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Archives for March 11, 2017

Meet Urban Farmgirls, Bayview’s Homegrown Garden Design Studio

Long before she started her Bayview-based garden design business, Urban Farmgirls, Tina Calloway had a passion for plants.  

Calloway, whose family relocated to America from England in 1974, spent her younger years helping her grandparents in their greenhouse, where they grew mostly vegetables. 

After receiving her degree in art, Calloway got a part-time job teaching gardening to adults with developmental disabilities at the Cedars Textile Art Center, where everything she grew was used for breakfast and lunch in the center’s kitchen. She spent the rest of the time selling her art and tending to her daughter, Madeleine.

Tina Calloway; her mom, Christine Calloway Holt; and her daughter, Madeleine. 

But then, tragedy struck. Calloway and her husband separated, leaving her to raise Madeleine as a single mother. Then she lost her teaching job in the recession, and not long after, was diagnosed with lymphoma. 

Helping friends with their gardens “kept me busy while I was trying to figure out how to stay in San Francisco,” she said.

She and Madeleine also had a plot in a Potrero Hill public garden, where they grew tomatoes and cucumbers to sell at local farmers markets, alongside Tina’s handmade pottery. “One day, Madeleine said to me, ‘Mommy, we’re like urban farmgirls.'” 

And so, in March 2009, a business was born. 

Urban Farmgirls’ logo, featuring an image of Madeleine, who was 10 at the time. 

Despite her initial fears, “I ended up going for it, and started the business out of my friend’s garage in the Sunset,” Calloway said. “It evolved organically, and just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Business quickly began to pick up, and soon, Calloway had contracts to design the gardens for the parklets at Simple Pleasures Cafe in the Richmond and Trouble Coffee in Bayview. She also began to design numerous private residential gardens throughout the city.

Simple Pleasures Cafe’s parklet. | Photo: Richmond District Blog
Trouble Coffee’s Bayview parklet. I Photo: SF Planning 

Urban Farmgirls’ focus is to “stay small, be hands-on and provide a gardening service with sustainable practices,” Calloway said. “With the drought in mind, I look for native plants that are eco-friendly and conserve water, and try to put them anywhere I can.”

“Every garden is like its own story, and every client has a different need. But it’s all about helping the urban environment connect with nature, and helping people cultivate their sanctuaries.”

As more potential clients saw her work, Calloway needed a dedicated space for her business. 

“A friend of mine who makes custom reefs told me about Bayview. I went to check it out, and loved it. The owners of the building are artists, and really appreciate community-oriented grassroots businesses, so they were excited. I couldn’t have landed in a better place, and would live in this studio if I could, because I love it that much.”

Outside Urban Farmgirls.

With her team of six lead and assistant gardeners, Calloway now works out of the space on Wallace Avenue, and has expanded Urban Farmgirls’ scope of work from gardening to landscaping and hardscaping designs, providing a mixture of building, design and maintenance services.

Scenes from Urban Farmgirls. 

“I love the Bayview,” she said. “Most of my residential work is here, and  business has been the best it has in a long time. What motivates me is the fact that people trust my creative process—I just have to trust that I can run a business. I’m learning every step of the way.”

“It’s important to me to build long-term with all my clients. I make sure that the design fits their lifestyle.”

“I live a conservative life,” Calloway said. “I don’t overspend, because I have to get Maddie through school. I’ve been in remission from lymphoma for three years, and health, of course, is my also my focus.”

Tina Calloway and her dog Django.

“This company started as an experiment, and it just hit me that it’s really happening,” she said. “I hope to continue to expand and hire more staff. Providing jobs for the community is on my wish list.”

To learn more about Urban Farmgirls, visit their website. 

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Got a garden design dilemma? Here are five expert tips

Dilemma 1: where do I begin?

Advice: start by the door

The advice of seasoned gardeners to newcomers is reliably the same: wait. Hold back and observe until a year has played out its seasons. What have you got? What grows well in the neighbourhood? Trees, hedges and wild flowers along the road are as instructive as the plants that recur in other people’s gardens. There will be a reason ferns pop up everywhere, say, or why nobody in your area is growing vines or figs.

The feeling of the house and its surroundings will help to suggest a theme or atmosphere for the garden. Whether the topography is leaf-filled or densely built-up, it’s important to keep the main idea simple. A dark courtyard, for example, could become a garden of pale plants, while a walled, sunnier space would trap scent. Edit your plants towards this main idea.

Keep new plants in pots for their first season, so you can study them at close quarters while you decide, slowly, what to do with them, and where. They will help you to keep the garden in mind. Beyond the back door, a young garden in its early stages can look bare. The empty spaces between new plants will seem vast, and following planting instructions, rather than squeezing in too much, will be a test of your resolve. Sowing annuals in these gaps will provide a quick temporary garden, while covering empty ground will help to suppress weeds, too.

Dilemma 2: has decking been overdone?

Advice: look at the local vernacular

‘Decking is more effective when it enhances the scenery.’ Photograph: Claire Takacs

Decking is essentially nautical, like the smooth deck of a boat navigating choppy waters. As an elevation, it works brilliantly in the right setting: near water, in the woods, over sand dunes. That is why boardwalks look and feel so good: they are a lesson in utility, providing an ancient crossing over the untamed and unknowable. Where there is less real need for decking, such as a back garden in Handsworth, it doesn’t work quite so well.

As a hide-all or quick fix, decking is a bit obvious, too. It’s more effective when it enhances the scenery than when used just to cover something unfortunate. It is at home next to modern, wide buildings, the kind that look so perfect in the woods of America or Scandinavia. Decking that’s overshadowed by buildings in an urban environment will spend at least half the year breeding moss. However, it comes into its own on a roof, where air flow is better. When used to smooth over bumps and roofing felt in the open air, it is a smart option that has not been overdone.

Dilemma 3: my plants prefer to grow in the path

Advice: perhaps they are trying to tell you something

‘Take note of where self-seeders spring up, and keep an open mind.’ Photograph: Jim Powell

It’s tempting to ignore garden truisms when trying to forge your own way. “Right plant for the right place” sounds dull; it’s more fun to do it your way and grow the wrong plant in the wrong place. After that fails, you become better equipped at finding the right spot for the right plant. Is it native to the American prairies? Does it grow luxuriantly around the Himalayas? You might think you have it all worked out, but then the plant doesn’t cooperate: the woodland-loving foxglove seeds itself in a dry wall, say, or migrates to the hottest part of the garden. When vigilant gardeners move them somewhere sensible, they curl up and die. The fact is, plants always grow where they want to.

Take note of where self-seeders spring up, and keep an open mind. The quality of light, soil and moisture, for example, can change dramatically even between one side of a garden path and the other. If your paths are made of gravel, they’ll provide something very appealing to many plants: drainage and a layer of mulch. That pebbly blanket reduces evaporation and keeps roots cool. Seeds germinate beautifully in gravel, making a nonsense of carefully monitored, potting-shed propagation.

Is gravel the ideal growing medium, though? Perhaps, but light is really the most crucial element. Every plant needs the right amount during every season, not just during its flowering time. Moisture may be less important than air flow; received wisdom is definitely less relevant than finding out for yourself.

Dilemma 4: my garden is a car park

Advice: it can be a garden as well

‘Gravel has its detractors.’ Photograph: Jim Powell

People tend not to notice when their garden has become a car park, because it’s so convenient to get the car off the street. This blinds otherwise sensible folk, and it’s then left to garden designers to rationalise the space. Gravel provides a permeable surface that mitigates the problem of rainwater run-off posed by most off-street parking. It’s also an ideal medium for undemanding self-seeders such as Verbena bonariensis and Stipa tenuissima.

Gravel has its detractors, however, so if you’d rather not use it, paving slabs, provided they’re set reasonably apart and the gaps filled with well-draining matter, are worth looking into. It’s a question of balance. How much parking space do you need? Many older suburban houses were designed with a garage to one side and a planted area near the path to the door. The front garden was a scene-changer between street and home, a mark of leafy civilisation. Some people still want this.

Dilemma 5: my garden has no soil, just paving

Advice: pots give you the freedom to move your garden around

‘Some plants are better suited to pots than others.’ Photograph: Kendra Wilson

Whether or not you have access to soil in the garden itself, plants in pots add a different dimension. You can play around with height and scale; you can experiment with different textures; you can push all your pots into a solid block or spread them out. You can have small pots, of course; but make sure you have plenty of big ones, too, not least because moisture evaporates from them less quickly and they allow you to grow larger plants, including trees.

Some plants are better suited to pots than others. The elegant outline of hosta, say, is enhanced when raised above ground level, and it is less likely to become ragged from the attention of slugs. It’s also easier to control the environment in a pot, and to keep it slug- and snail-free, whether with a sharp mulch, a copper band around the rim or the old-fashioned method of checking around the back. A pot of lilies (such as Lilium regale) by the door can be wheeled away when the flowers begin their long and lingering death.

Agapanthus will flower well only when the roots are crammed together. A fig tree will fruit better if hemmed in, and mint really ought to be retrained, if only to make sure it stays in one place. Frequently used kitchen herbs such as mint and parsley deserve a really spacious container (for instance, a galvanised steel laundry tub with holes drilled in for drainage). A pot garden supports plant communities that wouldn’t work in a flowerbed; it means the plants themselves are the first consideration, rather than the lie of the land.

Kendra Wilson’s book, My Garden Is A Car Park And Other Design Dilemmas, is published by Laurence King at £12.99. To order a copy for £11.04, go to or call 0330 333 6846.

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Garden Design Can Be Learned, With A Little Effort

The days of longingly looking out the window, wishing we were in the garden and not gazing at it from behind glass panes, are nearly behind us. Many of us have grand plans in our heads about how we’ll change a garden, create a new landscape, and create our living masterpieces large and small. I find the challenge of garden design daunting. Others can do it with ease, and many learn about garden design simply from reading, observation, questioning and in the classroom.

As a professional horticulturist, many people whom I encounter—be it a neighbor, acquaintance or potential client—think that because I work with plants there is some reason why I should be able to design gardens.

I can’t.

I tell them that, and more often than not they react as if I have this magical skill that I simply won’t share with them or sell to them. Yes, I did take two college courses in landscape and garden design, but it’s not something that is innate to me, and my lack of intrinsic artistic skill makes me honest and forthright about my reluctance and refusal to design. My own gardens at my house may appear to be designed, but it’s a ruse. It’s happened by accident and not by plan.

Nonetheless, you can’t work with plants all your life and not pick up a few design skills and tricks. There is a certain assimilation that takes place when you work close to garden designers and landscape architects that are the top of their profession. And it’s pretty obvious to me that, in a flower or mixed garden, the taller plants should go toward the back of the garden, and the shorter ones toward the front. I also know from my reading that certain color combinations work and others don’t, but I still need a color wheel as a guide. A talented designer or landscape architect with a broad knowledge of plant materials can easily blend and mix annuals, perennials and shrubs. I can’t. Ah, but I can grow them.

So, what does one do if you want to learn about garden design and be more effective in planning and executing your own gardens?

There are a number of places to start, and a number of ways to learn, and one of the best ways to start is to read—and to read the classical masters. Some to consider could be Gertrude Jekyl, Capability Brown, Rosemary Verey, Russell Page and many others There also are a few magazines that cater to garden design topics, and those are good for ideas and leads that can take you to other sources and get the gray matter working.

The Brooklyn and New York (Bronx) botanical gardens are always offering a selection of courses on the topic, and you can also stay in touch with local garden clubs and horticultural organizations, as they often have speakers and programs about general garden design and on specialty subjects relating to design. You might also find a course at Suffolk County Community College and several design courses at SUNY in Farmingdale.

Another avenue is the garden tour circuit. From May through the fall, local garden clubs, libraries and other groups organize tours and open houses featuring gardens throughout the East End and the North Fork. These tours give you an opportunity to see a multitude of gardens, each of which will be different and, hopefully, designed by different designers, and in some cases by the garden owner. Don’t be shy, though, and if you go on one of these tours, listen to the conversations of the other visitors and even seek out the garden manager, designer or owner for insights and to ask questions.

The Garden Conservancy ( also has a nationwide program of “open days,” when you can visit gardens that they have chosen for special merit. You can see the full list and get a guide to the entire list of nationwide gardens on their website.

Locally, these tours are scheduled on the East End for May 6 and 13, June 3 and 25, and July 8 and 30. There also are open days in Nassau County, Westchester and up through the Hudson Valley. They also have open days in 18 other states, so even when traveling you should try to visit gardens. Visiting gardens when you’re on the road or on vacation can be instructive and inspirational, because you can get exposure to other gardening styles and plant material that may not be used out here in our somewhat provincial atmosphere.

But if you want to start slow or just wing it, I have a few thoughts and suggestions that you might want to consider.

For the true beginner who doesn’t want to read too much, study too much or work too much, you can buy pre-planned (designed) gardens that arrive in a box. Many catalog nurseries offer these, including the White Flower Farm and Bluestone Perennials. You can see renderings of these gardens in their catalogs or on their web pages, and essentially they are selling you a simple plan along with the plants to accomplish that plan.

In most cases, these are perennial gardens, but some may include shrubs as well. Most are themed, and you can find a butterfly garden, pollinator garden, cutting garden, deer resistant garden, moon (white) garden and others. The sizes of these gardens begin at about 20 square feet and range to 100 square feet, and from $150 up to more than $400. Most can be expanded, and once you have the starter plants, you can improvise and expand.

Some specific pointers:

Always consider color relationships and size relationships. Remember that most plants have flowers, but they also have foliage, and that foliage color can change as the season progresses, and foliage texture can come into play as well. This is where your knowledge of the plants will be critical and why reading is important in this process.

We always are told that taller plants need to go toward the back of the garden—but don’t be too rigid and be ready to break the rules.

Consider perspective. Where will the garden be viewed from? Will you be looking from the edge of the border, or from a hundred feet away? Smaller features tend to disappear in the distance, but you can compensate for this by massing the smaller plants instead of planting them individually.

Will the garden be solely viewed from level ground, or from higher or lower areas? What will the effect of the seasons and the movement of the sun have on your design? A good example here might be with the use of sunflowers. Planted in the wrong spot, the sun-following heads of these plants might never be seen if viewed from the wrong spot. The flowers will always want to lean toward the sun, so viewing from the north side won’t show the flowers when they are blooming.

How will the shadow of a tree or a building affect the garden? A magnificently perfumed Oriental lily blooming too close to a screen porch or patio could easily be overwhelming, but just 15 feet farther away it will still be a magnificent plant but less overpowering to the sensitive nose.

And one thing that one of my favorite designers taught me years ago was the element of surprise. He was the ultimate plantsman as well as a designer, and he would plant annual vines that would stealthily climb up hedges and trees then pop into bloom unexpectedly. He also would plant pumpkin and gourd seeds throughout the garden, and when other plants began to die back in late summer and through the fall, the gardens would reveal hanging gourds of every type being exposed, and pumpkins showing up in the most unlikely but delightful places.

So, read, visit, travel, experiment, listen, watch and learn. In the end, it’s your garden, and you need to love it more than anyone else.

Keep growing!

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3 keys to success

Sales call offers landscapers Marty Grunder’s practical and tactical advice on how to improve their sales and marketing, and grow their company’s bottom line.

Welcome to spring, my friends, the start of another growing season for landscape professionals. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to get started on another year and see just how much you can improve on the last.

I’m especially excited this time around, having just wrapped up GROW! 2017, the three-day conference my green-industry consultancy, Marty Grunder! Inc (MGI) holds every year. The event brought together 300 landscape pros to learn from industry leaders about building successful businesses and achieving our dreams.

This year I was joined on stage by a truly extraordinary group: Frank Mariani, of Mariani Landscape; Jim McCutcheon, of HighGrove Partners; Todd Pugh, of Enviroscapes; Mike Rorie, of GroundSystems; and Scott Jamieson, of Bartlett Tree Experts.

James Cali and Jason New, our newest additions to the MGI team, also delivered presentations, as did MGI Vice President, Vince Torchia.

When these men speak, I listen, and you should, too. Together we focused on three keys to success:

1. finding good people.

I don’t know of a single landscape company that’s not struggling with this challenge now, and I didn’t meet a single owner or manager at our GROW! Conference who wasn’t worrying about it. Every one of our experts’ approaches to this problem is at least slightly different – just as everyone’s particular market is – but some common themes emerged.

Be creative in where you look for prospective employees: Catholic Services and laundromats, women and minorities. Make your company a place people will want to work at. Offer flexible hours. Work as hard at retaining good staff as you do at retaining good clients. Have a career path for every single employee, from the top down to the lowest rung.

2. Improving profitability.

Again, every one of our presenters had their own particular path to success in this realm, but I was struck more by our commonalities than our differences. We all agreed you’ve got to control your overhead; manage closely your outlay on rent, salaries, advertising and the like. Some of us don’t pay for advertising at all, relying instead on referrals and word of mouth. The single best marketing tactic you have in your arsenal is doing the job you’ve won well.

MGI’s Jason New minced no words when he told the audience what they need to do to get ahead: If you’re only working 40 hours a week and expecting extreme growth, you’re not going to succeed. Continuously monitor – monthly, weekly, even daily – what’s working and what’s not, and refine your strategy accordingly. Jim McCutcheon reminded us that zero debt isn’t realistic or opportunistic. And if you’re not opportunistic, you should close up shop and go home.

3. Standing out.

All of us on stage agreed that our clients can’t or won’t differentiate between our own and our competitors’ products, but they can and most assuredly will distinguish between our own and our competitors’ service. In fact, I owe the success of my own company in no small part to this principle.

That’s why our trucks at Grunder Landscaping are spotless, our crews are cleanly uniformed and unfailingly polite, and we never leave a site without letting our clients know what we accomplished that day and what we’ll do on our next visit. We send handwritten notes to those who award us contracts and to those who turn us down. The rejection you get today just might become a sale tomorrow if you handle it right.

It’s a lot to think about and be inspired by. But that’s also what makes our profession so much fun. So, get out there, put these ideas to work, and see if you can make this your best year yet. Go GROW!

Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author. He owns Grunder Landscaping Co.

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Tiny homes popular at Stark County Home and Garden Show

Whatever it is you are looking for, the Stark County Home and Garden Show is the place to look.

“Oh yes,” said Evelyn Philpott of Navarre Village Mobile Home Park. “‘If you have an idea of what you want to do, inside or outside your home, this is the place to be.”

The Canton Repository and Building Industry Association’s 66th annual show continues through Sunday. It’s open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

By noon on Friday’s opening day, lines were forming at the Tiny Houses on display. The homes, both built by Olde Wood, are timber frame homes.

“I love them,” said Sue Bolling of Canton. “These remind me of the house I grew up in, in Virginia, only we didn’t have bathrooms! We had to go outside.”

Visiting the show with her husband, Emory, he said he is a big fan of the old wood with which the homes were built.

“It is not livable,” said Carol Carson of East Canton, of the 160-square-foot home. “There is no kitchen in there. If it was a little bigger it would be more complete.”

Mandy Sancic, co-owner of the home, refers to the small structure as a woman’s retreat, which explains why there is no kitchen.

However, the 200-square-foot tiny home across the way in the hall has more of a kitchen. It is only missing the stove.

As popular were the landscapers, this year inside the main exhibition hall. Crowds gathered around each of the beautifully designed areas. Displaying their works of art this year were Lady Bug Garden Center; Country View Landscaping; Classico Landscape; Mike’s Landscape; and Naturescapes.

That is what attracted Florence and Roosevelt Pettway of Lake Township to attend the show for the first time.

“The show is good,” she said. “We are still looking around. I am looking for different landscaping ideas and for kitchen ideas.”

The Stark County Home and Garden Show continues through Sunday at the Stark County Fairgrounds at 305 Wertz Ave. NW.

Reach Denise at 330-580-8321 or On Twitter:@dsauttersREP




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Moffis: Annual Landscape and Garden Fair set for March 25-26

Hosted by UF/IFAS Extension, Lake County and the UF/IFAS Lake County master gardeners, the 6th Annual Landscape and Garden Fair on March 25-26 will feature the Discovery Gardens, expert speakers, children’s activities and landscape and garden vendors.

Extension agents and master gardeners from Lake, Orange and Sumter Counties will sharing their wealth of knowledge at the free event. Topics include: tropical shade gardening, butterflies, snakes and spiders, landscaping with natives, irrigation, harvesting and storing herbs, beneficial bugs, roses and garden tools and gadgets. For a schedule of times and speakers, go to

The Children’s Garden Passport is back, and participants will wander through the Discovery Gardens in search of passport stations. Once kids have visited each station, they will record them on their passports and turn them in for a prize. The Mother Goose maze will feature a scavenger hunt. Children can also attend a butterfly release at 10 a.m. on March 25.

Vendors showcasing plants and garden products include: Paradise Orchids, Living Towers, Ecological Solutions, The University of Florida Bookstore, A Natural Farm and Educational Center, Black Bear Concessions, Amorn’s Orchids, Struther’s Nursery and Landscape, B K Plants, Lake County Beekeeper’s Association, Seminole Springs Herb Farm, Yard Stop and the UF/IFAS Lake County master gardeners. 

Fair goers will be able to ask gardening, plant and landscape questions at the Mobile Plant Clinic staffed by master gardeners. Volunteers will provide advice and show visitors useful University of Florida websites that will help you make the best decisions regarding your lawn and landscape.

Be sure to stroll through each of the 21 themed garden areas, including the butterfly house, hydroponic display, groundcovers, shade gardens and roses.

Redfin is the sponsor for this year’s Landscape and Garden Fair. Go to for details.

For gardening and landscape ideas, go to our Master Gardener Plant Clinic and Discovery Gardens. Both are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the Extension Services Office, 1951 Woodlea Road in Tavares.

Brooke Moffis is the Residential Horticulture Agent of the UF/IFAS Lake County Extension office. Email

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Ask a Master Gardener: Landscaping with native plants

Question: How can I improve my landscape to be more water-wise and pollinator friendly?

Answer: Landscaping with native plants can help you achieve both. Native plants can be used around homes and in gardens to create sustainable landscapes. Pacific Northwest native plants can be used for a wide variety of landscape situations, including water-wise gardens and borders.

Native plants developed under our local conditions will thrive in our wet winters and have a natural tolerance for summer dry periods. Plants native to the Pacific Northwest are some of the most attractive plants for gardens found anywhere in the world. They include plants of all statures, from towering trees to creeping groundcovers.

Many of the flowering shrubs are excellent choices for garden borders and wildlife gardens. Floral abundance is one of the strongest ways to promote bee and butterfly diversity and charm birds into our yards. Research shows that using native plants is the best way to create a haven for pollinators like native bees and butterflies, and even to attract beneficial insects that will help the rest of your garden. Why?

Over millennia, native insects and native plants have co-evolved and reached an intricate balance. Many insects can only eat the plants they co-evolved with. Native shrubs and woody perennials have a wide range of colored foliage, fragrant scents and most persistent flowers of all the plant groups.

Native shrubs and woody perennials live longer and require half as much maintenance as non-native plants. Conventional landscapes featuring large lawns and showy alien flowers are often maintained with high levels of fertilizers, pesticides and supplemental water. By using native plants in conditions where they naturally compete well, you can create low input landscapes.

As with any landscape project, it is important to identify your site characteristics, such as wet or dry, sun or shade. Even native plants require certain growing conditions to be successful. Consider the light and the moisture requirements of plants when including them in your plan.

Plant moisture-loving plants in low-lying areas, and position shade-loving plants under trees or in other shaded areas of your yard. Native plants have definite flowering periods, which vary considerably in timing and duration.

The objective of a native plant landscape is to use a palette of species that will bloom throughout the growing season. Use at least three different species from each of the following bloom times: early season, mid-season and late season. This will provide a variety of pollen and nectar sources for a wide range of pollinators.

But which kinds of plants should you choose? Here are a few suggestions that are all native to the Pacific Northwest:

Early season:

  • Pacific or coast rhododendron: This Pacific Northwest native is a larval host for brown elfin and gray hairstreak butterflies. Hummingbirds, bees and western tiger swallowtails collect the nectar of this evergreen shrub. It is an early flowering shrub.
  • Mock orange: This is a beautiful deciduous shrub with large, showy and fragrant flowers that will attract bees and the Monarch butterfly.
  • Mountain lilac or deer brush: This relative of the lilac is a larval host for pale swallowtail, California tortoiseshell and echo blue butterflies. Bumblebees, carpenter bees, honey bees, digger bees and a variety of small native bees collect the nectar of this hardy shrub.
  • Red-flowering currant: This deciduous shrub is an important nectar source for early-season butterflies. Nectar also attracts hummingbirds.
  • Oregon grape: The state flower of Oregon, this undemanding evergreen shrub with shiny, holly-like leaves is a versatile addition to a pollinator garden. Dark blue berries follow golden yellow flowers in the spring. Oregon grape is a favorite nectar source for bees early in the season.


  • Ocean spray: This hardy deciduous shrub is a larval host for spring azure, brown elfin and Lorquin’s admiral butterflies. Bumblebees and a variety of small native bees collect the nectar of this lovely shrub.
  • Serviceberry: This deciduous shrub is a friend to hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. It is the larval host for Weidemeyer’s admiral butterflies.
  • Salal: This attractive perennial groundcover is a larval host for spring azure butterflies. Bees collect the nectar on this evergreen.
  • Coyote mint or mountain monardella: The wonderful minty fragrance of monardella makes it a welcome addition to rock gardens, as it prefers drier sites with good drainage. Monardella is a butterfly magnet, attracting a wide variety of pollinators.

Late season:

  • Milkweed: Monarch butterflies collect nectar and pollen and lay their eggs on this perennial wildflower. Nectar also attracts hummingbirds.
  • Kinnikinnick: This perennial, also known as bearberry, is a favorite among all the northwest native plants for groundcover. Its evergreen, leathery leaves cover the trailing branches. Often in winter, the leaves become a regal burgundy color. The white to pink, urn-shaped flowers are followed by vibrant red berries, which birds love.
  • Goldenrods: Goldenrods are common native plants that provide excellent pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinator insects in the late summer and fall. Both native and honey bees use pollen from goldenrods to provision their nests, and monarch butterflies use goldenrod nectar to build up their body fats for their long migrations and overwintering.
  • Douglas aster: This easy to grow aster of late summer provides an important source of nectar for all types of pollinators.

If you are gardening for pollinators, it is ill-advised to use neonicotinoids and broad-spectrum insecticides, particularly on plants that are in bloom. Also avoid using systemic pesticides. “Systemic” means that the chemical can be absorbed by a plant and move around in its tissues.

Broad-spectrum insecticides, which can include systemic insecticides, can kill or harm a variety of “good” insects, in addition to the target pest. When mixed with water, and poured on the soil around the base of the plant being treated, systemic pesticides can kill or harm insects for months or years to come.

The well-planned native garden can make a positive impact by lowering water usage, creating habitat for pollinators and saving you time and money.

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SAWS hosting garden party to teach gardeners functional, beautiful landscaping

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Water System is hosting a garden party on Saturday that will focus on making the most of rainfall.

At the Spring Bloom event, SAWS staff and guest speakers will give attendees useful tips on how to make gardens more beautiful while saving water and reducing pollution. There will be presentations on how to combine beautiful landscaping with rain gardens, which are areas that prevent erosion and filter runoff.

SAWS said the first 1,000 guests will get a free drought-tolerant plant. 

There will be hands-on demonstrations and plant sales at the event, which will take place at SAWS Headquarters. For more information about SAWS and Spring Bloom, visit the SAWS website

Copyright 2017 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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Gardening & Landscaping

Generous Earth

44 Chandler St, Somerville, MA

(774) 392-0637

Generous Earth Gardens is a landscape design and maintenance company that specializes in organic gardening. We care about finding the perfect design for your particular style, be it modern and zen or a classic country garden, while at the same time using our patience and knowledge to create successful…Read More.

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Dear Bob

Posted: Saturday, March 11, 2017 12:15 am

Dear Bob

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

By Bob Beyfuss

For Columbia-Greene Media

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Saturday, March 11, 2017 12:15 am.

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