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Showing posts from 2018

Gardens Around Town

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In spite of our relatively pleasant climate and long growing season there does not seem to be a lively horticultural community here in the Napa Valley- at least not one that trickles down from estate gardens to the average homeowner. Growing produce is certainly popular , and some of the restaurants and winerys have beautiful vegetable gardens that dovetail with the foodie culture that is an inevitable sidecar to the wine industry. Ornamental plants don't always get that much attention.
   The gardens in my own neighborhood are not really gardens; they are very mundane down-sized version of commercial landscapes maintained by mow-blow firms that really know nothing about plants, hired by homeowners who are similarly ignorant, and who assume the 'gardener' they hire is using best practices. I really struggle with not allowing the dumbing down of the suburban landscape to depress me. The constant drone of power equipment almost every day of the week with the need to remove…

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum-Obsessing on the Banksias

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Last weekend I took a brief road trip to Santa Cruz , a beach city on the north tip of Monterey Bay. The primary reason for the trip was a production at a regional theater company , and because the run was short it was December or nothing; a relative was in the cast so nothing wasn't an option. And I knew this month would be an excellent time to visit the University of  California  Santa Cruz Arboretum-they have a robust collection of both Australian and South African winter blooming plants. The unstable weather that was predicted held off and I had a great stroll and photo shoot for a few hours on Saturday morning. I took so many photos there will be two posts, and in this one I will feature the Banksias. My climate is  marginal for these plants, though many will tolerate some frost and the dislike of summer rain and humidity is not an issue here. I plan to try one in a container next year just for fun.

 Remarkably-for me-I actually noted some names by photographing the plant la…

Tell the Truth Tuesday-The Crumbling Infrastructure

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Joining along today with our friend Alison over at Bonney Lassie  who, suffering from Garden Perfection Fatigue, decided to air her dirty laundry so to speak, and encourage other garden bloggers  to share their unkempt spaces . It's satisfying to know that you aren't the only one with pockets of crappiness in the garden.

  Thus I will expose the world to the impending demise of Lady Banks (Rosa banksiae 'Lutea') which I foolishly installed many years ago to grow along a patio cover. As you can see here, the patio cover is in the process of succumbing to dry rot and I have slowly been removing it. The beam on the left was once a horizontal support for 2x4's which were attached to the west wall of my house, and here Lady Banks thrived (too well) for many years. Around the time the patio structure started falling apart , Lady Banks added bird habitat to her other qualities.  I love the birds that hang out in my garden , but I highly recommend discouraging a bird hab…

Who Knew ? A World Class Private Garden in Petaluma

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Either Sara Malones' extraordinary garden is an unknown, or I am not hanging out with the right crowd. Maybe combinations thereof. Back in June my friend Denise of A Growing Obsession arranged for a visit to Saras' garden at the tail end of a mini garden-blogger get together in Mendocino County. Sarah generously agreed to our Monday morning visit and escorted us enthusiastically through the garden. You can read Denises post here- .

  I wasn't really sure what to expect-my understanding was that Sarah collected conifers (how I would love to collect conifers) but the reality is that Sara collects everything-trees, shrubs, perennials and succulents. For me what defined the garden was the trees. I am a admitted tree-ignoramus-it's my weakest link in horticultural knowledge. I have no room for trees in my own garden so I don't concentrate my hort education efforts in that direction. It's not that I don't know any, but I don't know many.

 I am probably a bro…