Pruning Roses in the Winter

The following video covers how to winter prune roses in the San Francisco Bay Area for the most flowers, the best form and optimum health.

As soon as you can get to it after New Years begin your pruning. In the Bay Area roses do not always go dormant on their own. By pruning and stripping the rose bush of all old leaves you will induce a short dormancy which gives the plant a rest and will promote strong new growth in the spring.

Here is a close up of the buds- you can see the direction they point is the direction the new canes will grow in the coming season:

Here is the rose I was working on in full flex:

It is called Jacqueline du Pré and is named for a legendary British cellist. Heirloom Roses sells this beautiful and easy to grow rose.

After you finish prune and clean up last year’s leaves- it is time to feed to make sure you maximize the bloom.  We have developed a great Organic Rose Food recipe. Email me and I’ll let you in on the secret.

It’s June already! Is it too late to plant vegetables?

Go for it! There is still time to get some veggies in for the summer and enjoy the bounty.


Here’s NINE easy choices for those who have procrastinated so far:


1)   Lettuce

lettuces for planting in late vegetable gardens

There are plenty of heirloom varieties of lettuces available in the nurseries that can be planted now. I recommend getting starts from six-packs, There are usually plenty of little seedlings in each cell that can be divided. Start by carefully untangling roots of the little seedlings and planting each separately 6-8” apart.


2)   Basil


Plant 4” size pots of basil and regularly keep the flowers pinched off. I saw some great varieties recently at Orchard Nursery in Lafayette


3)   Cherry Tomatoes


These little guys are your best shot at getting some juicy toms in your garden this year. The fruits are little so it won’t take them as long to ripen and get sweet! Plant them 1-2” deeper than in the pot to get better rooting and faster growth. East Bay Nursery in Berkeley usually has an awesome selection.


4)   Kale, Chard and Mustard Greens


In the Bay Area it’s almost always a good time to plant leafy greens. They are your best bet in the foggier parts of the Bay where it stays cool. Look for small and sturdy plants that have not become root bound in their pots.


5)   Radishes


These can be planted from seed in between all the other new veggies you are putting in. They ripen early- make a few successive plantings each week so you don’t have to pull them all at once!


6)    Zucchini

This is my favorite summer vegetable- hands down. I actually love it when the fruits get huge- more to eat! Use a vegetable peeler and make a vegetable version of linguini pasta out of them. Also grilling them is divine- just a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper. You gotta get these in now though!


7)   Scarlet Runner Beans


Put up some tee-pee stakes, plant a six-pack and stand back! This crop rewards those who are diligent in harvesting. Here’s the trick: if you keep picking, they will keep giving you more. Stop picking (letting them go to seed) and they are done.


8)   Jalapeno/Thai Peppers


If you can find a gallon size plant you are in business. Look for little chilies that will ripen more quickly- you might even get to harvest up to Christmas!


9)   Edible Flowers


Every salad bowl graced by edible flowers is a more gentile experience. Mossy Martha Stewart says so and so do I. Here’s a short list of edible flowers- get them already started in seedling form if possible:


  • • Calendula “Pot Marigold”
  • • Violas “Johnny Jump Ups”
  • • Borage
  • • Nasturtium


If you have been kicking yourself for not putting in a veggie garden… Carpe diem- Get on out there this weekend and make it happen or call us and we will take care of it for you!

What Do Fashion and Gardens Have To Do With Each Other?


Jean Paul Gaultier, The Road to Your Ideal Garden and How to Get There.


My good friends and I just had the pleasure of experiencing the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the De Young Museum this week and it got me to thinking about my love of fashion and of gardens and how they might relate.

So I thought I’d start with a list of some commonalities:

• beauty

• color

• texture

• composition

• decorative

• changes seasonally

• sometimes fickle

• expressive

Plants are expressing their DNA to grow, bloom and reproduce. One could say that  people and the way they choose to adorn themselves are expressing the same (!).


There is another connection and this one is literal as well as metaphorical:

Yes that’s right, plants as the first expression of fashion.



There, I made my case and now on to the fun stuff…

An entire garden design could come from just one of these outfits by looking carefully- the lush details, the forms, the colors, textures.
When I first meet with a client I ask them to gather together pictures, objects, fabric, books, music, anything that inspires them. We look at them all together and I start to create a map of who they are and what turns them on. I understand them more completely and how to make a garden that reflects their uniqueness. A garden should fulfill fantasies and be a source of inspiration and a place to be renewed. Looking at brilliant and wild fashion is a wonderful way of connecting to fantasy and creativity.  Enjoy!