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


Friday, December 04, 2009

Plant Profile: Euphorbia pulcherrima, Poinsettia

my poinsettia
Euphorbia pulcherrima (pulcherrima meaning pretty) is native to the tropical areas of Mexico and Central America, where they grow without care, even reaching roof height! In our climate (Sacramento), the freezes turn them to mush, so they never really get the chance to grow that tall. It takes some cunning and work to keep them alive, but it is not impossible. Essentially, like other frost-tender perennials, you need to protect them from those low temperatures ... by bringing them indoors, or by creating an outdoor frost-protected area until the last frost for your area. When they finally drop their leaves, cut stems back to 2 buds and reduce water. They will soon start putting out new growth, preparing for their next blooming season, which is late winter to early spring (late January thru March). Breeders force them into an earlier bloom in December by jump starting winter and you can try it, too. In early Oct, get those faux, long-night winter nights started. Confine your poinsettia to a darkened space, like a dark closet, in the evening for 14 hours, then bring into the light for 10 hours. Do this for 10 weeks.

Since your outdoor poinsettias will probably be too large by next December, you may want to propagate new plants by making late-summer cuttings of stems with 4 - 5 eyes (joints). Then, start your winter! (See what I mean about the cunning and work?)

Here's an interesting video about the creation of a huge Poinsettia ball, from the Chicago Botanic Garden's Wonderland Express...


At this point, this is all book-learning to me. Must admit, I've never done it. But, I do have my little poinsettia pictured at the top, and I'm going to give it a go this year. How 'bout you? I've just given a brief outline of the procedure...read more in the two great references I used, Sunset Western Garden Book, and the horticultural website, Floridata.


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Green Gardener: November Wrap-up

are you a green gardener?

Today's the last day of my month-long green gardening posting project. But...stay tuned, as there are lots of things happening in the green world that will affect how we landscape. In my neck of the woods, there are big changes as of January 1. In general, I'm not for big, sweeping mandated governmental programs, but, I'm excited about this new legislation! From what I understand, it will mostly affect commercial and larger landscaping projects, which will have to have their irrigation system approved and their planting plan as well, so that there's a balance of high, low and medium water requiring plants. This, in itself, will raise awareness regarding our plants "water budget" requirements, and I expect, will introduce a new landscape style...casual and natural and (gasp!) lawn-free  where there's life occurring in the front yard!  I also understand there will be some sexy rebate programs for the smart irrigation controllers, including installation.

Do you like my cow? Me, too! It was painted by my friend, Silvia. I would like this cow in my front yard! Of course, I'd also like a few acres and a barn!


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Green Gardener: How Green Saves You Work

WPA Rock Garden in William Land Park, where everything looks great

I do seasonal maintenance for many people and I can tell you the most obvious time and money waster is the wrong plant in the wrong place. The most noticeable culprit, shrubs that need to be pruned regularly to keep their size in check. At one home, a huge photinia was pruned by the gardener weekly (!), probably costing the homeowners $1000 per year. Another homeowner had a new expensive swiming pool installed with specialty hardscaping and a pergola. Then, the plants were installed ... Feijoa sellowiana, or Pineapple Guava, which normally grows 18 - 25 feet, surrounded the hot tub, and Pittosporum tennuifolium, which again grows really big, under the windows. This homeowner, btw, likes things tidy, ahem. She would not want a wild, overgrown garden! So, it's now "Pruning Time - All the Time!" at her house.

Look at all the squared off shapes and globes, especially in commercial landscapes. Why not plant something that is the appropriate size and let it be, like this blue fescue planting?
Dewey & Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights

If you have trees or shrubs that you have to continually hack at, or trees or shrubs that routinely "get out of control", why not pull them out and find an appropriate plant. There are lots of them out there. A tree or shrub that is the right plant for the right place is one you'll get to know and appreciate thru the seasons for its own unique characteristics.

Note: sometimes people like to putter in their gardens and this is cool, sometimes people like plants that require specialty pruning or care(veg gardens, topiary, roses, grasses (yum), whatever). I know I do. I'm just tired of seeing ugly pruning jobs and want people to have gardens that speak more to their hearts, and where time spent taking care of the garden is a joy.

Call me if you need help picking your plants!
Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Green Gardener: You Take What You Have

a Flora Grub bouquet
A while ago, a blogger I admire in Sweden (Tyra in Vaxholm) posted a saying from an old Swedish cookbook, "Man tager vad man haver". I'm keen on Swedish stuff, so it caught my fancy and the saying is now on my fridge. I thought of that while looking at the gorgeous Thanksgiving centerpieces at Flora Grubb Gardens. While I do not have much of the plant material used in these masterpieces, I have some, and in the picture above, I have the strawberry tree, Arbutus unido, branches that lean outwards on either side, I have a Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea, which looks close to those beautiful red leaves, I might even have some hydrangea. But, rather than copying, I can go explore, and "take what I have."

(here's the link to Tyra's post...Man tager vad man haver.)


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Green Gardener: For the Love of Wildlife


If you haven't visited a wildlife refuge, you may be missing delights like the scene pictured here at the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area. For a long time it was just some naturalized area along the freeway going from Sacramento to Davis. But, after I was introduced to the national wildlife refuge up near Willits, off of I-5, I began to appreciate the magic of these worlds, and when I noticed that familiar pattern of birds taking off and settling back down, I got excited. It's like Disneyland, but for the birds. It's hard to describe how lovely it is. (I must tell the truth...I found this photo on someone's site...and I'm still trying to re-find the original photographer so I can give credit.)


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Green Gardener: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Year! Happy Families!
Happy Prosperity!

Sunset Mag's Sweet Potato Gnocchi
SWEET-POTATO GNOCCHI with MUSHROOMS AND SPINACH

The Ingredients:
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
3 pounds orange-flesh sweet potatoes (often labeled "yams"), boiled until tender, peeled, and flesh puréed
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
About 3 cups flour

The Directions...now, over to Sunset Magazine for the rest of it, but before you go, here's my pictorial tutorial:

The gnocchi "rope"...


The gnocchi cut into 1" pieces (I froze some...so, now I can Gnocchi whenever I want!)


The gnocchi boil until they rise to the top of water...


I also in my recent Gnocchi-mania, found and tried a recipe for Pumpkin Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce! Tried it with some of my frozen gnocchi! Yea, I'm good.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Green Gardener: Vegetarian Thanksgiving - Greens!

I'm learning to cook some really great vegetarian meals... and using the produce in my CSA boxes for inspiration. Today's recipe makes great use of my new-found favorite vegetable, greens (which grow well in the winter garden). If you're having vegetarian guests at your table tomorrow, this recipe is quick, fast, and great!
martha's pasta

The recipe is from Martha Stewart ... she uses onions, I don't ... I add pecans, she doesn't ... she uses escarole, I use whatever greens I have! Other than those differences, both are great.

WHOLE WHEAT SPAGHETTI W/ ESCAROLE AND GORGONZOLA
(Serves 4)
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium heads escarole (12 ounces each), ends trimmed, leaves cut crosswise into bite-size pieces, washed (but not dried)
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

... now head on over to Martha's for the rest of the story!

Tomorrow will be Sweet Potato Gnocchi Day... with two different treatments, Gorgonzola Cream Sauce and Spinach and Mushrooms.


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Green Gardener: Vegetarian Thanksgiving - Go Green!

Ryder Green's Pumpkin HarvestIn Truth, I love turkey, and will be eating it. and loving it. However, I also love my family and I have a couple of veg-o daughters (the other's a bacon-lov'n girl like her dad), so I've been working on expanding my holiday repertoire. And, oh boy, I've been successful. I have three recipes that are hits for all camps. They just taste good. Plus, all three have used produce from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. These recipes are going to be the subject of my blog posts thru Wednesday.

The first is a recipe I got a year ago from Joey, the self-proclaimed, "Ho-Hum Housewife." Her blog is filled with rich nature photos, poetry and great food. I'll whet your appetite with the ingredients, but you'll need to head over to Joey's for the instructions! Warning, her blog is addicting!

GINGER PUMPKIN, CRANBERRIES and APPLES
4 cups peeled and 1-inch cubed fresh pumpkin or squash (I used butternut squash)
1 quart water
4 cups cored and 1-inch cubed Granny Smith apples
3 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 oz. Cointreau
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger (1 tsp. ground)
additional unsalted butter for serving
(I added a 1/2 cup of walnuts, lightly chopped for added protein, and found it added a welcomed crunch.)

Tomorrow's recipe, Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Gorgonzola and Escarole. (Really, yummy...)


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Green Gardener: Recycling for Great Garden Art

Old doors aren't that hard to find, and look what a great focal point it makes at High Hand Nursery.


My dad's old wheel barrow is a treasure, its rusted holes make for good drainage for swiss chard and these lettuces...


Don't you adore this cobbled together gardener's hut at the Fair Oaks Blvd. Nursery?


These birdhouses were made by the man in the picture (I have his number somewhere, call me...) out of things like wood scraps and Dough-Boy pool liners.


My friend Lynn (Red Studio Design), is a garden designer and artist. She made this self-sculpture out of wicker and odd bits.


A father/son team in Davis crafted these charming garden outhouses out of scrap materials found in the local dump.


I don't know about you, but, it makes me want to go hunting for treasures...old rusty bicycles and lawn mowers, even tractors...

(My daughter,Liesel, and her friends Brianne and Betsy at the Fair Oaks Blvd Nursery getting ready for their CD release party of Donavan's Tribute Concert, The Great Songs of the Sky)


Call me if you need a dump run buddy!
Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Green Gardener: Vermiculture Redux


(gummy worms can't make compost, but they taste good!)

A good, productive soil has lots of organic matter in it. If  Mother Nature had her way, the leaves that fell in the fall would stay and decompose and eventually work their way back into the soil. One of those natural cycles. But, we don't always go with the Mother, do we? We rake our leaves and put them out for the green waste haulers. And, then, have to haul in manure and compost to enrich our soil, or don't and wonder why our soil is so bad...sigh...life in the suburbs. This is why I'm interested in worms. I think I could put my coffee grounds, food and vegetable scraps in a box and have some worms turn it into compost and trot it out to some lucky garden spot. I think I could do that. But I'm a beginner...so, I'm sending you over to the Vegetable Gardener, where Chris McLaughlin can tell you a lot more...she's even got a video!

On Friday I linked to VermiDragon Farm, a worm farm supplier in the California's Sierra foothills. Today I got a note from fellow bloggers, Toronto Gardens, who had high praise for All Things Organic.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Green Gardener: There's Still Time for Bulbs

Daffodils
a Flickr photo by DarkGuru

There's still time to plant daffodils! There are large-cupped, trupet-shaped and petite daffodils...there are white ones, yellow ones and mixed colored ones. It doesn't really matter, they're all pretty. I'd just go to a nursery and buy whatever they have that you like (Home Depot should still have some if you can't find them anywhere else).
Here are a few pointers...
  • daffs like full sun,
  • dig your hole 2x as deep as the bulb (to save time dig a large hole and plant several in it) and
  • plant it pointy end down up. (planting daffs today I thought, "the pointy end goes up!" duh...roots down, growing end up...yep...duh)
  • Give it some bulb fertilizer.
  • After they bloom, cut off the spent flower, but don't cut off the foliage until it starts to yellow...it's busy making food to get the bulb ready for next year.
  • Enjoy!



daffodils in window
a Flickr photo by Muffet

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Green Gardener: Vermiculture for Beginners (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?)

one red wiggler
a flickr photo by net efekt
Welcome to everything I know about worms and composting (not much!). Feel free to correct or add to this info!
  • The care and management of composting worms is called "Vermiculture"
  • Red Wigglers are supposed to be good compost makers.
  • A 1/2 pound of Red Wigglers = about 500 worms
  • Those 500 worms will eat about 1/4 pound of green waste per day, or 1/2 their weight
  • Worm poop is called "castings"
  • Worms can be housed in something fancy, but a plastic tub and a lid will also do.
  • Worms can tolerate temperature extremes for short periods, but do best between 60 - 80 degrees.
  • Here's a link to the red wiggler farmer I met at a Sacramento plant sale, VermiDragon Farm . They deliver in the Sacramento area, but can also ship those wormies to you!



Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Green Gardener: A CSA Box from Farm Fresh to You

I received my first box of mixed fruits and vegetables from Farm Fresh To You today!

...apples, mandarin oranges, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli rabe, kale lancinato, butter lettuce. All organic, all fresh-picked from the farm...

It's going to be a bit of a culinary adventure. I've only just discovered greens, and I never eat sweet potatoes or even butternut squash. But, now I shall...

For more information about the Community Supported Agriculture, check out Monday's blog post, the Romance of the Farm. To try Farm Fresh To You's program, go to their website (link above) and use the promo code 6164 for a $5 credit on your first delivery. Let them know you were referred by Geno's Garden!

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Green Gardener: Hummingbirds in Your Garden

hummingbird with mexican sage

Do you love the idea of hummingbirds in your garden? You're not alone. When I'm talking to new clients about their gardens, they always light up on the subject! Luckily, besides being delightful, hummingbirds also add to a healthy garden. Those busy beauties help with pollination and do insect patrol as well. Hey...they're green!

According to the Oregon State University, "Hummingbirds are especially attracted to the color red. Good choices are plants with red or orange tubular flowers, such as fuschias, red-flowering currant, columbines, coral bells, salvias and penstemons. They also love bush and vine honeysuckles, hollyhocks, nasturtiums and petunias as well as blossoms from black locust, flowering crab apple and hawthorn. Provide a succession of nectar plants that will bloom from spring to fall, giving hummingbirds a continual source of food through the seasons." To read more, click here. Additionally, here's a list of California natives that attract hummingbirds, courtesy of the California Native Plant Society.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Green Gardener: Water-Wise Gardening


Here's a great resource for all of us, produced by our local (Sacramento area) RWA (Regional Water Authority), Rules of Thumb for Water-Wise Gardening. While you're on the site, explore a bit...it's got some great info!

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Green Gardener: Farm Romance

Farm Fresh to You
I'm very excited to be signing up with a CSA program. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and there are farms all across the country that participate. The program I'm newly enrolled in (as of 15 minutes ago!) is Farm Fresh To You (FFTY), an organic farm located in the foothills of the Sacramento Valley in an area called Capay Valley.

pictures from the Farm Fresh to You website
There are many fine CSA's in my area...what made me pick FFTY was I could start, stop, skip or double up on a scheduled delivery whenever I wanted. And, they delivered to my home!

For my first delivery ($25 for a small box of mixed fruits & vegetables), I'll be receiving:
2 lb FFTY Satsuma Mandarin Orange
2 lb Washington Braeburn Apple
2 lb FFTY Butternut Squash, winter
1.5 lb Fresno Sweet Potato
1 cnt FFTY Lacinato / Dino Kale
1 bu FFTY Broccoli Rabe Rapini
1 cnt FFTY Romaine, green Lettuce

I have a veggie garden myself, and also grow several types of citrus, but I still am jazzed about the idea of someone delivering a box of produce to my front door! Makes me feel connected up with these farm folk...part of the community that's supporting local agriculture ... local organic agriculture!

I should have been a farm girl. Then maybe I'd say, "hey, it's not all romance!" But, I grew up in the suburbs and most of what I know about farming is from books and movies ... Oklahoma, Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath! Still, I feel a bond with my Irish farming ancestors, despite my grandmother's response when I asked, "we're Irish, aren't we?", "if it was that great, we wouldn't have left."

Maybe you, too, have romantic notions about farms or maybe you want to eat more healthily. Perhaps you simply want packages delivered to your door step (yea!) ... know that you'll be helping local small farms at the same time. To find a CSA in your area, go to Local Harvest.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Green Gardener: Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - November 2009

pineapple and mexican sage
These are sages and they grow in my backyard. Sages typically bloom late in the season...I guess November qualifies! The red one is Pineapple Sage, Salvia elegans. The leaves smell heavenly, like pineapple, and can be used in cool drinks. The purple one is Mexican Bush Sage, or Salvia leucantha. Its velvety flowers last for-evah.
These two are examples of the "right plant in the right place". Now, if I lived in N. Dakota, it would be a different story, and a different plant. Visit Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to get some ideas of what you could grow in your garden, wherever you are.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Green Gardener: Farm City, The Education of an Urban Farmer

chickens and roosters rule in Fair Oaks!
Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City, The Education of an Urban Farmer, is coming to town! Two events next Saturday (Nov. 21) for us (sub)urban farm/gardeny folk: Raising Chickens in Your Backyard at Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova from 10 - 1, where she'll be talking about, duh..., and Farm City, An Evening with Novella Carpenter, at 5 pm at the Sacramento Food Co-Op.

Novella's book looks intriguing. From her publisher, "Urban and rural collide in this wry, inspiring memoir of a woman who turned a vacant lot in downtown Oakland into a thriving farm. Novella Carpenter loves cities—the culture, the crowds, the energy. At the same time, she can’t shake the fact that she is the daughter of two back-to-the-land hippies who taught her to love nature and eat vegetables. Ambivalent about repeating her parents’ disastrous mistakes, yet drawn to the idea of backyard self-sufficiency, Carpenter decided that it might be possible to have it both ways..." read more

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Green Gardener: Need a Plant Babysitter?

I read about this on Linkedin, where I get to hang out at the water cooler with landscape designers and writers and contractors. This seemed sort of green and it could be really convenient. When we leave town there's always questions about who's going to feed the pets, water the garden, and, and, sigh ... well, Aquasolo has made at least one of the "to do's" easier.

Here's what I read...
Your plants won't dry out with AQUASOLO®. This ingenious system means that you can water a plant with an ordinary bottle and with no outside intervention.

The AQUASOLO® cone is suitable for adapting to the neck of almost any plastic bottle found on the market (mineral water bottles or soda bottles, from 0.5 to 2 litres). The kit can also be adapted to certain 5 litre bottles used for water coolers.

After screwing the AQUASOLO® onto a water-filled bottle, all you have to do is turn it over, pierce it and push the cone into the soil around the plant to water it.

For adaptation to each plant’s water needs, AQUASOLO® comes in a range of microporous ceramic cones with variable flow rates.
Each cone provides slow, regular distribution of water into the soil.

Depending on the model, they distribute 7, 20 or 30 cl of water every 24 hours.

Depending on the type or size of the plant, all you have to do is to select the right cone (7cl cone for a 1 to 3 litre pot, a 20cl cone for a 4 to 6 litre pot or a 30cl cone for a larger pot). For example, with a 1.5 l bottle and a 7cl cone, you can stay away for 21 days. For a large garden, insert several cones in the soil. The water can also be enriched with soluble fertiliser.

Notice how this is in British terms...cl's and such. I left it like that cuz I was lazy ;-) You can read more on their Facebook Fan page!


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Green Gardener: talk'n about soil fertility

poppies at the park
Did you ever hear about sailors getting scurvy and their teeth falling out? It happened. And, then they ate lemons and they got better. Plants are like that, too. Leaves turn yellow, vegetables don't produce and plants become susceptible to diseases because they're not very healthy. Yep, just like us.

The most important thing is to have healthy soil...full of organic material. If you enrich your soil with compost and other organics, you may not even need to add additional fertilizers. So, start with making great soil, and then add some organic fertilizers ... conservatively.

the WPA Rock Garden at William Land Park in Sacramento
This garden benefits with addition of donkey doo-doo from the nearby zoo!

 And, so you don't totally get lost in the fertilizer aisle at your local nursery, here's some basic data about the 18 nutrients that plants need:
  • Three come from the air (oxygen, hydrogen and carbon)
  • The other 15 come from the soil, taken in thru the roots...
    • 9 are micronutrients (or, trace nutrients), needed in tiny amounts...boron, cobalt, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sodium and zinc. Look for "includes micronutrients" on label.
    • 3 are secondary nutrients (or, minor nutrients)...calcium, magnesium and sulfur
    • 3 are the big kahunas, the Macronutrients, the N-P-K on the fertilizer bag, which stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. Nitrogen is needed for greening up the plant. Phosphorous helps make strong roots and is especially valuable at planting time. Potassium helps with general healthiness of the plant.
Depending on the plant, you'll need different ratios to all of these...for instance, lawns need a higher amount of nitrogen, bulbs need more phosphorous, citrus needs iron. Luckily all this info is on the product and/or, the sales people can help!!!

It's a good time to be going organic. There are more and more options available and it's the "Thing to Do". A healthy soil that's got lots of organic matter is where it starts. Organic fertilizers work slower than synthetic ones, but have less bad "side effects" on the soil and the plants. They also are better for our rivers because one way or another, that's where our garden water winds up!


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Green Gardener: The Community Garden

I've been fascinated with community gardens since I first caught a glimpse of the British "allotment" gardens, where gardeners hang out in their funky huts and shoot the breeze while they watch their carrots grow. Across the U.S., interest is skyrocketing in community gardens, and while each plot may not have it's own mini-house, they still exude personality.
Entrance to the Davis Community Garden
Even out of season, there are stories in this college town community garden...who was successful, who's still at it even tho the summer season has passed, who hung out at the garden "club house" (lean-to with picnic table)
tool shed
Southside Community Garden
Southside Community Garden has several plots available...it's on 3rd Street in Sacramento, just north of Hwy 50. Tell Tony that, "Jeannie sent you!"

Here's some cool resources I've come across that you might enjoy:
Community Garden Start-up Guide
Which 10 Cities Have the Most Urban Gardens?
Sacramento Community Gardens

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Green Gardener: Is your garden water running down the street?

Prior to starting my Green Gardening (aka "River-Friendly Landscaping") class, I thought the problem with water run-off was that it was simply a waste of water. Now I'm just beginning to understand that keeping the water on the landscape and out of the gutter allows the soil to filter out pollutants before the water reaches the watershed or the underground aquifers (basically natural storage spaces for water). Allowing the soil to do its job and reducing the amount of chemical pesticides and insecticides used in our gardens, can significantly improve our river water quality.

I'm a beginner...if you have any suggestions or ideas to contribute, let me know!


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Green Gardener: How to Handle Frosty Nights

citrus should be protected from the frost

I'll admit, this isn't necessarily a "green" topic...however it is a garden challenge that needs to be faced or some of your plants won't make it!
Last year my husband helped me schlep succulents and citrus in and out of the house on every frost-threatening night.
some succulents won't make it
a flickr photo of Aloe plicatilis

I don't want to do that again, which is why I'm sending you all (and me) over to the guy who knows many, many things! Is everybody ready? Let's go hear what Farmer Fred has to say!


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Green Gardener: a day of rest

Sunset Magazine
Everyone needs a day of rest...a mini-vacation from the tasks and worries of life...the chance to get exterior to what is, and imagine what could be. And, so, the gardener needs this as well.
One of the benefits to green gardening, is reduced maintenance...less pruning, less mowing, less fighting diseases and pests...more opportunity to have that day of rest. Well, I'm not there quite yet, and have garden chores awaiting me. But, here's my "what could be" list:
  • an outdoor natural firepit area for my family to enjoy
  • a water feature with a loud trickle, to block out the nearby freeway noises
  • a shrubby perimeter to my backyard to make the space feel apart from elsewhere.
  • veggies, of course
  • a solution to the ultra-hot Sacramento summers
  • a place to putter in the winter months
  • a dedicated doggy doo-doo spot!
  • a lawn-free landscape (almost there!)
  • a garden that allows me to be at rest
The thing I love about garden design is the creation of a world that isn't there yet. The more I work on it, the more everything seems to fall in place...it all becomes righter and more real. It becomes a vision that's attainable. And, it all starts with the question, "how would I really like things to be?"
above ground pond at Fair Oaks Blvd. Nursery in Sacramento


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Green Gardener: The Times They Are A'Changing...



Here's a great story from Jane Berger's, Garden Design Online. This green gardening thing is really getting momentum, as you'll see in, Home Gardens Going Green.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Green Gardener: Discovering the Meadow



Here's a book that has just hit the book stores, John Greenlee's, The American Meadow. In his own words ... "I get what lawn does from a design standpoint; it's a cool place for your eye to rest," he says. "But if you don't have to play golf on it, there are all these other great things you could consider. I drive out to the suburbs and see hundred- to 800-hundred-foot square rugs of turfgrass in various stages of looking crummy. You have to water, weed, fertilize, plug and spray them. Maybe your kids have moved out, the shade trees have grown up, the lawn's not looking all that good. Why have a crappy lawn when you can have a fabulous meadow?"

So...does this get you kind of excited? I'd love to hear what you think.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Green Gardener: Live on TV, Cool Season Veggies & Bedding Plants

Today I had the pleasure of being a guest on Sacramento and Company, Channel 10's morning show. The hosts, Melissa and Guy, are genuinely nice people, so it was fun to talk to them. Turns out he was raised in the country and has a garden and she just started a small raised bed garden, where she gets to play outside with her 5-year old daughter. Here's what we talked about:

Cool Season Veggies (plant in fall,will last thru early spring)
Boy choy, rhubarb,g reen globe artichoke, sweet pod peas, swiss chard, arugula, red kale, lettuce
(forgot and left in trunk of car...carrot, beet seeds, onion bulbs)

Cool Season Bedding Plants (also fall thru spring)
Violas, pansies, chrysanthemum paludosum, mums, snaps, primrose,cyclamen (plus California poppy seeds, also left in car!)

Pumpkins (a warm season crop...plant late spring...in your front yard!!!)
Dark orange french heirloom pumpkin ("Rouge Vif d'Etampes") is also called the Cinderella pumpkin. The other pumpkin had a funny name which seemed unsuitable for such a beautiful plant. So, I ignored and forgot it!

All of these plants were on loan from the Fair Oaks Blvd. Nursery. Thank you! btw, their pumpkins are on a 2 for 1 sale.

And, lastly, an inspiring book that encourages us to create our own gardens, in the front yard and with "all of the above!" The Edible Mexican Garden (The Edible Garden Series)



the loading dock at Channel 10 ... see you next time!


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Green Garden: The Smart Irrigation Controller


What did you learn today in school*, Jeannie? Well...I learned about something called a "smart irrigation controller." This may sound boring (don't nod so enthusiastically), but it's actually a bit magical. Instead of going out to your irrigation system timer and wondering how much time/how often you should programi it for, this controller sort of does it for you. It monitors on site and self-adjusts the watering schedule for local conditions which it accesses via its little computer. Like a baby that can change its own diaper!

I also found out that there are big rebates coming around the corner for these controlers. Really big ones.

According the Sacramento area Regional Water Authority, "A small lawn of 1,000 square feet area uses about 35,000 gallons per year. Unfortunately many of us over irrigate, typically using 75,000 gallons per year per 1000 square feet." (This means we're overing watering our lawns by 2x!) Check out their site - it has great info for homeowners.

* My Green Gardener Training Program for the Landscape Professional (me)


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Green Garden: A Modern Mediterranean Garden Revisited

This is a reposting from August, 2008. I'm focusing on green gardening this month and that led me to thinking about Mediterranean gardens, which do so well in our California climate...which led me back to this post. I hope you enjoy it, it's one of my favorites!

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.


Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email hansonja@aol.com. For more information on our services, click here.