Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Seasoned Gardener offers deer resistance tips

Carolyn Singer, author and photographer for her new book, “The Seasoned Gardener: 5 decades of sustainable & practical garden wisdom”, has been gardening since she was a young child.

While edible gardening remains her favorite pursuit, she appreciates the value of the ornamental garden in creating a vital habitat for beneficial pollinators, insects, and for the gardener. Organic gardening practices have been a lifelong commitment.

Since 1977, on her property in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Grass Valley, she has been testing hundreds of ornamentals for their performance and deer-resistance. Carolyn’s perennial nursery, Foothill Cottage Gardens, and display gardens in Grass Valley were open to the public for 25 years. Her nursery was recognized nationally in several publications: Organic Gardening, Fine Gardening, Country Gardening, Sunset and in Taylor’s Guide to Specialty Nurseries.

Fortunately, while gardening was a passion that became a profession as consulting and teaching met a growing need in the foothills, Carolyn has also written her “garden wisdom.”  Now foothill residents have a local gardening book filled with inspiring and practical ideas about edible and ornamental gardening.

Carolyn has written a garden column “The Seasoned Gardener” for her local paper, the Union in Grass Valley since 2006.  Her new book is an expansion of  seven years worth of columns. More than one reader pleaded with her to organize all the information. The result is a 325-page, 8 ½ x 11 book with 515 photos. One index covers the plants mentioned, with a glossary of common names to facilitate the search. Another index is by subject.

Organized month-by-month, this is a regional guide for the foothills, but with so much good gardening information, it is a book to benefit gardeners in other regions too. The conversational style of writing makes it an enjoyable read. The detailed information will benefit experienced gardeners and beginners. Many non-gardeners have expressed delight with the columns.

“The Seasoned Gardener” is a finalist for ForeWord Reviews’ “Book of the Year” Award.

Two award-winning books of deer-resistant plants summarize her experiences and those she learned about from other gardeners in deer country.  “Deer in My Garden, Vol. 1: Perennials & subshrubs” and Vol. 2: Groundcovers & edgers” cover more than 200 deer-resistant plants, detailing cultural requirements, bloom length, landscape use, companion plants, maintenance and propagation.

Students continue to enjoy her propagation classes, held each summer in her garden, to propagate from the huge assortment of plants, many deer-resistant. Many rare plants in the garden are never offered for sale in nurseries. Students propagate vegetative cuttings from the garden, leaving their flats with Carolyn for the first few critical weeks.

Her garden classes began in 1980. She has taught a series of organic gardening classes at Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply in Grass Valley for the past few years. In 2013, she is an instructor for the Garden Study Program (National Garden Club) in Nevada City. This series of classes begins in July.

Carolyn ‘s rock garden, which is the inspiration for many of the perennials in “Deer in My Garden, Vol. 2 “, has been featured on HGTV’s Paul James, “Gardening By the Yard”. When they filmed the segment about gardening with rocky soil, Carolyn’s garden in the Sierra foothills was the perfect site, a typical foothill property.

In 1995 Carolyn contributed to the updated Time-Life, Complete Gardener: Perennials. She has received the honor of “Lifetime University of California Master Gardener”, and is a member of the foothill Redbud chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), and the California Native Grasslands Association (CNGA)


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