Saturday, February 24, 2007

Winter cheer

Hortus Botanicus Seed Packets

Now here's a cool way to make your own custom seed packets! I picked these up at Hortus Botanicus on my last trip to Mendo. Looks like they used coin envelopes and printed labels using their own photos of plants in bloom. Very classy and very clever.

Inside the envelopes, seeds were stored in smaller waxed paper envelopes. Germination instructions were tucked inside as well.

Not sure where to find coin envelopes? See this GardenWeb thread.

BOOK: Roses for Northern California

Just when I think I'm strong enough to look at gardening books online without being tempted to buy... I stumble upon Roses for Northern California by local rosarian Muriel Humenick. To make matters worse, it's brand spankin' new. Published last month. I have to at least put it on my wish list.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sacramento Citizens for Sustainable Landscapes

New website:

Upcoming meetings:


To Organize Community Support for the Updating of
Sacramento City's Front Yard Landscape Ordinance
*To be voted on at the March 20th City Council Meeting*

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
6 pm to 8 pm

Sierra 2 Center, Curtis Hall
2791 24th Street
(parking off 4th Avenue - directions)


The Front Yard Garden Ordinance is on
the Sacramento City Council Meeting Agenda

Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Council Chambers in City Hall
915 I Street

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Catalogs for Garden Thrill Seekers

If the same ol' same ol' in mainstream garden catalog plant offerings just doesn't do it for you anymore, you might be a slightly jaded gardener. If, like me, you increasingly need a plant to be rare, or unusual in color or form, or organic, or gourmet, or an heirloom... or a rare, unusual, organic, gourmet heirloom that can only be purchased during a full moon in February in order to feel that high when you buy, you need to look for collector's catalogs.

Here are a few of my favorite garden catalogs offering the really cool and unusual stuff...

Plant Delights Nursery

You can also find some very interesting and exotic plant offerings on ebay. Just check the seller's rating before you buy.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Ok, so the pansies are kind of disappearing, but... ahem... I did plant a lot of tulips.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Amy Stewart Valentine's Day article in the S.F. Chronicle

In flowers, too, green is the new red
For Valentine's Day, choose flowers raised organically and sustainably -- or nearly so

Amy Stewart, Special to The Chronicle
Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Flower Confidential book by Amy Stewart

It feels appropriate to have finished reading Amy Stewart's new book, Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers just before the Big Day... Valentine's Day. But, hey, maybe her publishers planned it that way so we'd really get it... so we'd already know which flowers to buy someone, where to buy them, when to order them, how to tell if they're fresh... and how to send the perfect message.

You've heard, "Say it with Flowers." Amy's book tells you how to "Say it right with the freshest, hippest, most beautiful and lasting cut flowers that also may happen to have been ecologically raised."

What I also learned is that cut flowers are incorporated into daily life in some countries. Ahem, Americans, you holiday-focused flower buyers. Live a little dangerously every now and then and buy flowers for your soul, not just the souls you're obliged to buy for.

After following Amy on this information-packed journey in which she takes a flower's path from conception (in the hybridizer's mind) to growth to processing to shipping to marketing and finally to its final destination, you will not only be exhausted for Amy, you will be much more savvy about the freshest, hippest, most meaningful and most extravagent floral offerings in the U.S.; and you'll know where to get the cheap stuff. Hey, nothing wrong with a budget bouquet... except that it might not last very long and it might have been treated to a pesticide drench. Don't eat the daisies. Really.

You will also become acquainted with a new form of labeling signifying higher ecological standards. Dare I say "guilt-free" flowers? Amy even touches on a store near you carrying high quality flowers at bargain prices. Any guesses?

Delving into post-harvest flower conditions, Amy tells you how to spot the freshest displays and how to maximize vase life once you get those babies home. You'll also come to understand why cut flowers can be so danged expensive at times, and you'll learn about the hidden and not-so-beautiful environmental costs and considerations.

I came away from Flower Confidential with a much keener sense of the business of flowers and a desire to buy organically grown and ecologically managed flowers when given the opportunity. Organic food is becoming mainstream because more people buying it... and more grocers are selling it... because more people are buying it. Now is the time to push the cut flower industry toward organic and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, and toward providing better working conditions and benefits for flower factory workers.

Exclusive Valentine's Day Flowers - OrganicBouque

Still, knowing "...the Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful..." about the flower business does nothing to dim the feeling I get when I walk into a florist shop or the floral kiosk at my local grocery store. Pure romance. Pure swoon. And to the flowers? You've come a long way, baby. No really. Holland? Ecuador? You look like you could use a drink.

Check out this video snippet of Amy talking about Flower Confidential:

Be sure to catch Amy on her book tour. She may be coming to a bookstore or garden show near you! Read all about it on her blog.