Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Vintagehouse Nursery in Yuba City, CA

The new proprieters of Vintagehouse Nursery, Curtis and Michael, sent me a few pics of their vintage-feel nursery. If anyone's in the Yuba City area, you should check 'em out! Report back and let us know how you like it! Better yet, bring a digital camera and take pics!

Hours: Wed - Sat from 10am - 6pm and Sunday from 11am - 4pm
CLOSED: Mondays and Tuesdays, and most holidays

"Please call first if you're coming from out of town to make sure we are open, during hours, just in case. Our telephone number is 530-755-4242."

"Vintagehouse Nursery Co.is a specialty nursery and eclectic gift shop. We pride ourselves on our quality, selection, and personable service. We specialize in hard to find perennials (from: Annie’s Annuals, Morningsun Herbs,Geraniacea - specialty scented geraniums, Arena & Ashdown Roses - antique and old fashioned roses, ivy topiaries and more), some water plants, and our heirloom & organic seeds from Botanical Interests. Our Magical Gift Shop includes, E. Barrett & Co French soaps, Pre de Provence soaps, Keepers of the Light primitive candles, potpourri, La Lavande French soaps, and many collectibles for all the holidays.

We are located in Downtown Yuba City, between Bridge Street & Colusa Ave, on So. Shasta Street, right across the street from Red's Beauty Supply. Come in and enjoy our private cozy gardens... homesteading chickens and dove aviary..."

Asian hackberry woolly aphid

Latest news from UC IPM on controlling this imported pest...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Food banks and excess home veggies

Came across this Seattle Times article on donating your excess home-grown veggies to local food banks. Does anyone know if a program like this exists in greater Sacramento? Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could donate our extra bounty to organizations serving folks in need? Somebody must be coordinating programs like this in Sacramento.


Grab a Gravenstein... while you can (S.F. Chron)

High season for heirloom apples, pears
Sophia Markoulakis, Special to The Chronicle
Saturday, August 26, 2006

Note: While fruit tasting is in full swing, remember that if you intend to plant any of these delicious deciduous tree fruit varieties this winter, the Dave Wilson Nursery special orders deadline is November 16.

"There is no minimum total order, but customers whose special orders total less than 25 trees as of the deadline will be charged $25.00 for handling."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Excuses, excuses

I want to apologize for not garden blogging much since my return from Mendo. I've been busy getting my teenager ready for back-to-school and trying to fit in as many bike rides as possible before the rainy season kicks in.

When I said I needed to "catch up in the garden" in a previous post, you should have read that as, "My garden looks like total crap right now and so does my house." They do, but I'm trying not to stress about it. I'm having too much fun embracing this new fad called "diet and exercise" and have gone on some fantastic bike rides lately. I'm feeling better about my increased stamina and about getting rid of some of the junk in my trunk after just a few rides! Who knew moderately intense exercise actually had some benefits? I will inevitably fall back into my old, evil ways, but I feel I should ride this cresting wave until it falls.

The timing is actually ok because there's a lull in the garden. Summer's not quite over and we still have plenty of time to do flower & veggie Fall/Winter planting. In fact, I'll bet nurseries aren't very well stocked with cool-season plants yet.

I do have some gorgeous, unplanted plants sitting on my patio from some recent visits to Bushnell's and Windmill. I feel bad for making them sit in their cans, but I think I'll have them planted by the end of the week. And I'll have caught up on deadheading and pruning. And my house will be cleaner. And little fairies will leave chocolate hearts on my pillow while dancing a little fairy jig. I guess they're Irish fairies. Or faeries. Or ferries. Or ferrets. It's a wonder why I'm always behind in my domestic duties... ;-)

By the way, I'm going to start bringing a camera on bike rides. A camera that takes video. Ooh, I can't wait to share the beauty. Must first figure out a way to attach the camera to my bike helmet. Has somebody invented a head lamp-type strap that holds digital cameras on your head so you can film video clips while riding? Please let me know if you've seen something like this. There's always duct tape, but I'm looking for something a little more elegant and less painful.

Are you a tomato head?

Many people are ending up on my blog lately via a quest for salsa and other delicious solutions for too many tomatoes, so I thought I'd link to this timely Sacramento Bee article by Gwen Schoen -- Bee Food Writer.

"It's tomato time-- Everywhere you look, slices of heaven fresh from the vine"

Tomato tasting events are rapidly approaching. Check out a few on my Sacramento Gardening Events Calendar. Some of these events will offer salsa workshops, heirloom tomato seeds, canning demos, cooking demos, recipe contests, and more.

Don't forget about the big Tomato Challenge at Raley's, Saturday, September 9. There's a $5,000 1st prize! Imagine how many presents you could buy me for $5,000...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Best Gardening-related Movies, Novels, Essays & Music-- THE MASTER LIST

I will add to this list over time. Send in your nominations! Thanks to Amy Stewart and Garden Rant for jump-starting this discussion. I'm going to add nonfiction and songs to the list. Garden songs? Sure, why not?

***** Loved it so much that it passes the desert island test.
**** Really liked it. Would have been perfect, if only...
*** It was pretty good, but maybe that was the wine talking.
** Well, that pretty much sucked.
* Complete vomit.

In the Garden Trilogy - COMPLETE - Blue Dahlia / Black Rose / Red Lily
by Nora Roberts

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

Rose’s Garden by Carrie Brown
The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys
Quite a Year For Plums, by Bailey White
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
The Submerged Cathedral by Charlotte Wood

From the Ground Up:... by Amy Stewart *****
Henry Mitchell's books
Cultivating Delight by Diane Ackerman
Gardening in Eden by Arthur T. Vanderbilt
Slug Tossing by Meg DesCamp
Growing Seasons by Annie Spiegelman
Paths of Desire by Dominique Browning
The $64 Tomato by William Alexander
Gardening from the Heart:... by Carol Olwell ****

Saving Grace *****
Greenfingers ***
Enchanted April
The Secret Garden (1993 movie adaptation)
Calendar Girls **
Ladies in Lavender ***
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Minority Report****
Harry Potter****
Little Shop of Horrors
Grown-Ups (Mike Leigh, 2004)
Harrison's Flowers

Rosemary and Thyme (PBS)
Good Neighbors (BBC)

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson
Octopus's Garden by the Beatles
The Secret Garden by Barry White ****
Secret Garden by Bruce Springsteen ***
In the Garden of Eden by Iron Butterfly
Atomic Garden by Bad Religion
A Wednesday in Your Garden by The Guess Who
You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Neil Diamond
House of Flowers by House of Flowers

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Favorite Gardening Novels & Movies--- the list begins

Amy Stewart's List

Thanks for the recommendations in your latest blog post, Amy! I love discovering new books through others. What a treat to see the favorites of one of my favorite authors.

Amy's book, From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden is a must for the non-fiction gardening book (i.e. gardening essays) list. Is anybody working on that?

I want to add the following guilty pleasures-- Nora Roberts' garden trilogy. Ladies, there's a hunky yet sensitive plant propagator and a hunky landscape designer, neither of whom are gay or married... and it all takes place at the family nursery, on the grounds of the family mansion. Haunted, of course.

As Amy also mentioned, a "favorite gardening movies" list is in the works as well:

-- Saving Grace (one of my favorites too)
-- Greenfingers
-- ???

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hep me, Jesus!

My cup runneth over with tomatoes and yellow zucchini.

Tomato Recipes:

All Recipes
Food TV
Cooking Light
California Tomato Commission

Yellow Zucchini Recipes

Food TV
Cooking Light

This evening I discovered a ginormous yellow zucchini in the backyard. Since I'm still following Weight Watchers, I thought, "Cool... free Points!" since zucchini has a W.W. Points value of 0. I don't normally wing it in the kitchen, but because I was ravenous after a long bike ride and it was past my normal dinner time, I grabbed a can of corn from the cupboard, a pound of lean ground turkey from the fridge and some parmesan cheese to add a sprinkling of wickedness.

While the turkey was browning, I added sea salt, cracked pepper and garlic powder and diced the zucchini, adding it to the seasoned turkey. I next added the can of corn, with liquid. Cooked it all, stirring occasionally until the zucchini looked tender and the liquid evaporated. I added enough shredded parmesan cheese to bring the total W.W. value to 30. My portion was 1/3 of the total, or 10 Points.

My son said it looked a little bit like dog food but tasted good... and that he'd always wanted to try dog food.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My tomato is shacking up with a watermelon

Love works in mysterious ways...

East Sacramentans, take note.

Your "hell strips" don't have to be as boring as hell. In fact, they can look quite heavenly.

Good Hell Strips make Good Neighbors
by Susan, Garden Rant

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Articles that caught my eye this morning

Hey, California gardeners... did you catch these inspirational, informational pieces?

Southwestern look in Bay Area gardens
These Stunning desert plants do just fine in our dry (or hot) summers, wet winter

by Amy Stewart, Special to the Chronicle, Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Gardening for a Second Season by Renee Shepard (Renee's Garden Newsletter)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Picked these for dinner

Organically fed and pesticide-free, baby!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Trip to Mendocino

Main Street, Mendocino Village

Ok... of the four new nurseries and one new winery I wanted to visit, I managed to make it to two of the nurseries, Fuchsiarama and Hortus Botanicus, and the Pacific Star Winery. Three out of five ain't bad and there's always next time to conquer Digging Dog and Simply Succulent. I made it to Hortus Botanicus and Fuchsiarama in the last hours on the last day of my seven-day stay.

When traveling with friends and family, I often forget that I'm mostly going to be spending time relaxing and enjoying their company... their very slow-moving, indecisive company. And that's ok! I wouldn't trade that time for all the nursery visits in the world.

Here I am at the house, reading my Mendocino Coast Glove Box Guide: Lodgings, Eateries, Sights, History, Activities & More
Buy this book before you go. It's excellent.

Candles were burned... wine was enjoyed.
Dinners were backlit by fiery sunsets. Sigh...

Either I'm shrinking, or my baby boy (the blond one) is sprouting like a weed.

Nasturtiums abound in the village

So does montbretia/crocosmia

MacCallum House Garden


View from the Pacific Star Winery... It was overcast on this day, which was not only fine but quite welcome considering the heat wave back home. I went another day and it was sunny.

It's a beautiful drive and a beautiful destination.
Taste some wine while you're there.
Spit only if you're the designated driver.
I didn't spit because I'm too much of a lady (ha ha).
I was the driver, however, so I only took two sips.
Buy a few bottles to take home!

Hortus Botanicus
10.2MI from Mendocino

Hortus Botanicus was my first nursery stop and the most exciting new nursery conquest for me. I can now tell people, "You must visit this nursery." Tucked into the woods of Fort Bragg, this hidden gem is an avid gardener's amusement park. From carnivores to orchids to succulents... to unusual perennials to seeds hand-packaged at the nursery... you will surely fill one or more of their little red wagons with botanical wonders that will take your garden to the next level.

After being dropped off at the nursery entrance, I was greeted by Dorothy, who showed me around and even fetched me a wagon. She introduced me to Robert, the owner. Both were kind enough to answer my questions while propagating plants and answering the phone. I went on a quiet Monday, but have a feeling weekends are quite bustling.

The entrance

Robert Goleman, owner

Peruvian Lily Vine (Bomarea species)... I bought seeds!

The water garden

Orphium frutescens

Isn't this a clever idea for edging a bed?

Alstroemeria 'Danny Boy'... I bought seeds of this one too!

23201 N HIGHWAY 1
10.2MI from Mendocino

Fuchsiarama was more of a quickie because I had my teenage son and his best friend getting antsy in the car... and eventually on the car.

The nursery was worth a stop because of the sheer numbers of fuchsia cultivars all in one place. You're sure to find varieties you like even if you're not a fuchsia maniac. I'm not and I bought two. There's a nursery and gift shop. I barreled through the gift shop and headed straight for the plants. Who knew fuchsias came in so many shapes, colors and sizes?

Fuschiarama is right!

View from the parking lot. That's the ocean in the background!

In other local nursery news, North Star Nursery (across from the botanical garden) in Fort Bragg has moved down the street and a new nursery is opening in its place.

In Mendocino, the Mendocino Garden Shop has moved to Main Street right off Highway 1 and now shares space with a bike and electric car rental company. We rented one of their little electric Zap cars for tooling around town. You haven't lived until you've driven one of these little cuties. Fifty bucks a day. Yes, it's a splurge, but so worth it for tooling around the village in an open-air fashion. They rent bikes too. And sell plants! In fact, you can drive your plants back to your rented room or rented house in your rented Zap car! Does life get any sweeter?

At the Garden Shop, I picked up a Kniphofia uvaria 'Flamenco', Lobelia x speciosa 'Fan Burgundy' and a bottle of Tiger Bloom fertilizer. Is it weird to buy fertilizer on your vacation? Hey, I had just used up the last of my bottle at home!

Here I am on Main Street with my aunt, Pat, in the back of the little Zap car! I was a little shy at first about taking the wheel ... but got over that in about two minutes. It's soooooo fun to drive a Zap.

How fast can 5 women go...
uphill... in a tiny electric car?
Not very.

A gorgeous sunny day at Jughandle beach. As always, I was torn between companionship and taking pictures. I didn't take nearly as many photos as I'd hoped, but did manage when I could. Yet another reason to go back. Soon.

I can be both photographer... and assistant