• Creeping thyme and Ajuga

    Deer-resistant low growers for the Sierra foothills

    by  • September 24, 2016 • 0 Comments

    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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    Path through my Fall garden

    Fall color in the garden: A gallery

    by  • September 17, 2016 • 2 Comments

    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 • 5 Comments

    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 • 2 Comments

    Echeveria runyonii 'Topsy Turvy'

    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 • 6 Comments

    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 • 3 Comments

    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 • 0 Comments

    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 • 4 Comments

    Corn lily or skunk cabbage (11)

    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 • 2 Comments

    2009-6 July Garden (6)

    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 • 4 Comments

    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 • 3 Comments

    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 • 9 Comments

    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 • 1 Comment

    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 • 1 Comment

    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 • 1 Comment

    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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    Make a garden apron from jeans. No sewing!

    by  • October 6, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Apron from jeans

    Besides, talking bee and butterfly plants and using less pesticides  at the last Garden Workshop in Oakhurst the other Sunday, I demonstrated how to make a garden apron from Tractor Man’s old jeans,… …in two minutes! It’s easy to make a garden apron from an old pair of jeans. You just need to know...

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    Fall planting in the Sierra foothills

    by  • September 30, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Part 1-The whys and hows Working along with nature Instead of planting in the Spring and having to water your plants all through the Summer, why not rely on Nature to water them for you? Planting in the Fall, providing water just at the start, will allow the plants to establish deep roots before...

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    Grinding holes in the Sierra Foothills

    by  • September 23, 2015 • 6 Comments

    Grinding holes

    Looking into the Sierra Foothill’s past Generations ago —women would gather at these spots to grind their acorn meats. “That’s where they would go get to work. That’s their kitchen — they would keep that very clean,” “You’ll find different holes at different depths. Traditionally, they like a shallower hole to pound the acorn...

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    Finding Seven Rock

    by  • August 4, 2015 • 2 Comments

    Seven 7 rock

    Locating a local landmark 7 Rock is a landmark referred to in the coverage of the recent Willow Fire, smoldering now, as this is written. Just where is 7 rock? ‘7 Rock’ is a granite formation surrounded by green pine trees, high on a mountain in the Sierra national Forest. It can be found...

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    Last day of June in the garden

    by  • July 2, 2015 • 1 Comment

    Cupflower, or Nierembergia

    What I’m REALLY doing in the garden…last day of June I just came in from an hour out in the garden! Yep, from 6:30am to now, I puttered in the garden doing what I call ‘watering as needed.’ Lamb’s ears are a good ‘indicator plant’ for watering and when this VERY hardy plant droops,...

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