A Smart Garden

      more than just a pretty space

Good to Know!

We at A SMART GARDEN are passionate about what we do.  We love plants and never stop learning.  Here you'll find articles by some of our favorite gardeners, helpful links and resources, or information on fun and fascinating topics we've found interesting and hope you will too.  Enjoy!

Did You Know?  
Landscaping can improve your home's value, a lot
Stats vary by study, but some research suggests a 13% overall increase in appraised value, with hedges adding 3.6%,  curb or parking strip adding 4.4%, large trees adding 10% and patios topping the list at 12.4% in property value added. 
Tips on Estimating Landscaping Costs
The following information is from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers' website, www.apld.org, and may help you in beginning to plan for your landscaping project.


There is extensive documentation of the value that intelligent, thoughtful landscape design can add to your home. Well designed, installed and maintained landscaping can substantially increase the overall value of your home. A budgeting rule of thumb for a complete landscape installation or renovation is five to ten percent of the total value of your home, including the land. Therefore, if you own a $550,000 home, plan to spend between $27,500-$55,500 for a basic, functional landscape that will return up to 200 percent in value. Unusual materials, mature specimen plantings, or elaborate hardscape will add to this figure.

The most successful landscape projects start with a realistic budget. Don’t hesitate to share your budget with the landscape designer. A professional landscape designer can help strike a balance between special materials and cost-conscious choices to create a beautiful space that meets your functional, aesthetic, and budget preferences before you ask contractors for bids.

Finally, be sure to budget for the ongoing care and maintenance of your new surroundings. Good maintenance will protect your investment and ensure many years of personal enjoyment and satisfaction."  - apld.org

Did you know that the Arbor Day Foundation offers 10 FREE TREES to new members?  Visit the link below to find out more about why we love arborday.org so much  - we're sure you will too!          http://www.arborday.org/takeaction/

Every year from March 7-14, Californians of all ages celebrate our natural wonders and most treasured resources during California Arbor Week  Recognizing that trees are a vital resource to our communities and serve as an important link with nature, all California residents are urged to observe the week with appropriate tree planting activities and programs.  For more information, please visit www.arborweek.org.

Did you know that there is a Patron Saint of Gardeners?


An Irish monk who started a monastery near Paris in 615 AD.

A skilled herbalist and healer, according to legend.

Believed in gardening's ability to promote spiritual and mental health.

Saint Fiacre Day is August 30th.

"Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy
flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals"

~ Aldo Leopold
Scientist, Author, Ecologist, Wildlife Conservationist

Garden History Quiz:  Who was John Chapman? 
Clue:  Born on September 26, 1774
Answer:  Johnny Appleseed!
Yes, he was a real person!  Born in Massachusetts, he made his way to Pennsylvania where he gave or sold apple seeds and saplings to travelers heading West.  He also traveled through  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia and Ontario, sowing apple seeds as he went.  For 40 years thereafter, he continued to travel to the wild orchards he had started in order to prune and care for his apple trees.  He also helped hundreds of settlers establish orchards of their own!
July is National Blueberry Month!
                               Who knew?!
There was a time when you couldn't grow blueberries in Southern California, but those days are thankfully long gone!  We can now grow a variety of delicious AND beautiful blueberry bushes right at home.  Choose 2 different varieties for cross-pollination and increased fruit production.  There are early-, mid-, and late-blooming varieties so you can create a longer harvest by choosing different types.  They like a rich, acid soil and a little shade doesn't hurt.  Plant them in decorative clay or ceramic pots, or directly in the ground to enhance your landscape design.  A word of warning:  if your dog is anything like mine, he'll be eating the berries right off the bush before you do!  

"I never before knew the full value of trees.  
Under them I breakfast, dine, write, read and receive my company."                        - Thomas Jefferson

During the drought, be sure to protect your existing trees through proper watering.  Tree loss is a very costly problem, not only in expensive tree removal, but also in the loss of all the benefits trees provide. Your trees provide an immense range of health, energy, environmental and economic benefits:

  • Trees improve air and water quality
  • Trees provide shade to the landscape and reduce water needs
  • Trees help keep your home cooler
  • Trees slow stormwater runoff and help recharge groundwater
  • Trees reduce soil erosion
  • Trees can make neighborhoods safer by reducing crime
  • Trees add value – sometimes thousands of dollars’ worth – to your home and neighborhood.  Trees take a long time to grow. Without helping our trees through the drought, we risk losing these benefits. While the drought may not last long, it can harm or kill trees, and it will take 10, 20 or even 50+ years to grow trees and get back the benefits.  Visit saveourwater.com/trees for more great information on watering your trees!

Our Favorite Plant-related Works of Art & Entertainment

The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Journey through the Secret Life of Plants by Stevie Wonder

An Inconvenient Truth  directed by Davis Guggenheim

The Victory Garden – Revisited   (click on title to read article)
By Cat Murray, Certified Nursery Professional and Organic Gardener

"Plant trees.  Lots of trees."
- An Inconvenient Truth, 2006