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Spring Planting

By Peyton / February 21, 2022

          You hear it often that Autumn is the best season to plant in California. This is true, but you can plant in the spring. And how can we not be outside when the weather is so gorgeous? And really, we must do something besides battling weeds, right? There are many California native plants that […]

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Gardening in a Drought

By Peyton / July 20, 2021

                While hand watering my container plants on Wednesday, the approved day to water in my district’s guidelines, I thought about comments people made to me last week. They were basically of two kinds:                       “We’re all going to have to move out of California.”                 “We can’t have gardens anymore. There is no water.” […]

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Are you a Native Plant purist?

By Peyton / February 22, 2021

When we design, we talk about “purpose.” In the established garden, we use the term every few years -to reconsider the garden. Guiding principles, such as water-efficient and beneficial-to-nature, are big-picture “purpose” values in many modern gardens. On the micro, unique level, has the purpose in your existing garden changed? Are there new activities that […]

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Native Plants and the Vegetable Garden

By Peyton / June 25, 2020

What does vegetable gardening have to do with California native plants? Plenty, it turns out. When I first became interested in native plants, my philosophy was that it would be a good idea to use water, time and chemicals (if needed) on the edibles and use ornamental plants that wouldn’t need so much from me. […]

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Fragrance in the California Garden

By Peyton / February 8, 2020

First some basics: Fragrance will vary by season, air temperature and moisture content of the plants Experiment – create blends. It is generally better to have a dominant fragrance and many supportive fragrances Some plants that don’t smell powerful by themselves combine with others to make a great fragrance In our workshops, we snip and […]

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The Book is Published!

By Peyton / January 17, 2019

Anyone who has moved from inland coast areas, or anyone who has read the books, blog posts and articles based on coastal-California gardening, soon discovers that it’s a different story once you try to establish a native-based garden in the Great Central or other inland valleys, or up into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

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Autumn arrives

By Peyton / September 26, 2018

A busy year! And we’ve barely begun begun our busiest season, which is autumn, the best time of the year to plant almost everything here in the Southern Sierra and southern Central Valley of California. Challenges: I need to hire another landscaper! Quick!* Joys: I have great clients, customers, colleagues and team members! The plants […]

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Three Seasons & A Rest

By Peyton / April 2, 2018

In California’s Central Valley and Southern Sierra, we have three seasons of garden work, and one season of rest. Although most of our California gardens have a much lighter maintenance schedule than the gardens of our grandparents or parents, in order to look their best, there are a few meager chores we want to keep […]

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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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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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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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