Paula Bertram

Grow For It: Painful gardening mistakes: Master Gardeners tell all

We were recently able to wheedle/cajole/bribe some of our most experienced Master Gardeners into admitting their mistakes. Really boneheaded mistakes. Rookie errors. Under the condition of anonymity, these Master Gardeners recount some of their gardening bloopers.   1. Right place/wrong plant errors “We built our house next to three young douglas firs. From 8 feet, […]

Grow For It! Grow up

Isn’t it about time, after all? Consider expanding your horticultural horizons. Elevate your gardening game. Exploit verticality in the vegetable kingdom … Growing up, in other words, is a good thing. There are lots of reasons for finally growing up. It can maximize your garden space. It can add interest, variety and texture to your […]

Grow For It! Free seeds

Friends, the secret is out: You can “grow your own” garden seeds. Sounds simple, right? It is. Here are easy steps to selecting, collecting and protecting your own seed supply. But why, you query? Isn’t it a lot easier to just buy seeds? Or even easier to simply plant starts? Here’s what garden geeks say: […]

Grow For It! Lawn gone

As my loyal readership (Hi, Mom) may recall, this humble author previously submitted an article about caring for a lawn in a low water year. But, with the fourth year of drought upon us, some friends are muttering imprecations about my “so-called advice” and plan to remove their lawns entirely. Their points are well taken: […]

Grow For It! Citrus

The voice on the phone was tentative: “Hello, is this the Master Gardener?” “Well, I’m one of the Master Gardeners. My name is Petunia” (name changed to protect the author). “Did you have a question?” Anguished voice: “I think my mandarin tree is dying!” Racing thoughts on the MG’s end — Master Gardener to self: […]

Grow For It!: Divide and multiply — the easiest propagation technique

Check around the garden. Do you see great crowded lumps of Shasta Daisies? Are your potted mums sending out an SOS? Overcrowding in the Aster department? Massive Panzer divisions of sedums threatening to overrun every other plant in their path? Artichokes the size of the Empire State Building? Time to divide and multiply. Autumn is […]

Grow For It! Weed speak: What our weeds are telling us

We spend endless hours and funds trying to eliminate weeds from our gardens. But it’s important to understand “the enemy” and to intercept the messages. Here is a list of tell-tale weeds and their communications. If you have no problem with any of these, you are some sort of god among gardeners — and should […]

Grow For It!: Turf battles

There’s something about a lawn. They’re wonderful for rough-housing with the dog or the grandkids. They look pretty. They feel good on bare feet. It’s a great place to park a lawn chair and sip a cool beverage on a hot summer afternoon. But we lawn owners are a bit guilt ridden. Too much water. […]

Grow For It: Weed wars

“Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed, and you weed alone.” — Jean Jacques Rousseau Really. There’s a lot to admire about weeds; they’re akin to guerilla fighters. Tough, resilient, adaptable, they can thrive in poor conditions, seemingly disappear under direct attack and then reappear in a flanking action. Did you know a single […]

Grow For It!: This year’s top gardening hints

Despite the chilly winter weather, the Veterans Hall was filled to overflowing on a recent Saturday for the new University of California Extension Class: Top 20 Gardening Hints. Enthused gardeners heard Master Gardeners Sheri Burke, Mike Pizza and Sue McDavid expound on inexpensive, time saving and imaginative techniques. The topics ranged from a do-it-yourself rain […]

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