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Dave's Garden Articles: By Geoff Stein

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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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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Introduction to Agaves
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Agaves are wonderful garden plants and make excellent potted plants as well. Since they do so well in pots, they can be grown in any state in the U.S. indoors in winter and outdoors in the summer, weather permitting, or outdoors year round in those areas where little or no frost is encountered.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

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Pachypodiums- THE caudiciform collectors plant- Introduction to the species and cultivational suggestions
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

One of the premeire caudiciform plants for both pot culture and landscaping are the Pachypodiums. These are pachycaul plants from Madagascar and southern Africa. The following is a brief discussion of the genus, including some tips on care and growing, as well as an introduction to many of the species more commonly encountered in cultivation.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

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What's Eating Me? Clues to Bug Destruction from a Tropical/Succulent Point of View
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

The following article goes over some of the symptoms of pest damage to tropical and succulent plants I see in my own personal yard, along with a list of the usual suspects. Recognizing certain forms of damage is important so the culprits can be narrowed down and a treatment plan formulated.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

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Pumpkin for Pets
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Many know that pumpkin can be considered a health food, but it can also have benefits for our pets as well.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

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My Toxic, Painful Garden Revisited: pruning considerations
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Some time ago I wrote an article about the hazards of my garden, real and exaggerated. But now, after having created this beast, I have to tame it. In the process of pruning dangerous and toxic plants, I have learned, often the hard way, a few things about dealing with these sorts of exotic life forms in terms of trying to control them. This article is just a few pearls of experience I pass on to you, particularly for those who are planning to grow some of these same plants.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

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Rabbits and Diet- Feeding your Truly Vegan Pet Properly
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

International Rabbit Day is the fourth Saturday in September, so I thought it was timely to discuss the proper feeding of these wonderful pets. Many of you are already feeding rabbits perfectly by having lawn and vegetable gardens that are being raided by wild rabbits. But some of us have rabbits as pets. And surprisingly most pet rabbits do not get fed properly. This article will act as a current guideline for proper pet rabbit nutrition, from a veterinary point of view.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

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Stressed Out Succulents - Good or Bad?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Stress is supposed to be a bad thing, but stressed cacti and succulents can sometimes be beautiful (and even 'normal') and associated changes with this stress are what often attract our attention to these unique plants. The question should be more what is "good" stress and what is "bad" stress. The following article is a brief discussion of the good and bad stresses we see in our cacti and succulents.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

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Pyrethrins and its cousins: a veterinary perspective on the good, the bad and the ugly
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Many natural plant toxins are used in veterinary and human medicine for a variety of reasons. The word 'natural' sometimes seems to stand out more than the word toxin does, and so many associate 'natural' with good, organic... and safe. And indeed, pyrethrins are often advertised as one of the safest insecticides available. And their synthetic counterparts, the pyrethroids, are relatively toxic in comparison. But as discussed in this article, natural toxin does not mean safe toxin, nor does synthetic toxin necessarily mean deadly. Since these poisons are used extensively on pets, I thought I would discuss some of the pros and cons of these common toxins.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

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Aloe vera- Magic, Mystery and Myth
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I have been growing aloes for years now but am still fascinated with the world's focus on this single species as something miraculous. Is this really a singularly amazing, healing species or is there a lot of overstated benefits of this plant? And why is Aloe vera also on most toxic plant lists, if it is such a great healing plant? And what of the other species- do they have beneficial properties as well? For the answers to some of these questions, read on.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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Palms for Warm Desert Regions (Hot and Dry)
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Most think of the tropics when they think of palms. But many species are well adapted to desert life, and surprisingly many others seem to make the transition as well. For those who live in the warmer, dry regions of the world, and are interested in growing some nice tropicals in your area, this might be the article for you.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

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An introduction to Aloe Flowers, part 3 of 5: Aloes M-R
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This pictorial article is provided as an introduction to one of the most beautiful and available flowering succulents for landscaping and pot culture in existence. There are hundreds of species of aloes in cultivation and many of them have magnificent and colorful flowers... and some have less than amazing flowers as well. The following is a list of some of the aloe flowers growing in southern California, starting with the Aloe species starting with 'M' and going through 'R'.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

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Acai- Magic or Myth
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)



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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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Lovers of Exotic Plants: Where to find information?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article will give you a comprehensive (though not exhaustive) list of the best books, journals and internet sites to find information about the following groups of plants: cacti, agaves and their relatives (Nolinideae), aloes and their relatives, Crassulas and their relatives, succulent Euphorbias, caudiciforms, asclepiads and mesembs, Bromeliads, palms, cycads, bamboo and orchids.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

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Pony Tail Palms: An Introduction to Beaucarneas
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

An introduction to one of the most popular plants in cultivation, for both pot culture and landscaping, throughout the world.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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The flowering succulents of late spring early summer
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

By middle to late spring, into early summer, the types of succulents flowering are predominately cacti and tend to remain so the rest of the summer. However, there are still plenty of aloes that bloom this 'late' in the year, along with a good variety of Euphorbias and other succulents. This article is a pictorial to give the reader some idea what might be in bloom this time of year in the world of succulents and cacti.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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National Tortoise Day Article: Proper Diet for Desert Tortoises
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In celebration of National Turtle and Tortoise Day on May 23 and since many Mediterranean gardens are home to one or more desert tortoises (not to mention a host of other tortoise species), let's discuss some of the controversies and recommendations for properly feeding these amazing vegetarian creatures.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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Agaves 102- the small, compact species
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In several previous articles I introduced the Davesgarden readers to Agaves (one of my very first articles) and then to some of the larger species (Agaves 101). But for those who like their succulent plants a more manageable size, or simply like potted Agaves, or do not have large gardens for the huge, specimen species, then the following discussion might be for you.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

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What Succulents are Blooming in April??
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This the 5th installment in a series of 12 monthly articles providing the reader with some idea what succulents bloom what time of year (should hold true pretty much anywhere in the northern hemisphere outdoors- plants in the southern hemisphere always bloom during the same season as in the north, only seasons are the opposite time of the year). Note that many plants bloom multiple times of the year, or have a more 'opportunistic' flowering schedule. Still, this is an introduction should one like to know what to expect when growing their own succulents, or when visiting warmer areas of the world where these succulents grow outdoors.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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Choosing and controlling bamboo in your garden
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Bamboo is one of my favorite group of plants. But before running out and getting some for your yard, you need to do a bit of planning and preparation.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

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What's Blooming in March? Succulent flowers of the Southwestern U.S.
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

March is another great month for succulents flowers (most winter and spring months are), though this one is more evenly spread out among the various succulent and related families. This article is an introductory guide to what one might expect to be blooming this time of year.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

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Dracaenas- the Dragons and the Corn
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Dracaenas are Agave relatives and are a large group of plants that include some of the more popular house plants as well as some of the most striking xeric and massive trees used in outdoor landscaping. This article is an introduction to this interesting group of plants.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

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Almost Yuccas- the Hesperaloes and Hesperoyucca
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Hesperoyucca and Hesperaloe are genera that include some very useful, ornamental and hardy landscaping plants. This article serves as an introduction to these Yucca-relatives.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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What is a Gymnosperm?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Most plants people grow and are familiar with are flowering plants. But many plants don't make flowers at all, ever. Some of these we are very familiar with (ferns, pine trees etc.), but how are they related and what makes them different? This article is an introduction to a large group of non-flowering plants called the Gymnosperms.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

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What's Blooming in February? The Big Month for Flowers in the Succulent World.
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Probably the very best month of the entire year for seeing the flowers of succulents is February. This article is mostly a visual display for those who might want to know what is in store for them should they want to visit a succulent garden in a warm temperate climate in February, or have succulents of their own that are not dormant and getting enough light to warrant blooming.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

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Easy Pseudo-succulents: Albuca bracteata (aka Pregnant Onion)
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

There are several bulbs that I tend to lump into the succulent category since they grow so well in the same situations that cacti and succulents do, and the Pregnant Onion, Albuca bracteata (aka Ornithogalum longibracteatum) is one of the easiest of these I have grown. The following article is an introduction to this common house plant and outdoor potted or garden bulb that grows like a succulent with very little added care needed.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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The Magical Properties of Rainwater
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article is basically the nonscientific musings of an exotic plant nut about the apparent magical properties of rainwater over tap water, along with some general explanations.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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

The purpose of this article is to give the reader some idea of what might be blooming in the succulent world this time of year (January) in the northern hemisphere. For those living south of the equator, add/subtract 6 months and the same flowering schedule should be accurate for you as well. Though January is over-represented by the Aloes, there are some other species blooming this month, too.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

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Frosts, Freezes, Microclimates and our Delicate Plants
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I have always been a bit confused about what the difference between a frost and a freeze is, and how unpredictable frosts are when the temperatures begin to drop this time of year (late fall to winter). This article will certainly not have all the answers, but maybe it will clear up a few things. The following is a discussion of frost from a non-meterologist point of view.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

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Pests in the Back Yard: An Introduction to Garden Rodents
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Rodents are one of the most common groups of wild animals one may encounter in the garden. This is a brief introduction to some of the North American rodents one might find in one's yard.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

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Why are Mushrooms Not in the Plantfiles?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I used to have a field guide to mushrooms, but have misplaced it. Since then, I have often wondered why mushrooms weren't in the plantfiles as the plantfiles are a wonderful source of information on all plants. This article explains the main reason why mushrooms are not included in the plantfiles for now.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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Monocots versus Dicots- what's the big deal?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I often hear the terms monocot and dicot in plant discussions, usually among professionally trained botanists, or among people who want to impress you, So I decided to figure out what those terms were all about and why there was a distinction and whether it was important or not. Well, it turns out to be of critical importance in the world of plants, so I thought I would pass on my "discovery" to you, too.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

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Cristate and Monster Succulents
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Since October is Mutants and Monsters month, I find it appropriate to discuss some of favorite monsters- the monstrose and cristate plants. Monsters and Crests occur in many plants, but seem to be particularly common and collectible in Succulents and Cacti. This article serves as an introduction to these bizarre oddities.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

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Variegation in Plants (and in some of my favorites)
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Since October is the month to be celebrating mutants and monsters, I thought I would discuss one of my favorite mutants: the variegated plants. Collecting and growing variegated plants may be a fad for some and an obsession for others. But the demand and popularity for these botanical variants certainly seems to be growing all the time. This article is an introduction to some forms of variegation along with examples of the variegation possibilities in cultivation; of course with emphasis on my favorite plant types.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Praying Mantises in the Yard
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Praying Mantises are one of the most unusual, frightening yet sometimes beneficial creatures one can find in their garden. This article is an introduction to this weird 'bug'.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

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Pencil "Cacti" - The Stick Euphorbias
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Euphorbias come in all shapes and sizes and one of the most commonly grown but unusual Euphorbias are the stick Euphorbias. These plants are basically leafless shrubs and trees and make for unique landscape and potted specimens. This article will introduce the reader to just a few of the dozens of such weird plants.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

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Growing Aloes from Seed
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Growing aloes from seed can not only be fun, but a way of getting some rare species cheaply that might even not be available at all otherwise. This article will cover some of the ways to prepare and grow aloes from seed.

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