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Dave's Garden Articles: By Geoff Stein

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Edible Palms: Date Palms
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article explores edible palms and their fruits. Date palms were probably the first trees cultivated for their food. This article serves as an introduction to date palms and the varieties of dates available.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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Monocarpsim in question
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Monocarpic means flowering once and then dying... or does it? The following is an article inspired by a long heated discussion of this term and its meaning among a group of on line 'botanits' recently who brought up a lot of good points about what truly is meant by saying a plant is monocarpic.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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Introduction to Exotic Foliage Houseplants
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article serves as an introduction to some of the more exotic and popular species of house plants found in many nurseries throughout the country.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

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The Joshua Tree
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua Tree is one of the most well known, iconic plants of the southwest. This article serves as an introduction to this fascinating and unusual plant.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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Euphorbias for landscaping - the cold-hardy columnar, tree species
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This is an article designed to introduce the reader to some of the available bigger succulent, columnar Euphorbia shrub or tree species used for landscaping and pot culture.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

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Planting Palms
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Though Palms are Trees, because their root structure differs from most dicot trees, there may be different strategies to planting palms other than one might use to plant most other trees. This short article is a discussion of some various techniques used by palm specialists, along with some of my own blunders.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

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Easy Succulents- the Jade Plants
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Jade trees are some of the easiest succulents to grow in the garden or in outdoor pots, or even as indoor plants and bonsai specimens. The following article is an introduction to these wonderful plants along with some suggestions on how to grow and care for them.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

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Introduction to Cycads, the ultimate Jurassic landscape and/or potted plants
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This is a brief article about one of the most prehistoric of all landscape plants for warmer climates. These can also be grown successfully in pots in cooler climates for those who want a little dinosaur-age foliage in their greenhouse or summer patio. There are few better plants for investment value as well- cycads will only go up in value with age and size. And, thankfully, beauty also increases with value as well.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

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The San Diego Zoo: Not just for animals
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

The San Diego Zoo is one of the more popular tourist destinations in the U.S., but hardly anyone notices their fantastic plant collection. It has a magnificent botanical gardens as well, but since it exists in, among, and around the animal collection, it is sometimes easy to miss. This article is an introduction to this amazing collection.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

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Toxic Plants of the Winter Holidays, from a Veterinary Perspective
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

There are several plants that are associated with the holidays and some are toxic to pets. But how toxic are they, and should we all be concerned? As a veterinarian, this is a particularly important topic to me. Following is a brief overview of these plants and a practical look at their risks to our pets.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

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Indoor palms: Selecting and caring for these popular houseplants
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Palms are one of the most popular, if not THE most popular of house plants around the world. They provide an atmosphere of majestic tropical splendor combined with ease of care and availability that few other house plants can match. All one needs to do is watch a movie or television show and most likely there will be a house palm in the back ground. Or visit the shopping malls and most likely you will see palms all over, often magnificently stretching up towards the upper floors. When you check in hotels, or go to a nice restaurant you will often see palms as decorations. Indeed, few plants say the tropics in such a luxurious way, or look as good indoors, particularly in larger rooms with tall ceilings as palms do. Generally they are easy to care for, available and affordable, and have few major problems as long as the environment is acceptable.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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Blue conifer choices for the holidays
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article is for those that want something a bit different: a blue Christmas tree, perhaps?

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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Entrenched Nursery Identification Errors: Araucaria heterophylla
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Sometimes I see errors in identification, not just here, but all over the place on the web, in botanical gardens, nurseries, private gardens (including my garden) etc. Misidentified plants are just part of life, and I have been guiltier than many in making these errors. But I have also done my part in trying to correct some of these errors, or at least alerting others to their mistakes (as they often do for me) as tactfully as possible. But some errors are so entrenched in our gardening culture that efforts made to correct these errors often either go unnoticed or are completely ignored as ravings from a madman (that would be me, for example). This article and perhaps a few more are focused on such an error as an example of what I mean.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

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Succulents: What's Blooming in the Yard Now? December Edition
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article is about what is blooming in December in the succulent garden, from a Southern California point of view.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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Moving Cacti (some tips and suggestions)
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I have moved a lot of cactus from one place to another as I either re-landscape a yard, or try to move a portion of my yard to a new location... or simply purchase a plant from someone else and need to figure out how to get it home and plant it. Cacti are not like many other plants and some unique considerations must be made prior to and during moving these unusual plants. The following are some of my suggestion, but is not certainly everything there is to know about moving cacti from one place to another... just an introduction.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

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Introduction to Aeoniums
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Aeoniums are one of the most ornamental of all the succulents. Even those that don't appreciate succulents seem to like these plants. Perhaps it is the fact they look like large, colorful, rubbery flowers that these popular plants have such an appeal. And luckily many are easy plants to grow as well. The following article is an introduction, along with some of my own experiences, to these amazing plants.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

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Introduction of Sansevierias, One of the Premiere Houseplants Available
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Most people will know these plants, even if they don't recognize their genus. Snake Plants or Mother's in Law Tongues are the common names given to this group. Others may know them as indestructible house plants that never seem to die, or need fertilizer or water. Shoppers will surely see them as popular mall and restaurant decorations, or as frequently displayed designer potted plants. And yet others, in milder climates, may recognize them as common xeriphytic landscape plants. The following is a discussion of some of the more common species in cultivation, as well as a few less common ones, and how to take care of these plants.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

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Tumbleweeds
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Inspired by new residential location, I decided to write an article about one of the most common plants in my area.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

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Introduction to Jatrophas
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Jatrophas are Euphorbia relatives that can make interesting ornamentals as potted plants, or outdoors in warmer climates. The following article will introduce the reader to some of these interesting, but highly toxic plants.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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Introduction to Opuntias: THE Signature Cactus Genus
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In a previous article, Kelli Kallenborn provided an excellent overview of this genus in terms of general appearance, anatomy, geographic origins and uses. This article is more of an introduction to some of the many species of this large and diverse genus, including some of the genera that now exist that used to be included in the genus Opuntia. Also included will be a few personal experiences with this genus as I have both childhood and numerous cultivational experiences with a variety of species of Opuntia, and have studied and admired (and sometimes despised) many others.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

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This is Related to THAT?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

After adding thousands of plants to the Dave's Garden PlantFiles, I have discovered many relationships among plants that surprise me and--at first glance--seem impossible. The following article illustrates this point with some examples from my yard of plants that just don't seem like they could be that closely related to each other, at least not by just looking at them.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

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Phoenix Palms - Trees of Unsurpassed Beauty
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Phoenix means a person or thing of unsurpassed beauty or excellence. The genus Phoenix is one of the larger in the Arecaceae (palm family) and are easily one of the most popular in terms of landscape use and commercial importance. They are very hardy adaptable palms growing in many varied climates from the extreme tropics, to the arid deserts and even in the cooler subtropical and temperate climates throughout the world. Probably, as a group, these are the most commonly grown palms in the world.... and arguably ones of unsurpassed beauty and excellence.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

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Looking for Light- Lessons from a Crowded Yard
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In my yard, the struggle to get sufficient light is truly a struggle for life and death. My struggle is to learn this and actually do something about it.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

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The Chocolate Mimosa
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

When I first glimpsed one of these spectacular trees for sale at my local nursery I was sure it was some sort of gimmick and too good to be true. Usually when something that different and attractive is offered, it means I will quickly be adding it to my long list of dead plants. It turned out to be a good buy after all, and I have yet to regret my purchase. The following is a brief discussion of this amazing relatively new tree available for landscaping all over the southern U.S.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

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Growing Plants in the High Desert- Early Experiences (part 1)
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I always imagined when or if I moved from my home in Los Angeles San Fernando Valley, I would be moving UP a zone or at least to one a bit more stable and with less climate extremes. However, due to circumstances beyond my control, I moved DOWN several zones, and now I am struggling with the reality that most of what I used to grow easily won't even survive here. So a new chapter in my gardening life begins where I prove that at least SOME things can grow where no one else has tried them yet. And where I learn (and pass along the information, should I discover any) how to grow things in this unique and somewhat inhospitable climate, how to move stuff from a 'good climate' to a 'bad one' ('stuff' refers to plants that should survive here, but need some acclimation), and adapting my interests to what actually does well here, if that is at all possible.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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Dudleyas: California's Native Succulent Gems
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article is an introduction to Dudleyas, a genus of succulents native to California and the surrounding states and Mexico, that is a wonderful group of plants for landscaping and for pot culture.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

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Building Raised Planters for Succulents, Cacti and Other Exotics
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This is an article about trial and error, success and failure, and about creating a treated lumber succulent container garden from scratch. It is not really a 'how to' article though it started out that way. It is more of a 'one way to do it' article including some of the reasons perhaps why NOT to do something this way.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

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Introduction to Caudiciform Plants, Also Known as Fat Plants
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Caudiciform plants, also known as Fat Plants, are a morphologic grouping of many totally unrelated plants all having a fat stem/trunk or succulent roots that can be raised up in cultivation. These plants are wonderful curiosities and are very popular among those plant collectors and growers that like odd or peculiar plants. The following is a brief introduction to these marvelous plants and a short list of the more common examples, including several of the easier ones to grow, in case one is interested in starting their own 'Fat Plant' collection.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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Blue Cacti for Landscaping
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Many cacti are ornamental for a variety of reasons: their spines, their overall shape and size, or their amazing flowers. But some cacti are simply amazing for the color of their skin. There are many species of blue cacti and these can make some of the most beautiful and striking landscape plants for desert gardens.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

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Watering Palms
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Though it may seem like a simple concept, there are a few things about watering palms that one might not think of. The following article goes over some ways to water palms in the landscape.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

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Invasive Animal Species in My Yard
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Invasive species are a big problem around the world and what to do about them is a controversial topic. So I thought I would skirt most of the controversy and talk about the invasive species I see from my doorstep.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

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Invasive Succulents in My Yard
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In awareness of National Invasive Species Week earlier this month, I thought I would discuss some species I have personal experience with that most don't normally think of as invasive, but certainly are in my garden.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

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An introduction to Aloe Flowers, part 2 of 5: Aloes D-L
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In part one, we discussed some of the nomenclature used to describe aloe flowers, so you may need to refer to that article if there are unknown terms in this one. This article is really just a contination of the last article and an introduction to some, but certainly not anywhere near all, of the aloes that one can see flowering in cultivation, at least here in the southwestern US.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

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Bob, Master Gardener Wisdom
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Bob, the self annointed Master Gardener, imparts more nonsensical wisdom to unsuspecting readers

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

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Introduction to Cold Hardy Palms
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Now that it's winter again, I guess this is a good time to discuss cold hardy palms. Every year growers in marginal climates repeatedly experiment with hundreds of species of palms, pushing them to their limits and trying to find a few gems to add to their list of what can survive in their less-than-ideal climates. This article is primarily a discussion of the better known palms to give the would be grower in a marginal (non-tropical) climate some ideas of what palms are available for their climate, and a good place to start experimenting on their own.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

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Growing Palms from Seeds: Soils, Containers, Heat and Humidity
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Perhaps growing palms from seeds is not entirely unique a process, but as I know little about growing much else from seed, I present this article, and the follow up one, for those who have little experience with palm seeds, germination and care.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

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Introducing Bob, Master Gardener
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In an effort to keep from getting too serious all the time, Bob, a Master Gardener (self proclaimed) shares his wisdom after many years making the same mistakes over and over again.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

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Introduction to Kalanchoes
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Kalanchoes include a lot of ornamental succulent species, some very common in cultivation and some quite rare. The following article serves as an introduction to this fascinating species of plant.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

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Poinsettias- their initial care, and year after year
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Now that Christmas time is nearing, you will undoubtedly start seeing these beautiful plants for sale again, as they have become an important holiday tradition. One of the frustrating things about these plants is keeping them healthy and blooming throughout the entire holiday season, or just plain keeping them alive. The following is a brief overview of this plant and not only how to take care of these plants this winter, but keep them year after year.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

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Introduction to Ornamental Figs in Cultivation
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article is designed to give the reader an introduction to some of the more common Ficus species in cultivation, bonsai and general ornamental use. The edible fig, Ficus carica, will not be discussed in this article as one could write several articles on that species alone.

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