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Garden Ramblings, Issue #047
July 15, 2008


July 2008

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene


If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos.


In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Desert Garden - The Huntington
- Garden Centers And Plant Nurseries
- How To Get Rid Of Squirrels Humanely
- Greener Yard Tips
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece



Welcome to the July issue of Garden Ramblings. This month we're back to the three article format all by guest authors.

In these times of the credit crunch and price inflation it is more important than ever to make sure that you get good value for money when buying plants from a gaden center or nursery. Our first guest author Jonathan Ya'akobi tells you what to look out for.

Last month I included an article on ladybugs and how useful they are in controlling garden pests. One pest which they cannot tackle is the squirrel, but my second guest author Eve Duncan gives you her suggestions on how to deal with this problem.

The third article is by Roderick Powers who is a lawn care professional. He has some timely advice on how to keep your lawn looking good throughout the year.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

There's a rather different video this month - cacti. Not everyone's favorite I know, but they do have some striking flowers as well as interesting shapes.

Enjoy the issue.




Desert Garden - The Huntington

*********************************************************** Garden Centers And Plant Nurseries - The Three Points to Look Out For
by Jonathan Ya'akobi

With the rising cost of plants today, many home gardeners are understandably tempted to seek out less showy garden centers, and buy their garden plants at cheaper establishments. This is all very well, but as with most things, cheap can prove to be very dear indeed. While a cheap plant nursery is not necessarily a bad one, it should pass three tests before you consider buying plants from it.

Plant Labels

The sign of a professional nursery is that the plants are labeled properly and clearly. This is important not simply for the convenience of the customer, but as an indication of how seriously the establishment takes plant identification. While the label may contain the plant's common name, it ought to include its botanical name as well. A nursery that is sloppy about its labeling is liable to sell you the wrong plant! Remember that plants in their juvenile state can be difficult to identify by appearance, and so to a great extent, the purchaser is dependent on the professionalism and good faith of the garden center.


Heavy weed infestations are clearly a sign of a poorly run plant nursery. More serious though is the nursery's potential as a source of noxious weeds, especially of the dangerously invasive type entering your garden. As a gardening contractor and regular purchaser of plants, I always enquire whether the plants are grown in a potting medium, or in garden soil. Remember that it is much cheaper for the nursery to grow its plants in garden soil, but then the danger of dangerous weeds is greatly increased. With regard to weeds, cheap could spell disaster!

The Quality of the Plants

Plants that look poor are less likely to develop as successful garden specimens than those that seem to be in good shape. However, here a nasty trap could be waiting for the unwary, because a handsome appearance is not necessarily the sign of a worthy plant. On the contrary, a top-heavy specimen, that is one that is disproportionately large for its container, is liable to have a tangled and knotted root system, which may prevent it from breaking out into the garden soil after planting. A plant that has outgrown its container, should long have been potted on into a larger one, and is another sign of a poorly run establishment.

On the other hand, a small plant in a large container is also undesirable as the plant's roots could be starved of air. Considering that the retail price of plants is largely a function of the container size, it follows that in such cases, the customer is getting an inferior specimen at an inflated price.



About the Author
My name is Jonathan Ya'akobi. I've been gardening in a professional capacity since 1984. I am the former head gardener of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden, but now concentrate on building gardens for private home owners. I also teach horticulture to students on training courses. I'd love to help you get the very best from your garden, so you're welcome to visit me on or contact me at [email protected]


How To Get Rid Of Squirrels Humanely
by Eve Duncan

For most people, our gardens are special spaces. We want to attract beautiful singing birds to our yards and an easy way to do this is by hanging a bird feeder and planting flowers. Unfortunately along with birds coming to visit us, wild squirrels also show up un-invited. Although they have a brain the size of a walnut, they are quite skillful and creative at stealing bird food, damaging homes and bird feeders.

There are ways to get rid of squirrels but here we'll only concentrate on humane methods. We can control squirrels to some extent if we follow a few guidelines. Although we may never get rid of all squirrels in our yards we can limit them.

An effective method of controlling squirrels in your yard or home is to give them their very own feeding station. Place a squirrel feeder in a corner spot as far away from your house, favourite plants or bird feeder. The idea here is that if you give squirrels easy access to food, they won't bother with the more challenging areas, like your bird feeders or attics.

A squirrel feeder can be as simple as a corn spike or you can purchase one of the more attractive squirrel feeder designs for sale. (There's a very cute design that has a tiny seat for the squirrel to sit on.) Give the squirrels some time to discover their new dining spot and hopefully they will get into the habit of visiting their feeding station and avoid going to your other areas.

This is a simple, low cost, humane and effective way to get rid of squirrels from specific areas. If it doesn't rid you of squirrels entirely than at least it should allow for some control. I hope this suggestion on how to get rid of squirrels, whether it be from a bird feeder, yard or house attic, will be successful for your particular squirrel pests. (If not next line of defence, try getting a big backyard dog.)

About the Author
Eve Duncan is a freelance writer,researcher and web publisher from Canada. To get more free tips about how to get rid of squirrels, visit where you can also find a review of the yankee flipper squirrel proof bird feeder .


Greener Yard Tips
by Roderick Powers

There are a number of lawn care tips that will always help you produce a greener yard I but want to the highlight the granddaddy of them all. PROPER MOWING HABITS

Proper Mowing is King

You can fertilize at the right time, water properly, spray for weeds and insects etc., if the lawn is mowed too short, it's potential is greatly diminished

Bar none, My customers that have the highest mowing height, all have the best looking yards.

And taking that one step further, if you mulch your grass also, you add a instant 25% improvment in greener color. I see it everyday

I can tell which customer is bagging their grass and the ones leaving the clipping or mulching.

A higher mowing height will:

- Create a deeper, and stonger root system

- Which promotes a greeer grass plant with more blade surface

- A longer grass plant helps shade soil, keeping it cooler

- Which helps retain mositure saving watering, time and money.

- Less weeds and crabgrass will grow and disease activity is greatly reduced

Using a mulching mower breaks down the grass clippings quicker feeding your soil fresh grass every week.

This builds up the quality of your soil and it is almost like magic what it does for your yard.

So to wrap it up . Proper mowing will save you watering, time and money, it will also be like fertilzing your yard everyweek , especially if you use a mulcher.

And without doubt, your yard WILL be much, much greener and healthier.


About the Author
Roderick Powers is a lawn care professional with over 25 years experience. He has personally treated over 35,000 yards with his fertilizer and weed control service.

For More Greener Yard Tips click here --


Special Offers


With one exception it's still too early in the year to find sales of gardening products or special bargains so there is little to report this month.


Gardener's Supply Company are running a Just-in-Time Summer Sale where you can save up to 27% on over 110 items. Click the banner and look for Summer Sale.



Gardener's Supply Company



Dutch Gardens have finished their Spring Sale but you can still save $25 when you spend $50 as shown on the banner.



Dutch Gardens, Inc.





Nothing special at Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co this month, but as you see from the banner you can still save $20 when you spend $40 or more.



Shop at for your vegetable and flower seeds!





This month Nature Hills Nursery are offering discounts of 25% on over 150 perennial plants and flowers.









Water lily opening



Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: [email protected]


That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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