Sustainable Garden Smarts: Sage Ecological Landscapes

Our “cute” (read: tiny) house came with a nice-sized yard filled with many plants unfamiliar to us. The friendly folks at Sage Ecological Landscapes in Los Osos have been extremely helpful in identifying the plant samples we bring to their nursery, one of the oldest nurseries in continuous operation across the Central Coast. “What’s this? And this, and this?” We now know that we’ve got at least four types of sage in the front yard as well as a cape gooseberry, a fuschia and quantities of scented and giant geraniums. And a big empty space where the herb and veggie garden will be soon because autumn is a great time to plant.

This succulent gardener knows autumn is a great time to plant

Remember Central Coast-arians: we can grow food year round in our fantastic climate. And, unlike the late spring and summer where lack of rain requires gardeners to arrange for manual or automatic watering, the fall and winter give lazy gardeners like me (us?) a break from the total responsibility for watering. The fall and winter rains energize the soils with minerals through percolation and rehydrate them after our long, dry spring and summer. I’m a hungry gardener who has been dreaming of Haricot Verts, Fava Beans, thin-skinned Japanese cucumbers, Mustard Greens and all those vegetables and greens waiting as seeds for their potential to be tapped by diving into the ground and getting to work growing us some free food.

“Fall is a great time to plant”: one of the mantras at Sage Ecological Landscapes, a design and build service for sustainable gardens. “Most people only think of vegetable and herb gardening during the traditional growing season from April to August,” says Todd Davidson, owner and general manager. “But especially for gardens in the area’s coastal regions,” continues Todd, “autumn is a great time to plant and take advantage of the rains.” The winter rains take the pressure off autumn gardeners from having to babysit the garden’s water demands, especially with our sandy soils. [Scroll for slideshow]

Sage at SAVOR the Central Coast

Reusing wooden pallets to create edible walls

To reinforce this autumn planting suggestion, the Sage Eco Gardens team created an array of unusual edible gardens for an installation at the Sunset Garden and Backyard Farm area of the 2012 SAVOR the Central Coast. Visitors to this now annual wide-ranging foodie event in Santa Margarita (10 minutes north of San Luis Obispo) can draw inspiration for their own edible garden possibilities from this display, especially for those who live in small spaces with limited or no yard space.

Lettuce goes vertical with their multiple edible wall and column structures reusing a wooden shipping pallet and some chicken wire. Old windows and simply-hewn boards can easily come together to become a cold frame, a chicken coop, and other structures that make it easier to farm and garden in your own backyard while tapping into your own reusable materials. Visitors to the Sunset Garden and Backyard Farm area at SAVOR can enter their names in a raffle to win these portable, edible garden features created by the thoughtful gardeners at Sage.

A garden cart full of edibles rolling toward dinner


Visiting Sage Eco Gardens & Nursery in Los Osos

The Chilean Garden focused on a tumbling water feature

The demonstration edible garden sculptures for SAVOR epitomize a major component of the Sage Eco Gardens and Sage Ecological Landscapes philosophy: share knowledge with the community about plants, seeds, outdoor living spaces and the garden lifestyle. The team at Sage help educate the gardening public through free garden talks once a month at their Los Osos nursery as well as their permanent garden installations of plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa, Chile, and other climates similar to ours in the Central Coast. These thriving gardens offer a chance to see how prospective plants for one’s garden and yard will look when more mature. Visit their website for a schedule of garden talks and other events.

Visiting Sage Eco Gardens Online

In addition to helpful staff on hand at the Los Osos nursery, Sage also produces an electronic newsletter that can answer more questions Central Coast gardeners might have about choosing the best plants for their conditions. Sent twice a month, the Sage newsletter helps gardeners stay connected to their ornamentals, edibles, annuals, perennials and trees throughout the year, not just when the rest of the country finally has a chance to garden for a few months. Sage is your 12 months a year garden store and nursery that prioritizes healthy, appropriate plants for Central Coast gardens and yards. They even sell plants through their web store.

Whether your question is easy (“What’s this?”) or more complicated (“How should we landscape our yard to promote effective rainwater capture, drainage, and aesthetics?), the team at Sage Eco Gardens & Nursery and Sage Ecological Landscapes can help find the answers. Visit them online, at their Los Osos nursery, and at the Sunset Garden and Backyard Farm at SAVOR the Central Coast.

edible garden column
edible garden column for SAVOR the Central Coast 2012
edible garden cart
garden cart filled with edibles for small spaces
cold frame
reusing materials to make a cold frame: smart!
garden pallets
wooden pallets make effective containers for edible walls
chicken coop
a rough-hewn chicken coop also for display at SAVOR
Chilean garden
Chilean demo garden
South African garden
South African demo garden
water features
burbling water features & fountains
water plants
water hyacinth and duck weed
Asian garden
wall of succulents
fall planting sculpture
In the Central Coast, autumn is a great time to plant

CCF_logo_parchment-70x70More about Sage Ecological Landscapes & Nursery Gardens on CCFoodie
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