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

Thursday, January 05, 2012

River-Friendly Landscapes for a New Year

our American River
Our American River

Green Gardening is all about the wise use of water in our landscapes … for the benefit of our rivers, our air, and even our soil. Oh, yes, and us, too! Green gardening works because it's in harmony with the natural world. Rather than fighting nature, you're working with nature.
The principles are simple:
  • Right Plant for the Right Place (How much sun? What kind of soil? Slope? How much space? How is area used?) Example: don't plant cactus by the swimming pool, don't plant a 10 foot holly in front of a window or you'll be pruning it forever ... plant something more compact. Sounds obvious, but think about all the hedged shrubs you see in our neighborhoods and strip malls … there's a reason for all the squared and rounded plants seen everywhere (!) - wrong plant for the wrong place!!! Another example: the lawn! The wide-spread use of lawns in our area and our over-watering of same is the reason lawns have gotten a bad name ... they guzzle water! There are alternatives – wonderful alternatives, even native grasses that require way less water.
  • Mulch to keep ground cool and reduce evaporation.
  • Prevent Water Run-off and Waste with good drainage, smart irrigation practices, rain gardens and rain harvesting. This helps to filtrate out chemicals and toxins by using the natural purification properties of our soil. It also prevents wasted water from running down the street, and in times of “big water events” (storms), reduces the volume hitting our storm drains and the potential erosion that can cause.
  • Reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides by using these green gardening practices.
With metered water around the corner for many, we'll all be looking for ways to manage our home's water budget  I'll be reporting here on all the wallet-friendly (and river-friendly) opportunities being offered, from rebates on smart controllers, to local classes, to "cash for grass" programs. We have 21 waterproviders in the greater Sacramento area ... some using well water, some with river water ... and they all have different programs and their service districts are, literally, "all over the map" (groan). It can be confusing!

poppies and other CA natives in Land Park
California poppies and other natives in Land Park

Here are my gardening resolutions for 2012:
  • to make sure you get to take advantage of these incentives.
  • to help educate our community about the WHY of river-friendly landscaping.
  • to have fun with it! Gardening is a creative, life-giving activity, a combination of art, science and sweat. Let's make our gardens unique! (Go on garden tours or visit the Water Efficient Landscape (WEL) gardens in our area to get some inspiration.)

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

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