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Don Shor

Australian plants for Davis gardens

A rainy day is perfect for a walk in the UC Davis Arboretum. I learned long ago that plant people should never go to botanical gardens with non-plant people. My father, upon arriving, would stroll briskly down the wide paths, eyes up at the horizon, admiring the general park-like atmosphere and treating it as though […]

Go from brown to green as the seasons change

We’re getting lots of questions about what to do with the yard now that summer is over. Lawns are brown, nearly dead. Some folks piled mulch over large areas to smother grass and weeds. Others have dead or dying plants to remove, and want to figure out what to do before the rains arrive. From […]

October 08, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged , ,

Vines revisited: the good, the bad and the beautiful

Last month’s column about my top gardening mistakes (Garden Pitfalls) struck a chord with several readers. Some schadenfreude, but more shared experiences of plants that ran amok and outgrew their bounds. Mostly vines. “You should definitely add wisteria to that list!” Wisteria is an excellent choice to cover a sturdy arbor. It provides fast shade, […]

September 10, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Good vines

September 10, 2015 | Posted in Media Post

Pitfalls in the garden

My top 10 gardening mistakes:

Plants that spread, sprawl or reseed to overtake the garden? Planting decisions where I should have known better? Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes!

One year we were ambitious and planted 50 tomato plants. Busy lives, two young kids; we never got the plants staked. By mid-summer we had a giant bed of tomato ground cover, with hundreds of tomatoes on the ground rotting and getting eaten by pests …

In 1981 we planted a Corkscrew willow to shade the nursery parking lot. It has fascinating curly branches, wood that turns shiny black when it dries, and lovely soft green foliage …

A sprig of mint in the garden

One of my early childhood memories is from our family cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where my mother grew up. The water for the cabin comes from a spring on the property. The purest water you can imagine comes out of the ground at 42 degrees, running in a little stream under […]

July 09, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Watering questions for the dry times

One of my favorite recent exchanges: How are you watering? “Oh, I water it pretty good.” OK, perhaps I need to be more specific. What are you watering with? How long do you let it run? How often do you do that? “I’m running my drip system for 10 to 15 minutes every day.” Early […]

June 04, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Don Shor: Blooming despite the drought, for all of us to enjoy

What’s the most beautiful street in Davis? Right now it would be Eighth Street. I urge you to take a walk, bike or slow drive along Eighth from L Street and enjoy the beautiful garden — really three gardens — all grown together in the front yards there. This is one gardener undeterred by drought, […]

April 30, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Making the change: some answers about low-water landscapes.

In our fourth year of this epic drought, I spend a lot of time these days talking about replacing lawns with drought-tolerant plants, and  find two recurring concerns that seem to be holding some gardeners back from getting started. First is the belief that the entire sprinkler system needs to be replaced, at considerable expense. […]

April 02, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,
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