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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Curb Appeal, part 3

This post ends my 3 part series on curb appeal, where I've had the opportunity to explore what I like! My DIY Curb Appeal article is currently featured on Houzz ...check it out! You'll love their website!

Carole's no-lawn front yardMy friend, Carole and her husband, Chris, did this landscaping project themselves...they removed lawn, brought in drought tolerant plants and stepping stones leading up to that great front door. This picture was featured in the Roseville News in an article on their cash for lawns program...a program replicated in Los Angeles and Arizona, where residents are paid to remove their lawn and replace the water-hogging grass with less thirsty plant materials. Carole did this project on her own...she's a no-lawn pioneer!

This front porch belongs to Anna, a Twitter friend, who responded to my request for inviting entryway pictures with a link to her blog, Flower Garden Girl. If there were a game show called "Curb Appeal," where homes were rated in terms of how quickly players hit the red button, homes with big, comfy porches would win, hands down!

Also from Anna's blog, this lovely front porch. When you visit her site, click on "impressive entryways" for a whole catalog of entryway ideas.

a restaurant patio in Los Feliz
In the city of Los Angeles, there are many charming, funky, unique homes and buildings that just delight me...with rich colors and gates, succulents, and wonderful views. Growing up in the flatlands of the L.A. suburbs, I didn't know this side of L.A. existed. But, now I do....

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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seedy Adventures

There is a magic and mystery to seeds, but perhaps you haven't noticed it!

Shasta Daisies in June
One time a friend who's a marvelous gardener was going to do a project at her kid's school on seeds. I said I'd bring my collection over. I had all sorts of seeds to show her that I'd collected. She was a bit dumbfounded...had never thought of starting her garden with her own seeds! She was a smarty, too...(and a gardener!)... which made me realize that if Karen didn't get it, then lots of people didn't get it!

Shasta Daisies in August
Last spring, I did a seed project with Arthur. We went outside, in his backyard, his front yard and across the street, looking for seeds...we gathered them up and displayed them. He then planted them (which was probably with mixed results, seeing how many of our seeds were not really mature or ripe).

There are seeds all around the refrigerator, at the grocery store, on the dog or our jackets, and at the park. Get some neighborhood kids together and go on a seed hunt. Plant them (the seeds!) in a dixie cup or jiffy pot with some seed starter soil mix, about as deep as they are large, and keep them watered until they germinate. Each seed has it's own germination time (yea Google! Search Shasta Daisy germination time and you'll see how long it will take for my babies to break ground and anything else you might want to know!). Baby them until they're established a bit, and then put them in the ground or a pot where you can watch them grow. They may go dormant over the winter, but next spring, with luck you'll see the rest of the magic!

Fall is a great time to plant, not only your fall vegetables, but perennials as well. For my article at GalTime on this subject AND a great seed giveaway, click here!

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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fall Veg Gardening and Giveaway

flickr photo of philliecasablanca
This summer I helped 6 people plant summer veg gardens, and as such, I'm the stepmother to 42 tomato plants! This fall I'm encouraging people to extend their edible garden season by planting a fall-season garden. There are obstacles to anything...the growing window is short (the project must be done before it freezes), there's the soggy ground one must travel to get to the plot. I, myself, haven't been the queen of the fall garden. In our long Sacramento growing season, by October or November, I sometimes feel like yelling out to the veg bed, "enuf! we're done here!" Nevertheless, I plan to start, again...
...carrots for sure, and, perhaps this exotic artichoke...yummy to eat and a beautiful ornamental for the garden.

For my article at GalTime on this subject AND a great seed giveaway, click here!

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Story of the Sprouting Sweater

Forget-Me=Not Seedlings
You know how you get those sticky burs caught on your sweater when gardening or hiking? Well, I get A LOT of them and it takes a really long time to get them off of my wooly sweaters, so I just keep wearing them, burs and all. But, last week I decided to wash this blue sweater of mine with all the burs still on it, hoping some of them would fall off in the wash. Yes, I admit I am domestically impaired! I was in a rush when I took the sweater out of the washer and just threw it on the laundry table for a few days. When I checked back in on my sweater it was none too happy with me and its moldy smell was ummm, you know, prominent. So I washed it again and this time hung it up to dry in my dark garage.

Several hours later I went back into the garage, turned on the lights and whoa! There were little wiggly whitish looking things all over it! Upon closer inspection, I could see that those pesky burs, which are actually seeds, had sprouted all over my sweater. What a sight!
- Annie

Annie is the owner of Annie's Annuals in Richmond, CA...a great retail nursery and mail order company specializing in whatever they feel like! Visit Annie's at Thanks for permission to post! Jeannie

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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Curb Appeal

In one of my landscape design classes, our teacher taught us three key elements of good design...repetition, contrast, and focal point. Since then I have found these to be elements that apply outside the garden as it interior spaces, a piece of music, or fashion. Christina Salwitz, The Personal Garden Coach, from Renton, Washington, was kind enough to share these photos of a project she did (with notes on plants...I love that!). They are a great application of the "Big Three".

the fall border
Front border taken in October to show lovely fall textures in front as we go into winter.

fall border close-up
The fiery Nandina in fall color glory, added some Dwarf Phormium ‘Jack Spratt’ for texture.

the spring border
Same front border in spring where the Euonymous and Barberry are glowing with new color!!

the focal point fountain bed
The Focal Point Fountain is surrounded by annuals and perennials (Orange Begonia, Violet and Orange Impatiens, Spider Plant, a small Lady’s Mantle volunteer, Euphorbia ‘Black Dragon’ and Gaura), a Leucothoe ‘Rainbow’ and a Willow Standard ‘Hukuro Nishiki’ (white variegated foliage). The half-wall baskets sitting on either side of the entrance contain Fuchsia ‘Aurea’.

the border in summer
“High Summer” color: added simple Lobelia ‘Crystal Palace’ in the front border of alternating ‘Crimson Pygmy’ Barberry, Euonymous ‘Emerald & Gold’ and Nandina ‘Gulf Stream’ under planted with Wooley Thyme.

From her website, Christina says, "I am fortunate enough to be able to witness the before and after effects of gardening with my clients. Those who are intimidated by the seemingly daunting task of renovating or creating a space they can enjoy are soon overtaken by the oneness they feel with what they have created afterward. No pills or potion can duplicate that high. That’s a fact that doctors worldwide have known for hundreds of years."

Fall is a great time to tackle those garden projects you've been dreaming about. The plants love it as the ideal time to get settled into the ground, and you'll love gardening in the cooler weather.

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

Monday, August 10, 2009

Curb Appeal

I'm doing research on curb appeal...of course this is partially in, appeals to me. It's been fun. I drive around and when I see something I like, I snap a picture with my cell phone camera. This exercise makes me appreciate how in need most homes and neighborhoods are in terms of some welcoming appeal. It's not just a question of making your house saleable. It's really, a question of making your house lovable!

This picture came to me by way of my friend, Lynn, a garden designer who brings her eye and skill as an artist to her gardens and her blog, Inside Red Studio. I love this blue door, and think I'd be happy to come home to this little house by the sea.

an entry gate in Los Feliz
While visiting my daughters in Los Angeles, I was fascinated and jealous of all the beautiful succulents. Also, the Spanish architecture. Here's a garden entry gate in Los Feliz (a charming area just south of Griffith Park). I love enclosed gardens like this. If I lived here, my dog, Pippy, would be happy to keep me company while I gardened.

This red door leapt out at me, back home in Sacramento...drove by, turned around, parked on the shoulder and snapped my picture. Does your house have any element that would make a passing motorist do that? Now there's a question.

16 Capistrano Inviting Entry DSC_1930

This came the way of a travel photo site. Click on it and you'll go to the original. It's an entryway in San Juan Capistrano. Another example of Spanish architecture, walled gardens, and whoa! stop the car.

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

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

3 Winners and More...

Canna 'Paprika'
We have 3 winners for the Annie's Annuals Giveaway: Carri Stokes, Andrew Keys, and Joanna Gibson! These guys have all been notified and are raring to go!!! Annie's has also graciously offered a free plant to everyone who entered, redeemable at the nursery, so if you're one of the "also-rans" email me (using the box at the right) your name and address and I'll send you your coupon!

Congratulations to everyone and thanks for participating!