Holiday Season

Susan Friedman

"Let us transform your new landscape retreat… one that you can’t wait to come home to."

Featured Project 

This Dublin backyard is perfect for chilly winter nights. The homeowners have their pick of ways to stay warm in their beautiful new “outdoor room”--they can soak in their warm and soothing hot tub, cozy up next to their toasty fireplace, or cook a delicious meal and serve hot cider from their outdoor kitchen. We are very fortunate to have year around outdoor living opportunities in our beautiful Bay area climate!

“BRRRRR,” said the Lemon Tree

The recent cold snap brought back memories of growing up in Chicago and building an ice rink in our back yard. We have home movies of this ritual that made me cry with laughter while watching them recently. This year backyard ice rinks could have been made in most of the Bay Area!  

What about our frozen and drooping plants that clearly aren’t going to make it through the winter? Whether it’s a citrus, palm tree or perennial, all of us have at least one garden plant that has been impacted by the freeze. So what’s a gardener to do?  

Do almost nothing. If your plant has branches that impact a front entry or important view, it’s okay to do a little structural plant surgery to remove the frozen branches. Otherwise, it’s best to wait until the active growing season before pruning off the dead branches and regain structural balance. Pruning now can stimulate the plants to send out new growth that is too young and tender to survive even the lightest frost. Unfortunately, with our deep and sustained freeze so early in the season, our plants never had a chance to get acclimated to a lighter frost – so we will see more damage than normal.  

For plants that look dead, wait until the March growing season to see if there is any chance of survival. Then make a list of casualties for replacement and start digging. Please contact me if you need recommendations for an arborist or gardener to help get your garden back in tip-top shape. 

Giving the Gift of Giving during the Holiday Season 

While reflecting on the past year, I think about the many wonderful things people do to help others and make a difference in this world. Whether it’s helping people with their basic needs or doing something to help our beautiful planet, each of us can make a difference in some way. Small actions can lead to big changes – even if it’s one acorn at a time.  

  • My son’s environmental club has been involved with a plant restoration project in Livermore, planting oak saplings for a future woodland forest along the Arroyo areas. They will also be doing a cleanup at a local San Ramon creek that runs past our backyard.
  • Twice this year, my family purchased, prepared and served meals for homeless families at the Winter Nights Shelter, a roving shelter that houses families from November through April, the coldest times of the year.  
  • My daughter has been participating in growing food and serving meals to local neighbors in an Oakland community.  

Like most people, we also contribute goods to food banks, donate clothes and household supplies, support our local scouts and sports teams, and help friends and neighbors when there is a need. Giving the Gift of Giving stories warm my heart. 

Please send me your “gift of giving” story. One story will be selected for a random drawing for a gift card and published in my next newsletter.

Happy Holidays!

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