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Sonoma County Gazette

Garden - Landscape, Plants - Farms

If it grows and nutures life - we're interested in learning more. Please refer to our 2017 Gardeners Resource Guide for locally-owned garden businesses, plant propagators and more.

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2019-09-18Sep 18, 2019

With rising costs in everything on the market today, people are starting to search for natural and organic ways to save money and recycle. But what should you use for nutrients to ensure optimal growing without having to pump your produce full of chemicals or worse? Compost is a great idea that allows a person to recycle food scraps into productive waste as well as help the environment in the process. 

2019-04-29Apr 29, 2019

May is always an exuberant month in gardens and the natural world – winter is behind us and the dry season lies ahead. It is perhaps the easiest month to have a showy garden, it seems like everything wants to burgeon with growth and flowers.  It is also the month of Mother’s Day, and if your mother is into plants or gardening, there is no problem finding beautiful plant gifts (or gift cards from nurseries). Mother’s Day – due to the florist industry – is also associated with roses. While roses have gotten a bad rep in some circles – they, for the most part, are amazing plants, surprisingly robust, incredibly varied in form, color, and fragrance. There are hundreds of species of rose and thousands of hybrids – no one could grow them all even if they wanted to. Some roses have a reputation for being fussy – avoid these. Rose breeding in the last 4 decades has focused on improving the entire plant – growth, form, healthy attractive foliage, strong and various fragrances, extended flowering periods. There’s a rose out there for anyone – about the only thing they don’t tolerate is deep shade. Did you know? There are four native species of rose growing in Sonoma County.

2019-04-04Apr 4, 2019

Although orchids are often thought of as exotic, expensive, temperamental and hard to grow, it is possible to grow the beautiful flowers in your home. The Sonoma County Orchid Society will show you how.

2019-03-31Mar 31, 2019

To experience real terroir, we need to respect our terroir and avoid using chemicals and pesticides.  Supporting “organic” or ecologically respectful wine producers, farmers, nurseries and food producers as much as possible supports change in this area.  Commercial landscape spaces, neighborhood associations, and home gardeners, can also contribute positively to our environment. To experience the real expression of our landscaped spaces, we need to use plants that like what our soil and microclimate and minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

2019-08-30Aug 30, 2019

There are common-sense ways of reducing fire risk. Reducing vegetation can reduce fire intensity and speed.  Keep flammable mulch and excess fuel away from structures. Create gaps in combustible fencing near structures.  Make areas around structures lush and adequately watered. In a wind-driven fire-storm, no habitat with any vegetation is safe though, and people should be prepared to speedily evacuate and save themselves, loved ones and pets.  In the Tubbs Fire (2017), wind-driven fires crossed freeways and burned buildings surrounded by parking lots. 

2019-08-29Aug 29, 2019

I sat with Mike Boss in a rustic gazebo on the grounds of his newly acquired 7 acre horticultural preserve outside Sebastopol, CA. Now renamed the Hidden Forest Nursery, for decades it operated as Sonoma Horticultural Nursery, specializing in rhododendrons and azaleas and featuring rare botanical wonders along its beautiful forested garden paths. 

2019-07-27Jul 27, 2019

August (and September) tend to be a relatively laid-back time in gardens, time to enjoy the work put into your landscape earlier in the year. Not that there’s nothing to do, but with the heat and dryness, better to sit back with a refreshing drink and appreciate what’s there, rather than burning yourself out on chores. Observe. While you’re sitting outside relaxing, don’t fail to notice what is missing in your landscape or garden. The glass is half full, but let’s consider how to fill it up.  These can be added later in the cool season, but make a mental note about what you might like to grow.

2019-07-24Jul 24, 2019

Mayor Amy Harrington has signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Tri-National Monarch Pledge ( committing to the protection of Monarch Butterflies and their habitat in the City of Sonoma.

2019-07-18Jul 18, 2019

Defensible Space is space that can be defended. It’s as simple as that. If you prepare your home and neighborhood so that it doesn’t burst into flames and spread rapidly from home to home, it can be defended. Take a look around...

2019-07-18Jul 18, 2019

This summer I would like to feature a common, yet often overlooked bird in our area—the Song Sparrow.This bird does not get a lot of attention. It is small and brown. This bird can really sing. If you have ever been on any trail in Sonoma County, you have heard song sparrows. Males sing year-round. They have one of the most musical songs of any local bird. It is quite ornate. It only lasts a couple seconds, but it is repeated frequently. Interestingly...


2019-07-17Jul 17, 2019

Early summer is a great time to propagate your favorite plants from cuttings.  While many plants are quite easy to root from a cutting, there are a couple of tips to give you the greatest chance of success. You want to help the cutting survive by protecting it from bacterial and fungal infection and to encourage rooting. Raw honey works because it is a natural anti-biotic and anti-fungal.

2019-06-30Jun 30, 2019

California buckwheats. A great group of native shrubs and sub-shrubs for summer flowering, loved by many pollinators, are the CA buckwheats in the genus Eriogonum. These are not the plants that produce the seed called buckwheat but are in the same family. The genus Eriogonum has diversified extensively in Western North America, and there over 250 species. Most grow in specialized habitats, but there are a handful of dependable garden-worthy species available in nurseries – primarily native plant nurseries, that you might want to try to fit in. All need full sun and do best grown mostly dry once established.

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