How Does Your Garden Grow? 1

Wow!! Spring has really sprung this year. Plenty of rain, lower water bills, happy unstressed plants. As long as you do not live downstream from an overflowing dam, life is good—at least as far as your garden is concerned.

I inherited my green thumb from my mom, certainly not my dad, who often said he wanted to cement the front lawn over and paint it green. Mom and I ignored him on that little gem of an idea.

Early spring or even late winter is a good time to refurbish or completely redo your garden. I set out to first replace our very inefficient sprinklers, a cost recouped in lower water bills and healthier plants. So take the long view and stop watering your hardscape and start watering your plants. We also tore out a good amount of 10-year-old tired and stressed out shrubbery and replaced it with smaller plants that we can watch grow. Being smaller, they did not cost that much to buy and plant. They also require less water than the old plants.

Next let’s talk trees. There is definitely no shortage of trees in the Conejo Valley. If you even look askance at an oak tree in Thousand Oaks, be prepared to hire a lawyer to get you out of tree jail. Having said that, I am anti-tree in my yard. According to my gardener and landscaper, the roots from two Queen Palms almost destroyed my garden and tore up my drains. We inherited them when we moved in, lived with them for 12 years and finally cut them down. We also had to dig up lots of dead roots and replace the topsoil. It was all for the good. Everything that was struggling is now thriving, and $1,000 later, my drains are also clear and we did not wash away in the heavy rain. If you must plant trees, please plant friendly trees with more vertical root systems. Also, plant them away from common property borders so your neighbor is not impacted by shade, roots, branches and your leaves. So it does not end up looming over your property, it should also be to scale with your home.

I am at present really enjoying the cool weather-loving pansies we planted. I almost hate to have it warm up and have to replace them. By then perhaps the begonias we put in their place will also be beautiful.

I am off to the nursery. Cheers!