Ah yes, the calming noise from an ornamental fountain, the beautiful smell of roses, lilies, and freesias perfuming the air. And of course, gentle germanic murmurings from Klaus (the houseboy), who gives me my pedicures as I mist the ferns...
Oops. Sorry. Forgot myself for a minute. Here's the "real deal," as they say in a certain movie for 12-year olds: I haven't gotten this dirty since I was about nine years old! I'm not quite sure, but I'm starting to think that a hat, spf 40 sunscreen, liberal dosages of dirt, a good garden hose, and a two year old rolling on the ground with laughter might just be one of the secrets to eternal youth.
This page contains gardening lore, links, comments, and quotes. Oh, and some most excellent gardening pictures. Remember: If you landscape your house yourself, it's best to have a rollicking sense of humor!
My child has been gardening with me since he was three weeks old. In his own way. Obviously, it doesn't do much for our fashion sense.
General gardening links
There is a very interesting site called Dave's Garden. Have you heard of it? I hadn't. It's free, with 78,000 members and an amazing amount of resources. One of these days I'll give it a try and tell you what I think. Garden Web calls itself "The Internet's Garden Community." I'm a bit frustrated because they don't cater to California's micro-climates, but otherwise they seem like a nice, knowledgeable bunch. The American Botanical Council has a good page on herbs.
This is from a garden competition in the UK.
This is a total fantasy tour listing of gardens in the UK
People's garden sites
Here are some of the nurseries that I use:
Roger Reynolds is the fairly sniffy nursery in Atherton. I am not overly impressed by the highest level of their service -- when I first moved to Atherton, they convinced me to hire their "expert" for about $150. Boy was that useless. The woman walked through my yard like a freaking diva, waving her wrist and saying "these should go, these should go" (Right. Tear out those Laurels, for God's sake. Hedges. Bah. How passe.) Then she recommended a shade-needing plant for the western exposure (sigh), and that's about it. When I complained the owner of Roger Reynolds, she maintained that I'd probably gotten something out of it and refused to refund my money! Nice, huh? I've certainly never forgotten that and have nothing to do with her.
On the other hand, many of the people working there are extremely nice (especially a few of the guys) and they have a tree sale every year (August 29th, 30th, and 31st) where their trees are 50% off. Can't beat that. And from February 20 to 22 they have their pre-season spring sale. Yahoo!
Decorating the garden
Someone named 'pro" on Craigs list gardening forum posted the name of this place in San Jose. Some day I'll make it down there to check it out. It sounds very fun.
697 W.San Carlos
San Jose, CA 95126
Directly across from Orchard Supply Hardware just west of Bird Avenue. Phone: (408) 279-8766
Oak trees and planting under oaks
This posting is from the Craigslist gardening forum, courtesy of "pro." For general information on caring for oaks (a good summary), consult this article.
The area under the Oak canopy looks great with a thick natural mulch of oak leaves. It's a good area for a bench and chairs and a small dry-set patio made of pavers (at least 15 feet from the trunk and not dug more than three inches deep).
A good list from a craigslist poster (note that you should look these up for water needs so you can group them appropriately)
Wisteria and pruning wisteria
I have two wisteria bushes that are collectively about 60-plus feet wide.
Plant data file
Yay! I found my link to the Discovering Annuals website! I like this site a lot, although it's hard to compete with the old "hey, what's on sale next to the checkout counter at Home Depot" selection technique that I currently use.
List of shade plants from U of Minnesota. Includes lots of non-natives or natives to the mid-west but is a great, comprehensive list.
It's wintertime as I write this, and from what I hear, you're supposed to sit at home by the fire, reading gardening catalogs this time of year. Here are some that I've found. Please, if you know of a wonderful gardening catalog which you want added, email me at email@example.com.
Here's a wonderful website called Plants by Mail which gives a lot of information on a great long list of garden catalog companies. It lists the company's address, phone number, url (if they have one), and descriptions of what they sell. In many cases there are also
comments from users about the company's service, quality of products, etc.
There is an even more wonderful website called Garden Watchdogwhich provides information on over 3100 gardening vendors. Garden Watchdog keeps tabs on vendor quality by logging comments from users. So far, their users have commented on 45% of their vendors.
I've gotten things from Digging Dog nursery and liked their products a lot. They're from Albion, CA. Larner has California native seeds.
Out of state suppliers
JMBamboo is in Alabama but they have a lot of information about bamboo. The lawnmower shop.com seems like it might have good products, and I hear that their shipping might be free?
Out of country suppliers
Would never use them, but the links are fun.
I recently saw a wonderful garden thing built with curly willow and just stumbled across a supplier called Willow Dreams Farm on the internet! Here's another! Search for curly willow sculpture on google.
There are a lot of dangerous things that gardeners deal with. Here are some notes and links that I've saved. Better warned than sorry!
Here's a comment from an online group: "I just looked for some information on chemical toxicity databases. After reading some of this and other reports, I CANNOT BELIEVE this chemical is available on the shelves in any form. This has got to be a very good example of the EPA not being allowed to do its job. The report is horrifying." There are very simple nontoxic slug poisons available. Like Sluggo. Ask at your nursery.
Don't pick and eat mushrooms
Here is a story about mushroom picking (and subsequent killing off of an entire liver), and sites to contact if you want to know more about this topic.