Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ivory-billed Woodpecker search

Ed Pandolfino,'s bird expert, has been selected by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to help search the Arkansas bayous this March for the newly rediscovered Ivory-billed woodpecker. The search began in October and ends in late April. We'll report back and let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, check out Cornell's outstanding info page on this elusive species:

Check out the required garb...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

KVIE Backyard Living Show Airing Soon

I wanted to let folks know a locally-produced TV pilot called Grassroots Guide to Backyard Living is airing for the first time on KVIE's ViewFinder on February 1st at 7pm and the following Sunday, February 5th, at 6pm. Yours truly talked a little gardening in it, but the show covers all aspects of backyard living, including cooking in a portable backyard firepit. Check it out!

Fab Tree Hab

Now that's a tree house!

The Fab Tree Hab was designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Team H.E.D. [Human Ecology Design]-- Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D., Lara Greden, Ph.D. and Javier Arbona, SMArchS.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A message from Dan and Annie

Please make it stop raining. We are getting very stir-crazy. We are trying to be good but we are starting to feel the urge to chew furniture... the cookbook bindings and that dollar bill held us off for awhile, but we don't know how much longer we can take this.


Dan and Annie

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sunset Western Landscaping Book

The new edition of Sunset Western Landscaping is out now!

Jan. 23 update: Got my copy from a few days ago. I give it 5 /5 stars. Sunset certainly didn't skimp on glossy color photos, plant palettes are inspiring and reflect regional differences, and suggestions are given for special growing conditions. These are big-budget gardens, but the designers didn't succumb to the tendency to unnecessarily overdo the hardscaping. Where hardscape is the dominant feature, it makes sense, like in the southwest. Plant lovers will find plenty of inspiration.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Ever since I saw the story about square watermelons being marketed in Japan, I've wanted to mold my own produce. Now I can with Vegiforms.

Available shapes include: the Garden Elf, Pickle Pusses, Ear of Corn, Heart and Diamond. Will a Frankentomato be as tasty as a normal tomato? We'll find out. One also has to factor in the amusement factor.

Here's a blogger with some actual experience with Vegiforms! With photos! Click here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Annie's Annuals Printed Catalog and Sale

Ok, garden catalog junkies... Annie's Annuals' printed catalog debuts in February! If you're not already on their mailing list, here's a link:

Also, plants at the nursery are 15% off through the end of January. Here's a link to the printable coupon: click here

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Saucer Magnolia Envy

In Berkeley the other day, I felt compelled to announce to our hostess that her neighbor's saucer magnolias were blooming. In January. She seemed to take this remarkable news in stride. I guess when you live in a clime of perpetual springtime, it ain't no thang when a spectacularly showy tree blooms in winter. Back in Sacramento, we have real winter... ok, not real winter, but the kind that occasionally makes you put on a coat. Or pants. My saucer magnolia's tiny buds are still in their winter wear.

According to my date-stamped photo records of what blooms when here, our white stellata magnolias bloom first, in February. Colorful, showy saucer magnolias will follow in March. Allow variations for Mother Nature.

If you want to see what we're missing, the Chronicle has a couple recent magnolia articles (with pics)--

Magnificent magnolias Natives of the Deep South and their local offspring bring S.F. Botanical Garden to life this month
by Alice Joyce, author of "Gardenwalks in California"

When the tree's sweet blossoms come on, it's a sunshine daydream in the winter
by Miriam Owen, Special to the Chronicle