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Tiger Palafox

Sub-Region: Southern California Coastal, Inland
State: California
Business: Manager and Marketing Director- Mission Hills Nursery

Biographical Information

I have been involved with plants since I was born. I was raised in a nursery. I love to learn about new plants and products that come out.

Please tell us briefly about your favorite cause/business/product in which you are involved that you would like to share with the general public and why.
We helped start the Mission Hills Garden Club and their annual walk, which has turned into a great community event. Since our nursery has been around since 1910 we have been able to participate in a lot of causes and products getting there start.

Where can members get more of your advice?
Go to our website at www.MissionHillsNursery.com and click the "Ask Tiger" link.

Background Information

Briefly describe the climate where you garden now (climate zone, state, area) and any other areas where you have gardened in the past.
I actually have 3 areas to garden in. One is at our store in Mission Hills which has coastal micro-climate, our store in Alpine has the mountain micro-climate and at home which has a combination of both.

How long have you been gardening?
Born with a trowel in my hand.

What triggered your interest?

What is your specialty, expertise or claim to fame?
Specialty is our customer service and unusual plant material. We may not have a lot of one item but we have unique plants during certain times of the year.

What formal horticultural training do you have?
As it relates to the nursery industry - on the job training.

 Tiger's Book Recommendations

Sunset Western Garden Book
Great book for Southern California, it has some of the best information about plants and it is easy to use.

Mediterranean Climate Trees for The Garden, Ornamental Trees of San Diego
It allows me to show customers mature specimens and gives them local areas to go and see them.

Hortus III
Since we deal with so many specialty plants they are not always in the common books, so I always need a Hortus around to find information on the hard to find plants.

Tiger's Favorite Websites

Mission Hills Nursery
It's my favorite web site because it has my blog on it to answer all kinds of gardening information. Also it has a great resource for plants and a section to ask me any gardening questions.

What is your favorite garden or plant-related topic? Tell us a little about them.
Designing from a blank patch of soil.

What is your biggest gardening pet peeve? Tell us about it.

How much time per week do you spend gardening?
5-8 hours.

How much time per week do you spend working at the business of gardening, such as consulting, reading, writing or talking about your gardening subject?
How many hours are in a week?

What gardening or horticultural clubs, societies, or organizations (or any other interest) do you belong to?
Mission Hills Garden Club and San Diego Horticultural Society.

Gardening Questions

What do you like most about gardening?
Being outside and seeing the results.

What individual has influenced your gardening interest the most? How?
My dad has influenced me the most. He has been the person that has taught me the most about the industry, life and anything else. He has shared all of his experience with me and I am very lucky to have a father like him since I love gardening sooo, much.

What is your favorite place or activity in the garden?
Enjoying family and friends over for a BBQ and playing in the pool with our dog Dieter.

What is your favorite time in the garden?
Fall, because in Southern California it is a hidden time of gardening. There is so much neat and interesting things happening but not everyone is out and doing them like in the Spring. Also compared to Spring and Summer it is a lot slower pace with gardening in the Fall.

What is your favorite public or private garden in the world? Why?
Balboa Park because most of it was planted by our founder Kate Sessions. It is also so large and has many different styles of gardening, in one location it is tropical, Japanese, modern, tuscan and so many more.

What is your favorite color in the garden?
Blue, anything that has blue foliage or flowers always catches my eye.

If you could grow only one plant, what would it be?
Japanese Maples, they are such a versatile plant and come in so many varieties that I would never be bored.

What plant have you tried to grow that has given you the most trouble? Or, what plant would you like to grow and can't, and why?

What is your favorite gardening outfit or costume?
"Life's a Garden" visor.

Do you have a gardening philosophy you would like to share with other gardeners? What is it?
Life's a Garden, Dig It!

Who is your own favorite gardening personality on TV, radio or in print? Why?

What is the one question about gardening you would really like people to ask you?

And what's the answer?

What is a garden myth you hear frequently which you know is untrue?

And, what is the reality?

What group or kind of person do you think would benefit most from the advice you can give on gardening?
My age group, 20's - mid 30's. I would like them to know how gratifying it is to do things in the garden with your hands. It is physically and mentally stimulating.


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