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SHARING SECRETS: What’s New In Your Garden?

Edited by Cathy Tylka, for Let’s Talk Plants! May 2024.

Question for this Month …

What are you doing new in your garden? It could be planting, stonework, gravel, mulch, etc., and why? Help us understand and we might want to do it too…

Who doesn’t love compost?


Jim Booman of 92084, responded…

…To avoid gophers, I planted Clematis into big plastic tubs and provided tomato cages. Fingers crossed they will make it through the heat of the summer here in Vista and get enough winter chilling to bloom well next Spring.


John Robert Beaudry…

… I'm taking cuttings from succulents and starting new plants to freshen up other areas. I'm repotting plants and buying some cool plants for containers. Bought a few new ceramic containers too! Also visits to friends for inspiration and exchange!


Debi Wickham shares…

… I am trying to install and move towards low water and California natives in my front yard. Putting in some tomatoes and summer veggies.


Linda Groom of 92091 relates…

Proud of my Split Rock, Pleiospilos nellii. My granddaughter gave it to me three years ago.


Jan McGinn decided…

…Hi. After all this rain, we need to plant Dymondia on the pathways and add mulch over the bare dirt. Will definitely help to avoid mud puddles the next time.


Rick Williams of 91901 reports…

… Just finished 15 hours of a composting class with Solana Center. Very helpful and now even added shredded paper as well as a woodchipper. A zillion worms have discovered my experiment with this transformation.

Planted some butterfly plants to see if I can attract more monarchs.

Now finally going to plant some foods (radishes, leafy greens and carrots).

Doing a lot of weeding and determined not to use any poisons. Just slowly doing a little every day.

Planting more succulents and trees on my two acres in Alpine.

I love, love, love my well with a 5000-gallon storage tank.

Enjoy spending more time outside, so I have chairs all over to encourage a time out.

Finally finished a Zen Rock Garden.

Thanks for all the assistance from this group! Extremely helpful!!


Deb Young of 92024, proclaims she is…

…Putting in a fenced off dog run, to foil my Pedigreed Mini Excavator aka rescue pup.

All we’re doing is putting a gate at one end of the side yard - the other end is already gated - along with a dog door so the pup and his sidekick can access their new domain. Future entry to the main yard, once almost a garden, now merely a yard booby trapped with terrier diggings, will be by engraved invitation only.


My imagination.


Mary “Klibs” Dralle simply reflects…

…Planting seeds and putting down a layer of mulch. No gravel in my garden as that creates a heatsink that kills the soil turning it back into dirt. We need good healthy soil to absorb CO2 and grow our food!

Then she adds, here’s the link on the article I wrote for the newsletter, PERMACULTURE Urban Carbon Farming. Hopefully, this will shed some light on building soil.

Oh, and I focus on soil as dirt is a non-living component of it. When we destroy the micro-organisms, we lose the vitality. I am all about building up soil!

Until we meet again, may you always be on a Good Path of Love and Light . . .


Theodora Gurns of 92091 plans…

… Madly crowding in lavender varieties in our streetside garden. Why? See the March/April 2024 cover article in California Garden magazine depicting Beth Italia'a magnificent hilltop lavender garden in Ramona. We live in lavender-flourishing country!



Gerald D. Stewart of 92084...

…For months I have been accumulating rare, unusual, or hard-to-find shrubs for a shade hedge I will call the Bodacious Border. All have colorful foliage.

For example: Hydrangea, the easy to find 'Maculata' with white borders; 'Quadricolor' with yellow, light green, green, and white variegation; and the new 'Eclipse', with dark bronze foliage.

Also, a number of Aucuba with incredible variegations; three different Fatsia japonica; variegated-leaf Camellia; and if I can locate any, variegated Gardenia. Little by little I have accumulated enough peat moss to use as a 4" mulch, and fertilizers will be for acid-loving plants. This will be about 50' long in a bright shade spot and will have its own irrigation line so it gets regular water when needed.

I rarely water established plants in the rest of the yard (usually only a couple of days before a forecast heatwave, maybe 5-6 times a year at the most). My philosophy is to plant anything that catches my eye, water it carefully the first year, then infrequently. If it survives, fine. If it dies, I have room to try something else.

Near the Bodacious Border is an area of my colorfully foliaged canna collection, irrigated with laundry water. Laundry is done with benign cleaning agents that have proven not to negatively affect the plants. I may extend the laundry water to the Bodacious Border, and if it's sufficient, water it that way, rather than with tap water.


Carol Hill of 92027 sadly says…

… A gopher made its way down the whole row of roses and managed to kill them all without getting caught. We are overhauling the planter bed with hardware cloth before replanting. I'm probably also going to slightly change what was planted in the bed, with some low lying, draping flowers in between the taller roses. 

Hybrid tea roses. One floribunda. A couple long stem roses. I don't know their names offhand, and I don't think I bothered to take any pictures. It was too depressing to see the whole row of dead roses. 


Anna K. proports…

… Keeping our furry and feathered friends safe during fruiting season: While losing some fruit to squirrels, birds and other living beings in the garden can be a bit disheartening, the sheer joy of watching a squirrel, bird or bee savoring a juicy fruit is something indescribable. It is for us, gardeners, to ensure that our furry friends remain safe while relishing the fruits they hold so delicately in their paws or carry these fruits for their little ones. 

Squirrels have very delicate bodies that could get seriously injured in case of a sudden fall from the tree. 


Mulching is a big aspect in this regard. Ensuring that the mulch around fruit trees is as soft as can be is crucial. Avoiding gravel and other hard mulch is essential to ensure that they don't get grievously injured and die a painful death because of a broken spine when jumping off or falling down from the fruit tree. Soft mulch also helps in preventing injuries to fledglings and in protecting baby birds that may fall out of their nests, providing them with a more cushioned landing.


Here's to sharing and caring with the fruits of our labors as long as we garden!


Cathy Tylka of 92024 offers….

…I am sharing my wonderful yellow pincushion protea. I have been cutting thirty at a time and still remain overwhelmed in the best way!


And I am so excited about my new yard tools, weed whacker and blower and it’s energy efficient and lightweight! Hubby helps me but as we age, we need to pick up more of the slack.


Karen England of 92084 wonders…

… if looking over the fence at my neighbor’s blooming pride-of-Madeira, Echium candicans, counts as something “new” that I’m doing in my garden?


Question for next month -

All the rain brings May flowers! Well, we live in Southern California and have flowers all year long, but I bet you have something special, new, or just want to share, that’s in bloom after the rains. Remember, we love different shades of just green too!


Don’t forget, each person who has answered each month's question is entered to win a FREE SD Hort Hat each quarter. Answer all three months' Sharing Secrets questions in a quarter and you have three chances to win! Choose from two styles and several colors of hats if you win.


 Cathy Tylka, RN, retired Emergency Nurse, found her love of plants and the SDHS merge many years ago. Cathy acted as Treasurer for the organization and volunteers for many activities. Now, she is more than happy to assist in gathering questions to ask you in the Sharing Secrets area of the Newsletter.




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