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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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gail's Gardens - Looking Back at 2009

Happy New Year! Looking back over the past year and my resolutions made last January, I’m happy to report that I’ve done pretty well in fulfilling my plans. I have supported my favorite garden charities, the Royal Oak and Garden Conservancy. I have improved my irrigation to be more efficient and have eliminated a portion of my lawn to reduce water use.

I have been composting my kitchen scraps regularly. I have learned a lot of things about plants and gardening from many sources: my current source of inspiration is the new book by “Grassman” John Greenlee: The American Meadow Garden. This beautifully illustrated book (photos by Saxon Holt) is full of great ideas and options for those of us working toward eliminating traditional lawns.

I have also had the pleasure this year of designing several yards with “mini-lawns”. These postage stamp size lawns (250 to 400 sq. ft.) are perfect for those of us from the Midwest and the East who really want to have a lawn (I think this is a genetic trait from which we cannot escape!). We feel that a garden needs that jewel of green at its center to be complete. With a “mini-lawn” we can have our soft green spot for barefoot walking and rolling with children without bankrupting the water budget. And on my latest project, sub-surface drip irrigation was used to reduce water use even further. Since the lawn is so small, mowing with a push mower is easy: no release of pollution from gas burning engines, just a little good old fashioned sweat!

Mark your calendar for these fun and informative classes coming up in 2010 on Saturdays at 10:30am at Bassignani’s Nursery- they are all free! 1841 Gravenstein Highway South, Sebastopol Info: 823-3984

January 16 - Roses: Prune and Plant NOW! Bring your pruning shears and gloves, and learn how to properly prune your roses for great bloom this spring. Designer Gail Fanning will also help you choose the best new roses from our great selection of bare root varieties. With the new disease resistant, easy-care rose varieties you can have beautiful roses with minimum effort!

January 30 - Dormant (Bareroot) Fruit Trees Bare roots are here! NOW is the time to plant your fruit trees. Tony Bassignani will share his many years of experience and answer all your questions about choosing and caring for your fruit trees.

February 6 - Plant your Sweet Peas Now! Our own English gardener Claudia Owens will introduce you to the wonderful world of sweet peas: so easy and so lovely! Learn how to grow your own with minimal effort: you will have vases full of fragrance and color.

February 20 - Camellia Festival. Join us for an exciting introduction to the care, feeding and enjoyment of these great landscape standards. Our expert horticulturalist Ken Eliason will teach you the difference between Japonica and Sasanqua, and how to make them an exciting part of your garden! KSRO Garden Talk with Steve Garner will be broadcasting live from the nursery today!

March 6 - Grafting Fruit Trees Successful. Grow 4 different apples on one tree! Multi-graft trees are fun, and a great way to maximize your fruit production in a small space. Tony Bassignani demonstrates the technique for grafting your own fruit trees.

March 20 - Flowers for Your Cutting Garden. Learn how to start, plant, and care for the wide variety of annuals, perennials, and bulbs which can be used for cut flowers. Garden Designer Gail Fanning shows you how to bring the garden’s bounty into your home!

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