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November Newsletter

We are two-thirds of the way into Fall and though some areas that are under mandatory water restrictions are limiting automatic watering to once per week, it still feels like summer in sunny southern California.

In most situations, with our normal weather pattern most of our established landscapes can survive on once weekly watering if we have trained our roots to grow deeply. Many cities have exceptions in their mandatory water policies. In Pasadena watering by hand, drip irrigation or smart controller is exempt. It may be a good time to install a smart controller or retrofit your existing controller to make it a smart controller.

There is still time take advantage of our Fall weather to plant the right tree. And it is smart to start preparing for winter rains.

Mark Meahl (President Garden View Inc.)

Real-Rock Water Features
One of Garden View's specialties is constructing water features using real boulders and rock. We have 1.5 acres of boulders at our nursery so we can choose exactly the right boulder for the right location. We can break and carve boulders and Mark Meahl has developed a 26 point formula for our masons on how to use rock and make it look natural. Real boulders won't fade or need painting in the future. We actually install real rock for less than most artificial boulder contractors charge for their fake rock.

There are many types, colors and shapes of rocks and boulders. These pictures are of "Azusa Granite" boulders installed in a shotcrete (concrete) shell.

November Garden Tips

Do not trim until after their spring blooms. Most varieties of these low water need, disease and pest resistant plants are compact growers needing little pruning.

JERUSALEM SAGE -Phlomis fruticosa (right):
about half in fall to keep them compact. This plant will produce waves of color in spring and summer if cut back lightly after each flowering.

When plants have finished blooming, cut them back to within 6 or 8 inches of the ground. If plants are overcrowded, this would be a good time to divide them. Lift clumps, cut roots into pieces, and discard old or woody centers. Replant remaining pieces.

The best time to fertilize your annual flowers is when planting them. Garden View Crews sprinkle some fertilizer underneath the plant when planting. The reason is that Phosphorus and Potassium which contribute most to flower production do not leach through the soil so putting the fertilizer on the top of the soil doesn't feed the plant near as well as putting the fertilizer in the hole next to the roots. Click Here to Read Our Article on Fertilizer!

TRIM GRASSES LIKE PENISETUM SETACEUM 'RUBRUM' (left) when they are starting to go brown. Cut down the whole plant (which is all leaves). Garden View crews cut to approximately 4" above the soil. If you do no do this the plant will be extremely unattractive all winter and will be much too large next spring and summer.

NIGHT BLOOMING JESSAMINE -Cestrum nocturnum (right):
This fast growing, arching plant responds well to frequent pruning and a severe pruning in fall. This plants summer flowers are powerfully fragrant at night--too much for some people.

DO NOT PRUNE CALIFORNIA LIVE OAK TREES until next summer; the tip mildew or "witches broom" disease of the California Live Oak trees is increased by early spring pruning and fertilization.

PINE TREES (left):
Prune Pine trees and other conifers now through February.

DON'T PANIC IF EVERGREENS (Pine trees and other conifers) continue to show some browning or yellowing of needles this month and next. The oldest, innermost ones typically shed after a few years on the tree.

Pine needles can be used as mulch for acid loving plants like Azalea, Camellia, and Blueberries or to cover informal woodland or vegetable garden paths.

stop watering once rain arrives; many varieties need protection from frost.

BERRIES (left):
Prune cane berries other than low-chill raspberries.

Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees but discontinue feeding. This will begin hardening them off for cold weather. You want to discourage new growth that will be tender and susceptible to damage.

Cut back top heavy shrubs open up small trees. This is a fast growing, low water need plant. Most varieties have origins in Australia and southern Africa and most have yellow to gold flowers which bloom in late winter or early spring. These plants that are often listed as brittle and short lived (15 years) may have there life extended considerably by not overwatering and proper pruning.

is a great dry hillside ground cover. It grows fast, so space each plant at least 4 feet apart from each other and away from v-ditch drainage swales. The dwarf varieties need a little less trimming. Garden View Landscape crews will often plant this shrub on the upper side of the slope and Rosemary prostrada on the downhill side. This makes a nice contrast between the plants and the Rosemary tolerates more of the percolated water.

has abundant flowers and a ferny leaf. As it matures and with proper pruning it can be a very mystic looking tree with interesting form.

Contrary to some references or your own temptations do not prune hydrangeas this late in the year. Hydrangeas bloom on one-year-old stems Pruning now will eliminate most of next year's flowers. To try to get blue or lavender flowers on an otherwise pink plant start applying Aluminum Sulfate to the soil now. White flowered varieties will not change color and not all pinks will be effected the same.

Algerian and English Ivy respond well to a severe pruning during the cooler months. This will keep the plant contained and considerably more attractive.

Click Here to Read the Rest of the Article!

Click Here to Read/Print the Article in Spanish!
Water-Wise Tips
Smart Irrigation Controllers

Smart controllers are irrigation clocks that automatically adjust irrigation run times in response to environmental changes.

Smart controllers use sensors and weather information to manage watering times and frequency. As environmental conditions vary, the controller increases or decreases irrigation. Smart controllers have the ability to turn off your sprinklers automatically during rain, high wind or low temperature.

Smart controllers reduce outdoor water use by an average of 15 to 30 percent and often considerably more. They also reduce over watering, which can cause fungal disease and insect problems.

They work by scheduling watering based on the amount and intensity of rainfall. They also take factors such as soil type, the slope of your lawn, plant type and sun exposure are utilized to optimize your watering schedule to enhance your landscape while saving water and reducing runoff.

Moisture sensors can be hooked up to your existing systems (making them smart controllers). Garden View's opinion is that in most cases moisture sensors are even more efficient than smart controllers (without the sensors) because they are measuring the moisture at the root zone where the water is needed. Click Here to Read Our Article on Moisture Sensors.

In the Dirt
with Julie Meahl

Julie Meahl The witches and vampires have all flown by. Now the holiday season is truly upon us. In my family, traditionally the holidays consist of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. However, in this great country we have so many wonderful diverse traditions. One thing we all have in common is cooking for our family and friends.

Let's look at some of the herbs we all use. Of course home grown and fresh is best. Herbs are easy to grow in your planters of pots. Herbs should be in the f ull sun, healthy garden soil, and always fertilized organically. Besides the wonderful flavors herbs add to our food, they are also healthy for us.

-Basil is soothing to the stomach. It helps nausea and relieves nervousness.
-Cayenne is warming to the heart and helps blood circulation. It also quickens the pulse and metabolism.
-Cilantro helps to eliminate the metal build up of mercury in our bodies.
-Fennel provides gallbladder and digestive support and relieves indigestion.
-Garlic stimulates metabolism, acts as an antiseptic, reduces cholesterol, prevents heart disease, and reduces high blood pressure.
-Mint is great for an upset stomach.
-Oregano stimulates circulation.
-Parsley is a great source of chlorophyll and potassium. It is good for your kidneys, bladder, and nervous system.
-Rosemary is good for improving memory.
-Sorrel has high levels of vitamin A and C.
-Tarragon is good for the heart and liver.
-Thyme is used as an antiseptic and helps to relieve gas. Thyme has been cultivated for 5,000 years... It must be good!

So let's go from the garden to the kitchen and put smiles on our family and friends.

Thank you Mother Nature! Now you're in the dirt!

(Julie Meahl is the Retail Manager and Vice President of Garden View, Inc.)

Blake's Landscape Maintenance Blog

Blake Well, we are just about to winter with only one storm under our belts and feeling a little pessimistic about this big, bad El Niņo we are all hoping for. I was brainstorming about things I could do to help and naturally struck goldmines. For the next couple of weeks I have instructed all of our crews to perform a very special ceremony when they arrive at each job. Please do not be alarmed when you see 4-5 Hispanic men dancing naked on your lawn. Hey, it is all in the name of the drought and we are doing what we can to help. Besides, I know you dig it.

Normally right now we make sure that all the crews go through and clean out the landscape storm swales, V ditches and drains (have your handyman check the garage sump pumps and rain gutters!!) of dirt and debris so that we can avoid any flooding. Then it hit me, we shouldn't! Obviously, if we get prepared for the rain it will never happen. I realized that all of you out there that have the gardening companies who neglect these kinds of procedures are doing the world a major service and should be greatly rewarded. Of course, you are likely to spend your reward dealing with water damage, but you don't care because you are so environmentally minded! We strive to be more like you, but unfortunately, we just can't help but provide that superior landscape maintenance service. Damn! Back to the drawing board...

(Blake Meahl is the Operations Manager for Garden View's Maintenance Division.)

Leaf Blower Comic
If you have any suggestions on articles you would like to see in our newsletter or suggestions for improvement please let us know.
-Tyler Meahl (Technical Manager and Special Projects Coordinator for Garden View Inc.)

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