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NPR Interviews our Landscape Architect & Gardener!

July 13th, 2010
We are so excited to let you know that this morning UC Davis Good Life Garden landscape architect Christina DeMartini Reyes, and gardener Arlene Kennedy were interviewed on Capital Public Radio’s program INSIGHT.

You can hear the interview here. It is just the first few minutes of the segment. I hope you enjoy it! Do you have any questions about the garden for either Arlene or Christina? Let us know!

Christina DeMartini Reyes
UC Davis Landscape Architect

Arlene Kennedy
UC Davis Good Life Garden


Tennis Shoes? Flips Flops? Or Do You Garden in Rubber Boots Too?

July 12th, 2010
“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

- Henry Van Dyke

Angela, the author of the Gardening in My Rubber Boots blog, claims this is her gardening motto. And Angela, we think your an amazing gardener and blog writer, which is why on this Blog Recommendation Monday we want you to visit Gardening in My Rubber Boots.

Angela is a gardener living in the Seattle, Washington area, who loves hedges and formal gardens with cottage inspiration. She has a small vegetable garden and 2 hens (Henny Penny and Hazel) and 1 rooster (Brownie). Whats really great about this blog is that Angela blogs about so many different topics, at the top of her page she has the tabs Flower and Garden, Chickens, Veggies, and Garden Tours. So if you are only interested in flowers or stories about her chickens you don’t have to sift through a ton of articles in an effort to find what your really looking for.

Two features of Angela’s blog we love are her “Wordless Wednesdays” and Book Reviews. On Wednesdays she only posts picture(s) or a video (and a little caption) but how great is that? At work and need a break? Escape for just a second to Angela’s garden and look at what new photo she is sharing!

Her book reviews are also very useful, and don’t worry, this isn’t a commitment to a gardening book club. It is just as it sounds, her review of a gardening book. Good, bad or indifferent, her reviews can save you from that moment you get when your reading a book that just really isn’t working and your brain says “Cannot continue! Not enjoying this!”

Whether your passions involve flowers, chickens or vegetables, Gardening in My Rubber Boots is worth taking a look at!


BLOG RECOMMENDATION MONDAY: Rock Out with the Heavy Petal Blog

July 8th, 2010
This week we are rockin’ out in the garden with Andrea Bellamy, the creator of the Heavy Petal blog.

Andrea’s blog focuses on sustainable practices, and garden design for small urban spaces. Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, she brings her West coast ideas to the world of blogging.

One reason why the Heavy Petal blog caught our attention is the Heavy Petal Garden Tour. Her blog has this great feature where readers can post 5-10 photos of their own gardens for others to see. Being able to see what has worked for others is a good way to get ideas for your own garden! Andrea also has some really great posts like her how to piece on creating a hanging flower basket, or the before and after story on the stages of growth of a Painted Lady butterfly.

We love that she put a penny

next to this Red Russian garlic,
it gives such a great perspective on size.

Andrea is taking her blog ideas and putting them onto paper. She has written a book titled “Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small Space Edible Garden,” which will be available in late December 2010. Congrats Andrea! We cant wait to take a look! In the mean time Andrea says she loves to get comments and feedback so check out her blog and if you have any pictures your willing to share think about joining the Heavy Petal Tour!

WEBSITE WEDNESDAY! for inspiration!

July 7th, 2010

Stumped about where to start with your garden? Want to spruce up your space with a new design or some new plants? Want to try something different? is the place to visit!

I stumbled upon this website which came through to my email from google alerts – and what a gem! Not only is it nicely organized and laid out, it has a plethora of ideas to get the creative juices flowing! The “plants” section alone has tons of resources for plants by type, as well as a “top 100 most popular plants” list that links to what seems to be endless resources for each plant on the list. In addition to this they have garden design ideas including links to landscape design resources, how to get started with dry gardens, wet gardens, wildlife gardens, and even how to design a garden by color, light or season. I have to say I’m particularly interested in the moonlight garden plans – who knew there were so many different varieties of flowers that bloom at night! They also have an extensive listing of resources and ideas for edible gardens – even how to make an edible flower salad!

So next time you’re stumped or need some inspiration, or even just want some interesting reading accompanied by some lovely photography, check out!


We’re in the News!

July 2nd, 2010

Yesterday we were fortunate enough to have a journalist from the The Sac Bee, Gina Kim, and her photographer, Autumn Cruz in our garden to cover our free herb harvest. To see the article online go here, otherwise read what Gina Kim wrote below. Also be sure to take in some of the stunning photos!

Our herb harvests are free and take place every few weeks or so during the summer and fall seasons. Be sure to keep in the loop by signing up for our newsletter, or following are Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. All the information can be found on our website.

In UC Davis courtyard, environment is edible

Leek plants reach up toward the sun. Artichokes peek out from their thistle-like leaves. Fragrant lavender blossoms dry radiantly on their stems.

It’s just a routine day in the Good Life Garden at the University of California, Davis.

More than 100 types of flowers, fruits and vegetables have been planted in the 6,000-square-feet of organic growing space in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

The garden is replanted three times a year – fall, spring and summer – and is an example of an edible garden used for decorative purposes.

“People haven’t traditionally thought of a tomato plant or basil as landscape plants, but why not? You get something nice to look at and something to eat,” said Sal Genito, director of buildings and grounds at Davis.

Those on the garden’s e-mail list were invited Thursday to cut lavender and other herbs, the first of the year’s monthly harvest days that run through the fall.

Andrea Thompson, 40, of Sacramento came armed with pruning shears and plastic bags. She harvested basil for pesto, garlic chives for scrambled eggs, sage for sweet potatoes and oregano for pasta sauce, plus a bunch of lavender and a bouquet of the daisy-like rudbeckia in yellow and orange.

“It’s so motivational for a home gardener to see what’s possible,” said Thompson, operations director for the school’s lass=" lingo_link lingo_link_hidden" href="" rel="nofollow">Foods for Health Institute.

The garden was planted in 2008, the same year the Mondavi institute opened. The second phase of the institute project, a brewery and winery, is expected to be completed this summer.

The garden costs about $45,000 a year to maintain, which Genito hopes to offset soon by selling produce to campus cafeterias as well as renting the space for private events and receptions.

Until a washing facility that complies with food safety standards is installed, most of the produce is donated to the Gunrock Pub and chancellor’s events, as well as the Food Bank of Yolo County.

The plants mostly were started from seeds donated by the organic company Seeds of Change, said gardener Arlene Kennedy. Beyond weeding and pruning, Kennedy is also the one who shovels in chicken manure and compost into the beds between the year’s three major plantings.

There are generally about 50 plants in the garden at any one time. The summer garden includes seven types of beans, two varieties of thyme, Armenian and lemon cucumber, 10 kinds of tomatoes, four types of eggplants, six varieties of peppers, three kinds of basil and four different lavenders.

Some of the plantings are experimental, like a Fuji apple tree that is being trained to grow like a grapevine for easier picking and space restrictions.

Two persimmon trees are being guided onto a trellis and will eventually be grafted together when they meet. And a handful of tomato plants in new varieties, such as the Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye Heart and Large Barred Boar – developed by the Suisun Valley-based Wild Boar Farms – are starting to sport their fruit.

Each of the garden’s beds are a mix of flowers, fruits and vegetables, not just for the aesthetic contrast but because the varieties inadvertently help each other, Kennedy said.

For instance, Persian carpet zinnias attract hoverflies whose larvae eat aphids that feast on the snowy eggplants.

I think organic gardening is easier,” Kennedy said. “I let nature resolve the problem.”


• For more information about Good Life Garden or to get on the newsletter list for harvest day alerts go to

• The garden is free and open to the public. Contact the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, (530) 752-6741.