• Growing your garden, all from seed!

    by  • March 19, 2017 • 2 Comments

    Learning to grow from seed It’s Spring!  My friend, Marie, inspires me so much with her courtyard garden fitted with raised garden beds she and her husband built. Each year she plants a garden and this one is all from seed. Here she shares a few easy secrets. Also, which flower seeds transplant best, building...

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    4 Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers

    A water-saving veggie garden for the foothills

    by  • February 17, 2017

    Your water-wise veggie garden Does everyone in our Mountain Community grow at least one tomato? I think so! For me, sun-ripe, sliced tomato sandwiches, with slivers of cheddar, a little lettuce, salt and mayo is the goal.   Planning now Now, in early early spring, is the time to plan and build that deer...

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    Earliest Spring bloomers to plant now

    by  • February 1, 2017

    Winter and early spring blooming plants Brighten these grey, rainy days in the foothills with cool-season bloomers in containers and areas close to your home where they can easily be seen.  Annuals can provide quick color and perennials and shrubs will reward you year after year with reliable and surprising blooms, should you forget...

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    Pretty propagating: How To Multiply your Plants

    by  • November 21, 2016

    Lamb's ears are easy reseeders

    Propagating plants in a Sierra foothill garden Propagating plants is making new plants from existing ones in your garden. Anyone can be a plant propagator with these easy, traditional and low-tech techniques that are perfect for our California foothills. It’s fun and economical, and you’ll be surprised to see how easy it is with these...

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    Day Trip! Bald Mountain exploring

    by  • November 19, 2016

    2016-11 Bald Mountain 4WD

    Call of the Wild! Attention, Four Wheel drivers… The view from the top of Bald Mountain, looking down on Shaver Lake is astonishing and awe-inspiring.  The summit where the fire lookout stands is one of the highest places you can drive in the Sierra National Forest! Check out our four wheeling day up on Bald Mountain and the...

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    Deer-resistant low growers for the Sierra foothills

    by  • September 24, 2016

    Creeping thyme and Ajuga

    27 favorite ‘ground covers’ Growing plants that ‘cover the ground’ means you have something to plant in the front of a flower bed, something for along the edge of paths and, importantly, something that prevents weeds from growing.  You can even ‘create’ a lawn-like area that doesn’t take the maintenance of usual lawn care. All...

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    Fall color in the garden: A gallery

    by  • September 17, 2016

    Path through my Fall garden

    I was able to show photos  as I gave a talk today on Fall Color at the Oakhurst Library.  For those who missed this event, here is what happened! Fall color surprises! It’s fun to discover Fall color in the garden when you don’t expect it, but don’t forget to plan for more color by choosing...

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    Year-round hummingbirds of the Sierra foothills

    by  • September 14, 2016

    What do you call a group of hummingbirds? A charm!

    Attracting Hummingbirds to the garden… Plant a hummingbird garden and they will come!  Lure them right into your own garden with a proper feeder or this list of plants so that you can enjoy them.  Be sure to keep binoculars and a zoom camera handy.  Hiding behind the drapery may become a habit when you begin attract these living...

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    Succulents in the Sierra foothill garden

    by  • September 11, 2016

    9 Reasons we love succulents here! Why do we love these fun and fleshy little rosettes called succulents? Is it because they magically multiply? Or that they are fascinatingly cute? As gem-like accents to the landscaping in your garden, succulents add a beautiful contrast to rustic and rusty or galvanized containers. Hens and chicks,...

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    Lessons from the 2015 Willow Fire

    by  • July 27, 2016

    2015-7-31 4pm Flames and closeup water dropping bucket drop

    The Week that Was: My story of the 2015 Willow Fire I heard the news online and called my husband, Tractor Man to come look. We could see a column of smoke at the far end of the valley. This would become the 5,700-acre 2015 Willow Fire, which began at 2:30 pm on July 25,...

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    Discover Hummingbird Mint!

    by  • June 27, 2016

    Hyssop or Agastashe or Hummingbird mint

    A plant I’d love to see in local nurseries… Considering their long-lasting vibrant blooms, hardiness and resistance to drought, deer, extreme temps, Hyssops or Agastache offer plenty of food for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. What more can a gardener ask for? No wonder they’re adored by gardeners far and wide – with several varieties hardy to USDA...

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    Jurassic Park- Tombstone Rock of Merced Falls Rd

    by  • June 19, 2016

    2010 Merced Falls Road Tombstone rock

    Heavenly tombstones: Fun with Gold Country geology Field Trip! Have you ever seen these distinctive rocks on the back roads of the Sierra foothills? As you drive through the back roads of Gold Country on the west side of Hwy 49, you will see unique rocks that appear to be grave or tombstones. They...

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    Corn lilies of Beasore Meadow

    by  • May 30, 2016

    Corn lily or Skunk cabbage?  I find out… A wildflower walk yields a new name and an interesting plant to photograph up in the high country near Jones’s Store in Beasore Meadow. Travel from Bass Lake, California, up Beasore Road, opposite the Pines Village, and you’ll be in the high country within 40 minutes....

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    Trying out the new Calscape website

    by  • April 27, 2016

    An easy tool to find CA native plants for you! Just enter your address into this database and all the CA native plants that are perfect for your garden are displayed with photos and descriptions. It’s easy and fun! Despite the wettest winter in five years, California remains in a drought which is motivating...

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    Spring discoveries: Two new natives

    by  • April 27, 2016

    Bullock's Oriole, Icterus bullockii

    Orange you glad to find two new CA natives in the garden? Yes, I am! A new bird and a new California native annual are discovered here in my garden in April.  New or just not noticed before?  Either way, I’m delighted!  And both happen to be shades of orange. First, what I thought was...

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    For the love of Iris

    by  • April 2, 2016

    Historic Iris

    A gardener’s April day trip On a recent visit to Coarsegold, California, I stopped by the Hillside Iris Farm of Bill Tyson, just before the peak bloom.   His farm is open to the public just during the month of April when Iris are in full bloom and ready to order by color and shape.  You choose the...

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    Penstemons, a perfect foothill flower

    by  • March 18, 2016

    Penstemon 'Elfin Pink'

    Beautiful Beard Tongue As I stroll through the garden, my attention is drawn to how well adapted Beard Tongue or Penstemons are for the Sierra Foothills! Whether, cultivated hybrids or CA Natives, they are perfectly easy to grow and the bloom is spectacular in your garden.  Scroll through the ones I have in my garden and...

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    Catching up with Yosemite Nature Notes

    by  • December 13, 2015

    Yosemite Valley

    Yosemite Nature Notes Yosemite Nature Notes is a video podcast series that tells unique stories about the natural and human history of Yosemite National Park. Produced by the National Park Service, this series features park rangers, scientists, historians and park visitors as they discuss the diverse plants and animals that make Yosemite their home,...

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    Growing Iris, Planting bulbs and sowing wildflowers

    by  • October 30, 2015

    Fall is time for dividing iris, planting and sowing wildflower seeds… Bearded Iris Growing Tips Spring-flowering bulbs thrive in full or partial sun. Good drainage is important for most bulbs, so avoid placing them in soggy areas and in low-lying parts of the garden where water pools during wet winters and spring thaw. Dig...

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    Intermountain Nursery’s Harvest & Peace Festival 2015

    by  • October 26, 2015

    Music goes on all day at the Harvest and Peace Festival

    Objective: Fall planting Ca Natives,…and to have fun! Each October, on my birthday weekend, a favorite nursery plans it’s annual celebration and harvest festival.  I’m so flattered!  But really, since Fall is the best time to plant here in the foothills, I go to this event for fun and also with an objective. The...

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