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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Give-Away Deadline Extended to Sunday at 6 pm

In honor of giving me a break (!) so I can get my design projects done today, I'm extending the deadline for my 5th Blogoverary Give-Away Extravaganza to tomorrow at 6 pm! Here's a reminder of what's up for grabs:

 Seed Sprouter from Botanical Interests

... and a million other packets of seeds for sprouting or planting (some "new for 2014")

To enter, just leave a comment here about anything related before 6 pm tomorrow night (Pacific Standard Time). (For more info about any of these companies, check my other posts over the last 2 weeks.)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Garden Gifting/Garden Give-Away

I want to give special space to the last part of tomorrow's giveaway ... a collection of 10 organic seed packets in their own cute tin from Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden. I love seeds and tins, so I'm hooked. This would be a great item to win, and, an excellent present as well. There are 8 collections in all. (Check them all out: Edible Front Yard, Crafter's Delight, Grandma's Root Cellar and, more!)

"My First Garden, Easy Grow Classics"

While we're on the subject of Peaceful Valley ... here are some of the things I really like about them:

1.   My friend Charlotte (Daffodil-Planter) Germane works there!

2.  Trisha makes all manner of great videos on everything gardening.

3.  They have bare-root fruit trees that will be shipped out in December and January. Most of them are $19.95. (I have a back fence with a slope. I want to terrace it and plant fruit trees along it! THIS year - before the end of February!

4.  They have great resources for DIYers, like goat cheese kits.

 Aurora, the goat, is from Nevada City! I think she's the star of Trisha's goat milking/cheese making video! 

 5.  M-braces Great raised bed system invented by a Woodland teacher. $99 for 4 braces. Just add lumber! 


6. They have a large variety of frost protection products. While this may not seem the sexiest surprise under the tree (!), but, we are coming around to that season where frost snaps can take out your citrus or other marginal plants. And, smart, is sexy!

To see more of the prizes for the Give-Away, check out this post. There's still time to enter ... Give-Away closes tomorrow night!

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Japanese Zen Garden

From my Pinterest Board, "Theme Gardens" ... my most popular "Pin"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5th Blogoversary Give-Away ... Sweetening the Pot!

The 5th anniversary of this blog was in August! I ambitiously had back-to-back give-aways lined up to celebrate the event, with all of the prizes coming from the sponsors of the (I know, I know, I talk about it way too much), the 6th Annual Garden Bloggers Fling ...

A paused moment in the garden binging, I mean, flinging.

Well, concurrently with this ambition, was a bunch of new clients! Whoa. Somebody got busy! How happy is that!?! The prizes were lined up, but the give-aways lagged behind.

The Blogoversary Botanical Seeds Give-Away

Enter November and my daily posting with Blogher's NaBloPoMo. The blogging mill starts coming back to life! We currently have one Give-Away  ...

... this very cool Seed Sprouter from Botanical Interests

The sprouter has 2 layers that can have dividers added to create 4 sections. Thus 4 potential different seeds sprouting at the same time, or 1 seed in 4 different stages. The bottom tray catches any draining water. There are also a variety of sprouting seeds to be given away. I'm trying one of these seeds now, using an old spaghetti sauce container. The winner will have way more class than me!

The Give-away expands ... Now we're going to "sweeten the pot"!

Pruners are important. Different sizes for different jobs. I'm always glad to have them around. But these shears have something extra ... they're like an extension of my hand! Comfortable, easy to use. I love 'em!

Variety Pack of Annie Haven Moo-Poo Manure Teas ( "Horse", "Cow" and "Alfalfa")

My biggest gardening weakness is soil fertility. Maybe you, too, need to give your soil and your plants an extra boost. Would be worth a try, don't you think? And, you'll get to try it in all three "flavors".

Suppliers of  everything organic for the homesteader and urban gardener, except tractors and hay balers. Details to come ...

How to Enter, How to Win

How it will work ... post a comment on this post saying something about pruners, sprouts, manure tea or hay balers. (Also, make sure a return link to you shows up in the comment box so I can contact you.) Random drawing for winners will take place on Nov. 30th. Good Luck!

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Garden Adventures: Palm Desert Plants

Here's a compendium (!) of plants from my walk-arounds at La Quinta Resort in the Palm Desert. All of them drought-tolerant and perfectly at home in this environment characterized by hot summers and low rainfall. All of them, except for the last (ahem). 

Agave americana, Century Plant

Fouquieria splendens, Octotillo

Opuntia, Prickly Pear

Cactus, ???

Cercidium microphyllum, Littleleaf Palo Verde

Euphorbia milii, Crown of Thorns

Bougainvillea - pruned, unpruned, mid-pruning

Lawn, and more lawn ... lawn everywhere in Palm Springs.

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Garden Adventures: Playground of the Rich and Famous, and Me! La Quinta Resort

Two years ago I spent a few days at La Quinta Resort near Palm Springs, with nothing to do with my time but roam around, look at plants, shop, eat great food and absorb some history ...

That's me!

From the La Quinta Resort website: 
"In the early 1920s, San Francisco businessman Walter H. Morgan was drawn to a place in the California desert that dwellers in these lands had long referred to as the Land of Eternal Sun. He envisioned a tranquil retreat that captured the essence of quiet hacienda-style living. Purchasing 1,400 acres from the native Cahuilla Indians, he enlisted the renowned architect Gordon Kaufman, along with scores of artisan craftsmen to make his dream a reality. From more than 100,000 hand-formed adobe bricks and 60,000 locally fired roof tiles, a small grouping of quaint casitas and a cozy dining room sprung up. Morgan called this place La Quinta.
"Word quickly spread among Hollywood’s elite that Morgan’s oasis in the desert was a truly relaxing escape, far from the harsh glare of the limelight and away from prying eyes. The brightest stars came, each seeking the solitude of La Quinta for their own reasons."

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo's casita ... her dress, her bed, her stairs, her pretty window to let in the light.

"Greta Garbo, we learned, had her own casita at La Quinta. Not surprisingly,the reclusive movie star whose signature comment was, “I vant to be alone,’ selected a casita that was at a considerable remove from the Main Plaza, with its shops and restaurants. As a result, whenever she ran low on cigarettes, she was faced with a long walk. But that never fazed her. “I’d walk a mile for a Camel,” she often said, providing R. J. Reynolds with its universally known and still-recalled slogan."  Luxury Life Review

Frank Capra

A plaque in front of his *good luck* casita, where he came to write some of his biggest Hollywood hits:
 "Director Frank Capra first came to La Quinta in 1934, to turn the story "Night Bus" , which he read in a Palm Springs barber shop, into the movie script for "It Happened One Night." When the film swept the Academy Awards that year, Mr. Capra became superstitious about La Quinta.
This is where Mr. Capra wrote the screen plays for many film classics, such as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington",  "You Can;t Take it With You",  "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", "It's a Wonderful Life", and "Meet John Doe". 
I have a writer husband, so it's especially interesting for me to see the typewriter on the desk and realize all these famous movies had a beginning. A writer, who hoped he'd be successful, that he'd do it right! If you haven't seen it, here's how you can watch It Happened One Night!

Thanks to the staff at La Quinta for my private golf cart tour of the grounds, and a peek at this resort as it was then! Tomorrow will be my chance to take another look again at the plants of La Quinta Resort.

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

Garden Adventures: La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs

Two years ago, my husband and I took a business trip to Palm Springs where we stayed at La Quinta Resort. Now a fancy Waldorf-Astoria hotel with a world-class tennis club and surrounded by golf courses, back in its early days it was a quiet hacienda retreat in the Palm Desert.

From the website: "Before it became an oasis of lush gardens, La Quinta Resort and Club was just a 26 casita resort surrounded by the Palm Desert.'

While my husband sat in on break-out sessions, and think tanks (!), I roamed the property... 

Opuntia, prickly pear

I saw plants I loved, 

Mexican architectural details ...

I discovered the casitas (little houses) and stories of the stars,

ate great food

 and went bug-eyed at the fancy cars. 

Too much to say in one post about La Quinta Resort, past and present! I have great pictures of Greta Garbo's house, which being me, I found equally fascinating with the pruning of the bougainvillea! I'll show you some more pictures tomorrow. We'll start with Greta, and also, Frank Capra, who wrote some of the best classic screenplays of the  30's and 40's in his lucky casita, including "It Happened One Night". (Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable ... rent it if you've never seen it. It's great!) 

Ta for now ...

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

Garden Gifting

A few gift ideas for the garden crazies in your life!

1.  A Gift Certificate

Annie's Annuals and Perennials
Now til the end of the year, 15% off all gift cards at Annie's Annuals

2. Boulders

Mid-Valley Rock Yard

May sound really weird, but boulders really bring about the glimmer in a gardener's eye. The bigger they are, the bigger the glimmer! But big also equals heavy lifting equipment. I talked to my friend, Anna Chetcuti, owner of Mid Valley Rock in Sacramento ... she said if the boulders were 2 x 2 they could be managed by the homeowner, larger they needed that heavy equipment. But, what the heck ... see what you like and figure it out. Not as expensive as you might think!

Silverado Building Supply ... getting that glimmer yet?

 3. A Fruit Orchard ...

January and February are the best months for bare root fruit trees. Bare root trees are in their dormant stage (no leaves, not actively growing) during these months, so they're easier to transport and easier to plant, plus, you  get the best selection and the best prices.  Dave Wilson Nursery in Modesto supplies a large part of the trees sold in the California market (including those sold by Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply in both their online and retail stores in Grass Valley.) Good educational material on both sites.

... with a book or two?

Here's a couple I have at home that are great. The first, Fruit Trees in Small Spaces, by Colby Eierman, invites the new orchardist to give it a go, in a friendly encouraging fashion. 

The book covers design, choosing and caring for your trees 

with recipes ... 

and sketches

The second book is a new one, well, newer than that, even. Not even published! So how do I have a copy? Timber Press has sent me a review copy!!! I know, cool, heh? I'm prepped to like it just from the title because it's the 3rd in the uber practical series, What's Wrong with my Plant?, What's Wrong with my Vegetable Garden? and now, What's Wrong with my Fruit Garden? by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. 

I use to work in a nursery and customers would always come in asking, "what's wrong with my ...?" Sometimes, most of the time, there were numerous answers (guesses). Perhaps if I had been a grower my whole life, I would have had 100% certainty on the cause and solution to the problem. Well, this book drives this ability to your doorstep and says, "Howdy, I'm yours!"

(from the author's blog)
Easy to use, it covers vines like this kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, stone fruit, citrus ... or, as the cover says, "100% organic solutions for berries, trees, nuts, vines, and tropicals."

Sure, you could get a flannel booted bunny bag for watching t.v,. or a makeup kit with 50 shades of eye shadow. Maybe a set of new socks or 7 days of the week undies (my mother's favorite). Or, something I'd (I mean, they'd) really like! Go ahead, I've made it easy for you! 

(from the author's blog)

You're Welcome 

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Author's Garden - At Home with Rebecca Sweet

Funny and charming, garden design and author, Rebecca Sweet's, back yard is a welcome stop after a long - and hot - day of visiting gardens! Green, restful, cool. Rebecca's been touring with us on the Garden Bloggers Fling ... she's packed and driving to Tahoe as soon as we leave, otherwise she'd wine and dine us!!! Maybe I give her too much credit, but it seems to me her gardens are always lovely, her house always ready, herself always welcoming! She sets a good example!

Rebecca's bird house

Rebecca's bird

(Sunset Magazine Photo)
Her backyard has cozy sitting areas and walkways, a brick patio and the best studio ever! This garden "shed" was featured in Sunset magazine about a year ago...

Here's a fish-eyed snap of the same Sunset picture now hanging in her studio ... fish-eyed because I was playing around.with my camera.

One of the lovely accents in her garden 

This pathway,like many pocket beds in her garden, is given interest by the raised stone bed that flanks it. Good for the plants, too, with the ability to add all that yummy fertile soilI!

A New Book!

Rebecca's new book, Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture and Form, is only 21 days old. Her first book, Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces (written by Rebecca and Susan Morrison) has been one of my favorites, evidence by a gillion post-its sticking out from all sides.

Rebecca's giving away 5 copies of her new book on Goodreads ...  both books are available thru Amazon.

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