Sunday, April 28, 2013

Garden Party Playlist

In a few hours, we'll start the sound check for Wildwood Farm's 38th Birthday Party.  With two four foot tall Kenwood speakers, we're confident the place will be rather lively.  We're not just playing Happy Birthday either.  Here's a sampling of the songs that are on the afternoon's playlist:

The Key, The Secret by Urban Cookie Collective

Vacation by The Go-Go's

Escapade by Janet Jackson

Love You Want by The Wailing Souls

X You by Avicii

Lemonade by Alexandra Stan

Blue Moon by The Marcells

Desenchantee by Kate Ryan

Cada Que by Belanova

Rolling in the Deep Remix by Dj Dizzy

Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Impressions

Slow down . . . and you discover all kinds of things.

A few times each year we take a mini-vacation from our home in San Carlos to the wine country, most often to Sonoma County for its relaxed pace and natural beauty.  We go with our two little dogs to find a new restaurant or visit an old favorite, to see the vineyards as they roll towards the wooded hillsides, and of course to taste some wines.  This time, we took advantage of a glorious spring day to discover a tree nursery known as Wildwood Farm.

This enchanting property is a wilderness of Japanese Maples, Dogwoods, Ginkgo trees and other not-so-common species.  As you wander through, you experience the tranquility of the place, even though you are excited to see the shapes, textures and colors of hybrids you have never seen or heard of before.  You wander through dappled sunlight and shade provided by the mature native California trees, and you are refreshed because you have been reminded of the variety and beauty of nature.

The nursery sits off of Hwy. 12 on the west side, about halfway up Sonoma Valley.  Ricardo and Sara Monte and their son Joe were each moving throughout the gardens, independently tending to the young trees they know so well.  We ended up buying a weeping species of Katsura, plus a couple of smaller plants.  But the point is, if you want a different kind of experience, if you don’t want your landscaping to look like everyone else’s, then take a break and discover Wildwood Farm.

Slow down . . . or you’ll miss it.

gbooker & gmerritt

Flutterbye Alights

Yesterday, we installed Bryan Tedrick's large red butterfly in a new location at Wildwood Farm.

It is designed to be viewed horizontally and vertically.  In its horizontal position, it balances on a skinny post, rotating and waving in the wind.  This feet of engineering is impressive but the piece really deserves to be viewed face on.

It is now hanging from a Valley Oak by its tail inside the nursery.  One can truly appreciate the wingspan and intricate detail on the wings.  While it is a heavy piece, it looks very delicate and peaceful.

Perhaps, it will take flight and move to a new perch soon!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Collecting Samaras

Samaras [seeds] are beginning to appear on the Japanese Maples at Wildwood Farm.  They typically hang underneath clusters of leaves in groups of three or four.  Shaped like wings to fly far from the tree when released, they also catch the breeze while they're connected to the maple.  Since they are slightly translucent, Samaras can create a shimmering effect in a garden.

On the red seedling maple tree to the left, they add brightness to the deep purple foliage.  Green maples, especially cascading dissectums,  that have red samaras are most outstanding.  The contrast adds a new dimension to the plant and its presence in the garden.

Ric harvested hundreds of samaras to hand out as party favors for our Sunday Birthday Party.  No one really knows what type of maple they will produce.  Most of the time the new tree looks like other seedlings.  Sometimes, the seed produces a completely new tree!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stocking Up On Party Favors

This past week, the staff at Wildwood Farm potted several different types of wildflowers into four inch containers for party favors.  A sampling include, the California State Flower [Orange Poppy], Love in the Mist, and Poor Man's Orchid. These little darlings should be ready to go into the ground in a few weeks.

While they're blooming they'll provide food for hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and even bats.  Bats eat lots of bad insects, by the way.  When the flowers are done blooming, they'll release their seeds and pop up next year.

At the party we'll have other party favors and a talk about how to attract beneficial insects to your yard by the Bee Lady.  We'll have a selection of perennials that can help to attract them as well as a demonstration about how to arrange them.  After all, a garden should attract humans too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Second Annual Photo Contest

Wildwood Farm's second annual photo contest 'Images of Spring' is officially underway.

There have already been several fantastic entries in each category.  Whether you're taking photos of your garden or at Wildwood Farm, be sure to enter.  Just email it to  There's even a prize for kids 12 and younger!

Photos are a great way to document progress you're making in your garden.  It's also handy to be able to look back later in the year and remember what things looked like in Spring.  That way you can avoid digging up bulbs or other plants that fade after a huge Spring show.

Right now, the trilliums are blooming in their shady spots.  I can't enter the photo contest but I would have submitted this speckled trillium. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Serving of Satomi Seedlings

You may remember that last year we collected dogwood seeds to grow for rootstock.  They sprouted and now they're ready to go into 4" containers.

We had to take them out of their flats and separate them.  The bare roots need to be kept moist so we placed them in a Tupperware bath.  That gave us time to get them into individual pots.

Why all the effort? It's best if you use seed from the tree you plan to take cuttings from for grafting.  With rare trees like C.k. Akatsuki and C.r. Celestial Shadow, we don't wont to take any chances.  We have a hard enough time keeping these plants in stock as it is. 

The Celestial Shadow isn't even on Wildwood Farm's website it's so new.  All the toughness of a Rutger's hybrid and the great show Celestial produces.  Plus variegated yellow, red, green leaves.