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Garden tips June 2014

Garden Tips June 2014

Who’s calling you now?

Do you ever get calls asking if you have updated your credit rating? Or are your windows needing replacement? How about ‘this is your friendly web site provider ready to help you get more hits and skyrocket your business to success? Wouldn’t you rather get voicemails saying ‘Hi sweet heart, I am so happy to be here for you, wishing you a wonderful day. ‘ or ‘Hello beautiful, your doing a great job, keep up the good work.’

Well, these are exactly what your garden is saying every time you walk outside. Those flowers are saying ‘come over here you wonderful person you’, ‘ please look at me, I am here just for you, would you come over here and rub against me a little?’ Smell me, smell me I am all yours, come on, just one whiff and you will be transformed. Here touch my anthers and taste this nectar. May be you would hear ‘You are doing such a great job out here, thank you so much my darling.’ Look around, don’t you wonder how you can leave every day for work? All this beauty and appreciation is there for you each and every time you go by. All you have to do is notice it. It is really happening right now, in your yard. Isn’t that great? We so seldom notice the beauty in our yards, the desire and actual need for your participation. If plants think, this is what they are thinking.

Now for the tips. How to thank your garden for all this beauty and loving (if plants can love) that your garden gives you for simply having it. How to care for your garden so it not only calls you to look and appreciate it but every one that sees it. Here are the tips.

1. Plants are always competing for light, space, soil and nutrients. Give A little attention each day to trimming back extra branches allowing in some amount more light, and freeing the roots of competition by weeds.

2. Pay attention to your flowering plants. See which ones are blooming now. Ask, is this more or less than last year, what have I done to help them bloom if anything. What can I do to help them bloom more this year, and or next year.

3. Would some birds in the garden make it more lively? A dish of water is quite helpful to birds, especially if placed high enough to be safe from cats.

4. Fertilizing is quite simple and makes a big difference in health and vigor of plants. Try something organic from “Common Ground” on College Avenue. It might be helpful to study up a bit on the internet. Try a simple recipe, see what happens and record the results. Then try modifying it. This store (unlike any others I know in the area) sells organic fertilizers by the pound.

5. Most plants have names, usually two or more. Learn the names of your plants. This simple tool will expose you to so much information about them that your relationship will inevitably flourish. This whole thing is about relationships you know.

6. Speaking of relationships, give a friend a plant. Make it personal. It can be a flowering plant like a Begonia or a Geranium or a foliar plant like feather grass or a fern. This can lead to years of joy and appreciation. And who knows, they may give you one back.

7. Use all your senses in appreciating your garden. Get several different fragrant plants like Daphne, Osmanthus, Gardenia and Jasmine.

8. If you have gophers, deer, raccoons obnoxious squirrels or birds there are many plants they have little or no interest in. Evolve your garden to cultivate these resistant plants and the critters will naturally go elsewhere, and you can also grow trees, for this you can talk to a Milton tree trimming company to help with maintenance. The challenge once they are gone is to use the same Genus of plants but find interesting species to compliment your design. There are many varieties of Ceanothus (California lilac) for example that are resistant to everything and once established quite drought tolerant too.

9. All plants have their own way of attracting pollinators. Birds, moths, bees, flies, people and wasps are just a few of the different kinds of pollinators. To find what pollinates your flowering plants and to learn their relationships search the web for your specific plant (the Latin name really helps here) and study its flowering cycle. This is a world that people get Graduate degrees in, all the time.

10. As your relationships grow with your garden, share with others what you are learning. A valuable way to do this is by having a theme party like a Rose smelling get together where everybody brings one rose from their garden that has an exceptional fragrance. This is a great way to meet people and for them and you to introduce your best friends ever, your plants.

Good Gardening

Jack McKinnon worked in the Sunset Magazine gardens for 12 years and is now a Garden Coach. He can be reached at 650-455-0687650-455-0687, or by email at visit his website at

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