Smart & Sustainable, Green Garden Design, Coaching & Seasonal Maintenance

Friday, December 05, 2008

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Our cat, Oz, died early Sunday morning. We were expecting it and it's a relief to not have the worry and extra work. He wasn't so happy about his condition, either.
He was a sweet boy, most of the time...always purring if you just got close, playing keep-away with the dog...standing up on his back legs looking to be let in and looking like a ermine or a prairie dog. He was trouble, too. Sometimes he just wanted to mix it up with our little old lady cat, Snowball. When he got yelled at, he would go to the backdoor to be let out with a bit of attitude..."allright, then...I'm out of here!"
Sunday morning I prepared the area where he was to be buried...a shady area where he liked to hide out on a summer day for a nap. I removed a rose that got way too much shade, pruned some other shrubs back, raked the leaves. We buried Ozzie and I planted a shrub I have wanted to find a good spot for, Brunfelsia pauciflora 'Floribunda', affectionately referred to as "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" for it's quickly changing blossom colors.
I look out my window and see his little grave. I'm looking forward to seeing his shrub grow.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

a trip to Roseville's Smith and Hawkins store

A quick dash in to see the new store that opened in October. What catches my do-it-yourselfer eye are two concrete products. Not that I could do-it-myself, but it gets me interested...
The first is lovely...a simple, elegant concrete water basin. If I were a bird I'd want one of these...
These pots are also and strong and striking.

Friday, November 21, 2008

There are some nursery sales going on....

At Windmill Nursery, some absolutely great deals thru November 30!

Their regularly priced roses (around $28) are 2 for one. Can't beat it!

At High Hand Nursery in Loomis more super deals BUT their sale is only thru this Sunday, November 23rd...a 4-flag Blow-out Sale: yellow = $25, green = $50, orange = $100, blue = $150 (with multi-flag discounts...ooh, the math!). Could these succulents be on sale??????
Aeonium, Echeveria and Agave
If their sale discounts aren't enough to get you into action, check out their newly expanded menu which just started November 20th!

On A Final Note: It's not too late, but this really is the last hurrah for fall planting! If you want some daffs or dutch iris, or crocus can do that as well, and, if you want someone to plant them for you, call Geno's Garden. Yea...that's me. Email me at, or call (916) 764-5243.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back to the Redwood Barn

...back to the vets in Davis (wah!), a side trip to the nursery (yea!)...more pictures of those charming outhouses for tools! I love the details...the middle house comes with an extra pie tin for the new owner so they can create their own design.
I love the unique features, like this moon......and this handle.

Only a little weathered card tells about who made them...Urban Forest Products...a father and son creating functional art from recycled materials in Davis and the Yolo County Dump.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Visit to the BBC Gardener's World

photo from BBC Gardening
I love buying gardening magazines, especially ones from other countries! So, imagine my thrill finding one of the blokes from the BBC Gardener's World mag talking about taking hardwood cuttings on their T.V. show.
Here it is, Rose Multiplication!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Lettuce Have Fresh Greens!

Here is my dad's old wheelbarrow planted with the lettuce starts I got at the Redwood Barn Nursery in has rust holes for drainage.

I think of it as my "cut and come again" salad (with a few Swiss Chard transplants). The only problem is as the days get shorter and wetter and darker, it's not much fun to muck out to the veggie garden. Wait, it's a wheelbarrow...I'll just wheel it closer to the back door.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Houseplants That Can Take The Chill

(from the Christian Science Monitor blog...linked below)

My man, who's been an online editor for years, keeps his eye out for me now that I'm hooked on blogging. So, he sends me this post from the Christian Science Monitor blog. (...also sent me an article about green roofs which is quite intriguing...a new trend that I want to explore... not that I'm planting daisies on my roof anytime soon!)
Houseplants that can take the chill |

Monday, November 03, 2008

Plant Driven Design Seminar & Garden Study Tour Friday - Saturday, November 7-8

Book cover photograph for Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Place, and Spirit by Lauren Spring Ogden and Scott Ogden

Several years ago I visited the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. I was a special guest student at the Perennial Plant Association annual meeting, and got the opportunity to attend workshops and visit numerous private and public gardens. I also got to rub elbows with a host of professional gardening-type folk...a garden books acquisition editor...Becky of Brent and Becky's Bulbs...a curator at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (who told me about how they received their butterfly chrysalis and had to string them upside down)...the editor of Hort Mag. I believe this event, which is also co-sponsored by the Garden Conservancy and Pacific Horticulture, will be that kind of an experience. Great company, inspiring gardens and wonderfully educational!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Trip to the Redwood Barn Nursery in Davis, CA

I was in Davis to pick up some meds for my sick kitty, and dropped by the Redwood Barn. I'd never been there before, but have read some great articles online by the owner.

A small easy-going nursery...lots of succulents (I like that)...picked up some greens for my wheelbarrow salad project...

but, best of all, were these cute outhouses! I want one for my tools, I do!

...or that one I saw at Walmart that looked like a little Nordic ski hut for kids...I think I have a birthday coming up...oh, no, that was last week!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WPA Rock Garden - Sacramento, CA

I've been looking thru some old photos of this great garden in William Land Park. I'm going back this week...see what's new...see what's old. This is a garden for everyone. Kids love running the paths, artists set up their easels, Daisy Mah, the gardener who created this oasis, can often be found working in the garden and will happily tell you the names of the over 1000 plants.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Placer County Master Gardeners 2009 Calendar

The new Placer County Master Gardeners' Calendar for 2009 is now available at Placer County nurseries and from their website. Pick up a's a short course in everything for the "water-wise" gardener.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Eggplant Recipes?

Do you like eggplant? I have made Ratatouille and Eggplant Parmesan (mmmmm...sigh...) what's your favorite eggplant? your favorite eggplant recipe? If you post a comment, maybe I can think of a prize...

Eggplant, Anyone?

Oct 4th, 2008 - If you're looking for some weekend fun, check out the Loomis Eggplant Festival! There will be great food and crafts and silliness and small town pleasure. While you're there, make your way down Taylor Street to the just opened High Hand Cafe. Take a look at their new outdoor pizza oven...
wouldn't you like this in your backyard?
one of the many life-sized bronze statues
meet some friendly folk...Venus Flytrap...
and enjoy a meal in the conservatory...the flytrap salad is said to be really good! ;-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

a Modern Mediterranean Garden

I'm looking for a way to take the '80s out of a ranch house and give it a modern edge, so I stop by the gorgeous High Hand Nursery to see what they have in the way of pots...
Light Blue Urns
These urns would do, but so would the ribbed ones...
Ribbed Urns
...or these smaller ones...
french blue pots
The house belongs to a Greek artist...she needs a more artistic environment, I think...perhaps a sitting area with these chairs from Pottery Barn, where she can have some coffee and a chat with her cats.
Pottery Barn Chairs
I love the look, the crunchy sound, the color of decomposed granite (DG to the trades)...maybe we'll take the grass out and replace it with DG...and surround it all with lovely mediterranean plants like lavenders, mexican feather grass, purple fountain grass, perhaps a hearty shrub rose, purple smoke tree. Maybe there will be some room for a lemon tree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall is for Planting

Fall is the season for planting most everything, especially in the Sacramento Valley where there's a long growing season. When plants newly get plopped into that hole you've prepared, the roots that bring in water and minerals and oxygen (so the plant can breathe) still have the shape of their old container. They dry out faster and can't really do their job to anchor the plant. Planting now allows the roots to get integrated into your soil before the low temps of winter settle in...trees (which soon will be in nurseries showing their fall color), new or reseeded lawns, shrubs, perennials, fall bulbs...can get a head start and by spring will be ready to take off. So, now is really the time! If you need some help, re-designing your garden or planting those bulbs or shrubs, send me an email.
Jeannie (Geno herself)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek

A few years ago I discovered the Ruth Bancroft Garden (Walnut Creek, California), internationally recognized as one of the finest private gardens in North America. Check out its website for tours, plant sales and classes. It is truly unique. Mrs. Bancroft turned 100 on September 2nd, 2008!

Monday, September 08, 2008

2nd Thoughts on 2nd Spring

One of the things I love about gardening is the science of it, the gaining of knowledge and competence by trial and error. With that, I have to admit my 2nd spring experiment hasn't gone so well. Like many of you, I don't always get my plants into the ground the minute I get home. And, so, some of those plants I cheerily brought home didn't make it past Sacramento's Second Summer! But, I learned that the asters and the alyssum were the more fragile...and the vinca was quite up to our late-August heat wave.
Lessons learned: 1) the Second Spring isn't quite the same as the First can be really hot, so be prepared! 2) plants do better in the ground which stays cooler and more likely to be watered than the small easy to dry out compartment of the 6-pack.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's "Second Spring"

...or so say the folks at the Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore. It turns out we still have plenty of growing season in California! I'm intrigued...a new solution for the problem of the late summer, heat-stressed garden...fresh plants!
Home Depot Garden Center Livermore's a few hours away, so I take my shopping list to my local Home Depot to see what they have...
Sweet AlyssumLobularium maritima, Sweet Alyssum... looks pretty when the weather is cooler, then starts looking ratty, shearing back 4 weeks after they come into bloom will give them a second chance.
SnapsAntirrhinum majus, Snapdragon...a friendly flower, does well in the winter garden here in the northern California, as do pansies

Dwarf Astersasters

Vincavinca - starts blooming in late spring, and won't quit!

My cartI don't find everything on the list, but enough to make me happy!
11 6-packs for $22...a small price to pay for a second spring.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Herb Gardens

Here's a short video with instructions for a simple container herb garden...Make your own quick and easy herb garden

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A trip to the Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery

It's fun to walk thru the lovely Fair Oaks Blvd. Nursery...Always inspiring...

here's an above ground natural waterfall/pond (no digging!)...great water sounds...

...and, of course, the opportunity to buy something for me (Tropaeolum minus "Tip Top Alaska Salmon" and Salvia guaranitica "Black & Blue Salvia")

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Geno's Garden Services

My specialty is small space gardens:
backyards, frontyards, funky gardens, garden rooms, japanese gardens, herb gardens, you name it!

Working with me in person,
After the initial consultation, I'll create a 1st draft conceptual design plan, with a tentative plant list. We'll then get together for round 2...and adjust the vision. Your final design will include both the finished design and a plant manual, with pictures and maintenance information.
Or on-line,

If need be, we can have a cyber relationship! You'll take the measurements and photos and fill out a survey and I'll then, create the 1st draft design, and we'll go from there.

I want you to be a happy and successful gardener. Check out my profile on the Garden Coach Directory. I am also available for lectures for garden events and will do my best to make it interesting!

Hands-0n Help:
Seasonal maintenance and planting
I enjoy the follow-up relationship with you and your garden and know this is a valuable service. Everyone has questions about when and how to prune, and how to keep their garden looking its best. Many would like to add bulbs, annuals, perennials, or refresh their containers. Possibly you need extra help because of illness or vacation. Sometimes there are irrigation system repairs to be done. Many aren't garden nerds like me, who finds all of this exciting!

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email