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5 Fabulous Facts About Ladybugs (Shhhh, they’re not really even bugs!)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ladybugs remind me of little Valentine hearts scurrying around plants. But, instead of shooting arrows of love, they prefer to suck up nasty aphids to bring love to our gardens.

Here are some fabulous and fascinating facts about ladybugs, a popular garden carnivore:

Funny thing is, ladybugs aren’t even bugs. They’re beetles! They belong to the order of Coleoptera. The word Coleoptera comes from 2 Greek words: “koleos”meaning sheath and “ptera” meaning wings. They are often referred to as lady beetles, and in German, they are called Marienkäfers, or Mary’s beetles (referring the Virgin Mary). There are about 5,000 species of ladybugs in the world and not all of them are red with black spots. They range in color from yellow to orange to brown. Some are plain; some have stripes or zig-zags; and some have the iconic spots. A ladybug can eat as many as 5,000 aphids in a lifetime. Talk about beneficial insect Hall of Fame! They like a little variety too and are

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January in the Garden – Resolutions

Garden Resolutions

When our gardens are healthy via good soil, sufficient water, and appropriate plants for our climates and property, they thrive. Pests are reduced and beneficial insects, birds, and other urban wildlife flourish to keep our gardens in balance.

My two garden resolutions for 2018 are:

To DESIGN and PLANT more gardens for my clients that focus on balance and plants that are attractive to pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. To TEACH you, my garden friends, what you need to know to be a more confident home gardener. I will be launching a series of gardening classes online starting in late January that will take you step by step to help you create a healthy and happy garden.

Enter your name and email address here to get first priority on notices to enroll in the classes (You’ll get a free PDF too, which will help you avoid common watering mistakes).

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Baby It’s Cold Out There (Or Not)

December in the garden

December In The Garden

So the snow has started falling, and the ground is frozen…cue sound of needle scratching across a record.

Actually here in Southern California, nighttime temps are finally dipping into the 40s, but the days have been warm and very dry, so there are still things to do in the garden this month.

Vegetables

If you have a vegetable garden, you can continue to set out seedlings of cool season vegetables like lettuces, Asian greens, kale, and Swiss chard. Plant seeds of carrots, radishes, turnips, peas, and beets.

Lawn

Now is a good time to reseed and fertilize your lawn. Stay off the lawn (you too, doggies) and don’t mow until the new grass is 4-6” high.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses start to look like hair that’s had too much bleach and not enough conditioner. Cut back ornamental grasses to encourage new growth.

Flowers

Deadhead or pull up any dead flowers. Keep planting cool season annuals like pansies, Iceland poppies, Cylamen, and snap

How To Keep Your Garden In Top Shape In November

flowers - keep your garden in top shape

Hi Garden Friends!

Thanks so much for sticking with me. November in Southern California usually brings more fall-like weather (cooler temps, low clouds and fog, and maybe even a touch of rain) although we are still susceptible to occasional dry Santa Ana conditions and high fire danger (i.e. low humidity).

Here are tasks you can do in November to keep your garden in top shape:

Clean Up Clean up fallen leaves on a weekly basis and toss in the composter or green bin. Wet leaves left too long on the ground can harbor fungal diseases that get into the soil and can affect plants. Pull up dead or faded summer annuals. Trim trees of dead and crossed branches. Cut back grasses that have turned brown. Maintain Add a layer of mulch to your flowerbeds to insulate the soil and to help reduce water runoff when it rains. Peach and nectarine trees, which have already lost their leaves, should be sprayed

My Yard Looks Like S#*&!!! (The Cleanup)

 

I’ll admit it, I spend so much time making beautiful gardens for my clients that I often neglect my own garden. You know, the cobbler’s children have no shoes… The little bit of lawn I have left get mowed when my maintenance gardener decides to show up, I trim my iceberg roses back, so my kids can get out of my car, and I’ll put in some plants here or there when I have left overs or I want to experiment.

That’s the front.

Forget about the back.

My husband and I have been discussing putting in a deck for 2 years now, and I don’t want to invest too much in planting back there, so I put in a few tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers for fresh salads in the summer. The deck will happen. The six chickens also live in back in there own fenced off chicken yard under the giant ash tree.

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a nursery I use often that they would like to feature my yard in a commercial they are filming. Um, sure! (I believe in the say YES! and then freak out way of doing things).

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Soil Preparation Matters If You Want Your Plants To Be Healthy

In what way does soil preparation aid for better growth of plants

Angela Thomas from NY City Pest Control is our guest blogger this week and gives some excellent tips on improving soil and preventing and treating garden pests.

You should never take soil for granted. Many of us think that just by digging up a hole in the ground and placing a plant or a seed, it will start growing automatically. This will only work out if your soil is in good condition. But, many of us have to alter the properties of dirt in the soil to create a good growing condition for the plants.

The first and the foremost thing is you have to find out what your soil is lacking and not lacking. The secret of a super productive garden is to take your time and come up with an effective strategy that will work out for your garden.

soil preparation - how to prepare soil for plantingHow To Prepare Soil For Planting

Most soils need to be improved to make plants grow well

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I’m So Happy With You – Sunflowers

Companion Planting Sunflowers With Corn And Cucumbers

One in an occasional series on Companion Planting.

Did you know that plants can have friends in the garden?

Planting certain plants together can benefit the growth and development of the plants, deter pests, and even improve the flavor of the edible parts of the plants.

Companion Planting With Easy To Grow Sunflowers

Today’s planting companion is the happy sunflower (Helianthus). There are actually 70 different species of sunflowers, and all except 3 grow in North America. From the fuzzy ‘teddy bear’ sunflower to the ‘Russian mammoth’, there is a sunflower to suit every garden.

Sunflowers are easy to grow too. Plant seeds 10-30″ apart depending on the variety in rich soil to a depth of 3/4″. Planting should take place in the spring after the last frost. Plant in full sun and water well. Soil should be kept moist.

Plant With Cucumbers & Corn For Increased Yield & Insect Control

Sunflowers get along great with cucumbers and corn. Corn and cucumber yield can be increased with sunflowers as companions. Sunflowers repel cucumber beetles and aphids, and they attract beneficial insects like bees and praying mantises.

Have you planted sunflowers?

Let me know

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Easy Steps to Grow Your Vegetable Garden – FREE Webinar

 

Hi Garden Friends!

Have you always wanted to grow a vegetable garden, but don’t know where to start? How cool would it be to step outside and gather home grown produce to use in youe next home cooked meal!-

I am super excited to announce that I am holding a FREE webinar to help you get started on your vegetable garden this year. I hope you can join me live on Thursday, March 24th at 11:00am Pac. You’ll learn easy actionable steps on what you need how to get your edible garden in the ground.

 

Join me live, and you’ll also be eligible for some great garden bonuses (cause I like to give fun stuff to my friends)!

 

It’s easy to enroll. Just click the link here: http://app.webinarjam.net/register/25280/b79195e60b

 

I look forward to seeing you next week (oh, and feel free to share the link with your friends)!

 

Xo,

Angela

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Four Tips for Choosing the Best Gardening Tool (and a Free Bonus!)

Choose the best tool for the jobChoosing The Best Tool For The Job

I’ve collected a lot of garden tools over the years. Some I have purchased. Some my dad left to me when he passed away. Some have even been given to me as gifts. I do find myself using the same tools over and over again. There are a lot of choices available, and if you are a beginning gardener, the choices can seem overwhelming. Exactly how many types of pruners do I need?

I am going to give you 4 tips on how to choose the best and most useful tools, save you some money, plus give you a free bonus, so you know exactly what to get to make gardening easy and fun.

The Right Tool for the Job: Standing in front of the garden tools display at a nursery or big box store can be confusing and overwhelming. There are numerous varieties of shovels, rakes, and hoes. Before you buy any tools, take stock of what tools you might

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What Happened to Winter? February in the Garden

I love to wander around my yard and see the small things: the arrival of bees (or aphids), the changing of leaves, the first spring flowers. I’m not sure what happened to the El Nino and all the rain and cold weather we were supposed to get this winter in Los Angeles. A ridge of high pressure has kept the needed rain mostly to the north. It’s beautiful here, but too warm already. I was in Connecticut last week with my Client Attraction Business School peeps, and it was 24 degrees. I came home, and it’s been in the low 80s.

So I have been wandering around…Some observations: The Hardenbergia is blooming and full of bees (yay!). I have too much rosemary in my yard although I do love the blue flowers against the dark green leaves. My mini daffodils bloomed while I was away and are now past their peak, but the double Narcissus are in full bloom and the mix of their fragrance combined with my neighbor’s overloaded tangerine tree is intoxicating (someone needs to make a perfume). Plants and trees are feeling for spring: daisies, hellebores, the peach tree in my back yard are all

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