In the News
The notion of sustainability appears with increasing frequency in our contemporary cultural dialogue, and not solely with respect to pressing environmental issues on a global scale. The term is also used to characterize decisions made by individuals who seek to live happy, harmonious, productive lives without damaging or depleting their personal environments. Elements of harmony, balance and social responsibility are tenets of this philosophy, which UC Master Gardener Ken Falstrom implements on a daily basis in his garden and in his life.
When used as an adjective, the word 'succulent' means rich in desirable qualities and affording mental nourishment. As a noun, the word refers to a broad category of plants that have in common the ability to store water in their characteristically fleshy leaves and stems, which is why they tend to thrive in low-water environments such as ours. But guess what? Succulents also happen to be rich in desirable qualities and afford vast quantities of mental nourishment, especially to those who are lucky enough to have them in their gardens.
Admit it--gardeners in Santa Barbara County have it pretty darn easy. We can grow almost anything year-round, without needing to worry about the right time to plant. Granted, our list of gardening tasks does shorten somewhat as the season we smugly call "winter" approaches and the rains begin. But that brief annual respite lasts only until the soil dries out enough for us to start digging in it again. (And, of course, there are many who never really stop!)
Adventures in Botanical Courage
There once was a man named Gary
Whose garden was quite ordinary.
So he studied real hard
Then refashioned his yard.
Now it's gorgeous, which makes Gary merry!
"Once upon a time, former electrical engineer and retired business owner Gary Kravetz moved his family into an idyllic storybook setting on a verdant hillside in the heart of Santa Barbara's chic Upper Riviera neighborhood. Their multilevel stucco house sits smack in the middle of two acres that had once been part of a vast mountaintop estate. At this point, the fairy tale's typically happy ending begins to falter."
Living in Armonia
When Dennis and Suzanne Elledge purchased a parcel of mountaintop terrain on the back of the Riviera in 1997, they were in an Italian state of mind. The couple hoped to recreate the distinctive style of the Tuscan countryside they loved while striving to maintain a harmonious connection to the flora and fauna of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Ms. Elledge christened the property Armonia (Italian for "harmony"), and together they set about creating their Mediterranean dream house.
Read the entire article here:News Press 7-15-17 Elledge
Although California's exceptional drought is officially over, exceptional water-waving measures are still a way of life for long-time Santa Barbara resident and UC Master Gardener Nancy Tobin. But it's impossible to tell from looking at the lush plantings encircling their house that she and husband Rich are dedicated minimalists when it comes to irrigation. Instead of a parched and barren vista, the Tobin landscape is bursting with color, variety and exuberant life.
Read the entire article here:News-Press-6-17-2017 Tobin
Garden Gone Wild!
"What do a friendly pooch named Kali, a fat kitty named Zena, a 26-year-old turtle named Leo, seven parakeets, five chickens, a family of tree squirrels, a pair of chipmunks, a tubful of goldfish and countless bees, butterflies, ladybugs and hummingbirds have in common? They all belong to the happy menagerie lovingly tended to by Santa Barbara resident and UC Master Gardener Julie Constantinides."
Published on May 13, 2017, in the Santa Barbara News-Press as the first installment of a new monthly feature written by Linda Sullivan Baity entitled "Master Gardens of Santa Barbara."
Read the entire article: News-Press 5-13-2017 Constantinides