Gardening With Tony

Nomenclature Was Designed For Simplicity

nomenclature
UNITED STATES—Buick Electra used to mean something. Chrysler Imperial and Lincoln Town Car did also. That was at a time when cars were still distinguishable. Instead of random numbers with a few letters, they had distinctive names. These names, although distinct, conformed to a standardized pattern. This pattern of naming was comparable to botanical nomenclature. According to botanical nomenclature, plants...

Deadheading Spring Bulbs Conserves Resources

deadheading
UNITED STATES—Now that the various spring bulbs have finished blooming, or will soon, many will benefit from deadheading. The techniques are simple, and actually benefit many plants besides spring bulbs. In the most basic terms, deadheading is merely the removal of deteriorating flowers after bloom. Ideally, it should happen prior to the development of seed structures. A most obvious advantage...

Vermin Run Amok In Spring

vermin
UNITED STATES—No one really hibernates here. Well, ground squirrels might, but they are unlikely to be a problem in refined home gardens. Winter weather is sufficiently mild for most of the most troublesome vermin to remain active, even if somewhat subdued. Some are more active in autumn before food gets scarce. They store food for later, and eat more...

Cultivars Of California Native Plants

cultivars
UNITED STATES—Native plants are obviously happy with local climates and soils. Otherwise, they would not be native. They had been living here long before the first landscapes. They survived without irrigation, fertilizer or any maintenance. Regional varieties adapted to regional environmental conditions. Some of such varieties became cultivars that are now familiar. A variety is, more or less, a naturally...

Garden Rotation Shares The Goodies

garden rotation
UNITED STATES—Certain parts of the vegetable garden are ideal for certain types of vegetables. Wire fences are perfect for pole beans to climb. Corn belongs at the northern edge where it will not shade lower plants. Vegetable gardening would be simpler if it were like permanent landscaping. Instead, vegetable plants are seasonal and very consumptive. They prefer fresh resources....

Vegetables From Winter To Summer

vegetables
UNITED STATES—Cool season (or winter) vegetables are now finishing their season. Some continue to produce later than others. Eventually though, they all succumb to warming spring weather. As they do so, they relinquish their space to warm season (or summer) vegetables. Many warm season vegetables want to start growing as soon as possible. Later phases must wait for space...

Last Frost Dates Help Scheduling

last frost
UNITED STATES—Frost is not as much of a concern here as it is in other climates. It is very rare in some of the coastal climates of Southern California. The potential for freeze damage increases farther inland, farther north, and at higher elevations. Regardless, it is generally tolerable locally. Even if it is necessary to protect a few marginal...

Invasive Weeds Waste No Time

invasive
UNITED STATES—With few exceptions, the most aggressively invasive weeds here are exotic. In other words, they are not native. They came from other regions where they were likely compliant participants of their respective ecosystems. At home, where they must compete with other members of their ecosystem, they may not be so aggressively invasive. Ecology is the opposite of a...

Spring Pruning Of Flowering Trees

spring pruning
UNITED STATES—Most major pruning happens while the plants that need it are dormant through winter. That is why it is known as 'dormant pruning.' Such pruning would be so much more disruptive while plants are blooming, fruiting, foliating or growing. Pruning that happens during other seasons is not as aggressive as dormant pruning. Spring pruning, although practical for some...

Coppicing And Pollarding Annoy Arborists

coppicing
UNITED STATES—Coppicing and pollarding are the most extreme of pruning techniques. They may also be among the oldest in some cultures. Yet, arborists are correct to condemn both as improper. Coppicing is the complete removal of all stems and trunks back to a stump. Pollarding is the removal of all stems back to main stems and trunks. Both procedures...
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