• The colors of Autumn in the Sierra foothill garden…

    by  • October 6, 2014

    Colors of Autumn

    October in the foothill garden Walking around the garden here in the foothills of Central California, I feel we’re really nearing the end of the gardening season.  I’m tired.  Tired of watering and ready to rake everything, gather up the rest of the clippings,  neaten the garden and come in for some rainy days....

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    Heat-proof your Sierra foothill garden

    by  • June 8, 2014

    Heatproof garden

    In our third year of drought in the Sierra foothills, we search for ways to allow our gardens to survive.   Here, you’ll see how to make your garden thrive!  Learn which plants to grow, how to water and how to preserve that water once it’s in the soil.  Included is a print and keep...

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    The Lavender Experiment

    by  • May 11, 2014

    Lavender fields

    What happens if you don’t trim lavender? You all may know I like garden experiments. For the last two years I’ve been experimenting with my Spanish lavender field and NOT trimming the blooms off. This is the field a week ago that I’ve not trimmed OR watered and as I went up to inspect,...

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    The season of clouds and light

    by  • November 20, 2013

    Wispy clouds settle on the pines

    November’s first rains start the season I call Clouds and Light. After months of brilliant blue, sunny skies, the weather and wildlife are the stars of the show… The garden is buttoned up, the last of the garden’s produce picked and there is a rest for the gardener, finally. With the Peckinpah Ridge as...

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    Easy steps to a clean birdbath

    by  • November 19, 2013

    How to clean a bird bath in twelve photos Keeping a birdbath sparkling clean is easy and it’s worth a bit of effort to keep your wild birds happy and healthy.  Algae may be a natural thing, but it’s not attractive when your bird bath is within sight of your windows like you want...

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    House of many colors

    by  • November 9, 2013

    House of many colors

    In 2000, we moved from the city to the country of California in the Sierra foothills near Bass Lake.  For five years,  I planned the decoration of my dream, a casual camp-style ranch house on a pretty steep slope. In February 2004, the building began and that August we moved into our trailer to wait...

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    Straw Bale gardening in the Sierra foothills: Harvest

    by  • September 12, 2013

    Harvesting the Straw Bales

    Harvesting the straw bale garden I call this experiment a success!   After reading and reviewing the book Straw Bale Gardens sent to me by author, Joel Karston, I became intrigued by the concept of growing a garden in straw instead of soil.  I wondered if this would be a good idea here in the...

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    Manzanitas are not filled with fire popping sap

    by  • September 6, 2013

    Peeling Manzanita branch

    The Highly Valued Manzanita Manzanitas are typical and beautiful Chaparral plants in the Sierra foothills.  They, and the chaparral as a whole, have long been here in California before we so how can we think it is good or bad?  My thought is that manzanita is not any more flammable or less flammable than...

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    Planting in an old wicker chair

    by  • August 22, 2013

    Wicker chair

    I’m a fan of this chair! Take a couple old pieces of junk and transform them into into a tiny little garden scene using just a little imagination.  It’s sometimes difficult to find outdoor decoration that will fit into a ranchy/foresty type garden but this wicker chair is a classic.  Here’s how I planted...

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    Kerckhoff, camping and blackberries

    by  • August 12, 2013

    Blackberry -Kerckhoff-featured

    Testing,…both camping and blackberries… I did something today that I’ve wanted to do for years! Picked blackberries at Kerckhoff Lake.  So many times we’ve driven by this pretty and serene lake, actually a reservoir, on our way here and there between over the last twenty so years.  The reservoir is just south of North...

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    Why hate the beautiful Bull pine?

    by  • August 4, 2013

    Bull pines

    Myths and facts about the Sierra Foothills Bull pine From the time we moved into the mountains, I heard from neighbors and local friends about the Bull pines.  Bull pines, Pinus sabiniana, are seemingly hated, seen as ugly, messy trees and reputed to somehow(?) suck water from people’s wells and aquifers. You must cut down...

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    Summer progress on the straw bale garden

    by  • July 11, 2013

    Part Two: Summer In May, Tractor Man and I lugged four bales of hay down our slope and set them up as a garden! At the same time, we constructed a ‘Ranch Gate Garden’, by stringing three old ranch gates together that we found on our place, fencing in the 16′ x16′ garden. The...

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    Tim and Barbara’s ‘ideal’ Foothill garden: One year later

    by  • June 14, 2013

    Tim and Barbara's garden update-featured

    Tim and Barbara’s garden, one year later If you remember, Tim and Barbara Fruehe of Oakhurst, CA, renovated their entire front and back gardens, installing drip irrigation, gravel paths, garden benches and iron arbors.  It was a huge undertaking, but Tim had it all thought out and he and Barbara knew what they wanted,...

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    Planting Dudleya in a brick

    by  • June 6, 2013

    Canyon Live-forever or Rock Lettuce, Dudleya cymosa, is a great California native for containers.  This container is a brick found at the lake and probably used as an anchor along the shore.  I found a better use for it and planted a small dudleya in each opening.   It’s lived happily here for two...

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    Garden history: Gardens by the Season

    by  • June 5, 2013

    I learned Latin names of plants from my mother at an early age and become a logophile, a lover of words, especially gardening terms and names of plants. I love the richness of all the local and ancient names of flowers and plants. In this charming essay, you’ll find a schedule of bloom that,...

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    Trying out a straw bale garden

    by  • May 23, 2013

    A Straw Bale Garden?  Sure, I love experiments! Recently I decided to try the technique called straw bale gardening, after an online chat with the author, Joel Karsten, who wrote the book, Straw Bale Gardens. My garden is on a mountainside in Central California. See the steps I took in this experiment! My Ranch...

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    Our good Sierra foothill soil

    by  • April 17, 2013

    Our ‘bad’ soil…? I get comments all the time about ‘our bad soil’ in the Oakhurst, Coarsegold and North Fork areas.  Giving this some thought, I’m wondering if gardeners are making use of the natural ‘mulch’ we have in pine needles and oak leaves. After doing some reading on the tannins in oak leaves,...

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