Annie's Awesome Newsletter Archive

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Boom! Pow! Summer WOW!

And just like THAT ... it's time to think about your FABULOUS SUMMER GARDEN!

As the season slowly shifts to sunny Summer, we find ourselves unceremoniously ripping out our Spring annuals (so floriferous, they've been blooming their heads off since March) and replanting our demonstration gardens with big-bang-for-the-bloom Summer-to-Fall favorites that promise to evoke ooohs and aaahs from our visitors come June all the way to September (and beyond!).

With longer days affording a few more precious minutes in the garden, you'll find yourself out enjoying the buzzing bees and cutting bouquets in your own Summer paradise ... that is IF you get a move on and plant some simple Summer season extenders soon!

Grow Beaucoup Bouquets!

Bouquets, posies, nosegays - we love them all!

Is there anything so pleasing and therapeutic as gathering up the garden's bounty and bringing it indoors? It's like taking an instant mood-elevator to the top floor! Join us as Julie Chai, editor of the wondrous new book Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden, tells us how to grow, harvest and arrange stunning seasonal blooms cut from your own garden on Saturday, May 27 at 11 am!

Floret Farms is a shining light in the seasonal cut flower movement and the heart-stoppingly gorgeous blooms grown by owner Erin Benzakian have captured the imaginations and hearts of flower-lovers everywhere via her incredible Instagram feed and website. Her new book, edited by Julie Chai, a longtime Sunset Magazine staffer and editor, is a treasure trove of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season.

Bees Need Your Help!

We welcome back the fabulous and talented Kate Frey, author and top notch garden designer (two-time Chelsey Garden Show gold medal winner!), for a stellar talk about her most passionate subjects: Gardening for bees, beauty and diversity!

As bees the world over struggle for survival, it's more important than ever to plant bee-friendly gardens that sustain and inspire. It's totally doable and easy, since so many of the flowers that offer pollen and nectar for bees make us gardeners happy, too! And for fruit and vegetable gardeners, inviting nature's most productive pollinator into the yard can provide an impressive increase in yields and better-tasting produce.

Lessons from a Tomato Whisperer!

Is there anything so delicious as a tomato, fresh-picked from the vine?

No watery, hothouse-grown grocery-store tomato could ever hope to compare to the sweet, bold, earthy, rich taste of a homegrown beauty. And here to tell you all about how to grow the BEST, most PERFECT tomatoes is our favorite tomato whisperer - Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms - on Saturday, May 13, Day 1 of our Mother's Day Celebration!

CA Native Penstemons on Point!

We adore our hard-working native species Penstemons for their durability, adaptability and exceptional drought tolerance. Never overblown with outsized or awkward flowers like some of the hybrid varieties out there today, these fine, fresh fellows provide jewel-toned blooms and long-lasting beauty to the perennial, container, dry or rock garden. Able to handle heat, drought and deer, they're also surprisingly adaptable to many different garden situations so long as you give them good drainage, a sunny disposition and you don't overwater once established. Irresistible to hummingbirds, the tubular flowers were made for our feisty, feathered friends, often inciting them to a nectar-filled frenzy!

Thanks to the perfect storm of cool weather, seed availability and exceptionally good germination, we have for you a fantastic and somewhat unprecedented collection of these gorgeous species all ready at the same time. Since we can't guarantee that will happen again next year – grab one while you can!

Seasonal Plants To Dye For!

Back By Popular Demand!

Sasha Duerr, author, alchemist and founder of Permacouture Institute, returns to the nursery for a Spring/Summer installment of her super popular workshop on using local and seasonal plants (as well as garden weeds and waste!) to make gorgeous, non-toxic plant dyes on Sat. April 29 at 11 am!

Her scrumptious book "Natural Color" sold out last time, but we'll have plenty on hand for an author signing after the talk. Brimming with stylish and easy-to-follow projects that will appeal to both novice and experienced dye-enthusiasts alike, you'll be inspired to explore sustainable "slow-textile" solutions to synthetic chemical dyes and start your own backyard garden-to-garment revolution! How fabulous!


It's that time of year again friends – time for small crops of especially wonderful offerings that, due to their growing schedule, uber rare-ness or BRAND NEWNESS, can only be available once this year! Hurry and get them while you can!

We first offered this ultra-rare Mediterranean Peony in 2013 - 15 YEARS after we grew one small plant from seed in 1998 (read the whole, dramatic story on our BLOG) and waited for it to mature, bloom and set more seed so we could start building our stock. After much anticipation, that first crop sold out instantly, setting us on a mission to try and grow enough for everyone who wanted to try this exquisite beauty.


Join us for an exciting talk by Sunset Magazine’s Johanna Silver, author of the new book "The Bold Dry Garden", which lovingly chronicles the life and times of Ruth Bancroft and her acclaimed collection of succulents, cacti and other intriguing horticultural dry-garden oddities in her public garden in Walnut Creek. Sunday, April 9 at 11:00 am Day 2 of our Spring Extravaganza!

Johanna will share some of the history of the Ruth Bancroft garden and the incredible design principles and plant palettes that make it unique, as well as give gardeners the advice and inspiration they need to create their own lush, low-water landscapes.

Four Season Harvest Workshop!

Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds and fruit in this excellent and eye-opening workshop with Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolisowners of the Bay Area landscape design firm Homestead Design Collective and authors of the new book
"Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using Extraordinary Garden Plants”!
Saturday, April 8 at 11:00 am – Day 1 of our Spring Extravaganza!

Movers and shakers in the edibles and floral-design worlds, Stefani and Alethea use many of Annie's plants in their gardens and are experts in growing them beautifully!

We HEART Natives! Scene stealing CA wildflowers make you say YAY!

Our love for glorious California native wildflowers is immeasurable. Right outside our back door resides a diversity of wildflowers unique in all the world. In fact, more varieties dwell in our home state than in ALL OTHER STATES COMBINED and there are over 2000 species that grow here in California and nowhere else! You go, California!

We also love natives because they enrich our local ecology, providing sustenance to bees, butterflies, birds and all manner of pollinators. Most self-sow for successive generations of FREE plants and are generally easy to grow, thriving with little assistance other than decently draining soil and a splash or two of water a week. They've been here much longer than we have, after all!