Welcome to the California Gardening Discussion Forum

By request!


Incidentally, CA has over 5,000 DG members, more than any other state, including Texas (whcih has 4,500).


Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

This is fabulous. Thanks so much, Dave. I didn't even get a chance to add my vote of support before you granted the request.

San Jose, CA(Zone 9a)

Yahoo...no sooner ask and it is done! Thank you Dave and Terry! I will add this to my "favorites" right now...
Just on my way out for a few days, but anxious to see all that happens while I am away! Maybe introducing ourselves would be a good way to start?! What do you think?
I can see already that it is going to be so much fun to meet my CA. neighbors!
Margie in San Jose!

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

I'm Zuzu (actually Elena, but everyone has always called me Zuzu) in Sebastopol. I moved up here 20 years ago from Piedmont. Before that I lived in Broadmoor, and before that in San Francisco for most of my life.

Sebastopol has the best soil for gardening, but Piedmont had the best weather. I still can't get used to buying new impatiens every year and never being able to grow a big Tibouchina or Bougainvillea. I have to treat them almost like annuals now. They grow to about four feet and then the frost hits. The next year they come back, but only grow to the same 4-foot mark before the frost hits them again, and the impatiens never come back at all. On the other hand, I can grow peonies and tulips here without digging things up and putting them in the freezer for a while.

Conroe, TX(Zone 9a)

Congratulations you guys! I was born in San Francisco, but was swept away very soon afterwards (Army brat.) I'm glad you have your own forum, because you do indeed have some special gardening concerns - like gardens falling in the ocean, etc :-)

Have fun!

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I do hope you won't mind having a cluster of former residents looking in on the forum from time to time. I lived and gardened at different times in San Jose (as did bettydee) and in San Bernardino. Some wonderful gardening adventures there (as well as unusual challenges - smog was rough on petunias!) We're happy for you that your new forum is up and running. Enjoy!

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Congratulations from a former Californian!

Northern California, CA

Morning Everyone -

This is such good news! Now we need to gather up all our fellow Californians and keep our very own forum growing and green!

I'm Candy, live in the SF East Bay at the foot of Mount Diablo in the hills above Walnut Creek. Elevation 1100', summer temps 84-110F, rarely any frost (none in the past 7 years) with winter lows around 38-39F, and freaky terrible strong WIND CURRENTS that converge coming off the Bay and Mount D. Spent most of the night listening to things blow around and crash! LOL Probably only 50+MPH last night, but enough to uproot some newly planted things. No real damage, but makes life interesting!

Lots of zone denial going on in my garden, determined to be tropical despite the challenges!

You guys from Texas are more than welcome to join us.......many climate similarities, although no humidity here in my garden to speak of!

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

This is too much fun! I will enjoy being here with all of you. I am mostly a 1 forum girl, so it will be fun to get out a little!! I live in the East bay outside of San Francisco. I am looking forward to seeing everyones gardens.

Welcome to us all!

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

How many members from Florida?

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Theoretically, Texas and Florida are more humid, but if you saw my summer water bill you'd think I was living in the middle of a big sprinkler.

I have no camera (spent all my money on plants), so if you want to see my garden, Kell, you'll have to come up to Sebastopol.

I have half an acre of flower beds that I almost had to carve out of the wilderness. When I moved here, the entire half-acre was covered with blackberries and ivy, and any seed a bird dropped had been allowed to grow into a tree. I started out by taking out 60 trees around the house (I still have a lot left). The neighbors were astonished. They had forgotten there was a house in there.

Now I have crammed the whole half-acre so full of plants (with what seems like another half-acre in pots) that I have taken up alpine gardening. It's so exciting to be able to buy 50 different plants and not have to tear something else out to make room for them.

Among other things, I have about 300 roses, an azalea and rhododendron garden, four big troughs of alpines, four fish ponds full of water plants, and as soon as the rain stops, I'm going to make myself a bog for primula japonica, trollius, astilbe, and other moisture lovers. I am a genuine plantoholic.

San Jose, CA

I'm so excited that the California forum has opened up. I look forward to seeing what everyone has growing in there California yards.

I'm Tracy and I live on a half acre plot in San Jose. Most of my yard is about to get demolished and redone, so I'm going to be doing the pot thing for a while. (Can't just let these plants die, can I?)

We get a few frosts each year, but nothing big. Unlike Zuzu, I find we don't get enough cold for some plants (like Tulips and Peonies). Otherwise, the climate is great for most things.

Boulder Creek, CA(Zone 9a)

Redwood forest represented here...
Northern Santa Cruz County

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Tracy, my sister lived in Santa Clara for years and grew huge peonies and had a long hedge of tree peonies. Could the climate be that different in your area? I don't think she did the freezer thing. Maybe she occasionally let some ice cubes melt around the roots. I'll ask her about it.

Hiouchi, CA(Zone 8b)

my name is Dick Strever
i am in Fountain Valley So. Calif for now a zone 10b if you may
can grow tropicals here in protected small city lot

but will be retiring to Hiouchi in No. Calif. later this year a 9b zone
& will have acreage to play on in the REAL redwoods :-)

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks Dave!

Southern CA's version of wine country represented here. Bone chilling cold, and god-awful heat. A hostile environment for most plants, our horses, dogs, and, of course we who walk on two legs.

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

Congradulations on getting this forum. I hope you don't mind if I drop in every once in a while. Most of my gardening experience has been in California. I grew up in Fremont and lived in San Jose for 22 years before moving to Texas 3-1/2 years ago. Happenstance, hope that tornado missed you. Have fun!

Garberville, CA(Zone 9a)

My name is Lori, and I live in Northern California, about an hour south of Eureka. I am about 20 minutes (as the crow flies) from the Ocean, but there are two mountain ranges between me and the water. Beautiful Redwood country, with enough weather to make the maples change color, but not *enough* weather for it to snow at my house.

I am a trans-plant from Southern CA, but am slowly getting used to having "winter".

I'm thrilled to have a forum for our state. It will be a great opportunity to learn what can be easily grown in similar climates and conditions... even when planting things that are not supposed to thrive in your zone!

Daffodils and other spring blooming bulbs are my favorites these days, but I am game for almost anything and I try not to kill the same plant more than once!


Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

That's the spirit, Lori: Try never to kill the same thing more than once. It's a fine piece of wisdom to pass on.

Arroyo Grande, CA

If the plant dies, buy two and plant them in different locations. Every yard has different micro-climates, drainage and soil. Lots of things I never thought I could grow, just required several tries to get it right. The lupine, albifrons took six tries. Still working on Salvia apiana. Planting at different times of the year can make a difference. I did quit on stuff that requires winter chill or "deep, rich, moist loam" since there I have none of that.

Stockton, CA(Zone 9a)

Thank you Dave!

Oakland, CA

Hi everybody -- I live in Oakland. Our neighborhood has an active garden club and on May 15 we will take a walking tour of all our gardens. Some of us get together and put in big orders to bulb and flower catalogues and spread the wealth around the neighborhood.

This is fun!!

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

If it hadn't been for Dave locking new forums for a month, I never would have seen this. This is very exciting! I'm a transplant from Ohio but I've been here for 32 years now (seems impossible). I've lived and gardened in San Diego (Ocean Beach and Golden Hills), Guerneville (with a deck over the Russian River), Occidental (on one of the hilltops so I had sun), Sebastopol (several locations) and now here on the ocean in Laguna Beach for the past 19 years. I'm ready to relocate north again, and I'm looking for recommendations. Here are my "must haves": On (not near) the water. This can be lake, river or ocean (even sizable creek if it runs year-round). NOT a tourist town (waaay burned out on that one). More rain than Laguna but less than Sonoma County. Enough land for gardening of course. And broadband so I can work from home. Just thought I'd put my wish list out here for you other Californians in the hopes that maybe someone will recognize and point me to my utopia. Moro Bay is one possibility, can you give me more?

Winnetka, CA(Zone 9b)

This is great a California forum! My name is Allison I live in one of the valley (San Frenando) areas of So Cal. I am a new gardener as of June 2004. Been on and off of DG since June, lots of helpful tips, great pics and wonderful people.

Last summer we put in our first veggie garden of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. It was a lot of fun, except I only got 2 tomatoes off 2 beautiful plants. I have a beagle and she decided tomato flowers are yummy. After awhile she got tired of the flowers and decided to let the flowers turn into green tomatoes. We thought oh boy we are going to get some tomatoes. But no, green tomatoes are even better tasting then flowers. Pepper plants are in a beagles diet too. So don't know what we will try this year.

I need some help please. I have two "LIttle Cado" trees in my yard but they aren't doing so well. One always looks wilty (and has looked this way since it was planted, it tried to produce an avocado but it never got bigger) and the other was doing great, but now has only a few leaves on it. Both have tons of buds and they look like they are growing but just don't look great. I gave them both some fertilizer about 3 weeks ago but I am not seeing much improvement. I have been looking for a book or info on the web but I am not finding anything helpful. Someone please point me in the right direction, I really hate killing things.

This message was edited Mar 30, 2005 7:52 PM

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Thought I'd help you out Stellapathic,

We are still accepting back-up offers...lol.

Got this at a curio shop in Big Sur...it adorns our icebox.

Best of luck,

Thumbnail by drdon
Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

About the water, there is an unfixable plumbing leak that can function as a creek/brook if one uses their imagination....lol

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

Don, if you saw some of the places I've found on craigslist, you wouldn't laugh quite so hard. There's a guy in Big Sur who wants $1500/mo rent for 400 square feet and a woodstove. Oh, and the bathtub was on the porch. Great view though!

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

I'm laughing in pain stellapathic,

My wife and I used to live on Oak St. in Laguna for several years. We bailed! Parking stickers, tourists, and too small a lot.... 1/5 of an acre. We still come and hang out with friends still living there. I do miss the restaurants. When we moved from 2.5 acres in Cardiff by the Sea to this place, our list wasn't much different from yours. 10 acres in Temecula...the land where the SUVs are as big as the houses...lol, is what we ended up with. Best of luck in your search. I'm sure it's out there for you.

Hasn't the Canyon changed waaay to much?

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

It all has, Don. Now, north of town instead of rolling hills we have multi-million dollar homes and a shopping mall (how novel!). The part that makes me sickest is what's happening to South Laguna (as in the town of). Two new resorts, like we need more resorts. But my haven is a slice from heaven and I rarely leave. Saw two whales cruise by close in this morning. If you know Laguna then you know where I am. About three houses north of Las Brisas on Cliff Dr. Upstairs, wrap-around view. And after our little rain this morning it's an absolutely glorious day. Which, of course brought out the hordes. I'm ready for quiet and remote, though preferably having UPS and FedEx service for all the stuff I buy online. I've managed to live in paradise thus far in my life, so I expect it'll come to me again.

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

I do indeed know your area well. I miss the Cottage, those breakfasts were bloody marvelous. You certainly have a nice view from there. Our view was mostly of Catalina, but we had to stand in the middle of Oak Street to get it..lol. Sold the house to some transplants from somewhere in 93 and a half....after the fires...what a trip that was. We stayed the night in Dana Point.

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

I stayed the night in San Juan. They wouldn't let me come home from the hospital where I was working at the time. It was within minutes of taking this old house away when the wind turned. It would be ok if I never experienced that again. The first year I lived here in this house I was in a studio with no kitchen. The Cottage was my dining room, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Have you ever eaten at Cafe Zoolu? That's my favorite local haunt. Mike is a fantastic chef.

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Zooloo was right around the corner. We still visit there every now and then. I liked it better when Jeri and her husband owned it. All her funky art and stuff. Now I'm Lagunasick...don't get me started on all the places to eat I miss. Here in this area if it's not a run of the mill winery overcharging for mediocre fare it's another Claim Jumper knock off going up in the latest version of strip-mall nirvana.

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

Hey now, Laguna's not that far away. Better make it fairly quick though, Memorial Day is just around the corner and you know what that means. Boy, I'm not looking forward to another summer in Laguna. But my place is open house for the 4th fireworks which are right in front over the ocean. Come on over if you're in town. And that invitation extends to anyone who finds themselves in Laguna on the 4th. I love the variety of people who walk through my place on that night. OK, gotta get back to work here. What a glorious day out there today! The rain this morning washed it clear and there's a lovely breeze off the water. A perfect spring day.

Thumbnail by stellapathic
Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Does anyone from Laguna know Monica (DeeDee) Dunham? She's a former ballet and flamenco dancer who taught tai chi on the beach down there. Once my dearest pal, but we lost touch years ago. She's past 60 now, but probably still a feisty broad. I'd love to contact her again.

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

Zuzu, what's she look like? I can think of at least two "feisty broads" in Laguna past 60 who are dancers. One has dark curly hair and one has long blond locks and always wears a hibiscus over her ear. I'm betting on the dark curly haired one, though I don't know her name. I could find out though. I'd love to be able to help get you two back in touch.

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

Zuzu, could it be that she's a ceramic artist? Try this:
Monica Dunham
34275 Camino Capistrano #B
Capo Beach , CA 92624
(949) 496-7387
[email protected]
Visual Artist: Ceramics
Festival of Arts and Sawdust Art Festival

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Hey Stella, thanks so much for your help. I sent an e-mail and I'll keep you posted. She very well could be a ceramic artist. She was very arty when I knew her and so creative that she could be doing anything at all by now. If she hasn't gone gray, she has brown curly hair. She's also a tiny woman, or was a tiny woman way back when.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Well, too bad. The e-mail was returned: User unknown. If you happen to talk to the woman with brown curly hair and she turns out to be DeeDee, Zuzu in Sebastopol will mean nothing to her. She knew me as Elena in San Francisco.

Cambria, CA(Zone 10a)

OK Elena, update. Interestingly, I told my neighbor Debra about this little venture. She just happens to be taking a stone sculpting class at the art school in the canyon on Saturdays and there is a ceramic artist taking the class too, named Dee Dee. And she poses nude for scupting and painting classes. We'll see. I'll ask her if she's tiny. If she was tiny then she's surely at least short now, that doesn't change. Girth maybe, but not height. She definitely has dark hair, I did ask that. Did you try the phone number? Let me see what else I can dig up.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

You are just wonderful, Stella. DeeDee definitely is the type that would pose nude even in her sixties. I had no luck with the phone number, but I may have located her brother in Sacramento through Earthlink. I sent him a message, so I'll see if that pans out. It's got to be this nude model. If Monica Dunham is a ceramic artist and this DeeDee is one too, and my Monica's nickname is DeeDee, it would just be an incredible coincidence if it weren't the same person.

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