GAIL'S GARDEN: Learning about Sustainable Gardening
New Years ResolutionsHappy New Year West County Gardeners! I hope you had a joyful Holiday Season and are ready to dive into a productive year in the garden with me. I thought I would share with you some of my hopes for my garden in 2009: perhaps you may be inspired to try some of the same.
First, I want to continue to learn more about soils, plants, climates, and techniques to improve my garden. There are so many great educational opportunities for gardeners here in Sonoma county that it is a shame not to take advantage of at least a few. Try the free educational programs at local nurseries that are announced here in the Gazette: I will be teaching a class at Bassignani’s Nursery on January 10 on Rose Pruning, and Tony Bassignani teaches about Fruit Tree Care on January 24.
If you want to learn more about caring for your plants, don’t miss my Hands-On Pruning Intensive on January 17th: for only $20 you will receive a morning’s instruction and practice in pruning for roses, shrubs, perennials, and even small trees! (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register: class size is limited, so please register soon). I will also be teaching a 6 week class ‘Designing Sustainable Gardens’ with my friend and fellow garden designer Ruth Bracken beginning in February (see SRJC Community Education website for registration http://www.santarosa.edu/).
There are great classes for a reasonable price at the Santa Rosa Junior College (http://www.santarosa.edu/): I hope to take Dave Fazio’s class ’Unique Shrubs, Vines and Groundcovers for Nothern California’ this spring. Try a weekend seminar offered by Horticulture Magazine (www.hortmag.com), or the Garden Conservancy Open Days (www.gardenconservancy.org) for exciting learning opportunities. And for those of you who are really ambitious, consider the Master Gardener program (camastergardeners.ucdavis.edu) for a really in-depth learning experience.
No time for classes? Why not subscribe to a new magazine this year? Sunset (http://www.sunset.com/) is an old standby, of course, but I also enjoy Horticulture Magazine (http://www.hortmag.com/GeneralMenu/), Organic Gardening http://www.organicgardening.com/, and Fine Gardening (http://www.taunton.com/finegardening/). This is an easy way to learn and be inspired in your gardening.
Second, I want to make my garden as sustainable and earth-friendly as possible. I will continue to work to make my irrigation systems as efficient as possible to avoid wasting water, and I will decrease the size of my lawn (the most water intensive part of any garden).
I plan to increase my composting of kitchen wastes, which will improve the health of my garden and soil. There are so many ways to compost that each of us should be able to find a simple and relatively easy way to make our own great ‘brown gold’ to nourish our plants. And if you can’t make your own compost, you can buy from Sonoma Compost (http://www.sonomacompost.com/) wonderful products made from local household green waste (Improved Mallard Mulch is my favorite for both soil amendment and mulching).
I will use only natural methods of pest and weed control, even if it means a little more work: I hope that you will all join me in this resolution to improve the health of our planet, our families and our fellow creatures on this earth.
I plan to contribute to the larger garden community this year: there are so many ways that we can help others! Community gardens like Harvest for the Hungry (http://www.harvestgarden.org/organicproduce.html) in Santa Rosa always need help, and every school in the county has a garden which can use volunteers. Or perhaps you have an elderly neighbor or family member who would appreciate your help in making their garden more beautiful.
On a more national level you should consider becoming a member of the Garden Conservancy (http://www.gardenconservancy.org/) or Royal Oak Society (http://www.royal-oak.org/): both excellent organizations dedicated to preserving some truly spectacular gardens for the future.
I will spend time in my garden each day: even on a rainy and cloudy day, it is invigorating for my spirit to be outside in the fresh air, exercising and enjoying my plants. Eat outside, sit outside, enjoy your garden with your family and friends.
I resolve to have fun in my garden and try something new this year. I hope you will join me!
Blue Hill Garden Design
Sebastopol, CA 95472
1841 Gravenstein Hwy S
Sebastopol, CA 95472