UC Master Gardeners of Butte County
University of California
UC Master Gardeners of Butte County

The Real Dirt Blog

Planting Design Basics: Developing a Plant List

Planting plan by Eve Werner

By Laura Lukes and Eve Werner, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, July 14, 2017. Welcome to this special interval in our series on Planting Design Basics.  Before diving into our final installment, “Is my yard ready to plant?,” let's explore how to develop an appropriate list of plants for your newly designed yard. The preliminary planting plan that you've created after reading Part Three of this series will be your guide.  It should reflect your responses to the following questions: What can I give my plants?  What garden style do I want? and What plant “jobs” need to be filled in my garden? Your plan should show separate bubbles for each...

Posted on Friday, July 14, 2017 at 3:33 PM

Planting Design Basics, Part III of IV

Preliminary planting plan, Eve Werner

By Laura Lukes and Eve Werner, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, June 30, 2017. Site map and analysis completed, per Part One?  Check!  Garden style selected, per Part Two?  Check! Welcome to Part Three, where the focus is: What plant “jobs” need to be filled in my garden?  Plants jobs can be functional, aesthetic, or both. Functional jobs affect the use of the garden. The metaphor for the functional uses of plants is architectural: Trees act as the “roof” of the garden, providing shade and large-scale screens, framing views, creating microclimates, and providing food for humans and wildlife alike.  Shrubs are the garden's...

Posted on Friday, June 30, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Planting Design Basics, Part II of IV

Cottage garden with Mediterranean plants, Eve Werner

By Laura Lukes and Eve Werner, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, June 16, 2017. In Part One, What Can I Give My Plants, you were encouraged to analyze your planting site, and to determine the existing conditions in your garden space. With site map in hand, the fun begins as you explore our second guiding question,What garden style do I want?   The sky is the limit, which is why you'll want to do some serious research: on the internet, in neighborhoods, and at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at Patrick Ranch. Take photographs of what you love, and also record what you don't like. Create an on-line idea book through available apps (e.g. Houzz, Pinterest), keeping in...

Posted on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Planting Design Basics, Part I of IV

Base map site analysis with solar study, Eve Werner

By Laura Lukes and Eve Werner, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, June 2, 2017. Are you ready to convert your thirsty lawn to a beautiful array of low water plants? Have you had your fill of the “crazy quilt” approach to planting? Do you wonder why some gardens seem perfect in their space? Would you like to create a garden that makes a personal statement?   There are many ways to approach the art of arranging plants in a garden.  Considering four basic principles can help you create a cohesive, beautiful, and lower maintenance garden.  These principles, in the form of four questions, are the following: 1. What can I give my plants?2. What garden style do I...

Posted on Friday, June 2, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Drip Irrigation

Brent McGhie discusses drip irrigation parts during one of his workshops.

By Brent McGhie, UC Master Gardener of Butte County, May 19, 2017. As many readers may already know, drip irrigation is a form of irrigation that uses a system of tubes and emitters to drip water slowly onto the soil surface, or directly into the soil. Although methods of slowly applying water to plants have been around since ancient times, modern drip irrigation using plastic tubes and emitters was developed and patented in Israel by Simcha Blass in conjunction with Kibbutz Hatzerim in 1959. The most important advantage to drip irrigation is that it is more efficient than traditional irrigation methods. Drip emitters can be placed to deliver water only where it is needed, so water isn't...

Posted on Friday, May 19, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Espalier Gardening

Building espalier structure, by F. Moran

By Laura Lukes, UC Butte County Master Gardener, May 5, 2017. There is a bit of ancient Rome and a taste of old Egypt at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the Patrick Ranch. Butte County MGs are practicing espaliering, the early horticultural art of pruning and training a tree or shrub to grow flat against a support. Espaliering is believed to have been practiced by the early Romans, and hieroglyphs of espaliered fig trees have been found in Egyptian tombs from as long ago as 1400 B.C. In the Middle Ages, Europeans refined espaliering into an art, and designs became increasingly decorative and elaborate. The technique was probably developed to extend production time for...

Posted on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 5:00 AM


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