Thursday, May 29, 2014

Easy to Grow Camelias

I can't say enough great things about the simple Camelia. They are a throwback from the past generation of gardens. Where there are still mature Junipers, Rhododendrons and Azaleas there are almost always a few mature Camelias. I had that garden when we first bought the house and it was beautiful for the first few years. Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camelias really know how to flower.

Unfortunately the watering system was not automatic. I was very conscious of the drought that we went through when I first moved in so I didn't turn it on very often and slowly the plants that needed regular water faded. And then the water system broke.

The only thing that has survived to this day are the Camelias. I cut them and they grow back. I never water them and they bloom every spring. They are one of the best plants to grow in a Northern California garden, and with so many options of colors and types, they can keep you occupied almost as long as the roses do when you are choosing which one to buy.

Botanical Name: Camelia japonica (with many, many varieties, other species and cultivars)
The one in the picture is located in Sebastopol, CA where it is shaded by a liquidamber tree. I grow them in Oakland, CA where I live. One caveat is that you need to take care of them for the first few years after you plant them at which time they should have a well draining soil and moderate to regular water. Once established they will outlive all the plants.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Big Designs, Small Spaces

T Z Landscape Design is now offering pre-designed garden kits. Custom designed gardening kits including directions for installation and everything you need to have your garden succeed. We also offer installation. Just Ask!

Read about my inspiration for the change.

Plant design kits. My first offering is the Herb Garden. A nice mix of herbs which won't get eaten by the deer and need less water.You can use the leaves and flowers for teas and seasonings in the kitchen.

This kit includes the following:

1/3 yard compost
1/3 yard mulch
50 square feet of weed suppressant cardboard
Approximately 27 plants
Design plan including instructions for installation

Click here to get a description of the Herb Garden Kit. This description will tell you what location this garden is appropriate for.

Click here to order the kit and get it delivered to your home.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Backyard Agriculture Design Questions

Designing Backyard Farms

I have an unrealistic streak and have been asking myself the questions: why can't we grow food in our own gardens? why can't we let kiwi and grapes crawl up our houses and fences and trees. why can't we put a dozen potted herbs on our roofs and let the lawn be a corn field? Then we would have all our produce local, and as a bonus we wouldn't have to transport it anywhere, it would already be where it needs to be!

Who exactly wants to do this? It is difficult enough creating the time to do everything we have to do to pay the mortgage and the bills... then to spend several hours, if not days, in the yard growing our own? It would be a very organized and dedicated person to be able to do all this.

I know that, but maybe I and a few others can.

I'm finishing up the Memento database for the individual who wants to use their Android device to keep track of their farm records. This database could be used for financial information, but first, I've created a series of databases to keep track of the Inputs and Outputs of the planting beds on your small Urban Farm.

Take a look at the Memento Database, it is deceivingly simple, but has some huge advantages. For example, you can scan the code on your seed package and it will immediately look it up on the Google database. Also, you can export your database information to Google Drive, so you can print out a spreadsheet containing all your data, or fiddle with it to see how to improve your backyard farm for next year. Have fun!

Memento Database

Friday, October 4, 2013

Garden Record Keeping

Start Keeping Records for Organic Farming

Being a garden designer and homeowner in Oakland, California for over 10 years, it is great to see the Organic Urban Farm movement grow in this city. Many people with small plots of edibles and herbs, and larger suburban homes with livestock are popping up everywhere. I think that these tendencies might help to enhance the cities local food supply and grow into something more. Even though it has become easier to sell your own food, both cultivated and prepared, it is still quite difficult and time consuming to become certified organic, mostly because of the record keeping. Landscape design requires quite a bit of computer time, and I have a degree in computer science from UC Berkeley, maybe I can make this record keeping easier.

First, I am using the database apps available to see what they can do. The Memento Database has a great, easy to use, interface to create custom databases. I am in the process of creating a database that you can use to easily keep track of what you've planted, including all the details. Memento allows you to share your database templates, and I will.

I am using the Certified Organic website in California record keeping documents as my guide. But if there are other things you need, let me know in the comments below! Thanks! Also, please let me know if you know of applications already out there. If there is already something good, good!

PS My company has taken a new direction! Read about how I am now Contributing to Landscape Design as a Computer Programmer. Thanks!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Before and After

Wanted to share the before and after of a Sheet Mulching project I helped with in Oakland last Fall! In just 6 short months, this garden has really taken off. Up front is Thrift (Armeria maritima). Behind that is Cistus, and the shrub blooming in back of that is Lavatera. The homeowners kept the birds-of-paradise in the upper left corner, and the blank spaces are waiting for the Manzanita to fill in (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).

May 2013, After
September 2012, Before

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Potted Plants

Purple and Yellow themed perennials for your spring potted plants. Here's Five.

2' X 1'
Tall yellow flowered scrubby plant.
Bell Flower
Campanula cochlearifolia or punctata
3”-6” or 1-1.5'
Moderate - regular
Bell shaped flowers mostly purple, punctata varying colors.
Aster, pick species by size and color
1-3' X 1-2'
Come in many shades, get a smaller purple flower. Also serendipitously come with yellow centers.
Evening Primrose
Oenothera elata hookeri
3' X 3'
Tall and wide flowers bloom all summer.
Beard Tongue
Penstemon spectabilis or other
3-4' X 3-4'
Flower stems on dark green foliage.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Devil Mountain Nursery

Step One:
Locate you nearest Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect.

Step Two:
Order a lot of plants from your designer or architect and ask them to get them from Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery. (This wholesale nursery works with designers and architects only)

I had the pleasure today of visiting this excellent Nursery. All the plants are orphans and need a new home. Not to mention already happily espalier'd fruit trees, pomegranates ready to eat, and adorable topiary if that is the stuff you like. You cannot lose.

Pictures of plants at Devil Mountain:

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