Waterwise Gardener

NanStermanopens IMAGE file Nan Sterman is an award-winning author, designer, educator, and leading California garden expert. For nearly 20 years, Nan has reported on horticulture, agriculture, and gardening in San Diego County. Her understanding of how traditional techniques combine with modern technology helps her teach clients about edible and environmentally friendly plants and gardens.

Nan is also the host, co-writer, and co-producer of the public television show, opens in a new windowA Growing Passion, which explores the power of plants in our world. Nan’s most recent book is opens in a new windowHot Color, Dry Garden, available at bookstores, online, and from her website opens in a new windowwaterwisegardener.com.

The Otay Water District’s Pipeline, a quarterly newsletter, features a garden column by Nan. Her stories offer a guide to sustainable and low-maintenance gardening.

Pipeline features by Nan Sterman:
A Soil Saga
Featured in the  opens in a new windowfall 2020 issueopens PDF file
Animal, vegetable, or mineral?” is a question that kicks off every game of “20 questions.” In the garden however, animal, vegetable, and mineral mean something totally different. These are the main building…

Six Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Climate Change
Featured in the  opens in a new windowsummer 2020 issueopens PDF file
The coronavirus quarantine has sent many of us into our gardens for sanctuary, escape, enjoyment, and new beginnings as well as to grow food and feed your family. If you are a longtime gardener, this is a great time to prepare your garden for climate change. If you…

Plants to Stay Home With
Featured in the  opens in a new windowspring 2020 issueopens PDF file
It is hard to stay home. It is hard to be away from friends and family, school, work, and routine. Yet this time can also be an opportunity to rethink what home is and how you live at home; that includes the plants that share your living…

Post-Holiday Poinsettia Practices
Featured in the opens in a new windowwinter 2020 issueopens PDF file
The holidays are past, and all the decorations put away. What will you do with your poinsettias? Plant them, of course! Poinsettias’ botanical name is Euphorbia pulcherrima. They are native to tropical forests of Mexico and…

Tree Threats Update
Featured in the opens in a new windowfall 2019 issueopens PDF file
Our region’s precious trees are still under attack, threatened by various “bad guys.” Here’s an update from last year’s report. Oaks, willows, palo verde, and California sycamore are just a few of the trees susceptible to infestation…

WaterWise Plants for Your Garden
Featured in the opens in a new windowsummer 2019 issueopens PDF file
If you’ve visited or lived in the East, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, or any other temperate climate region of the world, you may have noticed how green those regions look. Big trees…

Plant a Tree, or Two…
Featured in the opens in a new windowwinter 2019 issueopens PDF file
Climate change is a big issue that overwhelms most of us. We are all part of the problem, but what can we do to be part of the solution? There’s no question that as individuals and as a…

Shrubs for Screens
Featured in the opens in a new windowfall 2018 issueopens PDF file
Evergreen hedges are among the many impressive features of European gardens. Classic English, French, and Italian gardens feature tall shrubs, tightly clipped and trained to divide gardens…

Beware the Tree Borers…
Featured in the opens in a new windowsummer 2018 issueopens PDF file
Trees and shrubs across the region are under siege. Along every major street and in every neighborhood there are dead trees, browning trees, trees that are stressed and in …

Weedcloth Revealed
Featured in the opens in a new windowspring 2018 issueopens PDF file
A few years ago, we shot an episode of A Growing Passion about creating waterwise gardens. Among the gardens we showcased was a beautiful Los Angeles garden designed by…

A Few of my Favorite Flowering Shrubs
Featured in the opens in a new windowwinter 2018 issueopens PDF file
In other regions of the country, residents are aching for the long, drab winter to end. As if to hasten its end, they take this time to plan bright displays of annual flowers that mark the transition to spring.

Plant and Tree Watering Basics: Keeping Plants Healthy After Hotter Temperatures
Featured in the opens in a new windowfall 2017 issueopens PDF file
Finally it’s fall! Cool days and cool nights are a huge relief, for both people and plants. It also means it is time to change the way you are watering your garden.

Tree Watering Basics: Keep Trees Healthy After a Drought
Featured in the opens in a new windowsummer 2017 issueopens PDF file
It’s nice to get a breather from extreme drought, but we live in a water-poor region and our gardens – along with our lifestyles…

Planting Slopes and Hillsides: Gardening at an Angle
Featured in the opens in a new windowwinter 2017 issueopens PDF file
Many San Diego subdivisions are cut into hillsides and out of hillsides, thanks to our wacky topography and policy of building…

Feasting Through Fall
Featured in the opens in a new windowfall 2016 issueopens PDF file
It is always a bit sad to pick the last of the summer’s tomatoes, squash, pumpkins and eggplants. These are my favorite vegetables…

El Niño Finally Arrived – Now What?
Featured in the opens in a new windowwinter 2016 issueopens PDF file
We’ve had our first taste of El Niño rains; four inches in three days! That’s almost half the rainfall we normally see…

Give That Tree a Drink
Featured in the opens in a new windowfall 2015 issueopens PDF file
The weather is finally (and thankfully) cooling as San Diegans await the El Nino rains…

Figs Don’t Drink
Featured in the opens in a new windowsummer 2015 issueopens PDF file
You might wonder if the drought means the end of fruit trees in our backyards. The answer is “no.” There are many kinds…