Green Gardening

Even though we’ve gotten a heavy dose of rain this past week, California is still on drought alert. But if you’re like me you still want to keep your garden blooming. I started a binder to collect interesting tips on how to maintain your garden on a tight water budget, and I’ll be adding other useful tips for keeping ‘green.’

Click on the link below to view websites with some helpful ideas for keeping your garden green and environmentally friendly. Once you open the LiveBinder, click on the tabs at the top of the page to go through the different articles and websites.

Ladybugs in my Christmas Tree

Every year we go out to the tree farm and cut our own Christmas tree. It is a beautiful area with a stream running through it and I’ve always hoped that they can sell enough trees to keep it as beautiful as it is.

This year when we took the tree off of the car, we noticed quite a few ladybugs at the base of the stump. We left it outside for a little while for them to find a new home. I love how the ladybugs take care of the aphids in my garden in the spring, so I was hoping they would stick around.

Then we brought the tree in the house and within ten minutes of being in the warm environment, thousands of ladybugs thought it was spring! They were all hiding close in to the trunk, but the warmth of the house brought them out to the branches ready to launch into the warm air! We grabbed the tree and put it outside, but have been chasing ladybugs around the house ever since.

I did some research on the web to try and figure out how to give them a good place to overwinter, but from everything I’m reading, they would prefer to be in the house. It makes me think that putting that tree just outside the door was not a good move. Here are some of the sites I found on Ladybugs:

Extreme Gardening

I love gardening, but as my dear friend Carolyn always says, “Anything worth doing, is worth over doing.”

Here are some gardeners who have done just that and taken gardening to the next level.  I’m so glad that they are willing to share their creations and adventures with us on the web. Click on the binder below to see some of these great sites. They are a true inspiration for the backyard gardener!

Great Gardening Websites

The City of Belmont had their Spring Garden Faire today. It was a nice event, and I especially enjoyed the tour of the award-winning Belmont gardens. The weather was warm and it was a picture perfect day.

Handed out at the event was a list of gardening and going green websites. Too bad they didn’t know about LiveBinders. It would have been a lot easier (and saved paper) to just handout two urls, instead of two pages of urls.

I have put these lists of sites into binders so that they can be more easily shared (and shared in a more environmentally friendly way) via email. Click on the binders below to see these great gardening and going green websites:

The beauty of Japanese Maples

I love this time of year when the delicate leaves of the Japanese Maples start to reach out to the sunshine. They provide spectacular color and texture to the garden landscape. I also appreciate their diminutive statue and love the fact that I can fill my garden with them and not block my neighbor’s view. But I admit that they have become something of an addiction for me. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to grow them from seed which is probably a good thing. My garden and surrounding landscape is crammed with them as it is and this is just the time of year that they look irresistible in my local nursery…

Click on the binder below to see my collection of maples as well as the links that I found on growing them from seed.

Creating Garden Rooms – Spring in Evelyn’s Garden

I live on a hill, so a glance from my deck affords me an excellent view of Evelyn’s garden – and this time of year it is spectacular! Evelyn spent 50 years building her garden. The foundation plants include enormous rhododendrons, fabulous camellias, and one sweet-smelling lilac.

I wish she were here to see it. She passed away five years ago, but I still think of that inspirational landscape as ‘Evelyn’s garden’. Fortunately the new owner hasn’t changed it too much.

Evelyn chiseled her garden out of bedrock – one small area at a time and the result is fascinating. As you climb up and down the hill that was her backyard, you moved from one garden room to the next – each with its own character. Some have fabulous extended views, while others feature an unusual plant as a focal point. You are drawn to stay and enjoy each room, but motivated to explore around the next corner. She created vast variation in the rooms – from ferns to succulents – but kept the foundation plants consistent throughout the yard (large azaleas and camellias). She added stepping stones and benches that made you want to continue the journey but stop and enjoy the scenery – all at the same time.

I miss Evelyn. I wish she were here to provide me with advice on my own backyard. I also wish she were here so that she could see that she was right about the princess flower I planted in my front yard. She really gave me a hard time for planting it in a very central location. I had liked the idea of the blue petals falling over the path to the front door. But the plant became completely unwieldy – exactly as she had predicted.

Since I don’t have Evelyn anymore to lend me advice, I searched the web for resources on how to create ‘garden rooms’. Click this binder to see what I found, though I’m sure my eighty year-old neighbor perfected it to an art that few others could master!