Oomycetes and Powdery Mildew Fungus

Oomycete.  No,‭ ‬it’s not a typo.‭  ‬Oomycete really does start with two o’s. It’s pronounced oh-oh-MY-seat,‭ emphasis on “my” ‬although the presence of oomycetes in the garden is m...

Versatile Chinese Tallow Tree

Just as every human being is a multi-faceted creation of immense — if not yet fully developed — potential, so it is with plants. Take Chinese tallow tree, for example.  In 1772, Benjamin ...

No Plant is Completely Pet Safe

I recently received an email asking me to address the pet safety of plants discussed in this column.  It is easy to comply with this request since no plant is completely pet safe.  While it is highly...

How to Care for Fire Damaged Trees

After a fire, plants may look dead but still be alive. When evaluating what to do with a plant burnt by fire, the best advice is that given when a plant has been burnt by freezing temperatures:  wait...

Discovery Depends on Having New Eyes

“Brand New,” “New and Improved,” “All New.”  We are all familiar with these advertising slogans.  They must be effective because we keep hearing and seeing them, over and over again. Lust for somethi...

The History of Fruit Tree Grafting

No one knows when grafting of plants began.  Initially, grafting was thought to be an extension of vegetative or clonal propagation by cuttings.  Just as softwood (shoot) or hardwood cuttings, detach...

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

There is something mystical about gardening, an activity whose highest expression depends on turning death into life. If you really want to be good to your plants, if you want them to grow in a maxim...

The Secret Life of Poinsettias

“The Secret Life of Plants” was a popular book published in 1973 which made seemingly outrageous claims that plants respond to stimuli in human ways. Plants would grow better when soft music, as oppo...

Real Gardeners Don’t Use Sprinklers

Some of you might remember a book entitled “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.”  Published in 1982, it was on the best seller list for over a year and sold more than a million copies.  I wa...