Let Beneficial Insects Do Their Work

How eager we are to find culprits or villains, whether in life or in the garden. Often, that search is merely an indication of our own impatience, stress or lazy thinking. Let’s say I get lots of hea...

Backyard Orchard in Long Beach

Yard space in America is disappearing.  From 1999-2014,  the average size lot in America shrank from 9,600 to 8,600 square feet.  During that same period, the average size home increased from  2,100 ...

What Trees and Humans Have in Common

A notable Biblical passage asks: “Is man a tree of the field?” (Deuteronomy 20:19). Analogies comparing roots to deep, sustaining faith are frequently made and we all know about “the fruit of o...

Versatile Chinese Tallow Tree

Just as every human being is a multi-faceted creation of immense — if not yet fully developed — potential, so it is with plants. Take Chinese tallow tree, for example.  In 1772, Benjamin ...

How to Care for Fire Damaged Trees

After a fire, plants may look dead but still be alive. When evaluating what to do with a plant burnt by fire, the best advice is that given when a plant has been burnt by freezing temperatures:  wait...

The History of Fruit Tree Grafting

No one knows when grafting of plants began.  Initially, grafting was thought to be an extension of vegetative or clonal propagation by cuttings.  Just as softwood (shoot) or hardwood cuttings, detach...

Black Fruit, Red Fruit, and Birdscapes

There is a reason that mulberries and blackberries are so attractive to birds. In whatever stage of their development, whether red and unripe or black and ready to pick, mulberries and blackberries s...

Why Do Trees Have Bark?

It happened that a certain student, full of philosophical curiosity, went to a sage, someone steeped in ancient wisdom, and complained, “I don’t understand,” the student began. “Why did God create a ...