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Course Descriptions, 2003/05/05:18:0

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Planning to teach at the La Jolla Firehouse YMCA, and open house was today. Here's my list of proposed courses:
STYLE VERSUS FASHION: Is fashion cramping your garden style? Do you worry about whether one part of your garden "goes" with another? Are you afraid to break out of the neighborhood trend, worried your property will stick out ? Confused about whether your foliages complement each other? Learn why expressing your aesthetic self through your garden is the only thing, and why a natural garden will never be out of style.

THE ARBORETUM CONCEPT: Size doesn't matter, it's how you use what you've got that counts. Learn how to add depth and dimension to a small property. Learn why walls, lawns, and border gardens make the property look more cramped, how trees can be used to make it feel more spacious, and why the scientific names of plants are so important in all of your planning. Specimens as frames and foregrounds; centerpieces and focal points.

GARDENS ARE FOR PEOPLE: Caution! Landscape architect at work—and you are not part of his plan! Thinking of relandscaping? Learn how to think critically about your architect's plans, pick out common flaws in designs, and how to say "No" to the things you don't like. Become aware of typical hardscaping errors, environmentally unfriendly structures, the worst landscaping plants on every architect's plant list. Understand why architects push hardscape, and why may people find that they are unhappy with all that cement in the long run.Why walls are so rampant in La Jolla, and what problems they cause. How walls can take a lovely southern exposure and turn it into a difficult northern exposure problem. Making the landscape architect’s plans wall-free. Household molds and how your garden (and landscaper) contribute; what changes to make, now and for the future; finding beautiful drought-loving plants for close to the house.

IT’S DIFFERENT HERE: You don't have to be a newcomer to get the wrong idea about gardening in La Jolla. Some of the conditions that make La Jolla unique: atrocious soil, cool air, wind, no freeze, no humidity, clear skies, no rain. Common misconceptions: citrus need full sun, hybiscus are drought-tolerant, Euryops is shade-tolerant, Gardenias grow in shade, lawns and open spaces make any yard look bigger. Most gardening books are written to appeal to the broadest possible audience which makes it inapplicable in La Jolla, and much of the general information is wrong too! All the things that make this a great place for humans also change the rules for your plants. But not all plants react the same way: some become invasive and obnoxious, while others suffer or die. How can you work with what La Jolla gives you to make a spectacular garden?

THE YEAR-ROUND GARDEN: How to choose plants that always look good. What plants to avoid, unusual choices for sturdy dependability. Learn to care for exotic plants.

POT CULTURE: Having no luck with your potted plants? Why standard potting mixtures may be the problem. Choosing pots. Placing plants—just because the plant is in a pot doesn’t mean you can put it anywhere you want.

LA JOLLA’S WORST GARDEN PESTS: A satirical look at the most destructive pests in our garden paradise: white fly, powdery mildew, and day-laborers. How to identify them and what to do about them.

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