Posts in Garden
Gardening with Free-Range Chickens for Dummies

51DJ+VHcuBL._SY300_ Hot off the press! My new book, Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies (For Dummies (Home & Garden)) with coauthor, Rob Ludlow of, is now available on amazon and in bookstores. You can order the book now from my right side bar below. Please tell all of your chicken-loving friends! Gardening with chickens is a great way to create sustainability in your garden, enhance your soil, eliminate pests and weeds, produce a delicious home-grown protein source, and all the while--be amused by these little "garden warriors." We give you basic animal husbandry elements needed to provide a healthy environment for chickens, what you and your family should expect if you are new to chickens, and how your garden will be enhanced with the addition of chickens. We focus on garden basics, and how to create a beneficial garden where chickens will be happy, healthy, and thrive. We help you understand garden structure, layering, and how to create an ornamental garden as well as an edible garden for you and your chickens.

We provide all different plant lists and purposes which are helpful for chickens free-ranging in your garden. We help you understand what is good to feed your chickens, and what is potentially harmful. We also help you with deterring predators with common sense management, innovative products, and specialty fencing.

We're excited to share our new book with all of you, whether you are new to chickens, new to gardening, or already experienced in both. Stay tuned as we launch the book!

My Hens are Eggcited About....

DSC_0847 If you haven't heard already, the San Diego Master Gardener's Seminar is around the corner on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Check out their website, Master Gardener Spring Seminar . There is still time to sign up for classes.

My hens are eggcited, because I am going to be speaking at the 8:30am session, on "Companion Gardening with Backyard Chickens", something very near and dear to my hens, who love to be out with me in the garden. Learn how to have a beautiful, thriving garden, along with a healthy happy flock of chickens. This speaking engagement kicks off the celebration of my new book, Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies (For Dummies (Home & Garden)) with co-author Rob Ludlow from Stay tuned, as we launch our "eggciting" new book!

Organize Your Garden Shed

Now is a great time to get organized in the New Year.  Besides the usual closets, pantry, and garage, don't forget about organizing your garden sheds , too. A neat and organized garden shed will help ensure you have a healthy, productive, and thriving garden.

Take a look at this garden shed, from a client of Karen Contreras of Urban Plantations. Urban Plantations is a design and maintenance of edible landscape for an urban environment in the Greater San Diego area.

Check List for Your Garden Shed: 1) A garden shed should be clean, and well lit. The door opening is big enough to move bulky tools and bags around easily. 2) Keep a huge calendar to jot down, when seeds and seedlings were planted, harvest dates, and important days to remember. 3) A huge white board, keeps your "To Do" list visible and on track. 4) A cork board keeps important charts and papers in place, and easily accessible. 5) A place to hang a garden hat and coat is a must.

6) Garden tools are clean, organized, and hung up on a wall. 7) Sturdy shelving provides space and organization for garden products.

Take a cue from this garden shed, and start your gardening year on the right "hoe." Please share if you have a garden shed for your tools, equipment, and products. Please comment how you organize your garden shed.

Flashy Flannel Bush

A friend of mine gave me a cutting of what I know now is Fremontodendron, Fremontia, or Flannel Bush. I planted it in a corner of my garden against my brown woodland stucco wall, and basically forgotten about it until now. However, this spring-blooming evergreen shrub with its brilliant yellow starfish-shaped flowers, won't allow this plant to be a wallflower anymore.

The Flannel Bush is a native shrub to California and some parts of Arizona, within optimum Zones 4-24. It is a shrub, but can be shaped into a small tree by pruning its lower branches. It is a fast-growing plant, which can reach up to 20' tall and 12' wide. It naturally has an irregular shape, so it benefits by pinching young growth to encourage new branching and shaping by pruning unruly long shoots.

The Flannel Bush likes full sun, and no additional water. It thrives with the average annual rainfall it receives in its native habitat. It is extremely drought tolerant. It has shallow roots, which means young plants may need to be staked. It can be a short lived shrub, and some fellow gardeners consider it a bit finicky to grow. It is a low maintenance shrub.

If you have yellow in your garden color palette, or need a spark of yellow at times in your garden, you might want to plant a Flannel Bush. Plant it, leave it be, and wait for its wonderful spring awakening with its dark green foliage and rich lemon yellow flowers. This is what is blooming in my garden right now.

Please share if you have a Flannel Bush in your garden. Please comment on your experience growing a Flannel Bush.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

Attention Chicken Lovers! Spruce up your chicken coop for VintageGardenGal's Annual Chicken Coop Photo Contest. Send in your photos this coming May!

Encinitas Garden Festival is Saturday, April 30, 2011. For more detailed information and tickets, please visit Encinitas Garden Festival.



Lavender Twist Redbud Tree

Lavender Twist Redbud Tree in Spring Time Look at this beauty. Last fall I purchased this redbud tree, grown by Monrovia at a local nursery sale. I had a perfect spot for it in my garden, close to a guest bedroom window. A quiet garden spot where it can take center stage. Now, in early spring it is coming to life and blooming in weeping branches of pink showy flowers.

It's official name is Cercis canadensis "Covey." It is a smaller deciduous evergreen species which reaches 6' tall and 6-8' wide. It has an enticing weeping branch structure which slightly twist, adding more to it's drama. A spring burst of lavender pink blooms follows the outline of its branches.

The Lavender Twist Redbud tree is hardy in zones 7-9. It likes full sun, and moderate regular water. Once its spring fashion show ebbs, deep green heart-shaped leaves emerge. Select pruning should be done after it blooms.

The Lavender Twist Redbud is a North American native. Besides the attraction of this tree's appearance, it is also used in landscapes for fire-scaping purposes. There are many varieties of redbud trees, which cover a multiple of zones, for those of you not in zones 7-9. This is a great tree to have in your garden for four season interest.

Please share if you have a redbud tree in your garden. Please comment on what you like about your redbud tree.


VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

Attention Chicken Lovers! Spruce up your chicken coop for VintageGardenGal's Annual Chicken Coop Photo Contest. Send in your photos this coming May!


  The Encinitas Garden Festival is Saturday, April 30, 2011. For more information, go to Encintas Garden Festival.

Blue in the Garden

Profusion of Bloom What is blooming in my garden now. My Ceanothus, or California's wild lilac. Sometimes it is hard to find pretty  shades of blue colors for your garden. Usually blooming in late winter or early spring, the Ceanothus heralds "spring is coming."  This drought tolerant California native is delightful. I always look forward to its profuse blue blooms in my garden each year.

Ceanothus, an evergreen shrub, comes in many varieties, shapes, and blue color flower spikes. Some Ceanothus varieties are low and spreading, others are shrubby and bushy, and like my Ceanothus Ray Hartman, some have a tendency to grow upright and can be groomed into small trees. Flower colors range from pale blues to deep dark violet blues. There is even a Ceanothus with white blooms. Each variety has its own unique color. Their spike-blooms are showy and long-lived.

Ceanothus are very easy to care for and generally low maintenance shrubs. Ceanothus like full sun, and very little water. Avoid when planting Ceanothus, drip irrigation, summer water, and soil amendments. As a California native they prefer to be dry, and rely on our natural rainfall. Prune discreetly after their bloom time.

Don't be afraid to get "Blue in the Garden," think of  the dramatic Ceanothus. They thrive in zones 5-9, 14-24. You won't be disappointed. Please share if you have Ceanothus in your garden. Please comment on your favorite Ceanothus.


VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme....

On Friday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m., national partners (Plant A Row for the Hungry, Garden Writers Association, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Keep America Beautiful, National Gardening Association and Franklin Park Conservatory) will join Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the dedication of a series of reading, learning and community gardens in East Los Angeles. The installation event is part of the recently launched GRO1000 gardening and green spaces initiative and helps to kick off Keep Los Angeles Beautiful's Great American Cleanup.

This garden event will be held at the Proyecto Pastoral Community Center in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, 135 North Mission Road, Los Angeles. Approximately 200 area students, as well as members of the Guadalupe Homeless Project, will join Mayor Villaraigosa and GRO1000 national and local partners in the garden installation and dedication. One deserving student at the event will also be presented with the national Give Back To Gro Youth Gardener Award.

GRO1000 is a partnership committed to the establishment of 1,000 community gardens and green spaces over the next seven years throughout the United States and abroad. The initiative seeks to broaden the opportunities for individuals and communities to experience the benefits of community gardening and access to green spaces.

Additionally, community organizations interested in participating in GRO1000, by installing their own community garden, edible garden or green space, are able to apply for a GRO1000 Grassroots Grant by visiting Projects should include the involvement of neighborhood residents and foster a sense of community spirit. Interested organizations have until March 31, at midnight EST, to apply.

First Bouquet of Sweet Peas

Sweet Pea Bouquet Glowing in Morning Sun Yesterday, I cut and gathered this wonderful bouquet of sweet peas out of my garden. The first beautiful bouquet of sweet peas for this year. If you plant sweet peas each year, chances are you are going to have early sweet peas, even in February. It has been a few years since I had my hands on the original seed packet, but I think these are the Heirloom Sweet Pea, Painted Lady, from Renee's Garden. Renee loves sweet peas, and has researched and compiled quite an assortment of sweet peas to indulge in.

Painted Lady sweet peas dates back to 1737. Wow! It is an early bloomer, and tolerates heat well. I love the pink and cream bi-color, and its scent is mesmerizing. I had to bring them in to enjoy. Cutting sweet peas for bouquets encourages more blooms. The more the merrier!

Please share if you grow sweet peas each year. Please share some of your favorite varieties.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme.... Special Garden Speakers Coming to San Diego soon!

The Village Garden Club of La Jolla is pleased to present Paula Pryke, world renown floral designer from London, will speak and share her fabulous floral creations and latest books. Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 1:30pm. For reservations and more information visit Meet the Masters 2011, Paula Pryke.

Jeffrey Bale, Portland-based world renown landscape architect, speaking on "The Pleasure Garden" on Monday, April 11, 2011, 7pm. For tickets and more information visit, Special Speaker Event, Jeffrey Bale hosted by the San Diego Horticultural Society.

Winter Bouquet From The Garden

Bouquet From The Garden Hello January, and hello to a new decade! I hope that all of you had wonderful and memorable holidays with your loved ones and friends. May this "New Year" and decade bring you happiness, health, and the passion to "live your best life" (to borrow from Oprah). I look forward to another year of sharing "the garden lifestyle" with all of you here on VintageGardenGal.

For New Year's I gathered up a bouquet of fresh flowers in bloom from my garden. We've had so much rain, there is quite a bit blooming in my garden the beginning of  January. One of my "petite resolutions" this year, is to bring more of my fresh cut flowers into the house to enjoy. Fresh bouquets, especially from your garden, are such a special touch to a room.

As I gathered this bouquet of blooming "My Sweet Valentine" roses, Alstroemeria "Casablanca", and Crimson King iris, I was reminded of my fellow garden blogger, Carol Michel, and her wildly popular "Bloom Day" post every 15th of the month.

Carol writes a popular garden blog out of Indiana, Zone 5, called May Dreams Gardens. On "Bloom Day" she encourages everyone to visit her site, and post photos of what is blooming in their own garden on the 15th of each month. It is a real melting pot and sharing of gardens from all over, and what is beautiful in bloom. What a concept.

This bouquet won't make it to the 15th of this month, but maybe something else wonderful will be blooming to share. Treat yourself, and visit Carol's "Bloom Day" post this month, and tell her VintageGardenGal sent you.