Primary Landscape Trends for 2019

We notice some landscape trends return year after year.  They remain on the list because their popularity is still soaring.  Like edible and community gardens. These two are big – and encouraging. 

More people are embracing plants – indoors and out.  Millennials are spending a lot of money on plants. And, Generation Z – loves them!  Gardens that save water, benefit the environment, are low maintenance and –  gardens that heal and feed.  They are everywhere.  Not just in the west. 

Healing Gardens

More hospitals and institutions are incorporating gardens.  Since we know that gardens can heal the mind and,the body, Horticultural therapy is a increasingly recognized profession. 

How plants help in institutional settings.

  • Alzheimers and dementia patients
  • Patients with mental illness
  • Improves hormonal balance
  • Decreases violence by 19%

Interior Plants are More Popular Than Ever

From Garden Media’s annual report.
Pinterest searches for indoor plants are up 90 percent. National Gardening Association found that 30 percent of all households bought at least one hourplant last year.  Millennials are driving this trend – they represent 31 percent of houseplant sales.

People who spend a lot of time indoors behind a screen are craving nature.  Bringing the outdoors in – is a no-brainer. One organization in New Zealand has identified how apartment dwellers are using plants in their homes. Putting “masses of indoor plants on modular shelves.” Aranged for easy maintenance. At home they are not using living walls – too high maintenance.

A partial list of indoor plants with the best air cleaning attributes (according to NASA)*

  • Boston Fern
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Agloenema
  • Sansevieria
  • Ficus Benjamina
  • Anthuriums
  • Spathiphyllum
  • Dracaenas (Marginata and Massangeana)
  • Pothos

See our website for photos of the above plants and others we use in our service.

*Bill Wolverton, former NASA research scientist who conducted the 1989 plant study favors golden pothos.  He suggests placing two good sized plants per 100 feet of interior space.  He reminds us that they make people feel happier, reduce stress, improve mood and energy levels.

Green Building - Emeryville California

Office Building Trends

Sustainable design and bringing nature inside was once a new trend.  Now these concepts are the standard and essential for attracting talent.

It’s called “Biophilic design”. Designers also integrate views, natural lighting and climate to mirror the outdoor environment.

One study by Harvard University found that –
In a strategically designed green office, employees had on average 61% higher cognitive function
than their non-green counterparts.

Big picture, sustainable buildings are just one aspect of what is called – healthy buildings.   Spaces are being designed with the employees’ well being in mind. 
One example is relaxation or quiet spaces, featuring soft and comfortable seating; mini fridges. 

Community Gardens

The Trust for Public Land says this trend has grown 44% since 2012. 22% since last year.  Most community gardens grow edible plants.  The biggest way they make a difference is by providing low cost healthy food for underserved communities.  It’s hard to envision living in an area without a major grocery store – independent or chain.  But, that is a reality in Richmond. 

Verde Elementary is a small school at the end of a quiet street in Richmond. It has one of the oldest organic school gardens in California. Urban tilth managed it for eight years. It is a food source for the students and the North Richmond community.  The program includes teaching students about health and nutrition plus, it gives them the experience of tending a garden.

There are many community gardens throughout the bay area.  Below is a partial list.

Other East Bay community gardens

El Cerrito has Pacific Oaks Community Garden

Hercules Sustainable Community Garden

Rodgers Ranch Community Garden – Pleasant Hill.  This garden rents different sized spaces for an annual fee.

San Francisco community gardens

Potrero Hill Community Gardens

TNDC Tenderloin People’s Garden

Please Touch Community Garden

Climate Resilient Gardens – where nature and technology merge

As the conversation about climate change goes mainstream, a broader swath of the population are realizing they can help make a difference – in their own gardening practices.

The term resilience – is being used by Gensler (architecture and design firm).  It’s in the context of – urban centers and their potential to become part of the solution.   Now individuals are taking more responsibility by embracing gardens that enhance biodiversity. 

Wildlife Gardens

Gardens are trending toward a less manicured look in favor of a more natural appearance. 
Natives
are more popular. 
Adding plants that attract butterflies and other pollinators.
Low maintenancea gardens.
Edible gardens have become wildly popular.

And, water.  We can no longer take it for granted.  Drought tolerant plants are the standard. 

Garden Technology

Irrigation technology, including weather-based irrigation timers, (controllers) has exploded in popularity.  This relieves the busy homeowner from having to remember to water.  And, it is more effective.  We list the names of SF Bay area water districts offering rebates for some of these products.
Soil moisture sensors help by measuring the amount of moisture in soil.
Plant ID/Gardening apps are proliferating.  However, I have yet to find a good one.

Brand new!
Robotic weeders.  Solar powered.  It can weed whack for up to three hours.  (This is all we know at this time).
Robotic pollinators.  They are being tested.  Results show they have been successful in flowers.

 

Rose Pruning is Easier Than You Think!

Our tips and tools give you all the basics to make it easy.  We tell you when and how. Plus advise you on the best tools to make it safe.  And, easy. 
Straight from the experts.  Including a video.

The Goal of Rose Pruning

We call it the 3 D’s!  Remove DEAD, DISEASED or DAMAGED.  Remember this when you look at your roses.

Another goal of pruning is to

  • Increase air circulation.
  • Shape your plant.
  • Encourage growth on flowering wood.

You want new, fresh canes.  They produce more and healthier roses than older ones. 

Tools for Rose Pruning Safety

Take precautions to yourself because thorns are very sharp.  Scratches and punctures from them can get infected.
Having the right pruner is a big step toward making it easy.

Rose Pruners that we recommend

There are two types of pruners.  Anvil and Bypass pruners.  We recommend Bypass.
Anvil pruners are not as sharp and do not make clean cuts. 
See examples below.

Bypass  PrunerOur recommendation.  Note the curved blades in the illustration below
What makes them effective is that the two curved blades cross eachother while cutting.

It’s the key to getting a sharp clean cut.  Otherwise you risk injuring your plant.

Anvil Pruner – They are not sharp and will tend to rip the cain.  You can see the difference as the blade is flat and flush against the back side.

GlovesSan Francisco Rose Society, a trusted authority on roses, recommends thick leather gloves to protect you from sharp thorns. For more protection, there is the gauntlet which protects above the wrist.  See below.

Clothes  – Should be thick and hard enough to protect you.  Long sleeves are a must.  SF Rose Society recommends a leather jacket.

About Rose Canes

Cane – It’s the stem of a rose.  It grows from the trunk.  A young cane is bright, smooth and green or a mahogony color.
See illustration below showing a healthy cane.

Old or dying canes are wrinkled and gray.  See dead gray cane below.

When and How to Prune Roses

Because of the mild San Francisco Bay Area climate, we  recommend pruning roses in February. 

Our pruning tips are broken out below by three basic types of roses. 

Carpet roses (sometimes called shrub or ground cover roses.)
Climbing roses.  And, Floribundas and Grandiflora roses.

The illustration below shows you proper pruning – how to make the cut.

Floribunda and Grandiflora Roses

They are the most popular roses in the San Francisco Bay Area and are pruned similarly.
The Master Gardener video posted below is a great tutorial on pruning this type of rose.

See the example below of a Grandiflora rose bush

  1. Remove any damaged, diseased, weak or broken canes, until there is only healthy growth.
  2. Cut back about one fourth to one third of the current year’s growth.
  3. Cut the center branch from each cluster of branches.
  4. Cut the remaining ones back to 3-4 undeveloped growth buds.

Important notes

Cut off any stems that are crossing over the center of the bush or crossing over each other.

You want the center opened to allow sun and air circulation.

It should be shaped like a vase.

The Master Gardener video below demonstrates how to prune this type of rose

Carpet Roses

They are also referred to as shrub or ground cover roses.  You will see them on many commercial sites in the San Francisco Bay Area.

See photo below

Carpet Roses

These roses are the least fussy!

Remember the 3 – D’s.

  1. Cut the bush back to rejuvenate and reinvigorate the plant.
  2. You will be cutting it back to half its original size or more.  Initially, your plant will look like mere stalks when you are done.  But, don’t worry.
  3. Your rose shrub will re-establish itself with healthy new growth.
  4. Finish by trimming so it has an even shape.

Climbing Roses

These roses like to grow against a arbors, fences or a trellis.  They key is to train them to a horizontal position.  In the shape of a fan.

See image below

These need to be trained because they have long branches can become quite unruly if allowed to grow in a haphazard fashion.

Some key tips about pruning and training them

  1. Trim off any old, dead, diseased or overcrowded branches.
  2. If a cane is not climbing in the right direction, just remove it.
  3. Encourage sidehoots (also called laterals) because they produce the flowers. They should be cut back from two to five buds.
  4. Train by bendng the dominant canes to fan out horizontally by securing them. They will produce more flowers! 

 When you are finished

  • You don’t have to seal your pruning cuts.  They will seal themselves, particularly if they are dormant.
  • Remove all remaining leaves.  They can harbor pests.

Main Sources for this post

  • Master Gardeners – I viewed several different posts by Master Gardeners including the above video from Oregon.
  • Nanette Londeree, Master Gardener and Master Rosarian who writes articles about the care of roses.
  • San Francisco Rose Society – I used some online information along with their book on roses. 
  • Paul Swanson, Gardeners’ Guild, Director of Business Development and horticultural expert.

Mature, woody Rosemary shrub – Detracts from look of a property. See prognosis at the bottom*

How to know when you should replace your plants

How do your plants look?  Are they attractive, healthy and vigorous?  There are a few factors that deterrmine how they look.  

  • Your plant’s maturity.  Are they in the beginning or end of their lifecycle?
  • Are they planted in the right place?  This will determine how well they thrive.
  • Maintenance is important.  But maintenance cannot compensate for plants that are past their prime or are planted in the wrong place.  We have seen numerous examples of plants in the wrong place that, in spite of diligent management, will never thrive.  

Knowing Your Plant’s Useful Lifecycle is the first step

With the right maintenance practices some plants can live for many years.  Ten, twenty, thirty and long beyond that.
Others have a finite lifespan at which time they will need to be replaced.

Do you have a shrub that looks awful? 
Woody? Has it stopped producing foliage?  Like the rosemary depicted above? Can your plant can be saved with renovative pruning?  Or is it time to replace it? 
An ugly looking plant reflects badly on your property.
You will need to either rejuvenate or replace it.

Know which options your plants need depends on their type. 
Don’t spend your valuable time resurrecting a dying plant when it is better to replace it with a plant or plants that enhance your property.  Conversley, replacing mature plants cost money.  Make sure you know whether your plants can be rejuvenated.

Be knowledgeable.  Then plan.
Below are some examples of plants types and their expected lifespan.

Primrose – an Annual

Annuals
Their lifecycle is typically one year.  And, they bloom consistently.

Black-eyed Susan’s – a Biennial

Biennials
Typically they complete their lifecycle in two years.

Yarrow – Sample Perennial

Perennials
Plants that live for more than two years.
Horticulturalists categorize perennials as to woody or herbaceous.
A woody perennias are trees and shrubs.
Herbaceous perennials are non-woody plants that that flower during a specified time period and usually die back in the fall.
Their lifecycle will depend on plant type and their environment

How to Know When Your Plant Has Completed its Lifecycle

A simple answer is – it becomes unsightly.
Some plants that become woody and stop producing foliage should be removed.
There are some exceptions – or plants that can be revived.

Below are some examples of plants with a finite lifespan

 

Ceanothus Julia Phelps

Ceanothus has an average lifespan of ten years. At the very most – fifteen years. You can tell when it needs to be removed when the plant becomes sparse and it looks unsightly. Pruning regularly to remove older shoots will help extend their life. 

 

Cistus

Cistus’ lifespan is approximately ten years.  You will know know when it is time to replace your Cistus (Rock Rose). Because it will become very woody and will produce less and less flowers.


Below are some examples of Perennials with a longer lifespan
They can be rejuvendated with appropriate pruning

Photinia

Photinia is usually grown as a hedge for screening purposes. A moderate grower. Reaches maturity in about 12 years. They can live for fifty years – with good care. Pinch and lightly prune 4-5 /year for encourage density.  One way of rejuenvating them is to cut back the entire shrub.  Another way is to cut back in stages.

 

Privet

Privets are grown as trees or heges for screening.  They have a long lifespan. Some report 20-40 years. Fast growers, they are hardy and need regular pruning. Renovate by cutting entire plant down to 6 – 12 inches off the ground.

Planning to Optimize Your Plants’ Lifecycle

Know what to expect at every stage of their lifespan

The first five years

Jerry Goodspeed, a horticulturalist for Utah State University says that in the first five years of a landscape, plants grow and fill in their assigned area. 

After ten years

Goodspeed says plants may become overgrown.

  • Overcrowding may become a problem.
  • You can tell if they are in decline when they appear leggy.  Hard pruning can restore vigor on some.
  • Start evaluating each plant on a case by case basis as some may need replacing.
  • If your irrigation was installed at the same time as your plants were installed, you may be wasting water. 

Manage Plant Growth 

  • Plants compete for nutrients, water and sunlight.  Some do not survive.
  • When trees mature its larger canopy may block sunlight from a neighboring plant making its removal necessary.
  • Long term tree care. Routine pruning and fertilization are important for the health of your trees.  They are an important part of your asset.  With proper maintenance they will last for many years. 
  • For shrubs that are crowding another plant.  A healthier fix than shearing is to selectively remove plants that are crowding each other.

*Mature woody Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Unfortunately, this poor Rosmarinus should be replaced.  One of our GGI resident experts, Paul Swanson says, “they do not respond well to hard pruning.” I can guarantee that given Paul’s thirty plus years of experience, that is the last word on it. 

 

Mature, woody Rosemary shrub – Detracts from look of a property. See prognosis at the bottom*

How to know when you should replace your plants

How do your plants look?  Are they attractive, healthy and vigorous?  There are a few factors that deterrmine how they look.  

  • Your plant’s maturity.  Are they in the beginning or end of their lifecycle?
  • Are they planted in the right place?  This will determine how well they thrive.
  • Maintenance is important.  But maintenance cannot compensate for plants that are past their prime or are planted in the wrong place.  We have seen numerous examples of plants in the wrong place that, in spite of diligent management, will never thrive.  

Knowing Your Plant’s Useful Lifecycle is the first step

With the right maintenance practices some plants can live for many years.  Ten, twenty, thirty and long beyond that.
Others have a finite lifespan at which time they will need to be replaced.

Do you have a shrub that looks awful? 
Woody? Has it stopped producing foliage?  Like the rosemary depicted above? Can your plant can be saved with renovative pruning?  Or is it time to replace it? 
An ugly looking plant reflects badly on your property.
You will need to either rejuvenate or replace it.

Know which options your plants need depends on their type. 
Don’t spend your valuable time resurrecting a dying plant when it is better to replace it with a plant or plants that enhance your property.  Conversley, replacing mature plants cost money.  Make sure you know whether your plants can be rejuvenated.

Be knowledgeable.  Then plan.
Below are some examples of plants types and their expected lifespan.

Primrose – an Annual

Annuals
Their lifecycle is typically one year.  And, they bloom consistently.

Black-eyed Susan’s – a Biennial

Biennials
Typically they complete their lifecycle in two years.

Yarrow – Sample Perennial

Perennials
Plants that live for more than two years.
Horticulturalists categorize perennials as to woody or herbaceous.
A woody perennias are trees and shrubs.
Herbaceous perennials are non-woody plants that that flower during a specified time period and usually die back in the fall.
Their lifecycle will depend on plant type and their environment

How to Know When Your Plant Has Completed its Lifecycle

A simple answer is – it becomes unsightly.
Some plants that become woody and stop producing foliage should be removed.
There are some exceptions – or plants that can be revived.

Below are some examples of plants with a finite lifespan

 

Ceanothus Julia Phelps

Ceanothus has an average lifespan of ten years. At the very most – fifteen years. You can tell when it needs to be removed when the plant becomes sparse and it looks unsightly. Pruning regularly to remove older shoots will help extend their life. 

 

Cistus

Cistus’ lifespan is approximately ten years.  You will know know when it is time to replace your Cistus (Rock Rose). Because it will become very woody and will produce less and less flowers.


Below are some examples of Perennials with a longer lifespan
They can be rejuvendated with appropriate pruning

Photinia

Photinia is usually grown as a hedge for screening purposes. A moderate grower. Reaches maturity in about 12 years. They can live for fifty years – with good care. Pinch and lightly prune 4-5 /year for encourage density.  One way of rejuenvating them is to cut back the entire shrub.  Another way is to cut back in stages.

 

Privet

Privets are grown as trees or heges for screening.  They have a long lifespan. Some report 20-40 years. Fast growers, they are hardy and need regular pruning. Renovate by cutting entire plant down to 6 – 12 inches off the ground.

Planning to Optimize Your Plants’ Lifecycle

Know what to expect at every stage of their lifespan

The first five years

Jerry Goodspeed, a horticulturalist for Utah State University says that in the first five years of a landscape, plants grow and fill in their assigned area. 

After ten years

Goodspeed says plants may become overgrown.

  • Overcrowding may become a problem.
  • You can tell if they are in decline when they appear leggy.  Hard pruning can restore vigor on some.
  • Start evaluating each plant on a case by case basis as some may need replacing.
  • If your irrigation was installed at the same time as your plants were installed, you may be wasting water. 

Manage Plant Growth 

  • Plants compete for nutrients, water and sunlight.  Some do not survive.
  • When trees mature its larger canopy may block sunlight from a neighboring plant making its removal necessary.
  • Long term tree care. Routine pruning and fertilization are important for the health of your trees.  They are an important part of your asset.  With proper maintenance they will last for many years. 
  • For shrubs that are crowding another plant.  A healthier fix than shearing is to selectively remove plants that are crowding each other.

*Mature woody Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Unfortunately, this poor Rosmarinus should be replaced.  One of our GGI resident experts, Paul Swanson says, “they do not respond well to hard pruning.” I can guarantee that given Paul’s thirty plus years of experience, that is the last word on it. 

 

Mature, woody Rosemary shrub – Detracts from look of a property. See prognosis at the bottom*

How to know when you should replace your plants

How do your plants look?  Are they attractive, healthy and vigorous?  There are a few factors that determine how they look.  

  • Your plant’s maturity.  Are they in the beginning or end of their life cycle?
  • Are they planted in the right place?  This will determine how well they thrive.
  • Maintenance is important.  But maintenance cannot compensate for plants that are past their prime or are planted in the wrong place.  We have seen numerous examples of plants in the wrong place that, in spite of diligent management, will never thrive.  

Knowing Your Plant’s Useful Lifecycle is the first step

With the right maintenance practices some plants can live for many years.  Ten, twenty, thirty and long beyond that.
Others have a finite lifespan at which time they will need to be replaced.

Do you have a shrub that looks awful? 
Woody? Has it stopped producing foliage?  Like the rosemary depicted above? Can your plant can be saved with renovative pruning?  Or is it time to replace it? 
An ugly looking plant reflects badly on your property.
You will need to either rejuvenate or replace it.

Know which options your plants need depends on their type. 
Don’t spend your valuable time resurrecting a dying plant when it is better to replace it with a plant or plants that enhance your property.  Conversley, replacing mature plants cost money.  Make sure you know whether your plants can be rejuvenated.

Be knowledgeable.  Then plan.
Below are some examples of plants types and their expected lifespan.

Primrose – an Annual

Annuals
Their lifecycle is typically one year.  And, they bloom consistently.

Black-eyed Susan’s – a Biennial

Biennials
Typically they complete their lifecycle in two years.

Yarrow – Sample Perennial

Perennials
Plants that live for more than two years.
Horticulturalists categorize perennials as to woody or herbaceous.
A woody perennias are trees and shrubs.
Herbaceous perennials are non-woody plants that that flower during a specified time period and usually die back in the fall.
Their lifecycle will depend on plant type and their environment

How to Know When Your Plant Has Completed its Lifecycle

A simple answer is – it becomes unsightly.
Some plants that become woody and stop producing foliage should be removed.
There are some exceptions – or plants that can be revived.

Below are some examples of plants with a finite lifespan

 

Ceanothus Julia Phelps

Ceanothus has an average lifespan of ten years. At the very most – fifteen years. You can tell when it needs to be removed when the plant becomes sparse and it looks unsightly. Pruning regularly to remove older shoots will help extend their life. 

 

[caption id="attachment_3073" align="alignleft" width="300"] Cistus

Cistus’ lifespan is approximately ten years.  You will know know when it is time to replace your Cistus (Rock Rose). Because it will become very woody and will produce less and less flowers.


Below are some examples of Perennials with a longer lifespan
They can be rejuvendated with appropriate pruning

Photinia

Photinia is usually grown as a hedge for screening purposes. A moderate grower. Reaches maturity in about 12 years. They can live for fifty years – with good care. Pinch and lightly prune 4-5 /year for encourage density.  One way of rejuenvating them is to cut back the entire shrub.  Another way is to cut back in stages.

 

Privet

Privets are grown as trees or heges for screening.  They have a long lifespan. Some report 20-40 years. Fast growers, they are hardy and need regular pruning. Renovate by cutting entire plant down to 6 – 12 inches off the ground.

Planning to Optimize Your Plants’ Lifecycle

Know what to expect at every stage of their lifespan

The first five years

Jerry Goodspeed, a rejuvenated for Utah State University says that in the first five years of a landscape, plants grow and fill in their assigned area. 

After ten years

Goodspeed says plants may become overgrown.

  • Overcrowding may become a problem.
  • You can tell if they are in decline when they appear leggy.  Hard pruning can restore vigor on some.
  • Start evaluating each plant on a case by case basis as some may need replacing.
  • If your irrigation was installed at the same time as your plants were installed, you may be wasting water. 

Manage Plant Growth 

  • Plants compete for nutrients, water and sunlight.  Some do not survive.
  • When trees mature its larger canopy may block sunlight from a neighboring plant making its removal necessary.
  • Long term tree care. Routine pruning and fertilization are important for the health of your trees.  They are an important part of your asset.  With proper maintenance they will last for many years. 
  • For shrubs that are crowding another plant.  A healthier fix than shearing is to selectively remove plants that are crowding each other.

*Mature woody Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Unfortunately, this poor Rosmarinus should be replaced.  One of our GGI resident experts, Paul Swanson says, “they do not respond well to hard pruning.” I can guarantee that given Paul’s thirty plus years of experience, that is the last word on it. 

 

Mature, woody Rosemary shrub – Detracts from look of a property. See prognosis at the bottom*

How to know when you should replace your plants

How do your plants look?  Are they attractive, healthy and vigorous?  There are a few factors that deterrmine how they look.  

  • Your plant’s maturity.  Are they in the beginning or end of their lifecycle?
  • Are they planted in the right place?  This will determine how well they thrive.
  • Maintenance is important.  But maintenance cannot compensate for plants that are past their prime or are planted in the wrong place.  We have seen numerous examples of plants in the wrong place that, in spite of diligent management, will never thrive.  

Knowing Your Plant’s Useful Lifecycle is the first step

With the right maintenance practices some plants can live for many years.  Ten, twenty, thirty and long beyond that.
Others have a finite lifespan at which time they will need to be replaced.

Do you have a shrub that looks awful? 
Woody? Has it stopped producing foliage?  Like the rosemary depicted above? Can your plant can be saved with renovative pruning?  Or is it time to replace it? 
An ugly looking plant reflects badly on your property.
You will need to either rejuvenate or replace it.

Know which options your plants need depends on their type. 
Don’t spend your valuable time resurrecting a dying plant when it is better to replace it with a plant or plants that enhance your property.  Conversley, replacing mature plants cost money.  Make sure you know whether your plants can be rejuvenated.

Be knowledgeable.  Then plan.
Below are some examples of plants types and their expected lifespan.

Primrose – an Annual

Annuals
Their lifecycle is typically one year.  And, they bloom consistently.

Black-eyed Susan’s – a Biennial

Biennials
Typically they complete their lifecycle in two years.

Yarrow – Sample Perennial

Perennials
Plants that live for more than two years.
Horticulturalists categorize perennials as to woody or herbaceous.
A woody perennias are trees and shrubs.
Herbaceous perennials are non-woody plants that that flower during a specified time period and usually die back in the fall.
Their lifecycle will depend on plant type and their environment

How to Know When Your Plant Has Completed its Lifecycle

A simple answer is – it becomes unsightly.
Some plants that become woody and stop producing foliage should be removed.
There are some exceptions – or plants that can be revived.

Below are some examples of plants with a finite lifespan

 

Ceanothus Julia Phelps

Ceanothus has an average lifespan of ten years. At the very most – fifteen years. You can tell when it needs to be removed when the plant becomes sparse and it looks unsightly. Pruning regularly to remove older shoots will help extend their life. 

 

Cistus

Cistus’ lifespan is approximately ten years.  You will know know when it is time to replace your Cistus (Rock Rose). Because it will become very woody and will produce less and less flowers.


Below are some examples of Perennials with a longer lifespan
They can be rejuvendated with appropriate pruning

Photinia

Photinia is usually grown as a hedge for screening purposes. A moderate grower. Reaches maturity in about 12 years. They can live for fifty years – with good care. Pinch and lightly prune 4-5 /year for encourage density.  One way of rejuenvating them is to cut back the entire shrub.  Another way is to cut back in stages.

 

Privet

Privets are grown as trees or heges for screening.  They have a long lifespan. Some report 20-40 years. Fast growers, they are hardy and need regular pruning. Renovate by cutting entire plant down to 6 – 12 inches off the ground.

Planning to Optimize Your Plants’ Lifecycle

Know what to expect at every stage of their lifespan

The first five years

Jerry Goodspeed, a horticulturalist for Utah State University says that in the first five years of a landscape, plants grow and fill in their assigned area. 

After ten years

Goodspeed says plants may become overgrown.

  • Overcrowding may become a problem.
  • You can tell if they are in decline when they appear leggy.  Hard pruning can restore vigor on some.
  • Start evaluating each plant on a case by case basis as some may need replacing.
  • If your irrigation was installed at the same time as your plants were installed, you may be wasting water. 

Manage Plant Growth 

  • Plants compete for nutrients, water and sunlight.  Some do not survive.
  • When trees mature its larger canopy may block sunlight from a neighboring plant making its removal necessary.
  • Long term tree care. Routine pruning and fertilization are important for the health of your trees.  They are an important part of your asset.  With proper maintenance they will last for many years. 
  • For shrubs that are crowding another plant.  A healthier fix than shearing is to selectively remove plants that are crowding each other.

*Mature woody Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Unfortunately, this poor Rosmarinus should be replaced.  One of our GGI resident experts, Paul Swanson says, “they do not respond well to hard pruning.” I can guarantee that given Paul’s thirty plus years of experience, that is the last word on it. 

 

Gardeners’ Guild will deliver Poinsettias to your SF Bay Area office

Having Poinsettias delivered will put a smile on your face. 
Your office mates will thank you.

Our interior division services San Francisco and the East Bay as well as Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties.

Limited quantities available.  Order today.

Your poinsettia order options*

Either with or without maintenance
Sizes 4”,6” 8” or 10″ Poinsettia in a decorative foil sleeve
We will maintain them from November 28th through first week January
*A delivery charge may apply.  Replacements are at an additional cost.

Colors

Red, white, burgundy and pink

What you should know if you want to maintain them yourself.  

Poinsettias are temperamental need just the right light and moisture to last through the holidays.  This is why having a professional maintenance is the best option, especially for a commercial building.

They need strong indirect light, love moisture but not too much and warmish temperatures.  Avoid drafty areas.  Keep them inside.

Poinsettias aren’t poisonous but they can cause mild irrigation in puppies or kittens.  Best to keep them away.

And, they won’t harm people.  An Ohio State University study found that a 50-pound child would have to eat 500 leaves for any harmful effect to occur.

How to order

Contact Angela Wrath

Phone (510) 439-3707

Email awrath@gardenersguild.com

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Sonoma and Napa Fires are the backdrop of this firey sunset in Novato

Fiery Sunset in Black Point Novato October 17, 2017

Four Essential Actions for Wildfire Preparation

Plus the Secret Ingredient to Effective Preparation

Wind and warmer weather underlines the threat of wildfire for the rest of October.  This month is usually the worst, but if warming conditions prevail, “wildfire risk could rise again before winter rains arrive in earnest,” says Weatherwest.com.

Preparing for wildfire is a combination of prevention (a longer-term solution) and short-term preparation. 
Below are four essential short-term actions you can take now. 
They will minimize the risk to you and your home.

I have first-hand knowledge of wildfire preparation and prevention. 
Living in a North Bay community designated as “at risk” for wildfire, I am well versed in both prevention and preparation.  The unnerving “Red Flag” warnings from Nixle (learn about them below) reminds us to stay focused on safety. We are a proactive group.  And, so far, we’ve been fortunate. 

Following FireSafe Marin guidelines, our neighborhood works together trimming trees, scheduling fire department consultations and following their recommended activities. 

This coming weekend is our second “chipper day.”  Funded by a grant, our Fire Department will send out a chipper and crew to dispose of the trimmings from cut trees and shrubs.  Hand-made signs posted throughout our neighborhood are friendly reminders for taking action. 

I believe that what has made us successful (the secret ingredient) is teamwork. Working together with a common goal of fighting danger.  As a group we’ve been more effective than as individuals.

The four activities below are the essentials of what you can do now.  There is also an evacuation checklist you can use.

Preparation
Sign up for Emergency Notifications

If you haven’t already, sign up now.

Nixle
It will alert you to any emergency events and evacuations in your area. You will also receive non-emergency alerts about local criminal activity.  Those messages can be annoying, but trust me, Nixle is an invaluable system.

County Notification
This link from ABC7 news will direct you to where and how to sign up for your county.
Your county may give you options, i.e., text, phone or VOIP, on how messages may be received.

Decoding alert messages

Evacuation order: Means evacuate now do not delay to gather belongings.  Fire expected in less than an hour. 
Evacuation warning: Evacuate soon, but there is time to gather belongings quickly.
Shelter in place: It is safer to stay in your current location. 

Preparation
What to know – Resources

Know your neighborhood escape route. Work with family and neighbors if applicable.
Make copies of important documents like passports, insurance policies, birth certificates. Then put them in a safe deposit box.
Fire Department Risk Assessment Request a visit your local Fire Department representative for a free vegetation management inspection.
Cal Fire has a comprehensive brochure and checklists

Preparation
Pack a “Go Bag” Put it in your Vehicle*

What to pack and where to find items you will need

*This list was adapted from FireSafe Marin. They also have a comprehensive checklist.

Preparation
Where to Purchase Disaster Supplies

If you are looking for reviews and advice on where to purchase disaster supplies, the list below can help.

Wirecutter, which is a New York Times Company has much information about where to purchase, costs and what is in pre-assembled kits. 

Aside from the above, there are local big box stores where you can purchase emergency supplies.

Costco

Home Depot

Prepare
Outside Debris Removal

Clear your roof
Remove dead leaves and debris from your roof and gutters
Keep branches 10 feet from your chimney
Cover your chimney outlet and stovepipe with a nonflammable screen of 1/2″ mesh

Dry leaves on roof - they are a fire hazard

Get dry leaves off your roof!

Landscape and Debris Cleaning
Remove all debris, i.e., fallen leaves, dead plants, construction materials away from structures
Stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from structures
Move liquefied petroleum gas containers to a minimum of 10 feet from structures

Create a Defensible Space (See detailed version for more information)
The law requires every home have a 100-foot defensible space around it

Zone 1-up to 30 feet
Remove all dead plants, grass, and leaves.
Remove dead dry leaves; pine needles from rain gutters and roof.
Remove tree branches from your chimney, and the ones that are hanging over your roof.

Zone 2 – up to 100 feet
The remaining 70 feet should be a “reduced fuel zone.”
Cut or mow grass to a maximum height of 4 inches.
Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees.
Create vertical spacing between shrubs and trees.
Keep plants well hydrated.

How to Use Equipment Properly
Mow grass before 10 am.
A string trimmer is safer for clearing vegetation than a mower.
Never on Red Flag days or when it is windy, hot and dry.
Spark arrestors* should be installed on all portable, gas-powered equipment.
*A spark arrestor prevents the emission of flammable debris.

The Difference a Team Makes

Our community’s “at risk” status didn’t register when I bought my house nine years ago.  The only inkling about our prospects was a faded road sign that said “Keep up Your Fire Safety Efforts” and a neighbor’s stray comment that we “have fire drills every other year or so”. 

Then came October 2017.  The Napa fire.  Santa Rosa.  And, a couple of terrifyingly close-call fires on Highway 37. A harbinger of summers to follow. I felt scared; powerless over the whims of a warming climate.  Then I discovered working with my neighbors.  Planning and talking about solutions to minimize risk, as a group, changed my perception of the potential dangers.  Though I have no control over climate conditions, I feel safer now.  Ultimately, battling Mother Nature as a team made a difference.

Sources for this article

Cal Fire
Fire Safe Marin
Firewise USA

Additional Resources, checklists, graphics
Cal Fire Homeowners Checklist (short and long-term strategies)