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GARDEN FANATIC:August days of gardening

“Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.” "” Rudyard Kipling

“When I am dead, I hope it is said, ‘His sins were scarlet, but his columns were read.’” "” with apologies to Hillaire Belloc

One of the joys of being a new puppy daddy is greeting fellow dog walkers in town. From Main Beach to walking with Buster on the village streets, conversations invariably move directly from how cute our dogs are to the quantity and quality of tomatoes harvested. It’s not that we’re struck solely by the lure of gardening "¦ the lore is equally important.

After the rush of spring blooms, it is difficult to maintain color from shrubs, which often become quite drab by the middle of August. Enter the bedding plant, the savior for those of us who enjoy the “idea” of flowers and enjoy a splash of color in the garden. From a practical point of bedding plants are easy to buy, easy to grow, and are the easiest way to a colorful garden.

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By designing your garden with flowers of colors that please you, your garden will be appealing and renewed. There is still plenty of time to include marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos into your garden. Keep flower beds and containers well-filled and neat by removing spent or dead flowers and foliage, and your entire garden will appear trim and well-tended.

During the countdown to the holiday weekend, fertilize and mulch and weed. Also, water lawns and trees deeply for the recently arrived warmer weather. Your garden will be glad you did.

Snails have been particularly difficult to eradicate this year. A cooler, overcast summer continued to offer favorable conditions for our slimy foes. Twice weekly applications of snail bait (watching out for our pets), keeping the garden free of debris, and placing leftover beer into trays may reduce their population. So will warmer weather!

Warmer days will also unleash worms on herbaceous plantings and rose slugs on, well "¦ roses. The holes that unfill the foliage in your garden can generally be controlled through the use of B.T., a naturally occurring pesticide, which is deadly to caterpillars. However, the holes in rose leaves are caused by rose slugs, which can only be controlled by using a systemic pesticide. Consult with your local nursery for specific product recommendations.

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Catharine, my Cat Woman, has been experiencing the wonder and glee of being a puppy mommy, too. I can barely recall the last time I’ve seen her so happy. There is truly magic in caring for a pet (and a garden). See you next time.


  • STEVE KAWARATANI is married to Catharine Cooper and has two cats and five dogs. He can be reached at (949) 497-8168 or
  • plantman2@mac.com


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