Join Alpine Community Network Email List Alpine CA 91901.
Contact Us Alpine Community Network Alpine CA 91901.
Shopping in Alpine CA 91901 local coupons and specials
Alpine Farmers Market Alpine Ca 91901
Allstate Insurance Roger Adams Alpine 91901
Alpine Orthodontics Alpine CA 91901
Alpine Creek Town Center Alpine CA 91901
Semper Solaris Solar Systems

Follow Us on Twitter

Alpine Dentistry in Alpine CA 91901

Events Today

Koala Tree Care Alpine CA
Advertise with Us Alpine Community Network Alpine Ca 91901

2014 Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour: Sneak Peek of Garden #6

Bailey_garden4

Garden reflects favorite travel destinations

Story by Maureen Austin, CHIRP / Photos by Mendi Wyatt, CHIRP

 

Why not create a backyard garden, inspired by your favorite travel destinations? That’s exactly what Steve and Gayle Bailey did!

Sparked by their love of such places as Mexico, Palm Springs, Laughlin, Tucson and Borrego Springs, the Baileys designed the gardens around their Alpine home with reflections of those landscapes in mind.

Bailey_garden2Colorful succulents, towering euphorbias, and textured cactus now edge the winding concrete and flagstone paths that flow throughout the backyard.  A few patches of artificial turf and an abundance of artistically-arranged rock–at least 10 different sizes and varieties, including boulders, river rock, gravel and pebbles–add dimension and interest.

Gayle recalls how she and Steve began planning their new garden design using spray cans of marking paint, shortly after purchasing their home, 5 years ago.

“The existing garden was beautiful,” she said, “but it wasn’t ‘our kind’ of yard.”

In addition, all the plants and large lawn area on the 1.75-acre lot required substantial water, resulting in water bills of nearly $1,000, she said.

Having installed similar landscapes in their previous 5 homes, the Baileys knew just what they wanted and how to begin!

All lawn areas, roses and perennial flowers were removed to make way for the water-wise succulent and cactus palette. Palms and mature trees remained.

“We did it all by ourselves, until our backs went south!” Steve laughed.

They did it all, that is, except the rock, he said, crediting their gardener, Greg, for his talent of artistic rock placement.  Steve said Greg hand-placed all of the stones in the many rock clusters, dry creek beds and on the hillsides of the property.

bailey_garden1

“He’s like a wizard with rocks!” Gayle agreed.

The Baileys love color in the garden. “The more color, the better!” Steve says. Much of their colorful garden art and accessories were purchased in their travels.

Bailey_garden5Gayle laughs at how she and her daughter-in-law purchased two large, colorful metal piñatas for $10 each in Cabo without considering how they would transport them home, only to learn the shipping company was going to charge them $300.  The determined gals ultimately managed, instead, to carry their piñatas onboard their flight home.

Color is also prominent in the plants in their garden, from the yellow ‘Kiwi’ Aeonium foliage to the bright red ‘Crown of Thorn’ blooms, and a variety of other fleshy-leaved succulents.

Gayle calls herself a “succulent freak.”  “I’m into trying to get every variety of succulent I can,” she said.  “I want to see how it blooms, how it grows and what it does.”

As she continues her quest of getting to know the succulents, visitors will enjoy getting to meet the Baileys and their garden’s reflection of their travels.

It is Garden #6 on the Tour.

 

 

Bailey_them

Tour Information:

  • Five fabulous Alpine gardens are showcased in this year’s tour, plus a place-of-worship garden and raptor rehabilitation facility.  Admission to all seven sites is $20.
  • Ticket includes a map for the self-guided tour, and is valid all three days of the event.  Visitors may stay as long as they desire in each garden.
  • Tickets may be purchased in person at Jennifer’s Feed or Alpine Garden & Gifts.  Cash or checks only at those locations.
  • To purchase online with credit card, please visit www.chirp.org.
  • Instructions to purchase by mail may also be found at www.chirp.org, or by phoning 619-445-8352.
  • The event is hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.

 

CHIRP_garden_tour_poster2014

2014 Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour: Sneak Peek of Garden #5

 

Maryan_garden1

Oh dear, deer in the garden?

Story by Maureen Austin, CHIRP / Photos by Mendi Wyatt, CHIRP

Her passion for the outdoors was planted by her grandparents when she was merely a young girl…

Maryan_garden3Maryan Wiedenfeld went to live on a farm with her grandparents at age 7, where she picked berries and made pies with her grandmother, watched her grandfather slaughter chickens that were eaten for dinner, and learned to milk cows at 5 a.m. every morning.

The country life, and especially gardening, is what excites her. “I love the rural areas,” she said.  “My paradise is outside.”

The rural Alpine property she purchased 5 years ago consists of 6 acres.  The area closest to her home she gardens.  On the remaining several acres she has cleared paths for walking and hiking.

She estimates to have created at least a mile of trails up the chaparral-covered hillside, and traverses the paths regularly with friends and her grandchildren, watching wildlife and collecting small rocks and bones of various creatures.

What joy she experienced one morning, a few weeks ago, when she witnessed  two large male deer using one of her trails to come down off the hillside to within clear sight as she sat in her outdoor jacuzzi.

“I just sat there in awe of those gorgeous creatures!” she said.  “It was such a thrill!”  The bucks returned a few days later, giving her another surge of excitement as they locked eyes with her.

That thrill has since turned to apprehension as she is now seeing several piles of deer droppings in the orchard area, just above her home.  “That worries me a little, even though I haven’t seen where they’ve eaten anything yet,” she said, and laughingly added,  “Isn’t it funny how that turned around!”

Maryan_garden4While not necessarily thrilled to see deer in her orchard, Maryan has extended a warm invitation to local barn owls with the installation of an owl box that extends high above the assorted fruit trees. “I’m really hoping for an owl to move in,” she said, reflecting on how owls nested every year in a large ash tree in her former home in Dehesa Valley.  “We knew they were there because we saw their pellets.”

Maryan is a huge fan of trees.  Her first priority, upon moving from Dehesa to Alpine, was to plant trees and start working in the garden. “The house could wait,” she laughed.  “I love gardening and I just want to be outdoors.”

With 6 acres of native brush and chaparral to clear, she had plenty to keep her busy outdoors! Clearing small areas at a time, she began planting trees and her favorite perennials, along with fruits and vegetables.  Native manzanita and sumac shrubs were sculpted into individual specimen.

 

Whether meandering through the trees and gardens near the house, or exploring trails up the hillside, visitors will find much to discover in Garden #5 of the Sage & Songbirds Tour.

 

Maryan_her

Tour Information:

  • Five fabulous Alpine gardens are showcased in this year’s tour, plus a place-of-worship garden and raptor rehabilitation facility.  Admission to all seven sites is $20.
  • Ticket includes a map for the self-guided tour, and is valid all three days of the event.  Visitors may stay as long as they desire in each garden.
  • Tickets may be purchased in person at Jennifer’s Feed or Alpine Garden & Gifts.  Cash or checks only at those locations.
  • To purchase online with credit card, please visit www.chirp.org.
  • Instructions to purchase by mail may also be found at www.chirp.org, or by phoning 619-445-8352.
  • The event is hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.

 

CHIRP_garden_tour_poster2014

2014 Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour: Sneak Peek of Garden #4

Babs_garden2

‘Lazy’ gardener grows enough food to feed an army!

 

Story by Maureen Austin, CHIRP / Photos by Mendi Wyatt, CHIRP

She grows more than 30 different kinds of fruit, and an equal number of varied veggies year-round in her Alpine garden, yet refers to herself as “a lazy gardener.”

Babs_garden4“I throw out a bunch of seeds, say a little prayer, and they grow!” says Babs Rosenberg.  “I really don’t spend a lot of time out here.”

She said she grows about 80 percent of what she and her husband, Jim, eat–and still has an abundance to give away, freeze, can, and dehydrate. Fruit trees she cultivates include peach, avocado, fig, nectarine, cherry, apricot, pear, mulberry, guava, pomegranate, persimmon, loquat, olive, apple and a wide variety of citrus, along with grapes, blueberries and strawberries.

Among her vegetable crops are lettuce, kale, beets, arugula, peppers, onion, celery, carrots, parsnips, brussels sprouts, bok choy, tomatoes, and beans. Everything is 100 percent organic. Babs is a believer in growing and eating the best food possible. “Good food can be the best medicine,” she said. “You can do harm to your body by not eating good food.”

Her veggie garden, primarily 9 raised beds and a few other small spaces, comprises only a small portion of the Rosenberg’s 1 1/3 acre lot, all of which was native chaparral and brush when they moved into their Alpine home in 2008.  Their previous 33 years had been spent in the Bay Area, in the home in which they raised their 3 children.

“We wanted to retire in a warmer climate,” she said. “And I’d have been bored to death in that 30×60 backyard with no room to garden!”

Babs_garden1For her first 4 years in Alpine, Babs’ gardening was limited exclusively to weekends, as she commuted to her job in Oakland, working there Monday through Thursday, and flying “home” for the weekends. But in that time, she literally “moved a mountain,”  and created a backyard for their new Alpine home.

She contracted to have built a 22’ high by 200’ long retaining wall to level-out the steeply sloping yard, affording the subsequent construction of an outdoor kitchen, gas fire pit, swimming pool, and jacuzzi–all designed by her. Over 5500 square feet of pavers was added to complete the project. “I’ve always had the ability to see how things could look,” she said.  “I knew what I wanted to do when I first saw this place.”

Babs describes her landscape as “desert-tropical,” and said she strives to be as earth-friendly as possible, using low maintenance and drought-tolerant plants such as bougainvillea lantana, daylilies and a variety of succulents.

“I’m still learning the climate and what grows here–it’s so different from the cold and damp Bay Area,” she admits.

Visitors are sure to learn a thing or two from Babs while touring her garden, which is #4 on the Sage & Songbirds Tour.

 

 

Babs_garden3

Babs_her

Tour Information:

  • Five fabulous Alpine gardens are showcased in this year’s tour, plus a place-of-worship garden and raptor rehabilitation facility.  Admission to all seven sites is $20.
  • Ticket includes a map for the self-guided tour, and is valid all three days of the event.  Visitors may stay as long as they desire in each garden.
  • Tickets may be purchased in person at Jennifer’s Feed or Alpine Garden & Gifts.  Cash or checks only at those locations.
  • To purchase online with credit card, please visit www.chirp.org.
  • Instructions to purchase by mail may also be found at www.chirp.org, or by phoning 619-445-8352.
  • The event is hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.

 

CHIRP_garden_tour_poster2014

 

 

2014 Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour: Sneak Peek of Garden #3

Peter_garden1

Night-time gardener reaps rare rewards

Story by Maureen Austin, CHIRP / Photos by Mendi Wyatt, CHIRP

Peter_garden2Laughingly labeled as a “plant hoarder” by a friend, he prefers the title “plant collector.” Peter Swoboda says he never met a plant he didn’t like, and although he has hundreds of different plants growing in his near-acre garden, he purchased less than 20 percent of them.  The balance were gifts or starts he propagated from cuttings.

He does have his favorites, however.  Peter is partial to cycads and fragrant flowers, and is especially fascinated with the intensely aromatic night-bloomers.

Whereas most gardeners toss in the trowel at dark, Peter is often just getting started!  Wearing a lighted miner’s cap, and with the aid of additional flood lights, he gardens. “I do my best design work after sunset,” he says, “without the background pollution.”

Most night-blooming plants are intensely fragrant, and many people miss the experience of enjoying them by being indoors, he said.  Most people, in fact, are not even aware that many common plants have fragrant flowers.  He cites the philodendron, of which he grows several varieties. “The philodendron flower completely fills the air with fragrance after sunset–but weather conditions have to be just right,” he said.  “Warm and humid.” He said their bloom usually occurs about the third week of June–an observation he has made in the 32 years he’s been gardening in his Alpine home.

Peter_garden3A collection of tropicals and other plants usually only grown indoors in this area, fill the deck and areas immediately outside of his home, where he can provide them with summer shade. Throughout the rest of his property is the balance of Peter’s plant collection, along with his workshop and greenhouse.

A long, meandering path wraps around a small lawn area and over a dry creek, and includes a mix of succulents, grasses, perennials, palms, cycads, bromeliads, and natives. He describes his garden as “forest-like but not manicured”, with its abundance of trees and plants. “I like a lot of plants, but not a mess,” he said.  “And I don’t like things cut into shapes.” Peter said he tries to allow space between plants.  “People plant too close and pretty soon they have a big ‘wust’,” he laughs.  (“Wust” is the German translation for “mess”, German-born Peter explains.)

His best advise to new gardeners is to plant trees. With over 2 dozen fruit trees–along with mimosa, palm, pepper, eucalyptus, oak and more–his yard is alive with the song of birds and butterflies by day, and bats and moths by night.

Although visitors will not find an evening showing for this garden, there is plenty to see during the day!

It is Garden #3 on the Sage & Songbirds tour.

 

Peter_him

Tour Information:

  • Five fabulous Alpine gardens are showcased in this year’s tour, plus a place-of-worship garden and raptor rehabilitation facility.  Admission to all seven sites is $20.
  • Ticket includes a map for the self-guided tour, and is valid all three days of the event.  Visitors may stay as long as they desire in each garden.
  • Tickets may be purchased in person at Jennifer’s Feed or Alpine Garden & Gifts.  Cash or checks only at those locations.
  • To purchase online with credit card, please visit www.chirp.org.
  • Instructions to purchase by mail may also be found at www.chirp.org, or by phoning 619-445-8352.
  • The event is hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.

 

CHIRP_garden_tour_poster2014

2014 Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour: Sneak Peek of Garden #2

  Coursons_garden4

Sea-faring adventurers set roots in Alpine habitat – Sneak Peek of Garden #2
Story by Maureen Austin, CHIRP /  Photos by Mendi Wyatt, CHIRP

Scattered car carcasses and tall, dense weeds were the only “garden elements” around the pressboard shanty home that once sat on this Peutz Valley property.

Today, the 4.5-acre site, sloping sharply up the hillside, is an engaging commentary on “living off the land” through such practices as sustainability and permaculture.

Coursons_garden2Mike and Alison Courson spent the first 17 years of their marriage living aboard a 34-foot sailboat, exploring such distant places as Bora-Bora.  Alison describes their boating life as “being integrated with nature’s rhythms.”  It wasn’t until they moved to Alpine that they considered living on the land to be equally fulfilling, she said.

It was the Sage & Songbirds Festival that first brought them to Alpine, over 14 years ago, when they were living in LaMesa.  How appropriate that their garden is now a featured site for the 17th annual event!

Their National Wildlife Federation-certified habitat is in-sync with “nature’s rhythms,” largely through Alison’s gentle prodding and coaching of her husband.  Mike laughs as he recalls his intention of planting “tropical gardens” where California native and other Mediterranean perennials now thrive.  It took an on-site visit by native plant guru/author Greg Rubin to convince Mike that native plants would provide the color, texture and excitement he wanted in their garden.

But Mike did have many worthy ideas–one of which was the construction of about 100 feet of hillside waterfalls and ponds, which he worked on for 15 minutes a day, over a period of 1 1/2 years.  It was ultimately finished by a team of professional waterscape builders who Mike convinced to use his property as a demonstration project for teaching.

The water feature is a focal point of their garden, and a hub of wildlife activity, including a chorus of croaking frogs, hummingbirds, songbirds, insects and a variety of mammals.

Mike and Alison marvel at how “nature” has nourished their garden.

“It’s amazing what the birds and animals bring in the way of seeds and ‘plant’ around the property,” Mike said.  “We started the growth here in as close to a natural way as we knew how, and the animals and birds took over and have brought in an uncountable variety of other beautiful plants!”

In a strange twist of fate, it was the Cedar Fire of 2003 that actually revealed the depth of the beauty of their property to the Coursons.  Their entire yard burned, but their recently remodeled home was spared because of its concrete resin siding, they said.

Coursons_them“We discovered 3 natural, seasonal waterfalls and ponds on the backside of the property that we didn’t even know about!” Mike said.  After the fire leveled the decades of thick growth, they were discovered.

Alison saw the fire as a motivator to implement permaculture practices such as planting gardens with immediate needs (i.e., herbs, lettuce) up-close and lesser needed items (seasonal veggies) farther away.

As one might infer, this pair of adventurers is not done yet!  Future plans include setting up bee hives, finishing an aquaponic symbiotic gardening system with fish and veggies, and lessening their needs for non-renewable power.

Those things are down the road, but for now, they invite Sage & Songbirds Garden tourists to “visit, linger, enjoy the wildlife and see their version of gardening.”

Theirs is Garden #2 on the Tour.

                Tour Information:

  • Five fabulous Alpine gardens are showcased in this year’s tour, plus a place-of-worship garden and raptor rehabilitation facility.  Admission to all seven sites is $20.
  • Ticket includes a map for the self-guided tour, and is valid all three days of the event.  Visitors may stay as long as they desire in each garden.
  • Tickets may be purchased in person at Jennifer’s Feed or Alpine Garden & Gifts.  Cash or checks only at those locations.
  • To purchase online with credit card, please visit www.chirp.org.
  • Instructions to purchase by mail may also be found at www.chirp.org, or by phoning 619-445-8352.
  • The event is hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.

 

CHIRP_garden_tour_poster2014