre-Bueno: No, I don’t plan to make major changes, but do intend to keep on planting additional drought-tolerant plants (including many succulents) to replace plants that die. Last year we changed our existing overhead irrigation to MP3 rotator nozzles, and we’re planning to add more of this efficient watering system in 2016.

    Marilyn Wilson: I don’t plan to change any gardening techniques, but next year I will be replacing half of my rakes, shovels, and trowels. They are old and in bad shape, just like I am. The garden is large and I keep multiple tools in several locations. I might have to sharpen all the clippers, if I ever find the time.   

    Charlotte Getz: I plan to redesign my three garden boxes, removing old redwood and replacing it with Trex and adding Netafim drip irrigation to all the boxes. Soaker hose in the boxes did not provide sufficient coverage for the vegetables I grow, including cool and warm season varieties.  

    Annie Urquhart:I am always recycling for the garden and it is fun to do.

    Marilyn Guidroz: This is a great topic to start off the 2016 year in gardening. We are fundamentally changing the way we garden with the very old fashioned principle of composting. We purchased a double barreled composter to get it up off the ground and also provide the ability to stagger the new compost side with the aged compost side, so you are always rotating the process. Compost in the garden and on the trees will give your plants the tools they need to stay healthy and strong all on their own. What could be easier and simpler?   

    Ken Selzer: No.

    Ken and Donna: I am hoping to use more greywater in my garden.

    Leslie Sheridan: No, no plans for change.  

    Steve Zolezzi: Have been changing from coastal to hot inland gardening for many years. With his year’s mandated reduction in water use (38% on my last billing) coupled with a major change in my garden to succulents and water wise plants, it’s true – they can survive on a lot less water. So in 2016 I will fundamentally continue to change how much water I think plants need to what they really need – easier said than done!

    Rachel Cobb: Yes, my herb and perennial garden has become over grown. I have decided to start over creating a more decorative edible garden with blueberries, strawberries and asparagus to name a few, along with some of the beloved flowering perennials.


  • Fri, January 01, 2016 10:56 AM | Anonymous

    Vivian Black: Cutting back in 2016. Yes I plan to do a heavy pruning, as the trees have grown and are extending and overlapping into other trees and the neighbors’ yards. So if there are people/gardeners looking for starts; fig trees, grapes, thornless blackberries, Nandina domestica, or geraniums, you can come get starts in January.

    Joan Braunstein: I am going to follow Pat Welsh’s book, Southern California Organic Gardening, Month by Month. Also my interests are leaning toward native plants, so I am going to learn more about them.  

    Chuck Carroll: I have been experimenting with greywater from the washing machine and the showers. For the past three months I have been hauling greywater, one bucket at a time, to some specific plants in the garden. The results have been very encouraging. Plants that would normally get watered less than once a week are now getting water three times a week. The plants are doing better than ever and my water bill has gone down. My New Year’s plan is to install a greywater system.  

    Candace Bandel: I plan to replace my yard with more drought-tolerant plants. But I do not want to look like a desert landscape.

    Tynan Wyatt: I plan to install more hardscape, walkways, and raised planting/sitting areas. I’ve realized I’ll enjoy the garden a whole lot more if I can actually get to it! Plus, the permeable cobblestone and flagstone pathways will act as a very good water retaining mulch for the adjacent plants.

    Susi Torre-Bueno: No, I don’t plan to make major changes, but do intend to keep on planting additional drought-tolerant plants (including many succulents) to replace plants that die. Last year we changed our existing overhead irrigation to MP3 rotator nozzles, and we’re planning to add more of this efficient watering system in 2016.

    Marilyn Wilson: I don’t plan to change any gardening techniques, but next year I will be replacing half of my rakes, shovels, and trowels. They are old and in bad shape, just like I am. The garden is large and I keep multiple tools in several locations. I might have to sharpen all the clippers, if I ever find the time.   

    Charlotte Getz: I plan to redesign my three garden boxes, removing old redwood and replacing it with Trex and adding Netafim drip irrigation to all the boxes. Soaker hose in the boxes did not provide sufficient coverage for the vegetables I grow, including cool and warm season varieties.  

    Annie Urquhart: I am always recycling for the garden and it is fun to do.

    Marilyn Guidroz: This is a great topic to start off the 2016 year in gardening. We are fundamentally changing the way we garden with the very old fashioned principle of composting. We purchased a double barreled composter to get it up off the ground and also provide the ability to stagger the new compost side with the aged compost side, so you are always rotating the process. Compost in the garden and on the trees will give your plants the tools they need to stay healthy and strong all on their own. What could be easier and simpler?   

    Ken Selzer: No.

    Ken and Donna: I am hoping to use more greywater in my garden.

    Leslie Sheridan: No, no plans for change.  

    Steve Zolezzi: Have been changing from coastal to hot inland gardening for many years. With his year’s mandated reduction in water use (38% on my last billing) coupled with a major change in my garden to succulents and water wise plants, it’s true – they can survive on a lot less water. So in 2016 I will fundamentally continue to change how much water I think plants need to what they really need – easier said than done!

    Rachel Cobb: Yes, my herb and perennial garden has become over grown. I have decided to start over creating a more decorative edible garden with blueberries, strawberries and asparagus to name a few, along with some of the beloved flowering perennials.


  • Tue, December 01, 2015 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    Cathy Tylka: Meyer lemon…. Need I say more? (Escondido)

    Chris Elliott: My favorite dwarf tree is my Kumquat tree. It produces fruit all year long, if you keep up with watering. (92078)    

    Arlene Watters: Meyer lemon.

    Linda Chisari: Far and away, ‘Beverly Hills’ apple. It does beautifully in my coastal garden. It was planted 40 years ago in a bed that’s only 42” deep. The tree is now 7’ tall and 12’ wide. As you can tell, it takes to pruning very well and, as such, is great to espalier. We harvest between 600-700 apples each year, generally in July and August. I inadvertently cut off water to the tree this spring; when I noticed it neither bloomed nor put out leaves, I corrected the problem and it went through its complete bloom/leaf/fruit cycle about three months late. I am just now picking the apples. Whew! (Del Mar)

    Patty Berg: Though I only have a few dwarf fruit in my yard, I’ve had the advantage of selecting stock for the Wishing Tree Company for the past five years. We’ve planted over 500 gift trees all over the county – about 20% have been dwarf fruit trees. Our most popular deciduous dwarf trees (by far) are PixZee peach and NectaZee nectarine from Dave Wilson Nursery. They were both developed by Zaiger Genetics in Modesto. They’ve been hybridizing the best of the best for many years. Among the citrus choices, I planted a Bearss lime on dwarf rootstock that has stayed very small. I love that it immediately flowered and I had ready-to-pick limes the first year and continuously ever since.

    Sue Lasbury: My dwarf Meyer lemon, which sits right outside my kitchen door looking quite adorable. It dependably produces high quality fruit with very little effort on my part. I fertilize twice a year, water, and trim on occasion.  

    Charlotte Getz: ‘Red Baron’ peach tree, when there is sufficient winter chill. This past year I only got two peaches because it was a warm winter. I live in Encinitas. 

    Jane Coogan Beer: Dwarf variegated calamondin. With neglectful watering, it has fruit which I eat out of hand (others need sugar). My clay soil gives it what it needs here in West Los Angeles.  

    Deirdre Swansen: Love, love, love my Meiwa kumquat.

    Gerald D. Stewart: His favorite dwarf fruit tree is a Mandarin orange purchased and planted over thirty years ago, when he never forgot anything so documented nothing. That was then, now is now, and the cultivar name is long forgotten. It is ripe in January when the peel puffs out, making it really easy to get to the sections, which have lots of white stringy things that are a pain to clean off. The fruit is candy sweet, which compensates for the myriad seeds that beg for a pea shooter. It tends to have a heavier crop every other year. With no pruning (other than clearing limbs that die back), it is still under six feet tall, allowing for ladder-free harvesting. 

    Debbi Dodson and Michael Meacham: Meyer lemon. (92117)

    Deborah Young: Probably my Meyer lemons. (92024)

    Susi Torre Bueno: My best performing dwarf fruit tree is a “Dwarf Improved Meyer’ lemon, which bears two large crops (several hundred lemons) each year. The tree is barely 4’ tall, but about 6’ wide. It was purchased from Walter Andersen Nursery (as were most of our citrus trees) and planted in January, 2008, and produced fruit within a year. We’ve also had great fruit from our ‘Satsuma’ mandarin – basically a super-sweet, seedless tangerine that is extra-easy to peel. Our ‘Bearss’ lime bears on and off all year, producing very sweet and extra-juicy, seedless limes. I’m in Vista, 92084.

    Marilyn Nelson: My favorite dwarf fruit tree is a five-citrus tree. It produces a lot of huge Meyer lemons, some Honey Mandarin oranges, Washington navels, Valencia, and Bearss limes. It is 2-3 years old and barely 4’ tall. It is amazing. (92056)

    Barbara Naas: Meyer lemon.

    Kathleen Arciero: Meyer lemon. (92056)

    Marilyn Guidroz: How many lemons does it take to make lemonade? Answer: Not very many. I love my dwarf Eureka lemon tree. It gives me plenty of lemons and is easy to manage. I rarely see the reason for putting in full size fruit trees. (92082)

    Una Marie Pierce: This has been the most amazing miniature tree. It has delicious navel oranges and I have to thin it out every year. I had it some 5 years in a pot and then moved it into my garden some 7 years ago. It just keeps getting wider and producing more, but never gets too tall.

    Deborah Brenner:The best performing for me is a dwarf Meyer lemon. (92130)

    Jim Bishop: We only have one dwarf fruit tree, so I guess it is our favorite by default. It is a dwarf pomegranate. The fruit makes great fall table decorations and the foliage turns bright yellow in early winter. There are also lots of blooms off and on all summer. While you can eat the arils inside the fruit, they can be a little tough and there aren’t as many as in regular pomegranates. We have a second, larger pomegranate that we planted over 12 years ago. It was labeled “white pomegranate” and we wondered why it never set fruit. It turns out it is a sterile cultivar. However, it now occasionally sets some fruit if it is in bloom the same time as the dwarf pomegranate. (92103)

    Margaret Burzynski: Satsuma Mandarin orange. (92008)

    Kathleen Arciero: Gosh, with this hot weather we’re putting on hold so many activities in our garden. Doing some demo work on the slope, planning the front yard renovation. I see us turning to more friendly succulents and water-wise plantings. We’ll be doing lots more container gardening, like we did last spring.

    Leslie Sheridan: My favorite dwarf fruit tree is the Cara Cara Pink Navel, varigated. The best performing is Valencia orange. (92126)

    Ken Selzer: Dwarf lime. (92121)

    Susan Groves: Page Mandarin orange. It’s been wonderfully flavored, productive, and ornamental since I planted it 14 or so years ago. We also have a kumquat tree, which has lived in various large pots and has moved with us from coast to coast (sometimes via suitcase) for the last, almost 40 years. Three years ago it finally hit terra firma and was planted in our garden, and after gopher barriers were installed, it’s once again enjoying life and producing a bounty of fruit. (92024)

    Sharon Swildens :My favorite dwarf fruit tree is my kumquat tree.

    Charlotte Minter: I have to tell you about my dwarf papaya tree.  I am sure God touched it because last cold season, it became like a stick in the ground.  All the leaves fell off and I thought for sure I had lost it.  Today, it is loaded with papayas.  It is my favorite dwarf tree and gets looked at and taken care of on a regular basis.  (92019)


  • Sun, November 01, 2015 10:48 AM | Anonymous

    Roy Wilburn: Here in the Poway gardens of Sunshine Care, we have been planting our fall veggies since mid-August. We managed to keep them alive during the heat spells and should have some nice broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale very soon. August and September were tough months for lettuce, but we should be harvesting around 40 pounds a week from now until the end of spring and into early summer. We are also in the process of redoing some of the landscaping with wildflowers and succulents. We tried in the middle of summer but were not very successful. We should be fine now that the weather has changed. Our low water users should be happy and quickly become established.

    Sharon Swildens: Because I have lost so many plants (even natives) this year, I am in a holding pattern on planting. No bulbs, no trees, only potted plants that have been waiting for a spot to go in (due to impulse buying last year), will be planted (except an aloe I bought at the Palomar District of California Garden Clubs luncheon). It’s re-evaluation time. I took out my grass last month and put in “walking” (1/8 inch stone). Now I need to find out the work (keeping the leaves off it) plus how hot the area will be with the stone reflection of the sun’s rays. Also, I need to discover how to keep the night critters from digging up the surrounding wood chips and depositing the dirt and chips on my stone. Plus I need to know how much water I will save. (Poway).    

    Susi Torre-Bueno: It’s still too hot to plant here in Vista as I write this in late September, but my mother-in-law, Evelyn Torre-Bueno, has already purchased some daffodils to plant in our veggie raised beds. She’s done this for he last few years, but this year I think I’m going to put them inside some squirrel-proof wire baskets so they stay put. Once it cools off I’m going to start replacing virtually all the plants that died from the drought (even though we did water) with succulent cuttings from other parts of the garden. Our aloes did especially well, and most of the other succulents are also thriving. The foliage colors are beautifully varied and the hummingbirds are always around as one kind of aloe or another is in bloom all year. I plan to take Agave attenuate (foxtail agave, which has no spines) and plant a lot of offsets in large clumps on an especially steep slope for years of lovely blue-green foliage with no maintenance and almost no water needed.

    Dayle Cheever: I have put off my fall vegetable garden until we have at least a couple weeks of cooler temps. Even at the beach it is too hot to plant the leafy greens that I look forward to all year.  I know I would be able to keep them alive, but pouring water on the garden does not sit well with me. I have moved more drought tolerant plants into my decorative beds and have been using rain barrel water to keep many of these plants happy. Fortunately the few, short rain events we have had, filled my rain barrel to the brim. If El Nino actually arrives I am planning on opening many, as yet unused flower seed packets and spreading them all over my yard to see what happens.  

    Joan Kistner: I just moved to the San Diego area from Minnesota, so I probably won’t be planting anything this fall. I joined the Horticultural Society to learn about the new possibilities that aren’t available in Minesota. (92021)

    Marilyn Guidroz: Thank you for the timely topic. I am recommending that we install new plants during the month of November. My personal garden is going to get some new fruit trees, since the gophers took some of mine out! Black Mission fig, low chill apple, and another pineapple guava. I am also preparing for some natives to be planted. Toyon (my favorite), Catalina cherry (my other favorite), and believe it or not, a California sycamore. The Salvia mellifera (Black sage) is also going to be coming to my native garden this year. Best of gardening to you all.

    Joan Braunstein: Probably a cover crop. Maybe a few herbs to companion with volunteer tomatoes. (92103)

    Diana Shurtleff: I have a fair-sized shower. I’m one of those people who likes to shower once a day. During the drought, as I watched all that water pour down the drain, especially while the water is heating up, it was really difficult. I thought “Hey, I can at least catch the water while it’s becoming warm”’ So I bought a large, blue plastic bin to catch all the water while it’s warming up. Not only that, I step out of the way while I’m lathering my hair and a few other times and all that water goes in the container as well. You wouldn’t think it would add up to much but by the second shower, the bucket is full, which is about the equivalent of approximately 25 gallons of water. A little soap may get in, but not enough to worry about. During the summer I have a large patch of grass that dies back, since the sprinklers miss it and the heat is too much. It’s all green this summer. If it weren’t for that patch of grass I’d have more than 100 gallons stored by now, or more! I invested in a few rain barrels. Last rain, which by San Diego standards wasn’t much, I got about 25 gallons. I have to distribute the water or my barrels will be full (3 of them) so my plants get much more regular watering than before. I have always fought rust on my roses, but with regular watering and pulling the leaves at first sight, it is no longer a problem. I’m the only one person in the house; I can’t imagine how much water you could garner with a family of 3 or 4, or even just one more person.

    Dale Serafin: If I can combat weed growth and win, it will be great. I planted Dymondia. I have no idea of what to plant in my raised garden planters. Please tell me. (92069)

    Cathy Tylka: Planting or planning for next year… Well, let’s start out with nurturing what ends up living in my garden and after it rains I will also propagate from living plants. I really want a fairy duster tree; they are messy but so pretty, so I will not plant it where it will be brought in on your feet. Also, I have problems growing bougainvillea, believe it or not, so I will try again, as it seems to be everywhere, except in my yard. Thanks for asking! (92026)

    Marilyn Wilson: I’m planting anything and everything this fall, only after it starts to rain REGULARLY. I have been moving new purchases into larger pots to help them survive heat while they wait for a good planting time. (92084)

    Steve Zolezzi: I have started seeds to plant beginning November 1st. I will be looking to do divisions of some plants, mostly succulents, and see what favorite nurseries have available that doesn’t need lots of water. In anticipation of a wet winter I’m amending soil for good drainage and laying in organics for good root growth. Most important will be sacrifices to the gods, so that it all comes together as planned. (92021)

    Laird Plumleigh: As Yogi Berra said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” I am sitting in front of my computer perspiring and have not a clue as to how to deal with the coming “winter” and “spring.” I would suggest that gardeners refer to a somewhat similar El Niño climate in the late 1990s and plan on that module and then factor in Global Warming.

    Donna Gottfried: I have planted a cherimoya tree and two raised beds of fall garden veggies, including turnip, rutabaga, kohlrabi and one fall tomato. To increase my success with this heat, I purchased two inexpensive patio umbrellas and cut fabric out between every other spoke, to provide partial shade to new plants, so they can get established. Raised beds are irrigated on a timer with drip tubing between rows of veggies. (92024)

    Chris Elliott: Succulents. (92078)

    Paula Suttle: I planted a Chinese Flame tree a month ago or less and hope that I am watering it enough. As soon as the weather cools I want to buy more lemonade berry bushes and exciting natives. I have planted them the last three months, sporadically but have lost about half. In the middle of the last rainfall (we got one inch, or so in Poway) I threw out 2 large packages of native/drought tolerant flower seeds!

    Ken Selzer: Fall vegetables in raised beds: onions, radishes, herbs, shallots, leeks, peppers. Any good resources available for help with problems that occur with the vegetable beds? (92024)

    Kathleen Voltin:October 10th I transplanted seedlings of beets, sugar peas, Walla Walla onions, and bunching green onions. I also sowed carrot seeds and marigolds. I put some garlic cloves in the ground. I am trying some sweet potato plants; they are about 10 inches tall. I put a few dried pineapple tops in containers. (92111)

    Susan Oddo: The promised El Niño means and auspicious time to plant natives. The abundant rainwater should give them an opportunity to develop deep, healthy root systems in preparation for surviving our increasingly hot summer and fall days. Typically, El Niño years come in twos, which should further strengthen them, as well as give them time to develop a large enough crown to shade their roots. That shade also means a better chance for surviving the low humidity, high heat months that seems to be our new normal. Natives can go in as soon as it starts to cool down. If you are looking to add trees, the early spring, after danger of frost is past, will be a good time to do so. Trees absorb CO2, clean the air of pollutants, add oxygen to our atmosphere, cool the temperature of your garden by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, reduce the need for air conditioning by as much as 50 percent, and they slow ground water evaporation, keeping plants moist longer. Our own tree book is a terrific source for selecting the right tree mix for San Diego gardens. (92029)

    Diane Bailey: I am planting nothing until the weather cools off, if it ever does.

    Polly Martin: I am waiting until the end of October to plant my raised bed with greens for salads. Last year I had organic lettuce from my garden all winter. (92026)

    Kathleen Arciero: Gosh, with this hot weather we’re putting on hold so many activities in our garden. Doing some demo work on the slope, planning the front yard renovation. I see us turning to more friendly succulents and water-wise plantings. We’ll be doing lots more container gardening, like we did last spring.

    Nikki Alexander: I will be planting next month with Aloe, Agave, Palo Verde, Sumac and Silk Oak trees; Euphorbia tirucalli, canna lilies and iris, with a couple of unknown cactus mixed in for fun. I am in a high desert community and we are fortunate to have our own well water, but conservation is preached and practiced. (92536)

    Gerald D. Stewart says while he is only now beginning to figure out his gardening priorities for the near future, he knows he will be adding startlingly colorful variegated and colorated moderate-growing shrubs to his Kaleidoscopic Hedge, anticipating that the potential El Niño rains will help them get well established before next year's heat. Plus, for fun, a late start planting sweet peas; and getting one of the greenhouse benches back in order to provide a space for newly acquired dwarf zonal pelargoniums and to overwinter what's left of the coleus collection. (92084)


  • Thu, October 01, 2015 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    Vivian Black: The Rose Garden, it’s relatively peaceful and one can sit and smell the roses. Usually it’s shady and I can park nearby, as I’m not able to walk very far.

    Jimbudlove: The area north of the Organ Pavilion.   

    Cathy Tylka: Balboa Park – I love it all. I love the planted gardens, I love the eucalyptus trees under Laurel Street Bridge, the Succulent Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Botanical Garden. What can I say; it’s one of my favorite places!

    Ken: My favorite garden area in Balboa Park is now within the Botanical building or shade house. It seems to be the only area receiving barely adequate attention from the City. It would appear maintenance and care of Palm Canyon, the Alcazar and Desert gardens has been suspended so that the City can squander millions on parties and junkets, and more recently redirect funds to pay for yet another study and welfare for the billionaire owner of the Chargers.  

    Sylvia Keating: When it’s warm, we like sitting under the trees near the children’s playground; the trees overlook the canyon (with the beautiful California oaks) and new buildings of the Japanese Garden.

    Connie Forest: I guess it would have to be the area around the reflecting pond because it holds so many memories and seems to make so many people, of all ages, happy. Everyone seems to slow down as they pass by to other destinations in the park and just take a moment, or many moments to enjoy the ponds, its inhabitants and the surrounding vegetation. What more can you ask of a garden?

    Patti Vickery: It has to be the Rose Garden on Park Boulevard. It has received many honors for excellence. It is maintained by the Park gardeners and a volunteer group of Rosarians from the San Diego Rose Society.   

    Susi Torre-Bueno: Many years our family has a Mothers’ Day picnic at the Marston House garden, setting out food in the shaded patio area. For some reason, despite the popularity of both this holiday and the Park, we’ve never had any trouble parking very close by, and always had the garden pretty much to ourselves. It’s a quiet, peaceful spot, and I’m looking forward to my next visit so I can see the areas that were upgraded and re-planted earlier this year by SDHS volunteers.

    John Noble: My favorite part of Balboa Park is La Laguna de las Flores. One hundred years ago this was the original name of the Lily Pond. The harmonious viewing of plants, water, architecture, and sky, creates a sense of peace and awe. Nearly everyone is compelled to take a photo and capture this historic and transient beauty. The sky, the water, the plants, the animals, and the people change moment to moment, while the structure of the Botanical building remains still and strong. Note: San Diego Horticultural Society sponsor Coastal Sage Gardening and Botany for Kids (owned by John Noble) have adopted the Lily Pond Garden in Balboa Part for the centennial celebration of the Panama-California Exposition.

    Chris Drayer: My completely unbiased nomination would be the area around the Lily pond that was replanted by the Horticultural Society last year. It was already one of the richer spaces in the Park, being in the center of some of its most popular attractions. The Lily Pond with its colorful Koi and constant parade of visitors provides an animated focal point for the space, and the iconic Botanical Building provides the backdrop. In between was an interesting collection of mature palms, and now, like icing on the cake, is a new mid-layer of colorful, drought appropriate shrubs, succulents and accents. I think Kate Sessions would approve. [Note: Chris is a landscape architect and volunteered his time to create the planting plan for this garden restoration.]

    Kathy Puplava: The Balboa Park gardens are like children, it's hard to choose one as a favorite because they are so beautiful at different times of the year: the Desert Garden in winter, the Inez Grant Parker Rose Garden in May. If I had to choose one, then I would have to say the Botanical Building because it is an iconic structure that represents all the gardens in Balboa Park. On a quiet morning with the sun beaming through the lath arches the Botanical Building can be a spiritual experience. [Note: Kathy is our 2015 Horticulturist of the Year and was the first horticulturist hired by Balboa Park.]

    Rachel Cobb: So many to choose from. I love them all for various reasons. One area of the Park is more of a collection, but in my mind still a garden, is the plant collections in the Lath house. Visually it is stunning, and when you look at the collection plants aside from the seasonal swap outs you can spend serious time looking at everything. And nice to get in out of the hot sun, too. The ferns are worth the look! Nice cycads, too.

     


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 Our Mission  To inspire and educate the people of San Diego County to grow and enjoy plants, and to create beautiful, environmentally responsible gardens and landscapes.

Our Vision  To champion regionally appropriate horticulture in San Diego County.


 



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