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Don Whitmore Owner, Golden Hills Garden Center 

2111 Golden Hills Road, Paso Robles

NEW TIMES: Have you noticed interest growing for do-it-yourself projects during the recession?

WHITMORE: Absolutely, and that includes us. We just recently remodeled our entire building; we had to readjust to the new economy. We offer beautiful plants and gardening equipment people can afford even in these troubling financial times, and lately have been providing a great many customers what they need to grow vegetables. We create our own soil blends for different types of lawns, plants, and flowers.

NEW TIMES: What are some plants and flowers that grow especially well in Central Coast conditions?

WHITMORE: Such plants as rosemary, lavender, succulents, cactii, and geraniums do particularly well because they can handle the extreme temperature changes of our climate.

NEW TIMES: What are your recommendations to keep lawns and gardens in tip-top shape?

WHITMORE: First, you should pay attention to your soil and what kind of soil you have. Becoming knowledgeable about where you’re going to plant your garden is half the battle because you might not have the right conditions to grow specific plants, until you have an idea of what kind of soil you have. Of course, you never want to over-water or under-water your garden, so you want to make sure you have a watering schedule you can stick to. Lastly, don’t forget to fertilize your plants, because they need to eat and get rich nutrients to survive.

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