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Dave's Garden Articles: By Geoff Stein

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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How Toxic are Euphorbias, Really?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Euphorbias are on all the toxic plant lists and everyone is familiar with the hazards of Poinsettias. But how do these plants really match up with the thousands of other toxic plants out there? Are they really the dangerous thugs they are made out to be? This article will discuss this from my somewhat subjective point of view.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

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Frogs and Toads- keeping them indoors and in the garden
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Throughout the world frogs and toads are frequent garden visitors, and though few stay unless the environment is ideal, some gardeners would like them to, and may even want them as pets. This article is for those gardeners not lucky enough to have perfect environments already to keep a healthy amphibian in their gardens... and for those who might want to try them out indoors.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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Snakes in the Garden- the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

The purpose of this article is to introduce the North American reader to snakes they are most likely to encounter in their gardens and help them to recognize which are friendly and which should be left alone. The generalities in this article pertain ONLY to snakes in North America and not the rest of the world, where telling safe from venomous species is a whole lot more complicated.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

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Edible Palms: An Introduction to Palm Fruits
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Although there are already several articles on coconuts and dates, this is a general overview of palms as a source of edible fruits. Surprisingly there are a lot of palms commonly harvested for their fruits, and some are hugely important to both local populations and economically throughout the world. And many are delicious!

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Friday, April 22, 2011

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Euphorbia "Flowers," an introduction to the amazing Cyathia
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

What most call flowers on Euphorbia species are a bit more complex than that. And though the Euphorbia's actual flowers are somewhat dinky and similar, the cyathia which they are part of can be quite diverse, amazing and ornamental structures. This article is a basic introduction to these weird flower-like structures.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

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Fleas on Pets and in the Garden- a Treatment Overview
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Fleas will be with us forever. But there are effective ways to keep them away. This article talks about what works and what doesn't, both on your pet and in your garden.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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Palm Heart- a Valentine's Day Treat
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This Valentine's Day, get your loved one a heart and a healthy treat all at the same time.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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Mail ordering succulents and cacti: my experiences
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I have ordered hundreds of succulents and cacti over the years from dozens of vendors. Along the way I have learned a few lessons and enjoyed the excitement of finding a new box of plants on my doorstep--like Christmas all over again! The following article includes some of my experiences and suggestions concerning ordering succulents and cacti by mail.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

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Sherman Gardens, a little known botanical gem in Southern California
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Sherman Gardens is a beautiful, excellently maintained gardens 'hidden' in a coastal community in southern California that true plant lovers in the area really need to know about.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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Washingtonia Palms: Wonders or Weeds?
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Mexican and California Fan Palms are among the most loved and hated of all the palms. This article will tell you why and how you can grow them or avoid them.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

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Visiting Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens in Thailand
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I have twice visited this amazing garden on the other side of the world; it is probably one of the finest gardens in all of Asia, if not the world. It has the most amazing collection of tropical plants I have ever seen or heard of. The following article is a brief introduction to this beautiful place, along with some photos of my most recent trip.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

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Rhapis palms: the elegant ladies of the palm world
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Few palms are more prized around the world for their beauty as indoor house plants. They are also excellent landscape palms as well. This article serves as an introduction to some of these highly ornamental palms.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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Hybrid Palms
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Hybridizing palms is nothing new, but recently there has been an increased effort in creating certain hybrids for a variety of reasons. This article is an introduction to this practice and some of the best hybrid palms.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

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Caryotas: The Fishtail Palms
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This is a unique genus of palms that most may recognize but may not know much about. The following article is an introduction into these unusual palm trees.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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Selected Weird Succulents- Xerosicyos danguyi
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

There are a lot of unusual or 'weird' succulents available in cultivation, all which attract my attention. This is one of the few of those that I can grow easily.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

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Struggling with What's What, a 'Weird Plant' Collector's Conundrum
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Collecting, growing and photographing unusual or 'weird' plants is a great hobby, but when it comes to identifying these rarer species, it can be a real struggle. The following article discusses some of the problems with finding out what is what.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

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Welcome to the Los Angeles Arboretum
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

The following article will introduce the reader to one of the finest botanical gardens in California- the Los Angeles Arboretum.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

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Introduction to Aloe Hybrids
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

There are potentially an almost limitless number of these hybrids, and some of them are among the most popular and commonly grown of all the aloes. This article will introduce the reader to a few of these ornamental succulents.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

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Introduction to Gasterias, Common and Easy Succulents for the Garden and Pottery
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Gasteria are neat, compact, easy-to-grow succulents from South Africa that are very common in the nursery trade, but probably should become even more so. This article serves as an introduction to this wonderful genus.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

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Dangerous Palms
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Most palms are relatively safe to grow, but some have their hazards.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

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Introduction to Bougainvillea
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This amazing colorful vine is grown extensively as a landscaping shrub and potted plant throughout much of the tropics and the warm temperate and subtropics throughout the world.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

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Agave 101, Part B: Selected Large Species
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

In a previous article I introduced the reader to the basics of Agave culitvation and a few of the more common species of Agave. In this one I will touch upon several of the larger species of Agave. This article will in no way be able to cover all the larger Agave species there are, but it should provide at least an introduction to these large desert landscape plants.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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Toxic Plants- What Does That Really Mean
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

What does it mean to say a plant is toxic? How toxic does a toxic plant have to be to be toxic or non-toxic? That may seem like an odd question, but is one that has bothered me for years, and particularly as I read another senseless, long list of toxic plants on the internet.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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Colorful Palms- Not all Palms are Simple Green
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

There is a surprising variety of colors in the palm world. Palms are not always simply green tropical foliage. This article is a pictorial introduction to some of the most beautiful and surprising colors one can encounter in the palm family (Arecaceae)

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Monday, April 26, 2010

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Haworthias- the Jewels of the Succulent World
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Haworthias are in the same family as the aloes (Asphodelaceae in Davesgarden, and Aloaceae in some other websites/encyclopedias). These South African succulents look like minature aloes with sturdy, perfect rosettes- they are the jewels of the Asphodelaceae. All are relatively small (and some are really small) and consist of soft and rubbery, to fuzzy, to firm and leather-like succulent leaves. Their size and durability make them ideal for pot culture. The following is an overview of this genus and a description of their care.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

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The Huntington Botanical Gardens
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Four years ago I got involved in Dave's Garden and started to upload palm photos to the site. And realized the Huntington Botanical Gardens, right in my ‘back yard’ here in southern California was a treasure trove of potential plant photos of hundreds, if not thousands of other species as well, just waiting for me to collect. Since then I have uploaded nearly 12500 photos of which at least ¼ are from plants at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Since I calculate then that at least 2% of all the photos on this web site are from this single location, I should at least write an article about the place.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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Introduction to Cold Hardy Tree Ferns
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Few plants say the tropics more effectively than do tree ferns, yet thankfully many species of tree ferns are fairly cold hardy, enabling gardeners throughout the world to use these for decoration and landscaping in climates much less tropical than from where they originate. The tree fern is a commonly used plant in landscaping designs from Britain, the Pacific Northwest, the Mediterranean, Southern California, the Southeast US and in tropical climates all over the world. They are basically living works of art, as well as useful shade for smaller, understory, more tender tropical and subtropical plants in marginal climates. The following is a brief overview of some of the more commonly grown cold hardy tree ferns in cultivation.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

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The Norfolk Island Pine - a living Christmas tree
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

While visiting home garden centers, and even some grocery stores in the holiday season, one might espy a small, symmetrical conifer being offered as an indoor Christmas tree, often already sparsely decorated, ready to go on the dining table or another prominent location in the home. These are usually Cook Pines (Araucaria columnaris) or Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla) and are sold by the thousands every November and December as living Christmas trees. Most are destined to die or be thrown out soon after the holidays, either due to ignorance or apathy. But with the proper care they can be kept healthy and made to last for many subsequent holiday seasons, almost becoming part of the family and a holiday tradition.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

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Introduction to Succulent Senecios
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Senecio is one of the largest genera of flowering plants there are with thousands of species found all over the world. Though most are not, some are succulent plants with excellent drought tolerance and great plants for growing in pots and the landscape in a variety of different climates. It is this much smaller group of Senecios that will be discussed in this article.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Sedums for warm, arid climates
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

I struggle with most Sedums, which is odd as they are supposed to be such easy plants... but most are not that easy in my very warm and arid climate. However, there are some good Sedums for my area. This article will introduce you to a few of those.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

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Tortoises in the Garden
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

The following article will introduce you to some of the more commonly kept garden tortoises, along with care suggestions.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

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Introduction to the Coral Trees (Erythrina species)
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Coral trees include well over 100 species of some of the most beautiful flowering trees originating from all around the globe. The following is an introduction to some of the most commonly grown species.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

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Introduction to Staging Succulents and Cacti
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

The following article is a basic step-by-step introduction to staging succulent plants, either for show, sale or personal enjoyment.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

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Community Succulent Pots: Some Ideas
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Many succulents seem designed for pot life. These plants get lost in the garden, or they are too delicate or tender to make it outdoors... or they just seem happiest in a small, controlled environment where they can show off. Many succulents complement each other and look better in groups, rather than by themselves. If limited space is a problem, one solution is community pots. Here are some ideas and suggestions for creating community pots of succulents.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

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Growing Staghorns: Platycerium Ferns
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article acts as introduction to these exotic and incredibly ornamental tropical ferns, commonly known as Staghorn Ferns. Some suggestions on cultivation and the various species will be discussed.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

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Introduction to Zamias, the Tropical Cycads
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Zamia is one of the larger genera of Cycads, yet one of the least understood. This is partly due to their tropical and inaccessible origins as well as their tropical cultivational needs. But as a group this is one of the most ornamental of the cycads and certainly worthy of cultivation should one live in the right climate for them.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

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The Weeping Fig, Ficus benjamina- indoor and out
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Probably the most commonly grown tree indoors throughout the world is the Weeping Fig, Ficus benjamina. Surprisingly, despite its amazing popularity and ubiquitous presence, it is not what I consider an 'easy' indoor plant (then again most plants for me are not easy indoors). But if some general recommendations are followed, and one goes through a bit of trial and error, this species can make an excellent house or patio plant. Outdoors it is one of the easiest trees to keep looking perfect ... as long as it's planted in the correct climate. The following article will serve as an introduction to this versatile tree, as well as a guide on how to grow it and care for it, both indoors and out.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

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The Sullivan Garden: A tribute to a magnificent Hawaiian garden devoted to palm trees
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

This article is about one of the most amazing and unique collections of palm trees in the entire world.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

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Botanical Gardens of Note: Introduction to Lotusland, Santa Barbara, California
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Lotusland is one of the premiere botanical gardens in all of California, if not the U.S. However, because it requires reservations ahead of time, and is only open on certain days of the week during nine months of the year, many have never treated themselves the opportunity to explore this amazing botanical wonder. This article serves only as introduction, and will certainly not do the gardens justice.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

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Flea Markets as a Source for Plants and Garden Supplies
By Geoff Stein (palmbob)

Don't forget about your local flea markets when you're looking for good plant deals or garden supplies. I have learned that flea markets can be an excellent way to expand my collection cheaply. And they are a good place to look for rare plants and unique garden 'art'.

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