Designing today’s gardens
for tomorrow’s California.

Fall 2017



Simply scroll down to read the magazine articles.
You may also click on the section titles below to go directly to that part of the magazine.

From the Chapter President,
Linda Middleton, APLD

Remembering Michelle Bellefeuille

The Designer's Toolbox


Keeping Clients Happy with Customer Service

PLANT SPOTLIGHT: Centaurea ragusina

PlantRight Launches New Website

Irrigation Assessment—A Business Opportunity

Summit Unearths Secrets of Soil

Soil Summit: An APLD Student Member’s Perspective

Members in the Media

Bernadette Balics Featured in Pacific Horticulture

News from the Districts

Renovating the Mature Landscape:
A Seminar with APLD-CA and Pacific Horticulture Society

City of Sacramento Proposes Partnership with APLD

Harvest Day in Sacramento

Del Rio Botanical Farm Tour

Water Agency Teams Up with APLD-CA
to Promote Sustainable Landscapes

From Our Sponsors

Devil Mountain Wholesale
Expands Operations

2017 APLD-CA Sponsor Quick Reference Sheet

Book Review

Where on Earth—A Guide to Specialty Nurseries and Gardens in California
Digging Dog Nursery
Matilija Nursery
Gardens By the Sea Nursery
Morningsun Herb Farm

Featured Events in California

APLD-CA Events

Landscape Industry Events

Sponsor Events

Welcome New Members

Contributors to the Fall 2017 Edition

Call for Submissions

Just for Fun:
Simple pleasures and surprises of working creatively with plants . . .


Linda Middleton, APLD


Linda Middleton, APLD

Linda Middleton, APLD

How privileged I’ve been to watch the exciting growth of APLD-CA. We’ve streamlined Chapter and District operations, strengthened our branding across the state, and put together 60 innovative and entertaining programs throughout the Chapter in 2017 alone. I cannot understate the behind-the-scenes work done by our member volunteers in achieving these remarkable feats.

In early August, members of the Chapter Executive Committee dedicated a day and a half of their time to a midyear review and to set their sights on 2018. I applaud them and you should too: Ramie Allard; Francesca Corra, APLD; Maureen Decombe; Cathy Edger; Mary Fisher, APLD; and Amelia Lima, APLD.

Send them a quick thank you (or a piece of chocolate). And while you are at it, do the same for your District leaders and all the other members in board positions. You’ll find all of them at www.apldca.org under the CONTACT tab.

With this issue we are rolling out a new format for our newsletter. Two incredibly talented members have revamped it, launching it as an online publication as easily viewed on your mobile phone as on your computer. Anne Weinberger and Diane Goldsmith have brought us forward again, marrying functionality with a beautiful presentation. You can view it anytime at www.CaliforniaLandscapeDesign.org, and previous issues are stored under the ARCHIVES tab. Let us know what you think! You can post to our Facebook page, tweet about it and share it with your colleagues.

In closing, I need to share sad news that our organization received this summer.

Paul Herzog

Paul Herzog

Over the years, members of APLD-CA have gotten to know Paul Herzog, and we were very sad to lose him in early July. As coordinator of the Ocean-Friendly Gardens Program, Paul was instrumental in guiding a positive conversation toward making conservation a way of life in California, by helping to define the watershed approach to landscapes, and to build our appreciation for the passion that drives landscape designers to always do better by our planet.

Paul’s clarity and enthusiasm for healing the earth was infectious. He taught us that hard work, passion, a few good connections and, most importantly, a huge smile go a long way in achieving goals. Our voices, vision and values are clear and strong, thanks to you, Paul. We’ll carry on, just like you encouraged us to do; for this we are forever grateful.

As we were wrapping up this edition of the magazine, we received word of the death of our dear friend and colleague, Michelle Bellefeuille. Please read Cathy Edger's remembrance of Michelle. Cathy's words reflect the feelings of all of us in APLD who had the honor to laugh, enjoy a meal, and work beside such a wise and gentle soul.

It is a fitting tribute to dedicate the inaugural issue of California Landscape Design to Paul and Michelle. Their legacies live on through the landscapes they inspired, the landscapes they worked, and the landscapes of our hearts.

Remembering Michelle Bellefeuille

BY cathy edger


Michelle Bellefeuille in her garden.

Michelle Bellefeuille in her garden.

Glowing, luminous, humble, serene, graceful: these words all describe Michelle Bellefeuille, a Bay Area District member I was privileged to know, and with whom I worked closely on APLD business over many years.

An artist by training, she was accomplished in printmaking, encaustics, oil painting and more. Like many of us who transitioned into landscape design from former occupations, she jumped in with both feet. She gardened at the Charles M. Schultz Redwood Empire Ice Arena in Santa Rosa, took classes in horticulture and design at Santa Rosa Junior College, and earned a certificate in Sustainable Landscape Design at Sonoma State University.

As North Bay District board members, we attended a Chapter board meeting in Los Angeles at the Virginia Robinson Garden in November 2012. Michelle came away so enthused and empowered by the experience that the following year she took on the District presidency. She had discovered that not only was this APLD leadership thing not as intimidating as she had initially thought, it was fun!

In 2014 she stepped up to the Chapter Board to become vice president and then president-elect in 2015, assisting President Amelia Lima. “With her contagious smile and willingness to help, Michelle was invaluable to me,” says Amelia. “She did everything from helping me write my president’s messages for the newsletter to organizing board meetings and keeping our meetings running on time.”

After a trip to the emergency room in the fall of 2015, Michelle learned she had lung cancer. She had to resign her position with APLD, but was able to joke, “I picked a helluva way to get out of being president next year!”

Michelle was passionate about tandem cycling and hiking with her husband, Craig Gaevert. “Few days were ever better,” reminisces Craig about an epic trip cycling down the California coast in 2008.

In her own garden she gloried in the appearance of California Swallowtail Butterfly cocoons on the California Pipevine she grew to support them. Roses, clematis and sages in subtle colors graced her casual yet beautifully maintained garden that was always a pleasure to visit. Fuyu persimmons in November, dwarf lollipop olive trees draped in Christmas lights in December, and vigorous native white sages in late spring were among the delights I looked forward to during my visits.

APLD was fortunate to have had such an able, creative and gracious member. I count myself lucky to have called her not only my colleague, but also my friend.

Our Platinum Sponsor

Rain Bird Corporation is the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services. Rain Bird has been committed to the Intelligent Use of Water for more than 80 years. We offer the education and water-efficient products you need to make better use of our most precious resource. Rainbird.com

Rain Bird Corporation is the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services. Rain Bird has been committed to the Intelligent Use of Water for more than 80 years. We offer the education and water-efficient products you need to make better use of our most precious resource.



Anne-Émilie Gold


Anne-Emilie Gold.jpg

Anne-Émilie Gold and her husband, Steve Gold, are partners in Gravel to Gold, Inc. a design-build firm based in San Diego. www.graveltogold.com

With your background as a landscape architect working on large-scale projects, what inspired you to enter the field of residential landscape design?

I honed my skills as a landscape architect for large Seattle-based multidisciplinary firms that included architects, urban designers and planners. My projects were scattered around the nation, including zoo exhibit designs, urban park master plans, visual analyses, highway planning, interpretive design, cultural landscape studies and large multi-family residential developments.

I like to think that my contributions made a positive impact on the land because I was working at such a large scale. Yet after years under fluorescent lights, and often designing landscapes sight unseen, I wanted more from my profession. Or maybe . . .  I wanted less: fewer reports and analyses, less CAD and drafting. I wanted to be in the landscape, experience the vegetation, light and wind first hand, and I needed a continuous outlet for artistic expression. I used to design systems and infrastructure with implied aesthetics benefits. Now, with residential garden design, I create beautiful landscapes with implied ecological benefits.

What landscape experiences defined you as a landscape designer?

I was born in France to French-Canadian parents, and we moved back and forth between Paris and Montreal. I am grateful for that duality; it’s made me a more rounded and well-travelled designer. I love the undulating forest landscapes of Québec punctuated by lakes. This wild nature was my solace as a child. I also love the rigor of the French landscapes where not one inch has been left ungroomed. Growing up in France helped me develop a strong intellectual outlook on the world.

These days, I try to blend it all—respecting ecological functions and systems while maintaining a sensibility for order and bold aesthetics.


Do you have a favorite garden? How does it influence your personal design style?

My favorite garden of all time is the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. A classic French garden, it sprawls in all its royalty at the foot of the Palais du Louvre with exquisite parterres, or planting beds, connected by large decomposed granite alleyways. It’s interspersed by follies, pop-up venues, works of arts, and playgrounds for children. It is a public space, and with its large mature trees, it acts as a green lung for the city.

My friend and mentor, landscape designer Katie Pelisek, referred me to my first San Diego clients. Their Solana Beach home has French country architecture. Imagine my excitement when they agreed with my vision: replacing 17,000 square feet of neglected lawn with a drought-tolerant French garden. It was an unprecedented opportunity for me to bridge my life in California and my cultural background. We planted a field of lavender in the front yard and in the back yard we traversed the planting beds with pea gravel walkways. Around the property we created a native plant buffer to sustain wildlife habitat.

You and your husband founded Gravel to Gold, Inc. What is it like to be in partnership with your husband?

Steve builds most of my projects and has a vested interest in making my designs a success. He has the field know-how that keeps my wild ideas in check, but also respects my ideas and design concepts. He is a talented designer himself, is very detailed oriented, and knows how to stay within a client’s budget.

The truth is we are partners in life first, with two wonderful young children. We love running our own business as it gives us the flexibility to take care of our family.

Do you implement other people’s designs?

Yes we do! Working with Amelia Lima and other members of APLD has raised the bar in the quality of plans that we receive. Steve noticed the consistent professionalism of the Association’s membership.

How has APLD impacted your professional life?

I am proud to be a member, and I can’t thank my district associates enough for being so generous with their time, knowledge and advice. I enjoy partaking in our events and learning how to create successful gardens in San Diego County.

All gardens designed by Anne-Emilie, installed by husband, Steve Gold.
Photo credits: Steve Gold



Keeping Clients Happy
with Customer Service


David Clarke, APLD


Customer service is what comes to mind when renting a car, or maybe asking for help in a hardware store (not that I do that, of course). What is my customer service as the owner of a landscape design business?

After some years in the field, I find that the real measure of my success is the building of relationships with clients and trying to be much more aware of this vital business aspect.

Some important ways of providing good customer service that have worked for me:

First: Listen!

I love to hear myself going on about mulch and the watershed approach, but if my prospective client does not know anything about soil (much less alternate or opposing leaf patterns) it will quickly become a one-sided conversation. I ask lots of questions, starting with the big picture and drilling down only to appropriate detail.

Second: Constant contact.

A remarkable amount of information is conveyed between myself and my client during the design process. I never let them feel abandoned and I stay attentive to communication. I double-check all my emails for spelling, grammar and context. Follow-up is crucial; don’t leave clients hanging.

Third: Consistency.

Be aware of your company's representation and be consistent across all channels. The client should never be confused. Align all your communication styles, graphics, and presentation materials so your messaging stays true. It can be as simple as a consistent color palette or as complex as fancy billing statements. Your client will appreciate a welcoming and professional business interface.

These key customer service practices have become an integral part of my design process and how it relates to my clients. When they thank me at the end of a project and I offer my sincere gratitude for the work and the relationship we’ve formed, I can feel confident they’ll be sending referrals my way.


Centaurea ragusina

by Jackie Seidman


Jackie Seidman

Jackie Seidman

I learned about Centaurea ragusina at the San Diego Master Gardeners’ spring seminar in a lecture by Tom Jesh of Waterwise Botanicals showcasing his favorite waterwise plants.

I took one look at this plant and I fell in love. Tom asked the audience if they would like a large snowflake in their gardens, and that’s a perfect description. A mounding perennial 12-18 inches tall by 2 feet wide, Centaurea ragusina has 6-inch-long bipinnate leaves arranged like tight rosettes. It blooms from late spring through midsummer with fat, thistle-like, bright yellow flowers, which show off well against the gray foliage.

Plant Centaurea ragusina in full sun with good drainage. It’s a summer-dry plant and said to be deer proof. Hardy from the minus 10°’s to 120°, it is great from the desert to the mountains.

Native to Croatia where it grows on rocky cliffs, this long-admired centaurea was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

Centaurea ragusina

Centaurea ragusina

Our Gold Sponsors

Simply click on a logo below to visit the website of one of our sponsors.

Launches New Website

By Stephanie Falzone
Project Manager at San Francisco–based Sustainable Conservation

 A website, like a garden, requires good design and maintenance, and sometimes a complete overhaul. That’s what we’ve done with the PlantRight website, which now has even more information to help Californians plant right.
Responsive Design and Mobile Friendly
Our new website uses responsive design, so it fits screens of any size, including tablets and mobile phones. No need to zoom in and out or try to read tiny font.
More Alternatives with More Information
If you’re meeting with a client who is requesting one of the plants on our invasive list, like Mexican feathergrass, you can show them the page for that invasive plant, alongside beautiful photos and information about our suggested alternatives. Each alternative plant now has its own page with information about where it grows best and how to care for it, photos of it in landscapes, and links to more information.


If you are curious about a plant and want to know if we recommend or evaluated it, click the magnifying glass in the top right corner and enter the name.

Alternative Plants All Together
We’ve compiled all of our noninvasive alternatives onto one page. They are grouped by growth type (groundcover, grass, perennial, shrub, tree, and aquatic) and can be filtered by sun and water needs, as well as for California native plants. If you have more alternative plants to suggest, let us know! and send us your photos.


But What About Those Other Plants?
There are many plants we’ve considered over the years but did not meet all of the criteria for addition to the invasive plant list. We’ve called these Plants to Watch. The page for each plant includes a description, information about where it is invasive or of concern in California, its Cal-IPC Inventory listing and Plant Risk Evaluator (PRE) score if applicable, and why it isn’t on our invasive plant list.


Educational Resources
We encourage participation in our Continuing Education program. If you have already completed the program, or would just like some educational resources, we’ve put our materials plus links to other resources all on one page.

Education page copy.jpg

What to do next:
1. Login to your account at www.PlantRight.org if you have one and check out your new My PlantRight page. If you don’t have an account, it’s easy to create one.
2. Sign up for our email list to stay updated on the PlantRight program.
3. Follow us on social media — we’re on Facebook, Instagram (@_plantright), and Twitter (@_PlantRight).
4. Show us how you plant right! Share photos of your work using noninvasive plants, especially one or more of our suggested alternatives. Email your photos to PlantRight@suscon.org or share on social media and tag us in the photo so we can re-share, and possibly include it in our email list and on our website.
5. Have a noninvasive alternative to suggest, feedback about our website, or more information to add about a plant we discuss on our website? Let us know!

Thank you for being an ally in Planting Right! www.PlantRight.org

Irrigation Assessment—
A Business Opportunity

by Lori Palmquist


Lori Palmquist w controller.jpg

As an irrigation and water-efficiency specialist, I’ve conducted hundreds of irrigation assessments and led dozens of trainings for landscape professionals and homeowners. At a July meeting of the EBMUD Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) meeting in Oakland, I was delighted to give a presentation called "Irrigation Assessment—A Much-Needed Skill and Business Opportunity".

Landscape designers in California make water usage and application a priority when creating their designs—and many existing irrigation systems are poorly designed, installed and maintained—so why not add irrigation assessment to the services they provide?

Following is an outline of my LAC presentation, followed by a link to the materials I provided, including assessment questionnaires and sample assessments, soil texture tests and irrigation diagrams.

I told the attendees of the talk I was offering a smorgasbord of suggestions, and they could pick and choose among them or use them all together:

  • how to pre-screen the client and prepare them for what to expect
  • how to get site maps and other images beforehand
  • how to watch for the appropriateness of the plant material as well as the irrigation
  • useful tools for performing an assessment
  • pre-assessment Questionnaire for clients
  • site Information Sheet
  • the process of assessing irrigation systems
  • basic report template
  • short case study


With these materials, landscape designers will be equipped to assess existing irrigation systems, collect data, make watering schedule adjustments, and recommend repairs and upgrades. It’s a great business opportunity—and a great way to preserve our precious water supply.

Lori Palmquist is a certified irrigation designer, contractor, auditor and water manager, and a web app developer for WaterWonk.

Summit Unearths Secrets of Soil

by Dona Wessells


In my wildest dreams I never imagined I’d be nibbling organic hors d’oeuvres and quaffing biodynamic wines in Beverly Hills with dozens of soil and plant nerds. But there we were—at the leafy headquarters of TreePeople on Mulholland Drive—for the “inoculation party” kicking off the two-day 2017 Urban Soil Summit. Subtitled “TERROIR,” the event attracted 20 speakers who dug deep into the many layers of how soil affects us and the world around us . . . and how we affect the soil.

During two information-packed days in early August, nearly two dozen APLD-CA members joined a crowd of 150 on the UCLA campus to participate in the Summit, presented by G3 Green Gardens Group* and sponsored by APLD-CA.

APLD-CA members at the Urban Soil Summit. Front row from left: Johanna Woollcott; Laura Kukulski; Tina Roushall; Robin Salsburg; Francesca Corra, APLD; Maureen Decombe; Dona Wessells; Amelia B. Lima, APLD; Linda Middleton, APLD; Tina Henricksen; Julie Molinari. Back row from left: Shawn Maestretti; Marcus Teply; Stephanie Bartron, APLD; Jacky Surber; Tom Stout; Laura Morton, APLD; Regina de Freitas, Tom Rau; Cheryl Buckwalter; Lori Palmquist; Lisa Bellora. Credit: Danielle Lynch

APLD-CA members at the Urban Soil Summit. Front row from left: Johanna Woollcott; Laura Kukulski; Tina Roushall; Robin Salsburg; Francesca Corra, APLD; Maureen Decombe; Dona Wessells; Amelia B. Lima, APLD; Linda Middleton, APLD; Tina Henricksen; Julie Molinari. Back row from left: Shawn Maestretti; Marcus Teply; Stephanie Bartron, APLD; Jacky Surber; Tom Stout; Laura Morton, APLD; Regina de Freitas, Tom Rau; Cheryl Buckwalter; Lori Palmquist; Lisa Bellora. Credit: Danielle Lynch

The first day of the Summit attendees broke into three tracks:

SACRED SOIL: a deep communication between humans and the soil—civilizations thrive when soil thrives. Speakers explored topics as diverse as honoring the memory stored in the soils collected from lynching sites across the American South to the history of civilizations facing starvation as a result of depleted and overused soil. Speakers also advanced the awareness of viewing soil as a strategic resource and how soil desertification contributes both to drought and violent storms.

CHOOSING TERROIR: soil’s influence on the characteristics of everything from food and water to fiber and medicine. Winemakers have talked about terroir for generations, and now we understand how microbes in the soil affect everything that grows from it.

REGENERATIVE SOCIETY: regenerating our soil and encouraging soil-centric prosperity. We can help slow climate change by rehabilitating and regenerating the soil, repurposing our mountains of waste products, and educating and aiding neglected peoples and communities to participate in these efforts.

On the second day, all 20 speakers shared their stories and perspectives for the entire crowd.

Though I had many aha! moments, my biggest takeaways came from John Wick, a carbon farmer** in Marin County. When John’s grazing cattle rip the pasture grass with their tongues, they increase the production of growth-stimulating hormone in the grasses, which catalyzes more plant growth. And he rotates his stock to cause the least disturbance to the land, maximizing its ability to sequester carbon.

John pointed out that soil tilling and exposure (leaving it fallow) cause carbon dioxide to escape into the atmosphere. So, if you must amend or augment soil, only disturb it once!

In a nutshell, when soil is undisturbed and not “desertified” (devoid of water and cover) it will build structure—a giant living sponge—with the help of microbes, bacteria, fungi and nematodes. The sponge will hold oxygen+water+life (OWL, in G3 lingo), giving plants optimal growing conditions and allowing the soil to do its job sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.

The Urban Soil Summit was a powerful, fascinating, nonstop event loaded with information, camaraderie and connection. Everyone came away empowered and motivated to take action on the behalf of our soil and our planet. I’ll never forget the difference between soil and dirt: life!

For information about the speakers and programs at the summit: http://greengardensgroup.com/urban-soil-summit-terroir/

*G3 is an APLD-CA Gold Sponsor
**Carbon farming is simply farming in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or captures and holds carbon in vegetation and soils. Wikipedia

An APLD Student Member’s Perspective

BY Marcus Teply


I was the lucky winner of the APLD-CA, student scholarship to the Urban Soil Summit. The presentations by LA Compost and Urban Tilth really warmed my heart.

LA Compost’s Michael Martinez “connects people with the soil that feeds us.” His compost hubs throughout Los Angeles County not only create neighborhood centers where residents come together to make compost, they also provide education on how to grow healthy food. This is remarkable, because soil is not necessarily on our minds when it comes to improving urban communities.

Urban Tilth, based in Richmond in the Bay Area, operates five small community farms. They serve as fertile ground for training and employing young people from urban neighborhoods to grow, distribute and cook produce. Executive Director Doria Robinson spoke passionately about the more than 300 enthusiastic urban farmers they have educated over the years and their contribution to more self-sufficient communities.

Turns out when you have good soil, all kinds of things can take root and grow.


APLD Designer Bernadette Balics
Featured in Pacific Horticulture Magazine

Sacramento district member Bernadette Balics was featured in the summer 2017 issue of Pacific Horticulture magazine, the third in a series of articles featuring APLD designers. The Planting the New California Garden series illustrates how water-use data from WUCOLS can be translated into lush, unthirsty gardens. Bernadette designed a sprawling garden on the outskirts of Davis with low plantings to preserve the long vistas of the surrounding farmland and hills. A perfect example of how drought-tolerant plantings can feel sumptuous, the garden brims with intermingling foliage and flowers, inviting visitors to stroll the boardwalk while pollinators hover and dip.

Link to story: https://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/planting-new-california-garden-part-3-bernadette-balics/

Low plantings to preserve the long vistas of the surrounding farmland and hills. Credit: Jennifer Jewell

Low plantings to preserve the long vistas of the surrounding farmland and hills.
Credit: Jennifer Jewell

Our Silver Sponsors

Click on a logo below to visit the website of one of our sponsors.

Renovating the Mature Landscape:
An APLD-CA Full-Day Seminar
in Partnership with Pacific Horticulture Society
and the Gardens at Heather Farm

Landscape design and photo by Katie Creighton

Landscape design and photo by Katie Creighton

On October 12th, APLD members along with avid horticulturalists and other landscape professionals will experience a day filled with inspiration and new ideas for restoring and rejuvenating mature landscapes to meet today’s standards for beauty and sustainability—a very common scenario for landscape designers. The event will be held at The Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek, approximately 25 miles east of San Francisco.

In September, local APLD members will be teaming up with the folks at the Gardens at Heather Farm to transform an outdated garden using the techniques we will discuss in the seminar. This will allow the attendees to see a real-life application of what they are learning.

Heather Farm has served the local community as a sprawling public park and gardens since the early 1970s. The updated garden will offer participants of the event a living example of how an established outdoor space can maintain its sense of place and maturity while being modified and beautified into a watershed-wise landscape.

Speakers include Laura Forlin, co-chair of the Landscape Horticulture Department at Merritt College; Cheryl Buckwalter, Landscape designer and principal, Landscape Liaisons; and Rebecca Sweet, APLD member, garden blogger and author of Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture, and Form. APLD CEUs 3.75

For more information and tickets: https://gardenshf.org/renovating-mature-landscape-seminar/

City of Sacramento
Proposes Partnership with APLD

by Martin Carrion van Rijn
PRESIDENT, APLD-CA Sacramento district

While the recent severe drought conditions have passed, California’s semi-arid climate and cyclical weather patterns mean that landscape designers must always plan for the future. This understanding is shared by the City of Sacramento Department of Utilities, which has proposed a partnership with the APLD-CA Sacramento District in developing programs to educate the public about sustainable landscape design and practices.
Cheryl Buckwalter and I have consulted with several city representatives to incorporate landscape design assistance into their River-Friendly Landscape Rebate Program, similar to the partnership the APLD Bay Area District has with the Contra Costa County Water District. We are confident implementation will happen soon.
Representatives have also discussed the possibility of expanding the rebate program to include residential landscape design assistance for disadvantaged communities, which would be implemented by volunteers and the City.

We are very excited about the positive impact these collaborations with the City will offer the Sacramento region and APLD members. Our goal is to strengthen the influence of APLD in educating the public about the benefits of sustainable landscapes and the beauty they can bring to our communities.

Harvest Day in Sacramento

In early August, APLD-CA Sacramento District hosted a table at Harvest Day, the annual educational event of the Sacramento County Master Gardeners held at the Fair Oaks Horticultural Center. Pictured are District President Martin Carrión van Rijn and Secretary Bernadette Balics.

Credit: Marti Meyer  

Credit: Marti Meyer


Del Rio Botanical Farm Tour

by Marti Meyer


(L to R) Marian Bender, Mary-Lee Gilliland, Del Rio's Suzanne Ashworth, Hope Nelson, Soleil Tranquill, Larry Landis (Soleil’s husband), Martin Carrion van Rijn, Gary Kernick, Bernadette Balics, Marti MeyerCredit: Marti Meyer  

(L to R) Marian Bender, Mary-Lee Gilliland, Del Rio's Suzanne Ashworth, Hope Nelson, Soleil Tranquill, Larry Landis (Soleil’s husband), Martin Carrion van Rijn, Gary Kernick, Bernadette Balics, Marti MeyerCredit: Marti Meyer



On a toasty hot Saturday in May, the APLD Sacramento District toured Del Rio Botanical Farm, a certified organic seed and vegetable production farm in West Sacramento. The Sacramento River, one of the most important bodies of fresh water in California, is a stone’s throw away and supplies the farm’s water, allowing third-generation proprietor of Del Rio, Suzanne Ashworth, to harvest open-pollinated seed and produce year round on 68 acres.

Suzanne is author of Seed to Seed, an authoritative reference on seed propagation and preserving varieties for future generations. With a collection of over 1,600 types of seeds, she works closely with many farms and national organizations on seed-saving projects. Del Rio harvests vegetables, fruits and herbs throughout the year for its consumer supported agriculture (CSA) boxes and specialty restaurants.

On our tour Suzanne led us through the gardens, introducing her goats, chickens and Japanese coternix quail along the way.  She offered samples of an amazing variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as cheese made from the farm’s goat milk.

We lingered to discuss some of the farm’s most unusual varieties and some of their unexpected uses:

Hollyhock, alpine strawberry, and loquat at Del Rio Farm. Credit: Soleil Tranquilli

Hollyhock, alpine strawberry, and loquat at Del Rio Farm. Credit: Soleil Tranquilli

Vegetables: spineless nopal, purslane (Portulaca oleracea), lambs sorrel (Rumex acetosella), radish seed pod, avocado leaf (licorice flavored, cook with beans)

Herbs: toothache plant (Acmela oleracea), poisonous porcelainberry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), clove basil, medicinal tea (lippia alba), Aztec sweet herb (Lippia dulsis), horseradish leaf (use to wrap fish and grill), lovage stem (sip a Bloody Mary through it for enhanced flavor), comfrey, yerba mansa (tea, medicinal tinctures), fish sauce plant (Houttuynia cordata)

Fruits: alpine strawberry, Pakistani mulberry (we dallied longest here!), tangerine lemon, limequat

Tasting hollyhock petals. Credit: Soleil Tranquilli  

Tasting hollyhock petals. Credit: Soleil Tranquilli


Edible flowers: pineapple guava, calendula, mallow, alyssum, daylily, hollyhock petal

After the tour our Del Rio experience continued in downtown Sacramento, where we ate lunch at Hot Italian, which uses many of the farm’s products.


EMBUD LAC logo.rev.jpg

Water Agency Teams Up
with APLD-CA to Promote
Sustainable Landscapes

by Georgia Madden and Katie Creighton


Over the years, water agencies throughout California have taken a variety of approaches to address water supply and demand challenges and water conservation education. As far as we know, EBMUD, the East Bay Municipal Water District in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the only agency in the state to create a unique partnership with the public to expand its conservation efforts. EBMUD provides drinking water to 1.4 million customers and wastewater services to 685,000 customers in parts of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

In the 1980’s, in response to another serious drought period, EBMUD created a Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC). The agency asked landscape professionals, including designers, contractors, retail/wholesale nurseries, growers, educators, manufacturers, distributors and property managers to share their perspectives and provide ideas for improved public and professional education.

The LAC has worked with EBMUD to help develop and implement forward-thinking programs promoting drought-resilient landscape design and sustainable installation, maintenance and management practices.

The APLD Connection

In addition to its general bimonthly forum, the Landscape Advisory Committee has three subcommittees that develop specific tools and programs—excellent vehicles for APLD to influence the future of landscape design. APLD-CA Bay Area District members Katie Creighton and Georgia Madden are active participants and encourage others to join them.

The Education and Outreach subcommittee focuses on public education, exposing homeowners to a more sustainable California landscape aesthetic. Currently they are facilitating support for the renovation work of demonstration gardens to encourage their visibility in EBMUD service areas.

The Technical subcommittee creates easy-to-use technical tools, such as an online water use calculator, for EBMUD residential customers eager to manage landscape water use. This tool incorporates the requirements found in the state water-use law known as MWELO.

The Professional Development subcommittee works on training tools for landscape professionals, such as a peer-to-peer chat group, online links to educational sources and a training events calendar.

Here’s Your Chance!

The LAC welcomes new members. General meetings are held every other month at the EBMUD headquarters in downtown Oakland. Each meeting includes water supply updates and features a guest speaker or field trip. Inspiring presentations have included how to bring failing oaks back to life, creating rain gardens, the secret life of soil and drought-tolerant natives for the garden. Subcommittees meet monthly or as needed.

To follow the LAC activities online, go to www.EBMUD.com, click on Conservation and Rebates, then click on Landscape Advisory Committee.

Our Bronze Sponsors

Click on a link below to visit the website of one of our sponsors.


Ewing Irrigation


Kellogg Garden Organics

Lightcraft Outdoor Environments

Nature Designs

Ogawa Mune, Inc.

San Marcos Growers

Sunset Western Garden Collection


DMWN Logo small copy.png

Devil Mountain Wholesale
Expands Operations


by Becky Harrington, Marketing Manager and Shalyn Eppler, Webstore Manager

Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery, an APLD-CA gold sponsor based in San Ramon, has served Northern California landscape professionals since 1995. This year marks our exciting addition of two nursery locations, as well as the expansion of our Clements growing grounds to introduce sales and delivery throughout the Sacramento/Central Valley area.

On September 5, our Petaluma nursery opened to serve the North Bay, and later in the year our Morgan Hill location will open to serve the South Bay, from San Jose to the Monterey peninsula. Customers in both locations will enjoy our personalized shopping options—selecting plants in person or submitting orders by email, phone, fax or online—and the choice of picking plants up or having them delivered directly to their job sites.

We invite landscape professionals to visit our 120-acre growing grounds in Clements (about 25 miles northeast of Stockton), where our extensive stock features a large variety of California natives, drought-tolerant plants and boxed trees.

Devil Mountain was proud to participate in the recent APLD-CA Bay Area District Plant Fair, presenting several new and exciting plants that we grow and have great potential in residential landscapes throughout California. Here are a few of our favorites:


Cercis canadensis var. mexicana: Mexican Redbud is a deciduous tree with a broad, dense, low-branching crown. Heart-shaped, wavy-edged leaves mature to high-gloss green and turn yellow in fall. Clusters of deep purple-pink, sweetpea-like flowers bloom on bare branchlets in early spring. Native to Texas and Mexico, this tree is heat and drought tolerant and can be grown in USDA zones 6–9 or Sunset zones 4–24. Its mature size is 12’–25’ high and nearly as wide, and it takes full or partial sun. Credit: Mary Fisher

Quercus ‘Regal Prince’: Regal Prince Oak is a deciduous tree, columnar in habit with glossy, dark green leaves that turn yellow in fall. Low maintenance, mildew resistant and adaptable to most soil conditions, the tree is tolerant of urban pollution and can be grown in USDA zones 4–9 or Sunset zones A2, A3, 1-12, 14-21. It makes an excellent specimen tree or screen. Its mature size is 45’ high x 18’ wide, and takes full sun and moderate to regular water. Credit: Stewart Winchester

Lomandra longifolia ‘Platinum Beauty’: Variegated Dwarf Mat Rush is an evergreen perennial with variegated light green and white foliage that forms a fountain-like grassy clump. It tolerates seaside, inland and drought conditions, is deer resistant, and can be grown in USDA zones 8–11 or Sunset zones 12– 4. Its mature size is 2’-3’ feet high and wide, and takes full sun or partial shade and low water once established.
Credit: Sara Erickson

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ‘Cool Blue’:  Cool Blue Ceanothus is a variegated form of California native C. thyrsiflorus 'Skylark' with glossy, oval, dark green leaves edged in white, featuring fragrant flower clusters that form a sea of light blue in spring. Its natural growth habit is compact and upright, making it ideal for smaller spaces. It does well on slopes and is beneficial to pollinators and wildlife. Its mature size is 3’-4’ high and 4’-5’ wide, takes full sun and little to no water once established. It can be grown in USDA zones 8 – 10 or Sunset zones 5 – 9, 14 – 24. Credit: Courtesy of Sunset Western Garden Collection

APLD California Chapter
2017 Sponsors

Through sponsorship of APLD®, these industry leaders declare their support for best practices, APLD California Chapter educational programs and events, and the highest standards in landscape design. From veteran materials suppliers to producers of cutting-edge landscape products, these companies have committed to connecting with professional landscape designers and our clients. 

Following are replicas of our two-page handout that is regularly distributed to our members through our magazine, at membership meetings, and other APLD-CA events.

Learn more about our 2017 sponsors by visiting http://apldca.org/sponsors/.

You may also DOWNLOAD a PDF version of the 2017 APLD-CA Quick Reference Sheet.

Please contact Laura Morton, APLD, at sponsorship@apldca.org, to learn more. 

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Where On Earth:
A Guide to Specialty Nurseries
and Gardens in California

by Nancy Conner,
Demi Bowles Lathrop,
and Barbara Stevens

Heyday Press 2017



Where on Earth belongs on every garden designer’s bookshelf, with its recently revised and updated 5th edition. It’s an invaluable tool to help designers find interesting and unusual plants. There are excellent maps and special sections for every region of the state. In addition, short essays help gardeners to understand how and why some plants are well suited for California and others are not. Each geographic section also lists horticultural attractions in the region.

To celebrate this new edition, an APLD designer from each of our California districts has written about a nursery from the book. Their personal impressions follow.

—Diane Goldsmith

Far-Flung California Nurseries

Digging Dog Nursery

by Diane Goldsmith


A trip to Digging Dog Nursery in Mendocino County is a very special journey. Leaving the urban bustle behind, you wind through sprawling farm country to reach Highway 1 and the coast. Heading north, you pass spectral rows of ancient cypress and wind your way past deep coves with tree canopies shaped by the wind. Crossing the Gualala River as you leave Sonoma County and enter Mendocino County, you pass Gualala Nursery and Trading Company, with its resident life-size dinosaurs. Further north in Manchester you’ll see huge oddball topiaries created from mature cypress trees. Is that a giant caterpillar in that front yard?


When you finally arrive at Digging Dog Nursery, located a few miles inland in Albion, you’ll feel you’ve made a mythic journey . . . and arrived at an equally mythic destination.


Credit: Diane Goldsmith

Extensive floral borders frame the nursery, giving you the opportunity to see owners Gary Ratway and Deborah Whigham’s plants in mature sizes in sumptuous beds laid out like a formal European garden.

Operating the nursery since 1984, they encourage designers to see the many unusual plants and new cultivars propagated on the grounds. A landscape architect, Gary has designed many private and public gardens and enjoys creating stylized meadows. He combines grasses of different statures, colors and textures with perennials for color and textural contrasts. Curving, undulating hedges direct the gaze through the meadow. Carpinus betulus (European Hornbeam) create large-scale green columns. This year, Gary is planting Sanguisorba officinalis (Great Burnet)—a perennial with late-winter wine-red bottlebrush flowers—to mix with grasses. According to the catalog, “these vigorous perennials offer contrasting clarity to the softer, less defined forms in the naturalized garden.”

Sanguisorba officinalisCredit: Digging Dog Nursery

Sanguisorba officinalisCredit: Digging Dog Nursery

The nursery’s thriving mail-order business is driven by their famous catalog, authored by Deborah and soon coming out in its 26th edition. About Baptisia x bicolor ‘Starlite’ she writes, “Twinkling like stars, a sky full of lupine-like periwinkle-blue flowers are set aglow by creamy white bases, known as keels.” This poetry for plant lovers helps us to imagine the beauty of a plant or flower we’ve never seen.

I visited the nursery in August and was amazed by the number of plants in bloom. The late-season garden is one of Deborah’s favorites. “Many people lose interest when August comes, she says, “but I love it.” She thinks the dog days of August build anticipation, because many perennials have set buds but haven’t yet bloomed yet. 

In winter, Deborah leaves the seedheads on the plants to provide forage for birds—and because they remind us to prepare for the decay and repose of plants during the coldest months. “In gardening, we need to lose the American obsession with perfection,” she says. “We like everything to be perfect, but there is such beauty in obsolescence.” 

As horticulturists, Gary and Deborah are aware of their responsibility to the environment. They are building a series of ponds for bio-remediation to treat run-off water that contains nitrate residues from the fertilizers they use. When the water has passed through the ponds and finally enters the nearby creek, it will be pure for the salmon that spawn there.

Deborah invites gardeners to sign up for her periodic emails, which often have a theme that she illustrates with plant suggestions. Visitors from around the nation and the world come to Digging Dog for interpretive guided garden walks and plant sales. Well worth the trek, this far-flung nursery is a truly special place to learn, see and enjoy all the best things about gardening.

Digging Dog Nursery
31101 Middle Ridge Road Albion, CA 95410



Far-Flung California Nurseries

Matilija Nursery

By Jackie Scheidlinger


One of the primary Los Angeles–area sources for native California and southwestern plants is Matilija Nursery in Moorpark, just west of the San Fernando Valley. Bob Sussman left a career in finance and banking about 25 years ago to start this specialty nursery, which grew out of a personal interest in the native plants he encountered while hiking in the local foothills.

Today Bob continues to be impressed with the beauty and long flowering periods of many natives, and the fact that they flourish with very little care.  Some of his most popular plants are verbena and milkweed as well as Matilija’s own hybrids of desert mallows and evergreen Pacific Coast irises. His hybrid irises are an improvement over the species irises, blooming a little longer, producing large flowers up to four inches long, and displaying a range of rich colors.

The nursery is also known for its extensive collection of reblooming tall bearded irises. “Bearded irises work well in a drought-tolerant plant scheme because they flower multiple times per year, like sunny conditions, and need relatively little water,” said Bob.


Credit: Robert Sussman

Matilija sells both retail and wholesale, and attracts customers from across the Greater LA area, Ventura County, and as far as Bakersfield. Bob also does contract growing for open space restoration and mediation projects, as well as universities, city and county parks departments and Caltrans. He’s seeing a steady increase in the general public warming to the idea of a landscape that supports a natural ecosystem—providing food and shelter for native birds, reptiles and insects.

Matilija Nursery
8225 Waters Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
(805) 523-8604

Far-Flung California Nurseries

Gardens by the Sea Nursery

By Debra O’Leary


Gardens by the Sea Nursery is just a few steps from the ocean in the town of Leucadia, about 30 miles north of San Diego. While the nearby beach may be tempting, plant lovers are easily lured into the nursery by its eye-popping selection of succulents and drought-tolerant plants, as well as its unique garden decor and dazzling container plantings.


Credit: Debra O’Leary

Owner Mike Hirsch found his calling when he worked his first summer job at a nursery at the young age of 13. He went on to earn a degree in ornamental horticulture at Fullerton College and now proudly attracts visitors to Gardens by the Sea.

Mike believes the next big trend in California is pairing succulents with companion plants. He is particularly fond of hardy succulents, recommending Aloe camaronii, Starfish Aloe, for small planting areas that will come to life in winter with its brilliant spikes of orange blooms. He also loves Aloe rudikoppe, Little Red Riding Hood Aloe, a compact low grower to eight inches high and two feet wide, with lush green foliage and red-orange flowers nearly year round on the Southern California coast.

Visitors to Gardens by the Sea can make a side trip to the San Diego Botanical Garden, just three miles down the road in Encinitas, where many of the plants sold at Mike’s nursery are on view in mature, exquisitely designed beds.

Gardens by the Sea Nursery
1500 N. Coast Hwy
Leucadia, CA 92024
(760) 840-0270

Far-Flung California Nurseries

Morningsun Herb Farm

by Bernadette Balics


Morningsun Herb Farm lies in the scenic agricultural valley west of Vacaville, midway between San Francisco and Sacramento. The three-acre nursery specializes in culinary and medicinal herbs, drought-tolerant perennials and a wide range of vegetables and fruit trees.

Owned by husband-and-wife team Rose Loveall-Sale and Dan Sale, the nursery has been in operation for 23 years on the fortuitously flat and sunny farmland owned by Rose’s extended family. With degrees in Forestry and Environmental Horticulture, running a nursery was a natural career for Rose, and her mechanical engineer husband is now a full-time business partner.

Walking through the artfully laid out demonstration gardens and sprawling lavender fields is the ultimate sensory experience. Rose likes to show off her favorites, such as Lavandula angustifolia ‘Violet Intrigue,’ a newer English variety with rich violet flowers, her large selection of Agastache with hues from tangerine to plum, and her unique cultivars of scented geraniums. Morningsun also offers a multitude of vegetable starts, including more than 80 varieties of tomatoes and 40 peppers in the spring, and a wide selection of greens and brassicas in the fall.

The lavender fields at Morningsun Herb Farm. Credit: Dan Sale

The lavender fields at Morningsun Herb Farm. Credit: Dan Sale

The nursery grows plants from cuttings and seed on site using organic practices. “Our location is in a narrow valley surrounded by many microclimates,” says Rose, “so we can understand our customers’ many growing conditions, from cooler foothill climates to hot-summer locations.”

Rose chose to specialize in herbs because of their many attributes, from their distinctive flavors, fragrances and colors to their attraction for pollinators and their utility in medicines, teas and natural dyes. Many require little water or maintenance and can be grown from four-inch and quart pots to their full potential in a short period.

Many customers have become like family, sending photos of flower-filled gardens and elegant meals, and sometimes even coming to the farm with some herb-infused snacks for the Morningsun crew.

Morningsun Herb Farm
6137 Pleasants Valley Road
Vacaville, CA 95688
(707) 451-9406



Welcome New Members

Please give a warm welcome to these new members of the APLD California Chapter.
Thank you to all who have joined in 2017!

Professional Members

Sara Bruckmeier
Garden Translations
Bay Area District
Link to Sara Bruckmeier's Profile

Deborah R. Christman
O.W.L. Lanscapes; Morf/Change
Bay Area District
Link to Deborah R. Christman's Profile

Romila Jogdand
Jenna Bayer Garden Design, Inc.
Bay Area District
Link to Romila Jogdand's Profile

Alida Serena Truant
Alida Truant
Bay Area District
Link to Alida Serena Truant's Profile

George "Russell” Wightman
Russell Wightman Design
Greater Los Angeles District
Link to George "Russell" Wightman's Profile

Allied Members

Mark von Dohren
M & M Builders
Bay Area District
Mark von Dohren's Profile

Student Members

Robert Douglass
Mira Costa College
San Diego District

Deana Hoague
Solano Community College
Sacramento District

Contributors to the Fall 2017 Edition

Anne Weinberger / EDITOR
Diane Goldsmith / DESIGNER

Steve Gold
Diane Goldsmith
Becky Harrington
Jennifer Jewell
Danielle Lynch
Georgia Madden
Marti Meyer
Linda Middleton, APLD
Debra O’Leary

Bernadette Balics
Martin Carrión van Rijn
David Clarke, APLD
Katie Creighton
Anne-Émilie Gold
Shalyn Eppler
Sara Erickson
Stephanie Falzone
Mary Fisher, APLD

Lori Palmquist
Dan Sale
Jackie Scheidlinger
Jackie Seidman
Robert Sussman
Marcus Teply
Soleil Tranquilli
Dona Wessells
Stewart Winchester

Call for Submissions

We invite your participation in the California Landscape Design magazine. Please send your story ideas to editor Anne Weinberger before December 10, 2017 to be included in the Winter edition. Send email to: newsletter@apldca.org.


Simple pleasures and surprises of working creatively with plants . . .


This living wall mixes succulent plants with photographs of succulents by Lucy Beck. Its creator, Diane Goldsmith (APLD Bay Area District), said, "One morning, I saw a Blue Jay perched near the living wall. His head was cocked and he was staring at the photograph of the butterfly. While I was watching, he pecked at it a few times. Then he flew away in disgust. I guess he just couldn't believe it wasn't real."

Thank you for visiting the new California Landscape Design magazine.
Please share it with your clients, friends and family!