The Wonders of Comfrey

I was recently taking a tour of my garden, checking out the late fall state of things and such. Most of my garden is winding down for the year, but there are still roses blooming and the broccoli is still going, but in general things are looking a bit… tired. So, as I'm walking around, giving myself my yearly, "You really should start cutting things back" lecture, I round the corner by my compost bin and voila!, there is the Comfrey. Going gangbusters. Huge. Still blooming. Taking over. Yikes! One of the reasons people avoid Comfrey (Symphytum offincinale) is that it's known for being invasive. Now, I think that's a little harsh. I once heard a nurseryman describe a plant as "eager", and I t

Fall Color in Temperate Climates

Q: I'm from the East Coast. I really love living on the California coast, but this time of year I have a hard time with the lack of obvious season change. I miss the colors! Are there any plants that I can plant in this climate that will give me the changing colors that I’m longing for? - Julie S. A: I’ve seen the East coast in the fall, and it can be quite stunning, so I understand why you're missing it. We don’t have the right climate for most of that intense color change, but there are things you can plant to get a little bit of the East coast feel, here on the West coast. (Being at least one mile inland will definitely help.) Any tree, shrub, or vine that is deciduous will probably at

Bless the Bees!

I was working in my garden recently and the buzzing from the bees was so loud that it was distracting me from my weeding. (not a bad thing, I say!) I looked up and they were happily at work amidst the blooms of my many Lavender and Teuchrium plants. I know the bee population on our planet is in crises, but not in my garden! While watching them, I remembered a "Bee Blessing" that was read at Green Gulch Farm in Marin and I wanted to share part of it with you! “…More than 30 percent of our food supply (more for vegetarians) comes to be because of the crucial relationship that honeybees and other pollinating beings have with the flowering world. Besides vegetables and fruit we receive from the

Growing Fruit in Cool Climates

Lots of us love to grow our own food these days, and some of us are even getting a bit serious about it! Planting fruit trees or hedgerows of berries is taking it to the next level, in my opinion. That's not to say that growing seasonal veggies like greens, squash, tomatoes, etc. isn't a big commitment, (because it is!) but when you plant food-producing trees and bushes, they really can start to take up some space! Granted, once they're planted, there is less overall labor involved as compared to a vegetable garden, but most of us just don't have the space sitting around waiting to be turned into an orchard. So to do so, we're talking real commitment and dedication. What part of your existin

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