The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Gail's Garden - June 2016


Gail's Garden - June 2016

by Gail Fanning

Garden Conservancy Open Days are here! I love to take drive on a Saturday, pick up some coffee and a scone at the bakery and wander through these inspiring gardens! Relaxing, educational, and beautiful: a perfect weekend day! Marin County gardens are open on June 4, including gardens on the coast at Bolinas and Stinson Beach. On June 18 Mendocino County gardens are open: Kate Frey’s garden in Hopland is on my “ must see” list. Kate is famous for her bee-friendly, drought tolerant organic approach to gardening, and her Gold Medal at the Chelsea Garden Show. She will be selling and signing her new book: The Bee Friendly Garden at the Open Day. San Francisco Gardens are open on June 25: see all the details at

June is a good time to plant basil and cilantro so you’ll have fresh herbs all summer. Both herbs love sun and plenty of water, and do well in pots. Nothing better than growing them in the kitchen window or just outside the kitchen door for easy access while you are cooking. Cilantro germinates quickly, so you can sow seeds directly in the container; you may want to buy “starts” for your basil, as germination is more difficult. Begin harvesting leaves when plants reach 6 inches tall. To prolong leaf production, pinch off flower spikes as they develop.

Lovely to have some spring rains this year, but don’t let that fool you: your sprinklers and drippers need to be up and running! Not sure how long to run them? Check Water Smart at for weekly updates on the amount of water lost to the air, and the amount of replacement water you need to provide for happy plants. And remember that YOU are the most important part of the watering equation: walk through your garden regularly and notice plants that look limp from too little water, or soil that is wet from leaks. Fix these problems quickly and your garden will thank you! And your water bill will be reduced, too.

If your roses are like mine and blooming early this year, be sure to keep deadheading for continued bloom, and fertilize now. Don’t skimp on the water if you want more blooms later in the summer! Keep the soil moist to the full depth of the roots, about 16 inches. If you haven’t done so already, apply a 2-inch layer of mulch to conserve water.

Did you know that your community may have money and water saving programs available for your garden? Check out the various programs available at The cities of Cotati, Santa Rosa, and Windsor all have programs to help pay for removing your lawn and replacing it with drought tolerant landscaping. But be sure to read the fine print before ripping out your lawn: many cities require an application and inspection of the lawn before they enroll you in the rebate program. While you are at the Daily Acts website, be sure to check out their great resources for home gardeners: composting, rainwater harvesting, and wildlife friendly gardening are just a few of their informative DIY guides. 

Did you hear? Sunset Magazine has moved its test gardens to Cornerstone Sonoma! Open daily 10-4 pm, the gardens are located at 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. The quarter acre garden area is divided into the Cocktail Garden, the Farm Garden, the Backyard Orchard, the Flower Room, and the Gathering Space. Stop by and steal some great ideas for your garden from the experts.

Planning a garden party? I can help you get your garden looking it’s best for the big event: call me at least a month ahead of the date for on-site advise and suggestions: 707-829-2455 .