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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sacramento Valley Native Plant Garden Tour - 3/31

Here's an opportunity for those of you who are, or would like to be, California native plant gardeners ...a chance to see some of the best native gardens in Sacramento.
Gardens Gone Wild

My friend, Darlene, and I went last year and we loved it... sometimes because it was sooo amazing, sometimes because we got to say to each other, "I could do that better, (ahem)". It's this weekend, and you have to email to get a tour map, so act fast!

Event Info

The Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is having its second annual garden tour this Saturday. This is a free, self-guided tour through a number of native plant gardens and other landscapes in Sacramento and Yolo counties. Gardens will be comprised of at least 50% native plants.
What's special about California native plants? They are adapted to our soil and climate, and are easy to care for. A large number of native plants are naturally drought tolerant. They are unmatched in habitat value, attracting native birds, butterflies, and other forms of wildlife. And, as the gardens on the tour show, California native plants are beautiful; the gardens on the tour display a sense of place that is uniquely Californian.
The tour of home gardens landscaped with California native plants will be open to the public this Saturday March 31st, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Registrations are limited and required. To register for the 2012 Gardens Gone Native tour, email inquiries to Tara at You will receive a link to the registration form. Following registration, tour maps, garden addresses and other tour information will be sent out via email.

Some of my pictures from last year

native California grasses
... at the end of a native grass pathway, an artful bench

There are even Native Plant cookies!
 Casandra from the demonstration garden at the Old City Cemetary. Great hostess - great cookies!

Flannel bush at the demonstration garden, maybe the  best location to see fully grown natives. Great team of volunteers keep this garden in good shape!

urbanite path
Nice "urbanite" (old concrete) pathway thru this garden. As you can see, there are a few non-native mediterranean plants (lavender) mixed in. It's a great mix for our area!

Call me ... let's explore native gardening together!

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shopper's Guide to the Nursery

I went to Talini's Nursery in East Sacramento today to get some plants to show on Sac & Co (a T.V show! Check it out at 11 am Channel 10)... the topic: Spring Planting. Talini's hadn't gotten all their stock in, but you could feel it in the air. In 2 weeks, they'll be bursting at the seams with gorgeous blooming pretty things. Here are some lessons I've learned (some of them the hard way) regarding how to be a successful plant shopper, and then, a successful gardener. 


Plant for the Right Season

The nurseries have warm season veggies and cool season veggies right now. It's not warm enough to plant the warm season fellows yet. Save that tomato for a month or so (When you can sit on the ground and it feels warm, your soil is ready!). But, there's still time for some cool season crops like lettuce. Bedding plants have the same warm/cool season categories ... plants like violas be planted now and will do well into June. If in doubt, ask.


Don't Overbuy!

Resist the impulse to just start loading up your cart! You and your plants will be a lot more successful if you stick with what you can actually plant now (or in the next week). Plants do better when they're in the ground.


 Read Your Labels!

This was the first plant I spied that I thought, "I want that!" But would it work for me?

 Yes ... I read the label! Sun to part shade, early spring blooming, tends to get a bit floppy so likes neighbors who have a bit of muscle.


Try Something New

The hot topics these days: Edible Gardens, Vertical Gardens, Native Gardens.
Meyer's Lemon, already laden with citrus and ready to take home. Looks good in any garden!

California Poppy - I love the standard, ubiquitous orange poppy, but there are sweet variations available as well - proving that you can't have too much of a good thing!

And, the most important rule of all: Right Plant for the Right Place!

Before you head for the nursery, know something about the area you want to plant in. How many hours of sun does it get and is it morning or afternoon sun? How large is the space, not only how wide but how tall? If you buy plants that naturally fit the area you'll save yourself time later on and the plant will be healthier.
Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help!
Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Good morning! It's a great day to be Irish!

When I was a young girl, my mother had a dance studio. She had recitals (with the occasional "guest vocalist" - ahem) and this is one of the songs I remember singing. The shamrock of the song has many forms, but all of them, according to my Sunset Western Garden Book, are likely to become weeds. And if weeds they are, so be it...and perhaps it speaks well of us Irish transplants...that we're so willing to grow and so crafty in our charm that we thrive like weeds, and have songs written about us.

I'm looking over a four-leaf clover, that I overlooked before.
One leaf is sunshine, the other is rain,
third is the roses that bloom in the lane.
No use explaining, the one remaining, is somebody I adore.
I'm looking over a four-leaf clover, that I overlooked before.

- Words by Mort Dixon, music by Harry Woods
(Written in 1927 - popularized in 1948 by Art Mooney)