Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Remember that you had beautiful Rose blooms this spring? Remember when everything looked so lush and green? That's history now...twice Sacramento  has been up into the 100's, and when that happens the plants just buckle down and survive! There are a few that don't mind the heat: Crape Myrtles go into bloom when everything else is hanging on for dear life...My Dahlias are starting to bloom and they are spectacular! The tomatoes are coming in, the Nepeta is in bloom (that's Catnip - and in my garden, it's like having a beer garden open 24 hours for my cats!), the Canna is in bloom, my Lemon Balm has gone to seed, the Black Eyed Susans' and the Echinacea is in bloom. So, that's why it's important to have your evergreen foundation plants...they hold down the fort in the winter, and the perennials that will bloom throughout the summer months. Your garden should never have a dull moment! Oh, and did I mention the Day Lilies and the Achillea (Yarrow)???

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Great Article on creating a new landscape by Emma Dewhurst

Simple Tips For Enhancing Your Garden
Having a garden is one of the great joys of life – it’s your own personal bit of paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. Your own small corner of the natural world where you can commune with nature and feel at ease whenever external circumstance are beginning to get you down – or when you just want to have some friends or family over for a good barbecue or relaxing afternoon in the sun.
Since this bit of the great outdoors belongs to you and you alone, it pays to make the most of it and to try and keep it in the best order possible. It can either be an investment in your sense of wellbeing – where the time, money and energy that you put in ends up paying dividends directly, with untold hours of happiness and satisfaction -- or it can be a wasted resource, sitting there beside your home as a shrine to unrealized potential.
The options for experimental flair are limitless. You can turn your garden into a purely functional yard-space fitted with a well-sized shed and turned wholly towards some practical purpose; you can have it be a shrine to relaxation and the more harmonic side of life by creating a pond and introducing an artistic ornamental rock arrangement, you can have it be a gardener’s paradise laden with harvestable fruit and vegetables. The bottom line is that the power is in your hands if you choose to use it.
So if you’re the type of person who wants to get the most out of their garden and seize the project of designing the perfect tailor-made environment by the horns, here are some simple tips which can get you on the road:
Explore Your Options
Depending on your local environment and the kinds of plant-life that might thrive there, your garden could end up being the embodiment of an entire ecosystem in miniature. You could either replicate the most exotic parts of your own immediate surroundings, you could introduce a variety of plant-life and features which are not native to your geographical region but which are none the less compatible with your climate, or you could use a variety of clever landscaping techniques in order to provide some practical benefit such as a landscape of drought resistant plantsdeer resistant plants, etc. (Of course the viability or necessity of either option depends largely on whether you’re likely to have deer in your garden, or whether your local ecosystem is given to undergoing periods of drought. Knowledge of your own unique circumstances is the key factor in this step)
Clear Up
Before you can embark wholeheartedly on your gardening project, you’re likely going to have to face a certain unfortunate reality which most homeowners tend not to fully appreciate until they decide to take a more active interest in gardening, or garden design. That is – gardens are often far more messy places than you might have at first imagined. Beneath your attractive lawn, flower beds, or any given bit of earth, it is not uncommon to find construction rubble, waste, old trinkets, or any number of other strange things buried away out of sight of prying eyes.
This issue becomes especially apparent when removing firmly planted outbuildings and structures -- which are likely to require some demolition work in order to clear away completely. In order to address this problem and move forwards, you may need to contact an specialist, or general purpose waste removal company, or (if you’re confident that you won’t be dealing with hazardous materials, but will just be needing to invest some elbow-grease) may at the very least need to get hold of a good set of gardening tools and take care of business yourself.
Do Things In The Right Order
Once you’ve got your garden vision defined, and have done the necessary clean-up work in order to set the stage, your next step is to just get started – but to do so with a careful consideration of the order that things need to be done in.

Don’t plant new plants until you’ve prepared the flower bed for them properly, and have calculated your space requirements. Don’t introduce new features such as rain-barrels or composters unless you’re roughly sure of where you want them placed in order for them to not interfere somehow in the garden at large (i.e. by blocking sunlight to some plants, by unbalancing the aesthetic of the garden on the whole, etc). Take the old saying “measure twice, cut once” to heart. If you have your ideas in order and carry out your various tasks sequentially, you’re likely to end up with a great result. If not, then you may just learn the hard way that constantly re-arranging a “garden in progress” can be a stressful and sometimes damaging proposition.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Solar Light

Look what I found...hand-blown glass solar lights for the yard. They are mostly ornament and not to be considered landscape lighting. They do light up, but like most solar lights, they give off the same amount of light as a glow worm! They should be considered art for the garden. I bought them in a garden store in Santa Cruz. It seems that the closest place to Sacramento to buy them is in LaFayette! I am working on getting them in locally.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Room With a View

We often buy art to complement a room or even our furniture. A beautiful landscape can frame your windows and be an ever-changing portrait of natural beauty!

Get ready for spring - amend your planting beds!

At this time every year I get excited about my vegetable garden. Each year I mentally review what happened with the veggies that I planted the year before, and think of ways I can improve things. Sometimes it's the variety of vegetable, sometimes it's adjusting the irrigation; but what is an important MUST DO is amend the soil. This year I have amended my garden soil with an Organic Fertilizer combination that I read about in Natural Home Magazine (Nov./Dec. 2011). Here is the mix:
4 parts seed meal (I could only find soybean meal)
1/4 part ordinary agricultural lime (I used Oyster Shell)
1 part bone meal (or high-phosphate guano)
1/2 to 1 part Kelp meal

They recommend that before planting a crop, or once a year, you spread one quart of fertilizer mix and 1/2" of finished compost evenly atop each 20 sq.ft. Blend with a hoe or spade.
What I did was sprinkled about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the mix on the small areas individually and planted my starts.

I'm excited to see the results! The photo in the magazine of the man who came up with this mix, Steve Soloman, showed him sitting next to HUGE vegetable plants. That's what I want!

Monday, August 29, 2011