I am Bunny Chafowitz – Master Gardener! I became a University of California certified Master Gardener in 2007. And I’ve loved every minute of being involved with this great group of volunteers. We provide the public with UC expert-verified information to assist the home gardener with horticulture, integrated pest management, sustainable gardening, and much, much more. Hanging out with folks as passionate about gardening as I am is a dream come true. Every day there is something new to learn, new gardening joys to discover, and wonderful gardens to explore.
How to keep that beautiful bouquet fresh and lovely? To a quart of water add two tablespoons each of white vinegar and sugar. The vinegar will help inhibit bacteria and the sugar nourishes the plant. Be sure to cut the stems at an angle and pop the flowers into the solution. Cut the stems every day to allow the water to be drawn up by the flowers.
Yes, I confess. I go to the thrift store most every Saturday. It’s the thrill of the hunt that lures me in. What treasure can I find that used to be another’s trash? There is a certain sense of satisfaction when I rescue something and give it new life. Like my most recent project – a candlestick topiary. This unique planting is simple yet elegant and only cost $3.00 to create.
Yeah – a slippery slope to nowhere! At least for the ants that love to take over your hummingbird feeder. Ants are attracted to the nectar in the feeder and, being the highly social bugs that they are, will quickly “tell” all their little friends when they’ve found this seemingly never-ending source of food. Foil them by smearing the string or wire holding the feeder with petroleum jelly. Ants find it nearly impossible to cross a barrier with this sticky substance.
This is serious folks
It’s bad news: 58 % of California is in what is called “exceptional” drought. I can’t write about the drought with any authority but I can share with you some of the ways I save water around the home.
- Save the water you steam or boil vegetables in. Let it cool and water your plants.
- Same with hard-boiled eggs. Some of the calcium in the shells will leach into the water which is good for plants.
- Place a gallon bucket in the shower to catch water while it’s warming up.
- Drop an ice cube on the floor? Don’t toss it in the sink! Put it in the dog’s bowl or a potted plant.
- Have an aquarium? Next time you clean it, water the plants with the water. Plants absolutely love fish poop!
- Rinse fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under running water.
- Remove part of your lawn, create planting beds, and fill with drought-tolerant plants.
- Drive your car onto the lawn when you wash it. Use simple soaps, like dishwashing liquid, which the grass can easily neutralize.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Start a compost bin to throw those veggie and fruit scraps in.
- Use mulch in garden beds. It helps the soil retain moisture.
My husband teases me sometimes because I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to not wasting water. But I don’t mind because I know that I’m doing the right thing for me, my plants, and for my community. Saving water might seem like a pain in the butt but once you start doing it, it becomes routine and a matter of habit. Remember – Every Drop Counts.
This is serious folks.
You usually see “Wash Me” written on the back window of an extremely dirty car, right? A dirty car is a eyesore but dirt on a plant actually affects its health. In their natural environment, plants are routinely cleaned by wind and rain. But when we bring plants inside the house, it is up to us to give them a bath. Why take the time to do this? Leaves dirty with dust, grease, and other nasty stuff won’t absorb as much sunlight as leaves that are clean and this affects their ability to photosynthesize. Wash your plants every couple of months using a soft cloth or sponge and warm water. If you have a lot of houseplants, group them in the shower and gently spray away!
I love to watch old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. You can learn a lot from that show. Worf teaches us, for example, that in Klingon culture, any day you die in battle is a good day to die. So, before crushing my arch nemesis in the battle for garden domination, I first say, “It is a good day to die, my friend.” [Read more…]
Remove spent flowers to encourage plants to produce more blooms. In gardeners’ parlance this is “deadheading.” The goal of a plant is to grow, flower, set seed and die. Deadheading prevents the plant from setting seed so the plant will produce more flowers to again try to set seed before it, theoretically, dies.
Oh Baby, it’s hot outside! Summer in the Central Valley of California typically means day after day after day of 95 degree + heat. (Right now we are in the middle of a 10-day 103 – 107 degree stretch!) No wind, no rain…just heat. Errands, gardening, and outdoor chores are done very early in the morning or well after the sun goes down (good landscape lighting helps with the latter). If we can help it, we don’t go out during the day except for the short foray from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car to get to the next air-conditioned building. In short, we adapt to our environment. And we humans are not the only ones to do this. [Read more…]
Hades, god of the Underworld.
What in Hades does Hades have to do with gardening or cooking?
It’s dark in the Underworld – not easy to garden with no sunlight at all. Cooking in the Underworld – probably a lot of barbecue, but that’s it.
Well, legend has it that Hades had a girlfriend, a nymph named Minthe. Hades loved her dearly. Unfortunately for Minthe, Hades’ wife Persephone, did not.
Oh my. [Read more…]