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Spring Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden


Amidst these very troubling and upsetting times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I appreciate my garden even more. It is a refuge where I can go and clear my mind of all the chaos around me and feel some calmness. I can see the hummingbirds going for a meal in the flowers of Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and then fly […]

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The ABCs of Hanging Basket Creation and Care

Dark Eyes Fuchsia is a stellar variety with glowing flowers that attract hummingbirds.
Spring is finally here, and many of us have been bitten by the Flower Bug. We are looking forward to beautiful pots on the deck and hanging baskets on the front porch full of gorgeous flowers. It is fun to make up your own hanging baskets, using last year’s baskets or new ones. […]

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Creating Your Own DIY Plant Labels From Recycled Materials

Creating painted rocks is a fun family activity, and they look beautiful in the garden. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Making your own plant markers can be a fun way to repurpose used items and put a touch of personality into your garden. They are a useful and fun activity for a rainy day, humdrum weekend, or when you have extra time on your hands.
Here are some […]

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Lessons from a Wartime Victory Garden


Victory Gardens inspired millions of Americans that had never gardened to grow food to feed their families. Everyday people learned to garden on a homesteading scale. And my family was no exception. My maternal grandparent’s Victory Garden taught them to fend for themselves and eat well when wartime rations were most limited.

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How to Amend Clay Soils


One of the garden necessities that should never be overlooked is having the right soil for the right plant, which often means having good, fertile loam. For our plants to perform at their very best, it is our job to give them the best soil we can, but clay soils can make this a challenge. The best time to thoroughly amend the soil for […]

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Five Steps to Creating a No-Till Vegetable Garden

The author’s no-till garden in early spring after compost and straw have been applied. (Image by Jessie Keith)
To till or not to till? Why ask this question? Tilling does good things for the soil. It increases needed aeration and porosity, allows the easy incorporation of organic amendments, and it makes all the little green weeds at the top of the soil go away. But it […]

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Late-Winter Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden

Clean off any debris that has collected on the lawn over the winter.
Take a Garden Stroll
With a steaming cup of coffee in my hand, I walk out into my garden this February morning and delight in seeing the nodding, bell-shaped white flowers of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) (Click here to learn more about other early spring bulbs like snowdrops). I have a […]

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Rosemary Is For Winter and Gifting

Fill pretty, recycled jars with freshly-dried rosemary for holiday gifts for foodies (and pet lovers too, see below).
When I first came to the Southern California desert, I was shocked at how well traditional rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10) shrubs survived through 120ᵒ F summer days. When provided good drainage and some water, these plants thrive in dry, mild-winter locations and reach mammoth […]

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Beyond Poinsettias: Fresh Holiday House Plants

Florist’s gloxinia has fallen out of vogue but has spectacular flowers in winter.
Red, green, and white–these are the common holiday colors. Poinsettias, amaryllis, paperwhites, and cyclamen–these are the common holiday plants in these colors. Why not shake it up? You can have these colors and enjoy them anew with more adventurous seasonal house plants.
Plant vendors sell all kinds of other indoor plants fit for the […]

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Black Gold’s 2019 Garden Photo Contest Winners


We were excited to have received hundreds of photos for our garden photo contest held in October, 2019. Thank you to everyone who entered. There were so many beautiful, high-quality photos to choose from that it was difficult for our panel of five judges to whittle it down to just three winning shots.
Our winning photos were of good quality and maintained a balance between […]

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