Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Bright View

Last week, a lady left a voicemail asking if we prune rosemary bushes.  The short answer is rarely.  It's usually not cost effective for the client [or us] to prune two rosemary.

The lady left her name and address at the end.  She lives up on Adobe Canyon Road.  Three years ago we cleared 100' of defensible space around her home while leaving a few majestic manzanitas.

That saved her home from both fires.

So we'll go up and prune the rosemary.  This visit won't be that profitable but the idea of worthwhile is different these days. As you know, everything else burned up there so she doesn't exactly have the best quarantine view.  The two rosemary might be her only 'garden'. 

Stay safe.  When possible try to brighten someone else's view.  Real or virtual, views are all we have these days.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Photoshop The View

6 photos in 1

Are you spending more time looking at your garden these days? Do you want to improve the view?

Wildwood Nursery now offers virtual consultations.  Visualize changes without picking up a shovel. Adding a new centerpiece, changing a backdrop and moving pathways has never been easier. 

Staff at Wildwood have decades of experience trialing and growing plants.   Let us quickly assess variables in your garden like sun/shade, growth rates, root structure, flowering seasons, compatibility, and plant hardiness. From there, Photoshop can project a complex change in a simple 2D image.

Skip ‘designs’ that use colored circles and dashed lines.  A quick Photoshop refresh could add years and new wrinkles to your plant palette.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Plant Spacing

We are in constant contact with nature monitoring conditions on the ground during this raging global pandemic.

Please maintain 3.14159 feet between all your trees.  With certain trees, like redwoods and magnolias, it may be necessary to maintain 19.8 feet between trees.  Large trees have extensive root systems and can lift up foundations, walkways and sidewalks.  A middle ground, of say 5 feet, is adequate for fences where the tree is able to grow up and over an obstacle.

Smaller trees like dogwoods and maples can be be grouped in odd numbers.  Please limit groupings of these trees to a forest or smaller.  In a formal or linear grouping, even pairs are ok.  It may be necessary to provide ongoing care for pairs of trees so they maintain a uniform shape.

NOTE: Shipments of bulbs from affected areas like China or Italy can be moved out of quarantine warehouses and opened in your garden.  Take a few of the bulbs to an edible schoolyard near you.  Kindergarteners will return from break to perform tests.  They are trained to move the bulbs to random locations and see how the ecosystem responds.  There is limited cause for concern at this point and no need to divert resources from USDA facilities studying the effects of roundup.

Due to the fluid nature of evolution we will have an update for you April 1 2120.  In the meantime, hug a tree.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Changes in the Valley

After more than 30 years, Quarryhill Botanic Garden has a new executive director.

The name Scot Medbury may be unfamiliar, but you may recognize some of his past accomplishments.  The Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park underwent a major restoration 20 years ago.  Mr. Medbury spearheaded the fundraising effort to create that budget.  Soon after, he accepted an offer to become president of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Everything, from the visitor center to the gardens, saw a Medbury improvement.

Now, he is at the helm of Quarryhill and there is a sense of anticipation in the valley.  The announcement alone nine months ago created quite a buzz.  People who had not seen him in 15 years stopped into the nursery to say they were excited about his return.  If you're a curious plant person, a visit to Quarryhill might be worthwhile.  Remember, members of botanic gardens get 10% off plant purchases at Wildwood.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Garden Improv

So you had a plan.  Then the gophers showed up.  Or the mercury hit 70 in February.

Sticking to a rigid plan with gardening can be dangerous.  Historical data is informative but should never drown out what we see and hear in a garden.  Looking for cues from plants is the best way to proceed with gardening tasks.

Make it rain. Or turn on your irrigation system for half a day to simulate a rainstorm.  Antsy to start your frost tender plants now?  What will you do if there's a cold snap in April?

Gardening is one of the few professions where experts often try to eliminate change [see hedges in Webster].  Course-correcting nature requires constant adjustments because nature constantly changes. 

Improvising will produce its share of comedic moments.  Hopefully some unexpected and beautiful ones as well.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Powering Through 2020

Plants rely on the sun.  People rely on PG&E.  People should be smarter.

Thankfully there are groups like Silicon Valley Clean Energy & Powerhouse that are building a healthier more resilient energy ecosystem.  Gridshift Hackathon was part of that effort.  Teams presented apps that display billing data intuitively and take the guesswork out of saving energy/money.

In layman’s terms, pricing signals are as antiquated as PGE’s grid infrastructure.  Intelligent use of computing power and smart devices would reduce spikes in demand.  Storing power in the growing fleet of electric vehicles could capture renewable [solar] energy as it is created. Note: a battery in a Tesla Model 3 could power a dryer [the most power thirsty residential appliance] for 20 cycles.

Supporting Sonoma Valley Clean Power and paying more attention to how you use power is the best way to create a safe and smart energy system.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Dreaming of Tropical Trees

Croton: real or a dream?
When the bright holiday lights fade and spring still seems years away, visions of palm fronds swaying in the warm tropical breeze enter our minds.

Jacaranda is an example of a tropical tree at the edge of its natural range here in Northern California.  Perhaps best suited as a multi-trunk tree, the fern like foliage softens the overall effect of a wide canopy.  The most striking characteristic of the tree is the purple blue flower that appears in summer.  True blue is a very rare color in the landscape and Jacaranda comes very close.

Crotons are over-the-top displays of color that squeal at the slightest temperature drop.  In their native habitat of Asia, they form oversized bushes that could be confused as trees if they stood alone.  The magenta and yellow leaves are the land equivalent of tropical fish.  The best we can do in the SF Bay Area is grow them indoors.

Your garden will forgive you if the weeds start to pop up while you're dreaming of a tropical escape.