Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sustainable gardens can tickle all five senses

The Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius) features brilliant chartreuse flowers. Mia Ingolia/Courtesy photo

By
April 21, 2011 |

Learn more

What: UC Davis Arboretum plant sale

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30

Where: Arboretum Teaching Nursery, on Garrod Drive across from the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Info: http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu

By Diane Cary

What is the difference between looking at a photo of a beautiful garden and being in the garden itself?

Simple: The real garden engages all your senses, not merely the sense of sight.

The fragrance of flowers, the pleasure of the breeze on your skin, the inviting sounds of trickling water or rustling grasses, the springy feel of grass underfoot — all these add richness and depth to the experience of being in the garden and invite visitors to linger, relax and feel connected to the timeless rhythms of the natural world.

Central Valley gardeners can create a sustainable garden that entices visitors to use all five of their senses — while still conserving water and avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides — by choosing appropriate plants for their garden conditions.

The UC Davis Arboretum plant sale on Saturday, April 30, will offer a wide range of plants adapted to local conditions, with a focus on gardening for the senses. The sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery, on Garrod Drive across from the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Arboretum staff and volunteers will be on hand to provide expert advice, and shoppers can see demonstration planting beds with examples of many great plants in striking combinations. For more information, visit http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

Here are some suggestions for ways to introduce more sensory appeal in your home garden, along with some outstanding sensory plants for valley gardens that will be available at the sale :

Touch

* Use plants with varied forms and textures that invite visitors to reach out and touch. Contrast soft and supple plants with spiky succulents, or lacy foliage with broad leaves. Under tall trees you could try the spiky Spanish dagger (Yucca gloriosa “Lone Star”) with its mauve-toned leaves, in a pool of pigsqueak (Bergenia crassifolia) with its big, dark green, cabbage-like leaves.

* Grow plants that spill onto a pathway, so that visitors brush against them as they walk or can easily reach out to let a silky flower stalk slide through their fingers. Pixie Spanish oats (Stipa gigantea “Pixie”) has dense tufts of dark-green leaves with long-stemmed golden heads like giant oats.

* Use plants as walkable groundcovers — not just standard lawn grass, but a variety of tough, low-growing plants can tolerate being walked on. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) can be used as a lawn substitute, especially the running types like “Cassis” or “Cerise Queen.”

* Add plants that produce interesting seed pods or berries, or dramatic textured bark, to invite touching in all seasons. The native toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is one of the best shrubs to plant to provide colorful winter berries for holiday decorating, as well as food for migrating birds.

Taste

* Plant culinary herbs throughout the garden to encourage your visitors to taste a variety of delicious flavors as they walk by. Betty’s dwarf oregano (Origanum “Betty Rollins”) has fragrant leaves that can flavor a pot of spaghetti sauce. Common sage (Salvia officinalis “Berggarten”) has broad pewter-colored leaves that are attractive even in a light winter frost. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) comes in many forms, like low-growing “Prostrata” for the front of the border and tall “Missus Jessop’s Upright” for the background.

* Add edible plants to the ornamental garden. Many new varieties of cabbage, lettuce and other leafy greens come in a range of colors and look great mixed with perennials. Pineapple guava, also called feijoa (Acca sellowiana), is a small tree that produces striking red and white edible flower petals and sweet, aromatic fruit.

* Many flowers, including those of culinary herbs like mint and sage, are edible and can be sampled in the garden, picked and added to salads, or used to garnish any dish.

Sound

* Add the sound of trickling water with a fountain or watercourse to create a relaxing ambience.

* Grow tall clumping grasses and other flexible plants that produce a soothing rustle in the breeze. Gold bar eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis “Gold Bar”) forms an eye-catching clump of green and yellow banded leaves, with showy burgundy flower plumes in fall.

* Add plants that produce interesting seed pods or berries, to invite birds to feast in your garden. Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium) is tough and adaptable, produces lots of blue berries, and rewards the gardener with golden flowers on reddish foliage in spring.

* Plant nectar-producing trees and shrubs to attract birds and insects to your garden, then enjoy their songs and humming wings. Pitcher sage (Salvia spathacea “Las Pilitas”) is a California native with magenta flowers that attract hummingbirds. Hummingbirds also enjoy the nectar of the coral yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) and perch on its branched flower spikes.

Smell

* Seek out plants not only for the fragrance of their flowers but also for their scented foliage. The native San Diego sage (Salvia clevelandii) is a small shrub with divinely fragrant foliage and attractive “shish-kabob” blue flowers.

* Plant herbs and other fragrant plants next to walkways, so that visitors brush them and release their fragrance as they pass. Try lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus), a low-growing drought-tolerant herb with a bright citrusy scent. Silvery artemisias like Artemisia “Powys Castle” or the native Artemisia californica release a light, earthy fragrance when touched.

* Grow perfumed vines and climbing roses on arbors to allow more airflow to carry the fragrance. It’s especially delightful to sit under an arbor covered with a fragrant plant in bloom. Try white chocolate vine (Akebia quinata “Alba”), with its delicately-scented flowers, or winter honeysuckle (Lonicera standishii), that brings the sweet scent of spring in January.

* Plant roses throughout your garden rather than grouping them together in one location so that their lovely scents surprise visitors repeatedly.

Sight

* Create visual interest by grouping plants with varied form, height, color and texture. The velvety rose-purple flowers of Buchanan sage (Salvia buchananii) look stunning against the chartreuse flowers of Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius). Dark blue California lilac (Ceanothus “Concha”) and golden Cape balsam (Bulbine frutescens) make an eye-popping combination in early spring.

* Plant tall grasses that will sway gracefully in the breeze.

* Create a sense of mystery by planning paths that disappear behind tall plantings, to draw visitors further into the garden.

* Take advantage of a “borrowed landscape” — plan your plantings to frame and highlight a view or a beautiful tree in your neighbor’s yard.

* Add some outdoor lighting to illuminate your garden at night.

* Choose plants that attract birds and insects to create a sense of movement in the garden. Island pink yarrow (Achillea millefolium “Island Pink”), a California native, has rose-pink flowers from spring to fall that attract bees and butterflies.

— UC Davis Arboretum

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24