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Sonoma County Gazette

Garden - Landscape, Plants - Farms

If it grows and nutures life - we're interested in learning more. Please refer to our 2017 Gardeners Resource Guide for locally-owned garden businesses, plant propagators and more.

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2019-07-27Jul 27, 2019

August (and September) tend to be a relatively laid-back time in gardens, time to enjoy the work put into your landscape earlier in the year. Not that there’s nothing to do, but with the heat and dryness, better to sit back with a refreshing drink and appreciate what’s there, rather than burning yourself out on chores. Observe. While you’re sitting outside relaxing, don’t fail to notice what is missing in your landscape or garden. The glass is half full, but let’s consider how to fill it up.  These can be added later in the cool season, but make a mental note about what you might like to grow.

2019-03-31Mar 31, 2019

To experience real terroir, we need to respect our terroir and avoid using chemicals and pesticides.  Supporting “organic” or ecologically respectful wine producers, farmers, nurseries and food producers as much as possible supports change in this area.  Commercial landscape spaces, neighborhood associations, and home gardeners, can also contribute positively to our environment. To experience the real expression of our landscaped spaces, we need to use plants that like what our soil and microclimate and minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

2019-03-30Mar 30, 2019

Every year since 2010, the students at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm (SWSF) come together with students at Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School (SAES) to sustainably garden a plot of land at SAES and focus on gardening curriculum that includes cooking, nutrition, science, math and reading.  

2019-03-30Mar 30, 2019

While chilly, wet winter may not have put us in the “garden planning” mode, it is nonetheless time to start planning our planting schemes for this year. But the next few weeks are crucial for planning and preparing a bee-friendly garden.

2019-03-15Mar 15, 2019

If you happen to have a large Coast Live Oak tree in your yard, consider yourself lucky.  Coast Live Oaks are the sustaining feature of our local ecosystem.  The whole Santa Rosa Plain was once a composite of rich wetlands and majestic oak woodlands before we altered the landscape to build our houses and businesses that we need. The Coast Live Oak can live up to 250 years and attain a height of 80 feet.

2019-03-13Mar 13, 2019
2019-03-13Mar 13, 2019

Have you ever been walking along, enjoying the view of a lush grassy area, and then suddenly noticed patches of burnt orange grass?  If you’re like me, once you realize that this dead grass has been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. The pesticides don’t just stay where they are sprayed.  They enter the water table and the air we breathe. They kill habitat for insects, birds, rodents, everything alive where they have been sprayed.  If you are concerned, there are actions you can take to reduce these toxins in the environment. You can also encourage neighbors and the larger community to consider and implement safe alternatives for weed control.   


2019-03-11Mar 11, 2019

California’s native plants have had millions of years adapting to life in what we now know as Sonoma county. All the plants in our region have evolved during many long hot summers. They have developed physical characteristics that aid in their tolerance of excessive heat with minimal water. When I am planning for a new garden, I always consider “my well adapted native plant buddies” In fact, I have a “native” for practically every situation. For screening I might use Toyon(Heteromeles arbutifolia) or Pacific Wax Myrtle (Myrica californica). For covering a sunny slope I might use Carmel Creeper(Ceanothis griseus)or Emerald Carpet (Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald carpet’). One would be hard pressed to find a plant willing to bloom longer and harder than a Salvia. With many species in the Genus, It’s easy to find one that will work for that sunny spot in your garden. I love them for their brightly colored blossoms and their aromatic foliage.

2019-02-27Feb 27, 2019

A supernatural landscape style is not a term you hear every day in gardening circles.  Supernatural often connotes mysticism and other worlds and magic.  We use the term supernatural to describe our Planet Horticulture style of landscape gardening featuring diverse plants from around the world that are climate appropriate, arranged in heightened naturalistic combinations set into garden spaces with good circulation and gathering areas. 

2019-07-24Jul 24, 2019

Mayor Amy Harrington has signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Tri-National Monarch Pledge ( committing to the protection of Monarch Butterflies and their habitat in the City of Sonoma.

2019-07-18Jul 18, 2019

Defensible Space is space that can be defended. It’s as simple as that. If you prepare your home and neighborhood so that it doesn’t burst into flames and spread rapidly from home to home, it can be defended. Take a look around...

2019-07-18Jul 18, 2019

This summer I would like to feature a common, yet often overlooked bird in our area—the Song Sparrow.This bird does not get a lot of attention. It is small and brown. This bird can really sing. If you have ever been on any trail in Sonoma County, you have heard song sparrows. Males sing year-round. They have one of the most musical songs of any local bird. It is quite ornate. It only lasts a couple seconds, but it is repeated frequently. Interestingly...


2019-07-17Jul 17, 2019

Early summer is a great time to propagate your favorite plants from cuttings.  While many plants are quite easy to root from a cutting, there are a couple of tips to give you the greatest chance of success. You want to help the cutting survive by protecting it from bacterial and fungal infection and to encourage rooting. Raw honey works because it is a natural anti-biotic and anti-fungal.

2019-06-30Jun 30, 2019

California buckwheats. A great group of native shrubs and sub-shrubs for summer flowering, loved by many pollinators, are the CA buckwheats in the genus Eriogonum. These are not the plants that produce the seed called buckwheat but are in the same family. The genus Eriogonum has diversified extensively in Western North America, and there over 250 species. Most grow in specialized habitats, but there are a handful of dependable garden-worthy species available in nurseries – primarily native plant nurseries, that you might want to try to fit in. All need full sun and do best grown mostly dry once established.

2019-04-29Apr 29, 2019

May is always an exuberant month in gardens and the natural world – winter is behind us and the dry season lies ahead. It is perhaps the easiest month to have a showy garden, it seems like everything wants to burgeon with growth and flowers.  It is also the month of Mother’s Day, and if your mother is into plants or gardening, there is no problem finding beautiful plant gifts (or gift cards from nurseries). Mother’s Day – due to the florist industry – is also associated with roses. While roses have gotten a bad rep in some circles – they, for the most part, are amazing plants, surprisingly robust, incredibly varied in form, color, and fragrance. There are hundreds of species of rose and thousands of hybrids – no one could grow them all even if they wanted to. Some roses have a reputation for being fussy – avoid these. Rose breeding in the last 4 decades has focused on improving the entire plant – growth, form, healthy attractive foliage, strong and various fragrances, extended flowering periods. There’s a rose out there for anyone – about the only thing they don’t tolerate is deep shade. Did you know? There are four native species of rose growing in Sonoma County.

2019-04-04Apr 4, 2019

Although orchids are often thought of as exotic, expensive, temperamental and hard to grow, it is possible to grow the beautiful flowers in your home. The Sonoma County Orchid Society will show you how.

2019-04-04Apr 4, 2019

The annual Eco-Friendly Garden Tour will take place onMay 4th! Now in its ninth year, the Tour is sponsored by the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership and focuses on low water-use, sustainable landscaping. Tour participants will learn water-saving strategies and garden tips from homeowners while visiting gorgeous gardens and mingling with fellow gardening enthusiasts. The 2019 tour has over 40 inspirational gardens throughout Sonoma and Marin counties.

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