Saturday, November 12, 2011

New OFG in Oceanside!!

So excited about our newest Ocean Friendly Garden that we are designing with the Surfrider Foundation's San Diego Ocean Friendly Gardens Program!  The OFG program seeks to educate homeowners and professionals alike how to design and install sustainable gardens that reduce runoff pollution, reduce our need for fossil fuels through reduced maintenance and pesticide and fertilizer use, and reduce water use among other great benefits.

This property is a 5 unit rental which makes it the first San Diego OFG on a multi-unit residential property!  How cool are these property owners??

The GAP day installation is slated for Saturday December 3rd.  If you are free head on over and help our volunteers transform this old boring lawn into a gorgeous and sustainable Ocean Friendly Garden!

Here are the details below (check out the San Diego Ocean Friendly Garden facebook page for updates and more info and please RSVP for the address and other details!)

As the final part of our three part series, we will be transforming what was once a plot of grass into a beautiful Ocean Friendly Garden with our own hands! This is a great hands on way to learn some OFG techniques you can implement in your own garden! 

All are welcome, even those that were unable to attend our first two events. Lunch will be provided for participants. 

Please RSVP to so we know approximately how much food to order. When you RSVP we will provide you with the street location.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Planning for Climate Change

Just found this informative (and somewhat unnerving!) website by the Calfornia Energy Commission that tracks the projected effects of climate change on local climates and how this influences how we plan our cities.  There was also a recent NPR show about Climate Action Plans in cities around the world: Preparing for a Warmer Planet.  Many of their recommendations include the same sustainable practices we recommend:  using permeable pavement, climate appropriate and drought tolerant plantings, and rainwater harvesting. 

Check out the website, lots of interactive maps, articles, and other info!

Measured and Projected San Diego Temperatures

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Digging DIG!

My new favorite garden resource!!  DIG Gardens in Santa Cruz has such great, creative ways to use reclaimed materials.  Now if only they were a bit closer.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ah Spring!

Just watered my in my new spring plantings with my Rain Vessel!! Squash, strawberries, and herbs!  Loving that recycled rainwater and especially loving that I have an attractive way to save it!

Visit Rain Vessels Blog for more info and to get one for your yard!!   Also check out our website for more info on why saving rainwater is so important!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

World Water Day March 22nd!

Tomorrow is World Water Day!

Celebrate your love of clean water and spread the word by doing one or more of the following:

1) Change regular sprinkler emitters to Hunter MP Rotators: Each emitter only costs around $5 and is 40% more efficient than regular spray emitters. Available at your local irrigation supply or Home Depot.
2) Remove unnecessary lawn: Replacing water thirsty turf in your front garden or parking strip with drought tolerant and native plantings can reduce your water use by 70% or more and eliminates the need for water polluting fertilizers and other chemicals.
3) Replace one or more downspouts with a rain chain and rain barrel: 1" of rain can generate several hundred gallons of water coming off of your roof, save that water and re-use it in your garden at a later time!
4) Mulch your planting beds: Mulching your plants with a shredded mulch helps to soak up rain, prevents plants from drying out as fast, and helps improve soil condition by allowing it to take in more water.
5) Build a dry stream: creating dips and swales in your garden that allow water to sit and soak in reduce the amount of water pollution generated during rain storms and save water use in the landscape by creating a "water bank" in your garden's soil.
6) Tell a neighbor about what you are doing and why.

7) Sign up for the Surfrider Foundation's Ocean Friendly Gardens program to learn more about how you can save water and prevent water pollution by making these and more simple changes in your garden!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Planty Globes

While garden design can certainly be called an art, local container designer Britt of Tend has truly found the perfect blend between art and landscape!   Working with a local glass blower who blows each globe by hand, she then picks the perfect blend of succulent or bromeliad, sand and stone to fill each piece with a delicate but perfect contained landscape.  Too much fun!  I think I'm going to need one of these myself!!

Now available at Bliss 101 in Encinitas, Pacific Station (next to the soon-to-be-opening Whole Foods!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Potholes or Road Pottery?

British artist/designer Pete Dungey has found a colorful and organic way to deal with potholes in his area!  I wonder if CalTrans will pick up on this idea...
Check out the full article with more photos here!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Favorites From the Home and Garden Show (Part 1)

The greatest part of the Home and Garden show is that every designer brings out their best ideas and the bar is set a little higher every year.   No matter who is involved though there is always one garden that I look forward to most and that is the garden by Falling Waters Landscape and they definitely win my "Best In Show" this year!

Their recycled wood fencing shows that even the scrappiest piece of lumber can still be put to gorgeous use, their simple water feature fits any garden from natural to modern, and their firepit is a metal sculptors dream come true (I am definitely finding a use for some of those steel spheres!!). 

Check out the photos from this year's show, amazing as usual!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Del Mar Spring Home and Garden Show

It's been another year already and the Spring Home and Garden show is here again!
 Stop on by and visit our garden in the Garden Masters exhibit in Bing Crosby Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds!  We have some great features this year:  a mosaic surfboard shower by local artisits Jane and Will Fowler, pottery from Courtyard Pottery in Solana Beach, and furniture from Bliss 101 in Encinitas.  The garden features all California native plant materials (except the potted succulents) and almost all reclaimed materials.

Here's a sneak peek and stay tuned for photos of some of our favorite garden features from the shows other contributors!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


A new store has opened in Encinitas and after only one week it is proving to be one of the hottest new places to find amazing, unique pieces for the home and garden!!  From benches and mirrors made from reclaimed teak boats from Bali to handmade local jewelry Bliss 101 has something for everyone.

The first shop to open in Encinitas' new Pacific Station they are located right next to the soon-to-come Whole Foods and behind Barracuda Grill.
Head on up to Encinitas and check them out!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NASA article about turf

Check out this great article written by a NASA scientist! It's a few years old but what it covers is pretty up to date. Did you know that turf is the single largest irrigated "crop" in America, more even than corn?

While she notes the obvious about the impact of lawns on our water supply she does note that it is useful for carbon sequestration which is being used as an argument by the turf industry for why lawns are actually environmentally friendly. Unfortunately they don't mention that ALL plants sequester carbon and the overall surface area of leaves from a 5x5 drought tolerant shrub is probably at least if not more than a 5 sq. foot patch of lawn and it takes less water, less maintenance, and doesn't need fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides to thrive!!

Check out the article here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Build a Birdhouse for Audubon!

Tozio Azumi Recycled Catalog Birdhouse

Design and build a signature birdhouse, bathouse or birdfeeder to donate to the Buena Vista Audubon Society's 1st Annual Birdhouse Auction and Fundraiser, scheduled for February 26, 2011, from 4pm to 8:30pm. The unique birdhouses, bat houses and feeders will be auctioned off at a silent auction which will be held at the Nature Center at 2202 S. Coast Hwy, Oceanside.  Funds raised by the auction will be used to increase educational programs, maintain the Nature Center, and help in the on-going efforts to build public awareness and appreciation for our lagoons and the animal and plant life they shelter.

3 prizes will be awarded for the top 3 houses/feeders as voted on by those in attendance.

 If you are interested in donating a house or feeder to this worthwhile cause, you can download a registration form at and send it in, pick up a form at the Nature Center at 2202 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside, or you can just reply to The deadline for registering was January 15, 2011, but it has been extended to February 19, 2011.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Compost Tea

How many of us really think about what is going on under the soil when we think of our gardens?  Too often the focus is on the visible parts of the plants but when the visible parts start to show signs of suffering it is often something going on (or not going on) under the soil that is the cause of the problem.

Here in Southern California especially we are faced with soils that have been stripped of their natural organisms and minerals by the scraping that comes with our building practices or smothered with turf and compacted by years of improper care.

Our natural soils (yes even our granite and clay based soils here in the Southwest) would normally teem with life in the form of fungi, beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms that are necessary to the health of plant roots. 

In addition to mulching heavily and breaking up heavily compacted soils the application of compost tea can help to reintroduce these essential microorganisms to the soil and speed up the rehabilitation of your soil.

Compost tea can be self-brewed with the right tools but it needs proper aeration and food (molasses) to be successful.  There are many recipes available if you do an online search.

For an easier method you can also purchase tea bags through Malibu Compost here and AgriService, Inc. in Oceanside is also a great resource for larger batches but be sure to call ahead to make sure that they will be brewing it when you need it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rebates Rebates Rebates!

Now is a greater time than ever to convert your lawn to a drought tolerant landscape!  The city of San Diego is offering $1.50/sq ft up to $2,000 rebates on gardens converted this winter and spring!

Click here for more information on the rebate program or cut and paste the following link:

You will need a landscape plan to get through the approval process so call or e-mail to set up a consultation!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Artistic Accents!

Check out this gorgeous outdoor shower made from recycled surfboards by artists Will and Jane Fowler of Del Mar!!

Check out their website at

Accents like this are a wonderful way to add unique elements to your garden while supporting local artists and celebrating local culture!