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The Plant Man: Bidding a fond farewell to Vin Scully, answering summer planting questions

By Steve Kawaratani

“It’s tiiiiiiime for Dodger baseball!” 

–Vin Scully

The Plant Man Steve Kawaratani

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

My love for baseball began when my father, Pete, taught me how to play catch when I was 5. But my love for Dodger baseball began a couple years later in 1958, when Vin Scully introduced me to Major League Baseball. During the season, I would fall asleep listening to Vinny through the transistor radio tucked under my pillow, long after my parents bid me sweet dreams.

While the Dodgers continue to prosper this year, the savvy gardener knows that vigilance must be maintained to manage weeds, pests and diseases even during the baseball season. Your plants require extra care to protect their health and vigor, with thoughtful watering, fertilizing, mulching and deadheading topping the list.

The Plant Man Dodger Stadium

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Beautiful Dodger Stadium

Let’s get back to the August garden with the Plant Man…

Q. Why is the monarch butterfly so important?

A. More than a beautiful butterfly, Monarch butterflies pollinate many species of flowers, such as alyssum, milkweed and yarrow and contribute to the health of our planet.

Q. Mr. Plant Man, I have empty holes in my flowerbeds. What should I plant?

A. A list of hardy late-summer flowers begins with impatiens, vinca and marigold. The anticipated warmer weather should encourage you to plant zinnia, verbena and gloriosa daisy; coreopsis, ageratum, nicotiana and dahlia also deserve consideration.

The Plant Man dandelion

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Dandelion, “Taraxacum officinale”

Q. How can I get rid of dandelion growing in my front lawn?

A. The broad leaf herbicide, 2, 4-D, is very effective. In small areas, I recommend applying the chemical as a premixed solution.

Q. Every time I barbecue, moths start bugging me. How do I rid myself of them?

A. Burning a citronella candle will temporarily eliminate moths and other flying insects while you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Q. I think some skunks have set up home under our house. At least I can smell them. What can I do?

A. If you’re into DIY, placing mothballs, open pans of household ammonia, or floodlights under your house should discourage your unwanted houseguests. Personally, I would call a service to humanely remove them.

I listened to Vin Scully for 58 years; I heard him broadcast World Series victories, Sandy Koufax’s perfect game and Hank Aaron’s 715th home run. Walter O’Malley, former owner of the Dodger organization, once called Vin “the great Dodger.” You certainly wouldn’t get an argument from me. After every game, I would wait until Vinny would say, “So, this is Vin Scully wishing you a pleasant good afternoon, wherever you may be.” And I wish him the best as he embarks on his next great adventure.

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula with Catharine and Loki. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949.494.5141.