Gardening With Tony

Arid Climates Can Be Challenging

arid
UNITED STATES—'Mediterranean' translates as an adjective that describes being at the middle of the Earth. Those who inhabited that region many centuries ago considered the Mediterranean Sea to be central to their World. That was long ago and far away. Nonetheless, climates here and now are somehow Mediterranean. Maybe semi-arid climates of Italy are Californian. Mediterranean climates are temperately warm...

Drought Tolerance Necessitates Root Dispersion

drought tolerance
UNITED STATES—Fads certainly complicate gardening. Most are merely marketing tactics. Most are bogus. Many even contradict their justifications! For example, most new, trendy and supposedly sustainable plant cultivars are genetically weak because of extensive breeding. Drought tolerance likewise has potential to be a constructive fad but is so commonly misapplied. Incidentally, its terminology is somewhat inaccurate. Drought is an extended...

Foliar Color Goes Beyond Green

foliar
UNITED STATES—New England is famous for spectacular foliar color through autumn. Such color is merely seasonal though, and almost exclusive to deciduous vegetation. With few exceptions, its color range is limited to variations of yellow, orange, red or brown. It happens thousands of miles away and is difficult to replicate on such a grand scale with locally minimal chill. For...

Shear Hedges Seasonably And Properly

shear
UNITED STATES—There are rules to hedging. For example, hedges should be uniform and exclusive to just a single cultivar. A modern 'Green Beauty' boxwood will never conform within a hedge of more yellowish old-fashioned boxwood. Hedges should also remain within confinement. It is important to shear them back from obtrusion into walkways and other usable spaces. It is not as...

Nature Is Not Naturally Accommodating

nature
UNITED STATES—Gardening is quite unnatural. It involves unnatural cultivation of mostly unnaturally exotic (nonnative) species of plants. Irrigation delivers more water than seasonal rain provides. Fertilizers contribute more nutrients than endemic soils provide. Pesticides, if necessary, inhibit proliferation of pathogens. Nature simply could not accommodate such demands. Not only is gardening unnatural, but it also interferes with established ecosystems. Many...

Streets Might Benefit From Shade

streets
UNITED STATES—Shade has become less of a priority for modern urban gardens than it still is for older and more spacious suburban gardens. Significantly less sunlight reaches the ground of such confined gardens among taller and shadier homes and fences. Even where shade might be desirable, space for shade trees might be minimal. Streets are the primary exception. Streets, and...

Evergreen Foliage Has Distinct Advantages

evergreen
UNITED STATES—Gardening was easier before suburban lifestyles became so passe. Now, larger modern urban homes occupy smaller urban parcels. Modern fences are taller to enhance privacy for such densely situated homes. Garden space is both minimal and shaded by so much infrastructure. Ironically, shady evergreen foliage is now more practical for such gardens. Deciduous trees are still practical for single...

Vines Are Aggressive Social Climbers

vines
UNITED STATES—Regardless of how appealing many of them are in home gardens and landscapes, vines are flagrantly exploitative. They rely on shrubbery, trees or anything they can climb on for support. As they reach the tops of their supports, they extend their foliar canopies above. Vines have no reservations about overwhelming and maybe killing their own supporters. Vines climb with...

Sudden Limb Failure Jeopardizes Safety

sudden limb failure
UNITED STATES—Windy weather sometimes breaks limbs from trees or blows entire trees over. Evergreen trees are innately more susceptible to such damage than deciduous trees are. Wind can blow more easily through deciduous trees while they are bare through winter, when most wind occurs. However, deciduous trees are now more susceptible to sudden limb failure. Sudden limb failure, or spontaneous...

Palms Are Very Distinctive Among Trees

palms
UNITED STATES—Palms seem to exemplify the culture of California. However, only the California fan palm, which is also the desert fan palm, is native. All others are exotic. With its dwarf palmetto, Oklahoma has as many native palms as California. Furthermore, the California fan palm is only endemic within remote riparian ecosystems of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. Common date...