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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fall Color & Garden Care

I recently had the good luck to spend some days in our beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains and at Lake Tahoe: what a magnificent show Mother Nature has provided for us! As a garden designer, I am humbled by the perfection of Nature’s art. Gigantic rock formations in perfect contrast with the dark pines, accented by splashes of golden aspen and the flame of red maple: incredible! Bubbling and gurgling clear water streams splashing over rugged rocks, then subsiding into golden marshlands punctuated with mounds of airy willow. I could only walk and wonder at each new and amazing vista. It was wonderful to see so many families with young children out enjoying the bounty of Nature: it gives hope that they will develop a love for our country’s natural wonders that will follow them throughout their lives.

While few of us have miles of open space at our doorstep, I believe that in our gardens we each have the opportunity to recreate a small bit of nature’s beauty, both for our own spiritual refreshment and to contribute to the “re-greening” of this country. When I work with my landscape clients, I always attempt to create a “mini-ecology” which respects nature’s existing conditions by using plants which are well adapted to our unique Mediterranean climate and appropriate for the “human- built” space in which we are using them. Trying to force a plant to live in conditions very different from its original environment is a sure recipe for failure and frustration!

We are so fortunate to have available an enormous catalog of Mediterranean and California native plants that can thrive and flourish in our gardens with minimal care (and water). It is the task of the garden designer to identify the best plant for each area of the garden, based on all the factors present in that particular garden: sun, wind, soil, animal life, aesthetics, and human use. If we take the time to thoughtfully pursue that perfect plant for each of our garden situations, we may someday hope to design a garden half as wonderful as Mother Nature’s handiwork!

The Garden in Fall

Don’t forget to spray your fruit trees to eliminate leaf curl and related diseases: you must start now to get in 3 rounds of spraying before the spring: consult your favorite nursery for advice on the best organic methods.

Now that we’ve had a good, soaking rain, be sure to turn down, or turn off, your automatic watering systems. Rain sensors are available which will automatically turn off your systems when it does rain, if you have trouble remembering!

Begin thinking about planting! Buy those plants that are on sale now, then pop them into the ground where they will get rooted in over the winter for a great show next spring and summer. California native plants especially appreciate Fall planting. Wild flower seeds can also be spread in Fall.

If you need help and advise with any of these Fall garden activities, just give me a call at 829-2455. Consultations in your garden start at only $50.

Upcoming Garden Events

FREE classes on Saturdays at Bassignani’s Nursery in Sebastopol:
Beautiful Bulbs: Learn how to plant bulbs for Spring bloom in the garden,
or how to force them for indoor color in the winter.
November 21 at 10:30 am.

Holiday Decorating from the Garden: bring some greens to share as
We create wreaths, swags, and table decorations!
December 12, at 10:30 am

Do you have a gardening question you would like to ask? Or a photo to share?
Send your questions and photos (jpg) to

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