Saturday, December 29, 2007

LED Christmas lights

(photo from website)

Saw this news tidbit on Guess I'm not the only one having a difficult time finding LED lights in stores around Christmas time. Second year in a row for me. Right now might be a good time to buy online from places like Ooh, multi-colored mini lights are on sale. Also check out their recycling program!

San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Recycle that Christmas Tree

Click here to find out how, when and where.

Pledge to recycle, win a hundred smackers

One entry per household.

Participating jurisdictions: Counties of: Sacramento, Solano, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Glenn, or Yolo; Cities of: Chico, Citrus Heights, Dixon, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Rio Vista, Sacramento, Vallejo, Winters, West Sacramento, Woodland.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sacramento Magazine's Garden Notebook, January, 2008

Sadly, I'm neither under 40 nor a Power Player (whatever that is)... but I do happen to be the focus of Sacramento Magazine's one-page Garden Notebook in the January, 2008 issue.

Garden Notebook is written by Joan Waters, Sac Mag's new garden writer. She and I chatted about my stock horticultural photography over coffee and cookies in my backyard awhile back. Be sure to check out Joan's new column, and in case you didn't catch it, she wrote about backyard birds last month and has covered other topics for Sac Mag in the past.

Click on the photo below for a sampling of January articles.

I scanned the Garden Notebook page and saved it as a JPEG. Click on the photo below to see a larger version. Or you can do what I did and pick up a copy while standing in line with the Christmas hordes at Borders Books, Raley's, etc.

Oh, and the location was Hortus Botanicus, not Bontanicus. Just a little typo. Ok, and one more correction (i.e. nit pick)... my photos are on a site built for me by Acclaim Images, not built by me. Just had to get that out. I'm a stickler for details.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Strawberry Festival Ends

After a 17-year run, the Roseville Strawberry Festival is no more.
Roseville ends its Strawberry Festival
Last Updated 12:41 am PST Saturday, December 22, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B2

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Fun(gal) solution to the Christmas tree dilemma

Famed northern California mushroom photographer, Taylor Lockwood, found a fun(gal) solution to the real versus fake Christmas tree dilemma.

By the way, his books make great Christmas presents. His latest title is Chasing the Rain, which was recently profiled in the Washington Post.

To learn more about Mr. Lockwood, click here.

(Photo from Kingdom of Fungi Home Page)

Artificial versus real Christmas tree debate rages on

Published: December 7, 2007
A battle is being waged for the heart of the American Christmas tree customer, pitting the real evergreen against the once-lowly artificial tree. (Read more)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas tree guilt

According to the Bee, our local utility company SMUD is suggesting that buying an artificial Christmas tree is a "greener" choice than buying a fresh-cut tree trucked in from somewhere else (Oregon, most likely).

I beg to differ. Artificial trees don't last forever, but their plastic parts do. Plus, aren't some artificial trees having lead issues? And might that artificial have been shipped in from a land much farther away than Oregon?

Let's face it... the cut trees from Oregon farms are already here. Buy one, and by all means recycle it after Christmas. Find out where to recycle by going to and clicking on the Christmas tree recycling flier.

SMUD does suggest buying locally grown fresh-cut trees . If you're not wedded to the idea of a 'Silvertip' or 'Noble Fir', which don't grow well here in the Valley, then you have a couple good options:

Billy's Farm Fresh Christmas Trees
8430 Dillard Rd. Wilton, CA 95693
Phone: (916) 687-8354
FAX: (562) 498-1440
Open: November - Weekends only
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
Monterey Pine, Sierra Redwood, Cypress, Cedars, and Firs

Davis Ranch L. L. C.
Phone: (916) 682-2658
13501 Jackson Rd. Sloughhouse, CA 95683
Open: Friday after Thanksgiving to the 21st of December.
9:00 am until dusk
Douglas Fir, Monterey Pine, Incense Cedar, Sierra Redwood

Pansy pic

Just because.

Fun with Cordyline

It seems like cordyline cultivars are becoming more prevalent. I know I haven't grown it much in the past, but find myself reaching for it more and more when I'm out nursery shopping, probably because it comes in such fun colors. I'm not sure how cold-hardy it is, but will have a chance to find out soon, I'm sure.

Cordyline 'Red Sensation'

Cordyline 'Pink Something-or-other'

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tag, I'm it

I've been tagged by Leslie of Growing a Garden in Davis.

8 things for which I am thankful.

1. My baby boy, who is for the moment trapped in the mysterious and somewhat unpredictable body of a teenager.

2. My big, crazy, hilarious, Irish family. You're always there for me when I need you and we go waaaaaaaaaaay back.

3. My dogs, who daily keep my lap warm, make me feel needed, and amuse me endlessly.

4. Friends and family who make me laugh and still like me even after seeing my messy closet, office, me without makeup, the fact that I never do the dishes right after dinner, and much, much more.

5. Living in the Great Garden known as California

6. Yoga and cycling, and the fact that they make me feel good and allow me to eat more.

7. Good food and wine

8. Music

I'm tagging...

Weeder at Weeder's Garden
Trey, the Blogging Nurseryman
Eric at Gardenfork.TV
Amy Stewart at Dirt
Strata at My Bay Area Garden
Stuart at Gardening Tips'n' Ideas
Snappy at Snappy's Gardens Blog
Meloukhia at This Ain't Livin'

Amaryllis in a rice hull pot

What a great holiday gift idea from Uncommon Goods! They paired a biodegradable rice hull pot with a beautiful amaryllis bulb. You can also order it with Paperwhites or herb seeds.

Sacramentans, you can make this yourself by going to Emigh Hardware.

Organic Rice Hull Flower Gardens

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December blooms

It's windy today, but I managed to snap a few pics.

Tree dahlias are still blooming!

Cigar plant (Cuphea melvillea) is still keeping hummingbirds well fed.

January 16 edit: I now think this is C. micropetala.

Princess flower (Tibouchina) is blooming.

Tis the season for (camera-shy) birds

Bird photography is torture. As soon as you get close enough to get a good shot, they fly away. The moment you walk away, they fly back to the feeders. That's just mean!

This is the best I could do with a smallish telephoto lens and additional cropping.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

UC Davis: California Center for Urban Horticulture

I'd been hearing bits and pieces about this new organization for awhile and it looks like things are getting going because they now have a website!

Here's their "About Us" statement:
The California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) was established at UC Davis in early 2007 through a partnership that includes the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Cooperative Extension, the horticulture industry, professional horticulture associations, and California public gardens such as the UC Davis Arboretum. The CCUH is envisioned as a statewide hub of horticultural research and information extended to the public through nurseries and landscape professionals, educators in public schools, gardening clubs, and organizations like Master Gardeners.

Check out some of their very cool projects.

High Hand Nursery Christmas Charity Event


High Hand Nursery
Phone: 916-660-0117
Date: December 1, 2007
Time: 4pm-9pm
Location: 3750 Taylor Road, Loomis, CA 95650
Cost: Your generous, unwrapped toy donations are greatly appreciated.
"Have you ever roasted chestnuts? Most people only sing about it. On Saturday, Dec 1st from 4 to 9 p.m., you'll have your chance. High Hand Nursery is hosting a traditional Christmas in our century-old fruit shed.

Dating back to the early 1900s, the fruit sheds of Loomis were the hub of activity and the foundation of the town's economy. Today, they stand as monuments of a time long past and are the place where the Town of Loomis gathers for Christmas.

Take a stroll through the historic High Hand fruit sheds and the lighted garden. Listen to Christmas carols sung by local high school students, enjoy appetizers, and taste local wines.

With a donation to either charity, guests will receive 20% off purchases during the event. Or, donate to both the Children's Receiving Home of Sacramento and the SPCA and earn up to 40% off purchases. It's our way of letting you know how much your generosity is appreciated.

Join us for an old fashioned Christmas in Loomis. Enjoy chestnuts roasting over an open fire. Sing along with carolers or the chimes of the bell choir. Snack on Christmas treats. Sample wines from the Loomis Basin. It will become a fond memory of Christmastime for all."

Blotanical... where garden blogs bloom

Check out Stuart Robinson's new garden blog directory, Blotanical. Very cool. You can use this link to submit your garden blog to the directory.