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March in the Garden

By Peyton / March 1, 2021

March was the first month of the year in the original Roman calendar.  That feels right to me: March is a month of flowers and growth, the first full month in which almost everything in the garden is bursting with energy. Even the weather gets in on this act: March may be hot, cold, dry, […]

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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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Will summer ever end?

By Peyton / September 15, 2020

September is a hopeful month that begins to remind us that winter will be here again someday. It has become harder to predict what kind of September we will have. Historically, we should enjoy cooler temperatures both day and night, mostly due to the ever-shortening days. Planting:. We can finally begin to plant trees, perennials […]

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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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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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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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