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Winter Wonderland (California Style)

By Peyton / January 9, 2018

I love this season! Wait – didn’t I say that about Autumn?      As I’m writing this it is raining, the first “real” storm of the season. In California’s Mediterranean climate, the normal is for us to receive the majority of rain and snow in winter and early spring. It’s been a dry fall. December […]

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Autumn color in the California garden

By Peyton / November 16, 2017

I love this season! We get to fill empty spaces with new plants or move them around, re-imagine & renovate garden rooms or the entire landscape, and work in pleasant weather. Plus – the colors are wonderful! Sometimes I hear people wish for “more fall colors” in their California garden. What I think they mean […]

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Heat Stress

By Peyton / August 30, 2017

Western spice bush (Calycanthus occidentlias) under some severe heat stress in this part sun foothill garden. Is more water the answer?  I’ve been receiving several questions over the past month or so about plants that have been doing fine for years, but suddenly this summer are looking ragged. This is occurring in gardens that are […]

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Visiting Denver Botanical Garden

By Peyton / July 26, 2017

One of the reasons I love to travel is to visit public lands and botanic gardens, both to admire and discover plants that I am unfamiliar with, and to bring ideas back that might work in our Southern Sierra and southern central valley areas. I’m always interested and delighted when I see California native plants […]

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In Love with Spiders

By Peyton / July 19, 2017

I admit it: I love spiders. When people post on social media their “Ick” and “OMG” reactions to spiders in the house, garden, barn or garage, all I can think is “cool.” I admit to killing a few black widows, knowing that re-location does not work well with them, plus I’ve already been bitten more […]

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Wrong Wrong Wrong

By Peyton / May 31, 2017

I’m an expert, right? Doesn’t mean I don’t get things wrong sometimes. My contractor colleague and friend, Steve Koemppel (SK Landscaping) said, “The only wrong thing is to quit.” Thanks, Steve! It’s tempting to pretend no one noticed, no one will notice, or that whatever you got or did wrong won’t really matter because whoever […]

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7 Great CA Native Plants for Southern Sierra & South Valley Gardens – Pt 2

By Peyton / May 17, 2017

Greetings! Welcome to new subscribers and thanks to all of you for reading and spreading the word about this blog.  The following is part two: please also read part one, available in the archives. In the upcoming weeks, I will write about plants, life, and our life with plants. Mostly native, but not always. Let […]

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7 Great CA Native Plants for Southern Sierra & South Valley Gardens – Pt 1

By Peyton / May 10, 2017

Greetings! Welcome to new subscribers and thanks to all of you for reading and spreading the word about this blog.  The following two-parter is something I’ve been wanting to share for a long time. So, here it is! In the upcoming weeks, I will write about plants, life, and our life with plants. Mostly native, […]

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Making use of all this rain

By Peyton / February 10, 2017

After years of dry winters, 2015/16 wasn’t bad. But nothing like this winter. In almost all of California, we receive the overwhelming majority of our annual precipitation in the winter months of December and January, with good amounts still possible in February. This year’s above-average amounts so far, combined with saturated soils and warm storms […]

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Promising new (to me) California native plants

By Peyton / October 3, 2016

Like every other gardener I know, I love to try out new plants. And, lucky me; I get to call it part of my job! Here are some promising new plants we’ve been growing this year in my Springville garden. Some of you may have been growing these already, but they are new to me […]

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A garden of another color

By Peyton / August 7, 2016

Our newer, water-saving landscapes are helping us break free of plain old green in the garden. With many plants, the traits that make them water-thrifty, also give them interesting foliage color and form. We can use this to our advantage by creating a “wow!” garden based on the monochromatic style. Monochromatic gardens have been around […]

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Milkweed for the California Garden

By Peyton / July 16, 2016

Almost everyone has heard that our beautiful Monarch butterflies across the United States are in decline. Fortunately, many gardeners and property owners, including farmers, are taking steps to help the population rebound. Habitat loss is the main reason for the butterfly decline, according to the experts. It’s also at least partly responsible for the decline […]

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