Ever want to be on the native garden tour?

I know, I know…it’s too early to think about April & May garden tours now!  But if you’re interested in being on the tour, you’ve got to think about it now.  There are three great opportunities this coming Spring of 2012.

1.  Going Native Garden Tour.  San Mateo & Santa Clara Counties.  This should be a very exciting tour in 2012, because there are so many native gardens it will be a 2 day tour!  Submit your garden.

 

North: Sat, April 21, 2012, 10:00am to 4:00pm

South: Sun, April 22, 2012, 10:00am to 4:00pm.

2.  Bay Friendly Garden Tour.  Napa, Alameda & Santa Clara Counties.  In the south bay there are opportunities to be on the tour if you live in San Jose or Palo Alto.  Submit your garden.

Alameda County, Sunday, April 29, 2012

Napa County, Sunday, May 6, 2012

Santa Clara County, April 29, 2012

3.  Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour.  Alameda & Contra Costa Counties.  Registration for this tour opens in January.

Mark your calendars now.  Even if you don’t submit your garden, plan to come out and enjoy the day with us!  Hope to see you in the gardens!

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Bay-Friendly Garden Tour – South Bay May 15th

Tour garden features rainwater harvesting and many reclaimed and repurposed materials.

The annual self-guided Garden Tour celebrates the diverse styles of Bay-Friendly with a new crop of home gardens throughout the Bay Area.

Highlights include:

  • Backyard orchards and kitchen gardens
  • Urban habitats for butterflies, birds and bees.
  • Drought tolerant replacements for water thirsty lawns.

Register on the Bay-Friendly Coalition’s website.

  • Cost: $10 per guidebook
  • Gardens open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2011 in Alameda & Santa Clara County  ***First time ever in Santa Clara county***
  • Register by May 6, 2011 to receive directions and garden descriptions.
  • Space is limited.
I will be giving a talk on Bay-Friendly Gardening at noon at the Cherry Avenue Garden in Willow Glen area of San Jose.


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Willow Glen Earth Day Sunday 5/1/11

'Clear Purple' Monkeyflower

The Willow Glen Business Association cordially invites you and your family to the Downtown Willow Glen Mini Eco-Fair!  Sunday May 1st, 2011 from 12pm-4pm, we’ll be celebrating Earth Day along Lincoln Avenue.  Local organizations and businesses will line the sidewalks, providing information and giveaways to help make your life greener and healthier.

California Nativescapes will be set up by Le Boulanger.  We’ll have stickers, seeds, and information to share.

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Going Native Garden Tour Sunday April 17th, 2011

Since 2003, the Bay Area’s pioneering native garden tour has showcased gardens featuring California native plants. This community-based tour is free of charge to the public upon successful registration. This years tour features about 70 gardens, most of them private home gardens, which are open on tour day for viewing by the public in a do-it-yourself, open house format.

The goals of the tour are to demonstrate reduced water use, reduced chemical and pesticide use, improved habitat, and the unique aesthetic appeal of gardens designed with California native plants.

My home garden will be #37, and I welcome you to stop by and see the garden.  At noon I’ll be giving a talk on Small Space Gardening.  My garden is less than 300 square feet, so it will be standing room only.  One of my client’s, at garden #51, will also be giving a talk on Gardening for the Lazy Gardener.

The tour is so much fun, and you will find inspiration at every garden.  So plan your route, pack a lunch, and charge your camera!

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Spring Garden Market

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If you haven’t heard this saturday is the Santa Clara County Master Gardener Spring Garden Market. Local master Gardener’s have been growing seedling for this Saturday’s market. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to start your garden off on the right plant this season.

You’ll find 100s of varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and much more! Come down to History Park San Jose Saturday April 2nd from 9 am to 2 pm.

 

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April 2011 Plant of the Month: Claytonia perfoliata – Miner’s (Indian) Lettuce

(A little early) April 2011 Plant of the Month: Claytonia perfoliata – Miner’s or Indian Lettuce. I’ve always called it Miner’s lettuce, but a more correct ethno-botanical name is Indian Lettuce. It was only called Miner’s Lettuce, when the 49ers came to California for gold mining. It is prolific from the ocean to the mountains of California (and beyond). It became a staple food source to the miner’s just as it had been for California Native Americans, like the Ohlone and Miwok.

Indian Lettuce can take many forms and shapes while it is growing and maturing. When first germinated it is very oblong, and does not really resemble the traditional expectations of Indian Lettuce. As it matures the leaves turn from oblong blades to heart shapes, and eventually fully matures to a circle. In the center of the circle a stem with little white flowers will form.

Too eat Miner’s Lettuce pinch the fleshy circular part off the plant. Pinch the center of the leaf again, to remove the flower, and you’re ready for salad! I caution you however to be aware of where you may be picking it. Is it on a path where lots of people walk their dog, where it could have been urinated on?

To ensure you can eat Miner’s lettuce safely, you can order your own seed. It is a quick and easy spring ground cover. It will last longer in shady and moist areas, but will survive in filtered sun. The more sun the plant has the more likely it is to turn shades of pink to red, as it fades out for the season, usually as temperatures rise at the end of spring. Miner’s lettuces is a very successful re-seeder, so once you’ve got it – you got it!

Happy Spring and try out a Miner’s (Indian) Lettuce Salad!

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March 2011 Plant of the Month – Brodiaea californica – California Brodiaea

This is an Allium cratericola - Crater onion in the bulb collections at Tilden Botanical Garden.

With the hills greening and longer days upon us, I’ve got spring fever.   Bulbs are always such a treat because I completely forget about them in my garden, until I see shoots pop up.

I pick the Brodiaea californica after seeing hundreds of them at Annie’s Annuals at my talk yesterday.  Annie says it’s ‘rare in the trade,’ which makes it even more intriguing to me.  They tend to be one of the last Brodiaeas to come out, so that makes them a late summer treat.  I always forget about bulbs, like I said, so I say this to serve as a reminder that we should all mark are calendars to buy & plant in the fall!

If your like me, and you forgot we have places like Annie’s Annuals where we can buy from now.  Also many of your local CNPS chapters will be having spring sales and these will be another great source for bulbs to enjoy this season.  Native Revival also has Alliums that are ready to open available.

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