Gardening With Tony

Watering Starts Where Rain Finishes

UNITED STATES—For a while last winter, it seemed like the rain would never stop. Obviously, it did. The warm spring weather that followed helped plants to take advantage of the rare surplus of moisture. Desert wildflowers were more colorful than they had been in many years, and maybe since 1983 in some areas. Now the weather is back to...

Foliage Shows Its True Color

UNITED STATES—Flowers were originally colorful only to attract pollinators. Breeding has improved the color and quality of many garden varieties of flowers, to make them more appealing to the people who grow them. Some have been bred so extensively that they are sterile, which defeats the original function of flowers. Now their function is merely to look good in...

Shade Is Not For Everyone

UNITED STATES—There is no way around it. Just about every garden has some degree of shade. Even low profile single story houses without eaves or fences are shaded on the north side. Eastern exposures get the cooler morning sun. Western exposures get only the warmer afternoon sun. There are vacant and treeless parcels out in the desert that lack...

A Tree Falls In The Forest

UNITED STATES—A Great Basin bristlecone pine tree of the eastern Sierra Nevada can live more than five thousand years. A giant sequoia tree of the western Sierra Nevada can live more than three thousand years. A coastal redwood tree from the Coastal Ranges can live more than two thousand years. Besides impressive longevity, one thing that they all have...

Summer Vegetables Enjoy Warming Weather

UNITED STATES—If there are any cool season vegetables left in the garden, they should probably be harvested pretty soon. If left too much longer, they will be ruined by warming weather. Cabbage will bolt (start to bloom) once it realizes that it is spring. Cauliflower and broccoli, which are juvenile flowers, will become bitter as the flowers mature and...

Weeds Have Been Very Busy

UNITED STATES—They are weeds for a reason. They grow like . . . well, weeds! By definition, they are unwanted. Yet, they typically proliferate and grow faster than desirable plants. They aggressively compete for space, sunlight and resources. Many weeds start to grow through winter, and get established while other seedlings are just beginning to germinate, or other plants...

Rain Makes Watering Seem Obsolete

UNITED STATES—Watering has not been much of a concern lately. All the rain has kept our gardens too wet to work in. Some of us have been more concerned with erosion caused by runoff. Automated irrigation systems are probably disabled until the rain stops. Soil can drain somewhat between rain, but will not really dry out until the weather...

Roses Get Pruned In Winter

UNITED STATES—Winter is no excuse to be less diligent in the garden. It would seem that gardening would be less demanding because there is less going on, and so many plants are dormant. However, dormancy is precisely why there is so much to do through winter. Bare root plants and bulbs are planted because they are dormant. Fruit trees...

Big Trees Really Need Arborists

UNITED STATES—Stormy winter weather always reminds some of us that our trees need some attention. Wind can break limbs. If the weather gets really nasty, trees can be destabilized by strong wind, particularly if the soil is moistened by rain. However, the truth is that arboriculture, which is the horticulture of trees, is important throughout the year. We just...

Most Pruning Happens In Winter

UNITED STATES—Without specialized pruning while they are bare and dormant in winter, many deciduous fruit trees would be overburdened by their own fruit next summer. The production of excess fruit can waste resources. The weight can disfigure and break limbs. The trees certainly do not want to get so overworked; but they have been unnaturally bred to produce bigger,...
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