Pastels on the Plaza 2011

Pastels-on-the-Plaza-2011-Arcata.jpgHad the honor recently of participating in a local event, Pastels on the Plaza, which pairs artists and local businesses for a morning of fun, debauchery, and pastel chalk up one’s snoot. All in the name of charity, of course. Each business purchases a sidewalk square on Arcata’s plaza, and our artists come up with an original drawing to represent our business, and in four hours or so, actually draw it on the sidewalk square. Yes – the drawing on the left? Was done in FOUR HOURS on the freaking sidewalk using dusty pastel chalk, people.  Can you imagine??? Getting to walk around and see all the artists at work, as well as check out their pastels when they’re finished, is beyond inspiring. Our well-known local artists like Duane Flatmo, Linda Parkinson, Joan Dunning, and Alan Sanborn all had squares, but what makes me the happiest to see is all the currently-unknown artists who create absolutely brilliant work under such demanding circumstances. My artist wrote a blog post about the 2011 Pastels on the Plaza Event, so if you’re keen to see some of the best work of the day, head on over. And thanks for a fantastic square, Trev!

Gardening Under Redwoods: Dealing With Dry Shade, Acidic Soil, and Root Competition

Plants-for-under-redwoods.jpgHumboldt County’s known for its majestic redwoods, and many of the gardens that I design and care for have a few towering specimens setting the scene. But lovely though they are, gardening under redwoods presents some serious challenges.


For one, redwood trees cast some fairly dense shade. This isn’t such an issue if you only have one or two, but if you’ve got a bank of redwoods, it can be hard to grow your usual landscaping plants in that area. The solution to this is to STOP PLANTING ROSES under your redwoods. Seriously, incongruity anyone? Do some meditations about your attachment to certain types of plant, and go plant those things someplace else if you have to have them. Don’t hack at your redwoods in the vain hope that if you “let in enough light”, your roses will thrive there. I am very sorry, but they won’t. Embrace what you’ve got (the rest of the world envies you!) and move forward. [Read more...]

Regional Flair: Bring it Home With Native Plants

native-Douglas-iris.jpg***This is a bit of a local rant, but I do have a point that relates to designers and anyone who expresses themselves artistically in the garden.*** I’m lucky: my college town’s somehow managed to stay funky, cool, small and walkable, and above all, different from any other town in the world. Because us Arcata peeps are a bunch of hippies (or, ahem, forward-thinking individualists who appreciate eco-friendly living), we tend to reject that corporate sameness that’s endemic to so much of the US right now. We limit our chain stores, and most locals go out of their way to support local businesses who have tailored their wares to what WE want. That’s not to say that big box stores are all bad; rather, that they bring with them a sense of scale that’s not always in line with what’s comfortable for people to live around. The sprawling Wal-Marts and open malls of chain stores tend to discourage the slow, human process of strolling to town, since there’s not much to look at for the ten minutes it takes to walk past. [Read more...]

Fellini Baby: Local, Fair-Trade, Organic Baby Clothes

Catherine Andrews, the owner of Fellini Baby, is a Humboldt County local, and I’ve gotten to see her fair trade, organic cotton baby collection in person. The clothes are just adorable, and are unbelievably soft. (I just bought the paprika onesie for a friend who’s about to give birth!) Since Catherine’s just up in McKinleyville, I got together with her recently to do an interview about Fellini Baby and what makes her clothing special. Catherine tells the story of being at her daughter’s home birth, and since this is her daughter’s first baby, they were all anxious and had laid out about ten different baby items and blankets for the newborn to be wrapped in as soon as she was born. The doula, without even knowing that Catherine owned a baby company, selected the soft, undyed Fellini baby gown to wrap the newborn in. The clothes are super cute – my brother who is a single dad cringes at most of the pink and fluffy stuff around, but he was attracted to the more vivid colors of these baby and toddler clothes. The clothing is double-stitched and has flat seams so the clothing holds its shape and is comfy on baby’s skin. You can find Fellini Baby at their website. If you try them, let me know what you think!

HSU Extension Course: Fruit Tree Selection and Orchard Maintenance with Peter Haggard

Just heard about this exciting course through the HSU Extension:

Fruit Tree Selection & Orchard Maintenance

Delicious fruits round out the ideal garden of edibles, and it is important to know how to take care of fruit trees to have the best harvests possible. You will learn about apple, pear and other fruiting tree varieties that are ideally suited for the North Coast. Learn how root stock plays the important role in determining tree height, allowing easier maintenance and harvesting, as well as tolerance to wet soils or drought, disease resistance, durability and productivity. This course will also cover soil maintenance, which will enable you to provide the best structure and nutrients to feed your fruiting plants and trees. You will learn how to properly thin your trees for health and harvest. You will also learn how to prune your trees for their best shape and how to manage pests (diseases, insects and gophers). This course will culminate in a field experience at the instructor’s orchard in Fieldbrook. date ….. Tues., Thurs., Sun., Oct. 5, 7, 10 time ….. Tues., Thurs. 6-8 p.m., Sun. 1-3 p.m. fee ….. $60 place ….. Forestry 105 and Fieldbrook instr …… Peter Haggard course ….. EENC X022, 46939 More information and registration details here. Peter Haggard worked for the Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and has gardened in Humboldt County for over 30 years. He has a small orchard of mostly apples and pears, which are all on dwarfing rootstock and espaliered. The orchard also includes plums, peaches, blueberries, figs and European filberts. Pete co-authored with Judy Haggard Insects of the Pacific Northwest, as well as articles for various publications.

Native Plant Sale Sept 18th at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center

NativeDouglasIris.jpgThis just in from the native plant society: Native Douglas Iris CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANTS—LOCAL BEAUTY FOR YOUR GARDEN. Gardeners preparing for the fall season will find a good selection of native plants at the California Native Plant Society’s plant sale on Saturday, September 18 at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center parking lot from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Native plants enhance hedgerows, shady places, streamsides or soggy places, open sunny spots, or a pot on the deck. There will be host plants for butterflies, nectar plants for butterflies and hummingbirds, berry plants for fruit-eating birds, and shrubs and trees that provide habitat for birds. Experienced gardeners will be available to advise on plant choices and cultivation requirements. Purchases are by check or cash only. For more information, call Chris Beresford, 826-0259.