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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. […]

Citrus in your garden and in the news

While our relatives are digging out from one snowstorm after another, California gardeners are enjoying mandarins and oranges. The main harvest of citrus is winter, but there are dozens of types available to spread out the harvest. With the first varieties harvested in November, and some such as Gold Nugget mandarins and Valencia oranges holding […]

February 26, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Trouble ahead for fruit trees?

As I admired my February Gold daffodils blooming in January, about three weeks ahead of schedule, I ruminated on the impact of the warm, wet December and the sunny, dry January we’ve had so far. In an average January we have 18.5 cloudy days. This January we’ve had three. Not that most gardeners are complaining […]

January 22, 2015 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Something growing in the mailbox

Rainy days are seed catalog weather! I just realized how old that makes me. One of those shared family traditions that our children will not experience, with the rise of the Internet, is the winter pleasure of seed catalogues. My father was a dedicated customer of the W. Atlee Burpee Company, and December marked the arrival […]

December 18, 2014 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Backyard apples? It can be done

“I just tasted the best apple I’ve ever had! Can I grow it here?” As a child I considered apples to be pretty worthless. Growing up in Southern California with a mom who bought cello-pack bags of little tasteless, mealy Red Delicious apples to pack in our lunches, I never saw why anybody would eat […]

November 20, 2014 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Fall gardening in Davis

It’s October, and in Davis that means we have a whole new crop of residents. Thousands of students arrive from all over the world in September, settle in to their dorms or off-campus housing, and gradually find their way out into the community for goods and services. So garden professionals and retailers get a new […]

October 23, 2014 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Dealing with drought issues in the garden

There are a lot of landscapes in transition in Davis: brown lawns will hopefully be changed over to low-water plants soon. Many gardeners have reduced water use considerably, which is great. But there have been some adverse side effects. Problems with vegetable gardens? “What happened to my tomatoes this year?” There’s been highly variable feedback […]

September 11, 2014 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Fruit trees: quick answers to common questions

Fruit tree season is right around the corner! Dormant trees arrive in garden centers and hardware stores in January. We tend to get certain questions over and over each season. Usually, gardeners want to know: How easy is it to grow? What do I have to do? Do I need two types? When will they produce? […]

December 27, 2012 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Low-water plants continued: great natives for Davis gardens

* Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series of articles on plants that can grow and look good with low water. The focus here is on low to medium shrubs for very limited irrigation, especially natives. Low-water taller shrubs were discussed in the November 2011 article. By Don Shor Note that some California […]

November 01, 2012 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

We get questions! Late-summer odds and ends

Sudden death of trees. Littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata) and a 20-year-old lemon are recent examples. A dying 120-year-old camphor tree in downtown Sacramento was recently in the news as well. It is very sad and perplexing when this happens. In the case of the linden, we deduced that it succumbed to Verticillium wilt. That was […]

August 30, 2012 | Posted in Gardening | Tagged ,

Garden Doctor: Kale, collards, grapes and tomatoes

Question: When should I direct seed kale and collard greens for fall and spring? It seems too hot to do it now. What about transplants? Answer: Kale is a cool-season vegetable that can be used raw as salad greens, as a garnish, as an ornamental in the flower bed, or cooked. Kale is vitamin- and […]

July 08, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Don Shor: Answering questions to grow better gardens

I heard the “climate zones” have changed because things are getting hotter. Which zone are we in now? Recently the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones were changed to reflect the warmer winters that have been observed in many parts of the country. No changes were made to California zones, because winter temperatures have not warmed in […]

June 28, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Beautiful and functional

Dorothy Kepner has converted her lawn into an ornamental and edible garden incorporating both utility and beauty. She’ll be at the Cool Davis Initiative’s table from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Picnic in the Park in Central Park, Fourth and C streets, to offer tips on how to plan a garden and get started. […]

June 20, 2012 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,

Enjoy a Q&A with Warren Roberts at nursery

Warren Roberts will be at Three Palms Nursery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 23, to answer questions about landscape plants and horticulture, for the nursery’s 24th annual Summer Plant Sale. Roberts, 71, has been associated with the UC Davis Arboretum for more than 40 years. He has taught at Cal Poly Pomona […]

June 22, 2012 | Posted in Briefly | Tagged ,
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