Jul 30, 2014
Partly Cloudy



It’s Mother’s Day and I’ve been thinking about my lovely and caring mother who passed away 15 years ago.  I can’t believe I’ve been without her this long.  I’m still processing what she gave to me and my siblings.  Her unconditional love and pride in her children gave us the strength to keep going in bad times.  She accepted us as we were and never insisted on prescribed behaviours based on our genders or fashion.

Now I am going to make a huge leap… how do we, as Californians, accept and even love the environment and climate we live in?  Should we insist on green lawns when we live in a Mediterranean climate?  How about just accepting and working with the wonderful natural beauty and weather we have instead of trying to fit into an English garden box.  

I think its time that we celebrate what we have and work to create gardens that use less water, fertilizers and chemicals.  Take a walk around Lake Chabot or a hike in Tilden.  Notice the oaks, monkey flower and bunch grass. Now my garden;  I rarely water my front garden but it always brings me pleasure to notice the poppies, smell the sage and hear the bees buzzing.  I want more than a pretty picture… I want a garden that has depth and diversity.  

This mother’s day I will think of my mother and the love and pride she had for each of five children… all wildly different (and possibly difficult!)  Then I will go out and garden.


  • Weed   Weeds grow quickly and move into reproductive phase in a flash.  If you have limited time, focus on weeds near the base of plants (which rob water and nutrients) and weeds that are in flowering or fruiting stage.  

  • Hunt for slugs and snails.  

  • Roses  Spray off soft-bodied aphids with a spray of water or by hand, remove interior and wayward growth to allow for good air circulation and remove any diseased leaves (black spot, rust) on the plant and soil surface.

  • Shape or prune evergreen shrubs, hedges and vines  Bring down height and width of plants if needed, remove dead wood or awkward branches.

  • Shape or prune azaleas and camellias and other late winter/early spring bloomers - after they finish blooming.

  • Plant summer-flowering plants like agastache, cosmo, marigold, petunia, penstemon, sunflower, yarrow and zinnia.  Alstroemeria, cannas and dahlias can be planted now as well.

  • Fertilize plants  Especially citrus, roses, camellias, azaleas.  Go to your local nursery like Evergreen Nursery and look for a fertilizer formulated for specific plants.  I instead apply a thin layer of compost.

  • Mulch around plants  Especially in sunny spots to to retain moisture and provide a clean look.

Vegetable and Fruit Garden

  • Amend soil in garden beds

  • Plant or sow seeds for beans, corn, cucumber, pumpkin, squash

  • Plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplant

  • Salad seeds can be sown while it is still not too hot (above 75 degrees) or plant in the shady shelter of larger plants.

  • Plant herbs like parsley, cilantro, marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary

  • Thin fruit trees like apples, pears, nectarines once dime-sized to one fruit every four to six inches.  Thinning produces larger, better fruit and will prevent branches from breaking from weight of fruits when they reach maturity.  Branches can also be shortened to a growth point as well.

  • Mulch around fruit trees to keep moisture in soil.

Read more of Angele's gardening and landscaping tips in the Patch Archives.

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