[Click here to read Joan's first column: Nine Great California Native Plants to Plant Now]
Hi there. I'd like to introduce myself as Noozhawk's newest features columnist.
I've been writing about gardening for more than 25 years, have been designing colorful, water-conserving gardens for nearly 20 years, and have had my hands in the dirt for more years than I can count.
While I can't say I've never met a plant that I didn't like, there are very few that I don't appreciate in some capacity or another. Fortunately for me, as well as my readers and clients, we live in an amazingly benevolent climate that allows us to grow a phenomenal number of different, beautiful plants in any number of combinations and styles.
For my In the Garden features for Noozhawk, I plan to provide practical, hands-on advice about designing, planting and caring for gardens throughout Santa Barbara and the Central Coast. I'll write about edibles, too, including seasonal crops, perennial vegetables and fruit trees.
I could throw around words like sustainable, green gardening and the like. But whatever you call it, I believe the most successful gardens are filled with a broad mix of California natives and other Mediterranean plants that are well adapted to our seasonal cycle of warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
That diversity is sure to attract and sustain smaller forms of wildlife, such as beneficial insects, bees, birds and butterflies, all of which help to create a good biological balance that in turn promotes healthier plants.
However, you'll still find me muttering occasionally about larger foragers. Deer top my personal list of pesky mammals, but gophers, ground squirrels and rabbits are rather annoying, too.
My husband, Tom, and I garden on 4 acres of heavy clay soil in western Goleta. We've planted several thousand perennials, shrubs, ground covers and trees on what was once a raw, weedy plot when we moved here 21 years ago. We also grow about 30 avocado, citrus and fruit trees, along with vegetables and herbs year-round. Our previous home, in the heart of the Goleta Valley, had rich, loamy, beautifully fertile soil. Our new spot has taken some getting used to, but we've pretty well figured it out by now.
I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge, and appreciate your interest.