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In the News

Indy (Stay at) Home & Garden Special Issue 2020

Advice to Grow By

Santa Barbara’s Master Gardeners Keep Calm and Garden On

"Working to cultivate home gardeners who want to learn about soil, sustainable landscaping, plant and tree care, and growing their own fruits and vegetables, the UC Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County are 163 trained and 74 currently active volunteers trained to share their knowledge with the community." - Leslie Dinaberg

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Download it here: 2020 - (Stay at) Home & Garden Special Issue - Advice to Grow By

Companion Planting

If Bill and Jean Howard had a theme song, it would undoubtedly be the Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim classic show tune "Together, Wherever We Go"--a sentiment that pervades all aspects of the long and happy lives they've shared with one another for nearly half a century.  Celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary this month, the Howards still spend most of their time together, whether traveling the world, spoiling their grandchildren or giving back to the community that has given them so much. 

Read the entire article here News-Press 6-15-18 Howards


Deborah Meade is a gardening superhero.  The one-third acre property surrounding her charming ranch-style home in Santa Ynez has presented so many problems over the years that less determined sorts would've long ago thrown in the trowel and called it quits.  But Mrs. Meade, 67, has never met a gardening quandary she couldn't unravel with patience, planning and plenty of know-how.

Read the entire article here News-Press 5-19-18 Meade

Going Native

One of the most frequently proffered pearls of wisdom given by veteran gardeners to beginners seeking their advice is the familiar trope "right plant, right place."  Sounds like a simply idea and one that should be easy to implement, but finding just the right plants that will thrive in your garden often takes patience and persistence. And a good sense of humor comes in handy, too.

Read the entire article here: News-Press 4-21-2018 Galvan

Beauty and the Bees

The stunning half-acre property belonging to Master Gardener Barbara Hughes and her husband, Willie, is undeniably lovely to look at, but beauty is only one of its many desirable features.  Their cleverly designed landscape is also easy to care for, bursting with delicious edibles, friendly to bees and other critters, and decidedly unfriendly to wildfire.  That's a lot to expect from one small plot of suburban earth and a lot to be learned from its talented and dedicated creator. 

Read the entire article here: News-Press 2-17-18 Hughes

Backyard Bounty

The notion of sustainability appears with increasing frequency in our contemporary cultural dialogue, and not solely with respect to pressing environmental issues on a global scale.  The term is also used to characterize decisions made by individuals who seek to live happy, harmonious, productive lives without damaging or depleting their personal environments.  Elements of harmony, balance and social responsibility are tenets of this philosophy, which UC Master Gardener Ken Falstrom implements on a daily basis in his garden and in his life.

Read the entire article here: News-Press 11-18-2017 Falstrom

Painted Desert

When used as an adjective, the word 'succulent' means rich in desirable qualities and affording mental nourishment.  As a noun, the word refers to a broad category of plants that have in common the ability to store water in their characteristically fleshy leaves and stems, which is why they tend to thrive in low-water environments such as ours.  But guess what?  Succulents also happen to be rich in desirable qualities and afford vast quantities of mental nourishment, especially to those who are lucky enough to have them in their gardens. 

Read the entire article here: News-Press 10-21-17 McMillion


Newcomer's Lament

Admit it--gardeners in Santa Barbara County have it pretty darn easy.  We can grow almost anything year-round, without needing to worry about the right time to plant.  Granted, our list of gardening tasks does shorten somewhat as the season we smugly call "winter" approaches and the rains begin.  But that brief annual respite lasts only until the soil dries out enough for us to start digging in it again. (And, of course, there are many who never really stop!)

Read the entire article here: News-Press 9-16-17 Parks

Adventures in Botanical Courage

There once was a man named Gary
Whose garden was quite ordinary.
So he studied real hard
Then refashioned his yard.
Now it's gorgeous, which makes Gary merry!

"Once upon a time, former electrical engineer and retired business owner Gary Kravetz moved his family into an idyllic storybook setting on a verdant hillside in the heart of Santa Barbara's chic Upper Riviera neighborhood.  Their multilevel stucco house sits smack in the middle of two acres that had once been part of a vast mountaintop estate. At this point, the fairy tale's typically happy ending begins to falter."

Read the entire article here: News Press 8-19-17 Kravetz

Living in Armonia

When Dennis and Suzanne Elledge purchased a parcel of mountaintop terrain on the back of the Riviera in 1997, they were in an Italian state of mind.  The couple hoped to recreate the distinctive style of the Tuscan countryside they loved while striving to maintain a harmonious connection to the flora and fauna of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Ms. Elledge christened the property Armonia (Italian for "harmony"), and together they set about creating their Mediterranean dream house.

Read the entire article here: News Press 7-15-17 Elledge

Water-Wise Wonderland

Although California's exceptional drought is officially over, exceptional water-waving measures are still a way of life for long-time Santa Barbara resident and UC Master Gardener Nancy Tobin.  But it's impossible to tell from looking at the lush plantings encircling their house that she and husband Rich are dedicated minimalists when it comes to irrigation.  Instead of a parched and barren vista, the Tobin landscape is bursting with color, variety and exuberant life.

Read the entire article here: News-Press-6-17-2017 Tobin

Garden Gone Wild!

"What do a friendly pooch named Kali, a fat kitty named Zena, a 26-year-old turtle named Leo, seven parakeets, five chickens, a family of tree squirrels, a pair of chipmunks, a tubful of goldfish and countless bees, butterflies, ladybugs and hummingbirds have in common?  They all belong to the happy menagerie lovingly tended to by Santa Barbara resident and UC Master Gardener Julie Constantinides."

Published on May 13, 2017, in the Santa Barbara News-Press as the first installment of a new monthly feature written by Linda Sullivan Baity entitled "Master Gardens of Santa Barbara." 

Read the entire article: News-Press 5-13-2017 Constantinides