GenHey, thanks for stopping by – very cool of you. I’m guessing if you’ve made your way here, either I’ve insulted your favorite combination of red and hot pink petunias and you want to know the fastest way of telling me off, or else you kind of dug one of my articles and want to know what I’m all about. Here goes:

What is North Coast Gardening?

This is the place to get my professional take on drool-worthy plants, garden tools, and the latest doings in the landscape design world. I’m a big fan of personalizing your garden so it reflects something special about you and the region in which you live, and I love learning about garden tricks and organic solutions that aren’t fiddly and stupid. (Like, um, beer and slugs? Really? There is no way I am picking frat boy slugs out of a disgusting bowl every morning.)

Who are you, anyway?

Well, to begin with, I’ve got “a bit of an attitude”, according to Sunset Magazine’s Jim McCausland. Amy Stewart of Garden Rant called me a “completely adorable person and lovely human being”. And also? My mommy told me, “I hope you don’t get any stalkers because you are so personable and attractive in those videos. LOL!!!” (Thanks, Mom!! Only a few so far!)

I’m a contributing editor and staff writer for Garden Design magazine, and my work’s appeared in numerous other publications such as Fine Gardening magazine and the Christian Science Monitor (see below for the full list). In 2010 I was appointed to my city’s Design Review Commission, where I review landscaping plans for commercial and historic properties to help keep our city beautiful and distinct from anytown, USA.

Where’d I get my gardening chops? Well, for over 15 years I’ve run a landscape maintenance crew in charge of giving “garden facelifts” to my treasured clients (actually, just to their gardens), and I’m a landscape designer whose clients write poems about their gardens and send in photos of themselves jumping up and down in their front yards.

Seriously? I have the best job in the world, and definitely the best clients. In my off hours, I’m a crazy avid reader, a top Amazon.com reviewer, and since I’m both Polish and blonde, well – let’s just say I have a lot of trouble screwing in light bulbs. Luckily my partner Trevor is 6’5″, so he tackles all of that.

Where exactly do you live?

Um, it’s an unlisted address. I know you liked my garden videos, but please don’t come to my home. Oh. Growing zone? I’m in Arcata, CA, home to more marijuana growers than college students, and since it’s a college town, that’s actually saying a lot. Arcata’s right on the coast amidst the Redwoods in far Northern California, just a couple hours from the Oregon border. I like it here, despite the near-constant waft of patchouli coming from my town square. (I don’t care if patchouli’s a plant. It smells like armpits!)

My growing zone seems to have more in common with Portland and Seattle than with L.A., so the traditional California gardening advice often falls flat here. It’s all the rain (we get a lot). USDA Zone 9-ish, but please don’t tell my tropicals.

What’s this whole website thingy about? Why are you doing this?

In my work, I meet people all the time, who think they can’t garden because someone sold them a stack of blooming “perennials”, that are actually annuals in our climate and are supposed to die the first year. When everything dies, they think they can’t do it, they have a brown thumb, that nothing looks right and gardening’s not at all what they imagined.

These people – you, me – we have something in our souls that needs expressing. Maybe we don’t feel we can draw, and our singing voice stinks. But plants? I mean, it’s hard to make a flower look ugly, previous jokes about red and pink petunias aside.

And the fact that it’s our nurturing that allows this beauty to unfold, and our love that brings the hummingbirds and happy bees flocking – well, I just think gardening’s a vocation and a calling that goes far beyond just being a hobby. If I can help my friends, clients, and the rest of the world get connected with good advice, that’s been tested in real gardens and has a scientific basis – well, I see no higher calling for a plant geek than that.


If you’d like to send me tokens of your devotion (cupcakes are especially appreciated) or invite me to write for your fine publication, drop me a line. As Amy and my mom have pointed out, I’m pretty cool. Especially when there is frosting involved.

Publications, media, and current positions:

Current positions

2/2013 – present: Garden Design Magazine, staff writer and consultant (view blog posts here)

6/2011 – present: National Wildlife Federation recommended landscaper: The NWF lists me on their website as one of only twelve approved landscapers across the nation.

4/2003 – present: Top Amazon.com Reviewer, reviewer for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2008, member of the Amazon Vine program for top reviewers

6/1997 – present: Genevieve Schmidt Landscape Design and Fine Garden Maintenance, owner

Selected published work and previously-held positions

9/2013 – 2016: North Coast Journal, garden columnist

9/2014: Garden Design Magazine, “Weeds and Walls: Insights from Arizona designer Steve Martino on designing spaces which enhance the beauty of the desert”

9/2014: Association of Professional Landscape Designers Magazine “The Designer”contributing editor for the Fall 2014 issue

6/2014: Garden Design Magazine, “The Inspired Backyard: Top designers share their insights on creating a meaningful outdoor space”

6/2014: Fine Gardening Magazine, “Regional Picks for Dry Shade”

6/2013: Fine Gardening Magazine, “Stop! Don’t Prune That Grass! How to prune ornamental grasses”

2010-2013: Commissioner, HDRC: Appointed by the city council to the Arcata Design Review Commission, a five-member body with judicial authority in charge of approving architectural and landscaping plans for commercial and historic projects.

9/2011-3/2013:Landscaping Network, columnist and content creation consultant

4/2011-4/2013: Christian Science Monitor garden blog Diggin’ It, contributor

2012: Houzzcolumnist

2011-2012: Proven Winners Plants, columnist and brand ambassador

2011-2012: Mytoyamz, Google curator

2011-2012: Landscaping Network, Pinterest curator

1/2012-12/2013: Fine Gardening Magazine, regular tool review columnist

11/2011: Fine Gardening Magazine, “Four simple fixes that make a big difference: Take your beds from ‘blah’ to beautiful with one of these effective measures” (featuring my designed gardens!)

12/2010: Horticulture Magazine, “Garden MVPs: Landscape designers share their top plant picks”

11/2010: Garden Rant, “Garden Rant Cocktail Hour: British invasion

8/2010: Fine Gardening Magazine, “Plant profile: Alstroemeria ‘The Third Harmonic’”

Media mentions

1/2015: Garden Design Magazine Newsletter, “Blogs We Love: North Coast Gardening

2/2014: Turf Magazine, “Where the Wild Things Are”

1/2013: National Wildlife Federation, “Gardening With a Good-Neighbor Policy

12/2012: HGTV, “Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Certified Wildlife Habitat

11/2012: HGTV, “Garden Coaches Give Clients the True Tools of the Trade”

6/2012: Today’s Garden Center, “Hassle-Free Plants for Easy Landscaping”

1/2012: Washington Post (Associated Press), “Big pond, big workload? Smaller water features can be easier on the backyard gardener”

11/2011: Garden Center Magazine, “Anthony Tesselaar Plants releases its 2012 garden trends report”

5/2011: Kirkus Reviews, “A Conversation About ‘Understanding Garden Design’

12/2009: Lowes for Pros, “Innovative green landscaping solutions for 2010”

4/2009: Turf Magazine, “Edible landscapes: Today’s victory gardens”

4/2008: The North Coast Journal, “Meet the pro: Can you get by with a little help from a gardening coach?”

4/2008: The North Coast Journal, “Yes, coach!: You need to get your act in shape; here’s how your coach can help

2/2008: The Christian Science Monitor, “Stymied? Huddle with a garden ‘coach’

Selected blog mentions

10/2012: Gardenista, “Favorite Tools from Favorite Gardeners

1/2012: Ecosystem Gardening, “Reader appreciation: Genevieve Schmidt

1/2012: The Impatient Gardener, “Expert bloggers’ favorite perennial picks

10/ 2011: Garden of Possibilities, “Plants with black foliage

5/2011: Garden Rant, “A raised bed in twenty seconds or less

4/2011: The Impatient Gardener, “Rain delay: A few of my favorite gardening blogs

2/2011: Garden Rant, “Fiskars madness“, “Fiskars madness continues“, “Yet another Fiskars adventure, plus Buddleia abuse“, “Our final Fiskars frenzy

1/2011: Baltimore Sun’s Garden Variety, “Gardening from the couch: Five for the beginner

12/2010: Garden Rant: “English Garden Tools. We love them, yeah, yeah, yeah…

9/2010: Sunset’s Fresh Dirt, “Five favorite Pacific Northwest blogs”

7/2010: Studio G, “Favorite things: North Coast Gardening

5/2010: Life on the Balcony, “How to befriend the birds, bees and butterflies on your balcony

4/2010: Garden of Possibilities, “Pruning Mophead Hydrangeas

2/2010: Garden Rant, “Do landscapers take their own advice?”

4/2009: Digging Dow’s Prairie, “Productive day

4/2009: Garden Rant, “A tale of two rakes

4/2008: Garden Rant, “Speaking of garden coaches

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19 responses to “About”

  1. HI

    I have just come across your website as I live facing the Irish Sea ( I hail from Northern Ireland) and am developing an interest in the garden. Due to the fact we have strong winds at times (also live up on a height so quite exposed) and my knowledge of gardening is scant I think that nothing much is going to work. Reading your sections gives me hope. I was going to do an online gardening course to at least get some basic knowledge of soil etc. What do you think?
    Your enthusiasim is catching….


    • Irene, I think there could be no better use of your time than to learn more about gardening! It will bring happiness into your soul and will keep you young and fit into your nineties, if my gardening friends are anything to go by. And loads of things work well in strong seacoast winds, you just need to learn what they are… my seacoast gardening posts may help a bit in getting you started…

      Thanks for the warm words, and welcome!

  2. Hi, love your blog. Looking for a referral of a great gardener who can come help me plan some smaller gardens in our coastal (Pacifica 15 min south of SF ), back and front yards both potted plants and in the ground . . Everything I’ve planted either dies from being eaten by snails or lack of sun, or my not so green thumb. Was hoping to get help this year.

    • Shoshana, try calling Carlin Ellison with Carlin’s Gardens, or Nika Brady of Pacific Gardens. If they don’t work in Pacifica, they’ll know some gardeners from the SF Pro Gardener’s association that can help.

      Or, Kathy Ormiston is in Mountain View, she may have some referrals for you, if she can’t do the work herself? http://www.ginkgogarden.net/

  3. I’m so happy to have found your site. I came upon it via Shirley Bovshow. I have a house in Westhaven that is currently a rental. When I move back up I’m going to need a good landscaper and someone who thinks like me. I believe that would be you!! And I don’t want a damn lawn. lol

    Looking forward to meeting you in the future.


    • Awww, Claudia, thanks so much! I’ll be delighted to work with you when you’re back in town. I love Westhaven… so peaceful and with such beautiful surroundings. I’ll look forward to hearing from you when you’re ready!

  4. Finally – an about page with some punch. You had me at “attitude”. Just found you site through Life on the Balcony, subscribed & eager for more. (Eager for anything really…. ripe tomatoes…. global annihilation of aphids)….

  5. Genevieve: I just spent too much time looking at your blog when I’m supposed to be doing other things. I’ve subscribed, so I’ll plan to do the same again soon. Great stuff —

  6. Found you through our connection on Houzz and have enjoyed your site. Blue Marble Industries has just launched its website (www.TheBlueMarble.com)

    Feel free to visit.


  7. found your blog in a random search. I am in Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia, a very windy, very coastal, quite cold area. In fact, Lawrencetown Beach is known through-out North America as one of the best cold-water surfing locations in the world.

    And it’s here I’m attempting to Garden. Zone 5, on a good day. Many of the plants you use wouldn’t survive August here, never mind the winter; but your design suggestions about “keeping with the sea” look is very encouraging to me.

    have been getting rid of a lot of poor performers and moving to more and more grasses.

    thanks for your blog…………..Any comments or articles you happen to write for the North Atlantic Coast will be read with fervor.

  8. Genivieve, nice blog spot. I always enjoy learning new tricks to the trade and a frequent visitor of Houzz articles on gardening. Although I am in Florida so our climates are different, your site has a spunk I like! Kathy

  9. Genevieve,
    I just ran into your blog while looking around for an answer about using landscape fabric. I hate that stuff. I wanted to find out if it is okay to not use is in my shrub beds around the front of my house – found out that it is! I like your site. I just discovered that I love gardening. I work as a communications director for a large fire department in the L.A. area, and my job is pretty sedentary. Tell us more about how gardening can make you fit and healthy. I just read an article on mercola.com about how gardening is good for your health. If you have any thoughts on it, please share. I am overweight and am sick of going to the gym, but want to ramp up my exercise and feel healthy. Gardening makes me happy. Why?

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