Thursday, October 30, 2008

Greenlee event recap

I really enjoyed John Greenlee's grass talk on Saturday at the lovely Sierra 2 Center in Curtis Park. Greenlee seems to be aiming to broaden our concept of what a "lawn" can be. It doesn't have to be fertilized and watered and mown within an inch of its life; Instead, you can simulate a mini-meadow using undulating waves of ornamental perennial grasses. And while you're at it, why not sprinkle in a few native bulbs or wildflowers? How does mowing once a year sound?

Achieving a meadow look on a small scale, and in a way that dares to please even your fussiest neighbors, can be accomplished. But you want to have a plan in place before you kill your sod.

Read all you can about ornamental grasses, see what's native or suited to our Mediterranean climate, and seriously consider calling an APLD member for help. Many APLD designers attended Mr. Greenlee's seminar and are probably pretty fired up about ornamental grasses and meadow gardens. Hey, if Greenlee's famous clients like Diane Keaton can kick the grass habit, so can we.

One of the grasses Greenlee talked about a lot was California native grass Carex pansa. It's cute and he had some for sale at the post-seminar plant sale. One audience member asked for a deer-resistant grass recommendation. Know what he said? Deergrass, Muhlenbergia rigens. They may bed down in it, but apparently they won't eat it. Your roses, on the other hand...

You can get a taste of Greenlee's presentation by checking out his website's Products page. There's a slideshow, plant list and plant gallery.

Eye-catching yards

Thought I'd share a couple garden elements that caught my eye on a recent bike ride through a nearby neighborhood. Right now with the leaves turning, flowers still blooming and ornamental grasses in peak plumage, it's a great time to hop on your bike or go for a walk in the greater Sacramento area. Hurry, before winter chaps all our... um... grasses.

How cool is this rock wall planted with Echeveria?!

Beautiful example of an autumn-focused plant palette

Friday, October 24, 2008

Too distracted to garden much

My thoughts lately have been consumed not by gardening, but with the election. I'm fine to ignore my garden right now. It's autumn and plant growth has slowed to an enjoyable pace. The election, though, is peaking with only two weeks left before perhaps the most important vote in our lifetime. There can be no Garden Bliss when one is in Election Hell.

To soothe myself, I read my Mark Morford, my CNN... I watch my SNL, my Daily Show... I bite my fingernails... while my bulb auger sits in the garage untouched.

I count the Obama yard signs on the morning drive to my son's school. I curse their absence every time a thief sweeps through in the night, leaving the inexplicable McCain/Palin signs untouched.

And this is California, where Obama is in like Flynn. Still, I fret. Like Obama said, "Don't get cocky". When someone steals your yard signs, buy more. When someone sprays hateful graffiti all over your fence, repaint as soon as possible.

Like these guys did.

What prompted me to grab my slightly dusty camera this morning was the un-ignorable light shining on a few unexpected orchid cactus blooms and buds. In late October! While walking the yard, I discovered my little Annie dog in one of my half-barrels, triumphantly digging up an acorn planted by a squirrel she hopes to finally catch one day. To Eukanuba-fed Annie, pure sport; To the squirrel, an investment lost to a fatcat chihuahua.

We all have our dreams and desires... sometimes clashing and sometimes meshing. At least I know I'm not alone. Here's someone who has a worse case of Restless Voter Syndrome (RVS) than I do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Digging Dog Nursery at McKinley!

FYI, Sacramento gardeners... here's a reminder from the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club that one of our most fabulous northern California nurseries is giving a talk on Fall color in the garden. Yes, there will be plants for sale!

October Program Speaker
Deborah Whigham, owner Digging Dog Nursery
Fall Color in the Garden
Shepard Garden and Arts Center
McKinley Park
Thursday October 23, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Deborah Whigham and her husband Gary Ratway are the owners of Digging Dog Nursery, a family run mail-order plant nursery. Situated on the Mendocino Coast in Northern California, their mail-order nursery has been growing high quality perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees, and vines for 20 years. If you are visiting the Mendocino area, call the nursery to schedule a visit. This is a wonderful nursery. Deborah loves to encourage gardeners to plant for fall color and will share her knowledge of plants using pictures and plant material she will clip from her own garden and the nursery gardens. Deborah will also bring plants for sale.

Monday, October 13, 2008

John Greenlee Event: Sacramento

(Photo from

The California chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) is hosting The California Lawn Revolution, a seminar and plant sale by renowned ornamental grass expert John Greenlee.

Saturday, October 25
What time?

  • 10-12 pm Seminar by John Greenlee.
  • 12 pm John's collection of grasses available for purchase.
If you're an ornamental grass fan, you probably already own Mr. Greenlee's book, The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses: How to Grow and Use Over 250 Beautiful and Versatile Plants

If you're interested in joining the California Lawn Revolution, you won't want to miss this seminar and plant sale.

Here's the blurb from the APLD website:
John's passion to reinvent America 's lawn culture will educate and inspire you to do the same.
  • Founder of Greenlee Nursery, the West Coast's largest ornamental grass nursery.
  • The John Greenlee Collection of Grasses is sold nationally by Proven Winners and Smith & Hawken.
  • Author of the best-selling book The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses and the upcoming Meadows by Design.
  • His award-winning garden designs have been featured in numerous publications including Sunset & Garden Design.
  • His clients include Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Getty Center , Hess Winery, Eric Clapton & Steven Spielberg.

John's collection of grasses will available for purchase following the event.

Cost: The seminar is $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

Mail check to Sacramento APLD, 3755 Esperanza Dr., Sacramento, CA 95864.

There is a private reception and champagne brunch from 9-10am for APLD members and guests. No charge for APLD members with paid admission to the event, limited to the first 50 members to respond. $10 charge for guests.

Location: Sierra 2 Theatre, 2791 24th Street, Sacramento, CA 95818

Sponsored by:
Sacramento District

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