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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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2019-04-29Apr 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.

2019-03-11Mar 11, 2019

California’s native plants have had millions of years adapting to life in what we now know as Sonoma county. All the plants in our region have evolved during many long hot summers. They have developed physical characteristics that aid in their tolerance of excessive heat with minimal water. When I am planning for a new garden, I always consider “my well adapted native plant buddies” In fact, I have a “native” for practically every situation. For screening I might use Toyon(Heteromeles arbutifolia) or Pacific Wax Myrtle (Myrica californica). For covering a sunny slope I might use Carmel Creeper(Ceanothis griseus)or Emerald Carpet (Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald carpet’). One would be hard pressed to find a plant willing to bloom longer and harder than a Salvia. With many species in the Genus, It’s easy to find one that will work for that sunny spot in your garden. I love them for their brightly colored blossoms and their aromatic foliage.

2019-02-28Feb 28, 2019

A supernatural landscape style is not a term you hear every day in gardening circles.  Supernatural often connotes mysticism and other worlds and magic.  We use the term supernatural to describe ourPlanet Horticulture style of landscape gardening featuring diverse plants from around the world that are climate appropriate, arranged in heightened naturalistic combinations set into garden spaces with good circulation and gathering areas. Creating a recognizable garden style was a gradual evolution.  We combine the art and science of horticulture to make gardens that are functional and a pleasure to the senses. 

2019-02-27Feb 27, 2019

A supernatural landscape style is not a term you hear every day in gardening circles.  Supernatural often connotes mysticism and other worlds and magic.  We use the term supernatural to describe our Planet Horticulture style of landscape gardening featuring diverse plants from around the world that are climate appropriate, arranged in heightened naturalistic combinations set into garden spaces with good circulation and gathering areas. 

2019-02-26Feb 26, 2019

March is generally the time when we transition from the winter garden to our spring/summer gardens, though weather can still fluctuate enormously. Overall, the days are longer and warmer, the rains are spaced apart more, and the nights are less cold. Also, we can get out and enjoy our gardens – no more leaving for work in the dark and getting home in the dark. By March, everything is burgeoning and ready to take off.

2019-02-15Feb 15, 2019

An annual ritual for rose growers is the pruning of roses sometime from December to the end of March.  But why do the bushes need to be pruned?  For centuries they were left to their own devices and each year they bloomed. One year a rose garden was accidentally burned and that next spring the garden was full of huge rose blossoms. For many years, the roses were burned to the ground which allowed the new growth to provide lovely flowers. Eventually the head gardener decided that there had to be a less drastic way to get those blooms without the risk of burning down the residence.  Today with grafted roses, this method would not work as well since the graft might be burned and the blooms would be from the rootstock – not what we are looking to see.  Each year roses need to go into a dormancy once the nights become cool or frosty so that the Spring is full of the expected large, full blooms.  Here in Sonoma County, it really never gets cold enough to do this naturally, so we prune.

2019-02-05Feb 5, 2019

A wide variety of family entertainment is planned for the upcoming President’s Day Weekend. The community supported Cloverdale Citrus Fair kicks off the Fair Season in California showcasing its spectacular citrus fruit displays and honoring the citrus belt that was once part of the Northern Sonoma County landscape.

2019-01-30Jan 30, 2019

When creating a new landscape, understanding goals and seeing the potential, are the most essential elements.  We analyze what is there and then try to imagine what could be there. In most gardens we design, critical spatial goals include screening and privacy, circulation, destinations, and focal points.  A majority gardens have many layers of previous features; plantings, trees, hedges, fences, walls, terraces, steps, water features and more. Even if adequately maintained over the decades, some of these features may not serve your needs today.

2019-01-03Jan 3, 2019

I thought our property was free from mountain lions. But, after mysteriously losing four goats within a few months, I learned more about mountain lions than I ever wanted to know.

2019-01-02Jan 2, 2019

Redwood Creek is a tributary to Jonive Creek, which weaves under and along Bodega Highway before entering Atascadero Creek at the northwest corner of Ragle Ranch ParkAtascadero Creek then flows through Graton into Green Valley Creek, which meets the Russian River in Forestville. Green Valley Creek is renowned as a critical and productive stronghold for endangered coho salmon and was the last stream in the Russian River watershed to support three consecutive year classes of coho (representing all year classes, given that coho have a three-year life cycle). For decades, it has been a focal point of local salmon recovery efforts, but comparably little is known about the potential of Atascadero Creek and its tributary streams to support salmon.


2018-12-30Dec 30, 2018

Give them an inch and they’ll take an acre…as the California Invasive Pest Council says. There are a whopping 195 invasive plant species in Sonoma County. In the northwestern forest region which includes Mendocino County, 265 invasive species have been identified. An invasive plant species is non-native and aggressively out-competes native species! In other words, they spread fast and crowd out other plants, harming ecosystems and impacting water quality. Native plants provide shelter and food for native insects, birds, and animals. Invasive species tend not to have habitat value. In fact, they sometimes destroy the very habitats native species need to survive. 

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.

2018-12-21Dec 21, 2018

In 1875, famed horticulturist Luther Burbank referred to Sonoma County as “the chosen spot of all this earth.”  This quote holds up today.  We live in a blessed spot with an almost overabundance of beauty, generally pleasant climate, good rainfall and a wide variety of topography and natural features. Roger Raiche and David McCrory of Planet Horticulture is a design-build landscape contractor team that specializes in custom designed gardens in Sonoma County.  They have been developing gardens together for the past 20+ years...

2019-04-04Apr 4, 2019

The annual Eco-Friendly Garden Tour will take place onMay 4th! Now in its ninth year, the Tour is sponsored by the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership and focuses on low water-use, sustainable landscaping. Tour participants will learn water-saving strategies and garden tips from homeowners while visiting gorgeous gardens and mingling with fellow gardening enthusiasts. The 2019 tour has over 40 inspirational gardens throughout Sonoma and Marin counties.

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.

2019-03-30Mar 30, 2019

Every year since 2010, the students at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm (SWSF) come together with students at Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School (SAES) to sustainably garden a plot of land at SAES and focus on gardening curriculum that includes cooking, nutrition, science, math and reading.  

2019-03-30Mar 30, 2019

While chilly, wet winter may not have put us in the “garden planning” mode, it is nonetheless time to start planning our planting schemes for this year. But the next few weeks are crucial for planning and preparing a bee-friendly garden.

2019-03-15Mar 15, 2019

If you happen to have a large Coast Live Oak tree in your yard, consider yourself lucky.  Coast Live Oaks are the sustaining feature of our local ecosystem.  The whole Santa Rosa Plain was once a composite of rich wetlands and majestic oak woodlands before we altered the landscape to build our houses and businesses that we need. The Coast Live Oak can live up to 250 years and attain a height of 80 feet.

2019-03-13Mar 13, 2019
2019-03-13Mar 13, 2019

Have you ever been walking along, enjoying the view of a lush grassy area, and then suddenly noticed patches of burnt orange grass?  If you’re like me, once you realize that this dead grass has been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. The pesticides don’t just stay where they are sprayed.  They enter the water table and the air we breathe. They kill habitat for insects, birds, rodents, everything alive where they have been sprayed.  If you are concerned, there are actions you can take to reduce these toxins in the environment. You can also encourage neighbors and the larger community to consider and implement safe alternatives for weed control.   


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