Kim Kabot loves designing vignettes or rooms in the yard, especially when it is her own.
When she moved into her rental house in Petaluma four years ago, she faced an unkempt yard devoid of healthy plants and shrubbery. Undaunted, she set to work enriching the soil with compost and planting public-facing and private areas along the front and sides of the house, the only areas available for planting since another house sits behind hers on a flag lot.
Kabot’s side yards had some outdoor wooden archways and screens that she decided to keep in order to demarcate transitions. She created other transitions with trellises and shrubs. Pittisforum “Silver Sheen,” Mexican Weeping Bamboo and dodonaea shield seating areas from the street, for example.
Many of the shrubs, flowering plants and succulents she planted in the front yard were chosen for their drought-resistant nature and to create the eclectic look that she wanted.
“You can’t have hedges of hydrangea or fields of lawns here in the North Bay and expect them to do well,” she advised, though she couldn’t resist planting a few roses, some of the “blousy flowers” she loves. She put them along her white picket fence, which gets full sun.
Her front garden plants also were chosen for their architectural influence and color: a phormium “Apricot Queen” by the front door, an ornamental sambucus nigra “Black Lace” and a cardoon, a relative of the artichoke that has gone to thistle near the fence.
While Kabot, a licensed landscape contractor, has focused in recent years on converting lawns to gardens for her clients, she understands why people love their lawns. “They create negative space, a place to rest your eyes,” she said, “and of course they are good for playing ground sports and for playing with your pets. But the Number 1 ingredient for a healthy garden is a drip-irrigation system.”
Kabot thinks that homeowners often make the mistake of trying to install their own drip systems.
“Oftentimes, we have to go in and undo their work,” she said. “Drip irrigation allows us to modulate the amount of water going into the soil and to direct it. It also allows us to set up hydrazones, putting together plants with similar water needs.
“If you want hardscapes in your garden, I always suggest a permeable hardscape such as gravel,” she said. “There are even special pavers that are permeable but, as with brick and stone, avoid using mortar between them so the water can seep into the ground and feed the aquifers rather than running into the storm drain, which feeds the ocean.”
After soil and hardscapes are set and systems are installed, the fun part for most homeowners is choosing their plants.
“The plants that thrive the best in our Mediterranean climate are lavenders, salvias, poppies, manzanitas, succulents, euphorbia, teucrium and ornamental grasses,” Kabot said. Other good choices are any of the bulbous plants, such as daffodils.
“Don’t be afraid to be eclectic,” Kabot concluded. “You can plant rosemary next to roses, for instance, and just enjoy.”
Kabot’s passion for design began in the fashion industry. She spent many years working in sales, merchandising and management for several companies in Los Angeles and New York.
“The garden was my solace during those busy years,” she said, “but I was born in Santa Monica and lived an outdoor life when young. My passion then was horseback riding and showing.”
WHAT’S LEGAL POT GROWING AND WHAT’S NOT
Here’s a summary. For full legal information for Sonoma County, visit sonomacounty.ca.gov/Cannabis/Personal-Use-and-Cultivation/
Who Can Grow?
Medical: Any patient or caregiver with a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis. The cannabis cannot be sold or distributed
Recreational: Any adult 21 or older. The cannabis cannot be sold
Size of plants: Up to 100 square feet of grow area per residence
Medical amount: There’s no limit on the number of plants for medical use
Recreational amount: No more than 6 plants
Where: Cultivation must take place at the person’s full-time residence
Outdoor: Plants cannot be located in the front or side yard setback areas and cannot be visible from public streets or walkways. Outdoor growing is not allowed in multi-family units or in the medium or high-density residential zones (R2 and R3).
Indoor: Indoor grows must be in an accessory structure, like a greenhouse or garage. Growing inside a residential structure is not allowed, unless there is no feasible alternative.
WHERE DO I GET PLANTS OR SEEDS?
You can get seeds from suppliers on the internet. The Gage Green Group (gagegreen.org) is a reputable company selling organically grown seeds for medicinal or recreational grows. Close to home, The Cali Connection (thecaliconnection.com) is a website to look into. Farther afield, in Amsterdam in fact, is a fine company called Sensi Seeds (senjsiseeds.com) that sells medicinal, recreational and feminized seeds.
If you want to do more research, here are other seed suppliers to Google: Brothers Grimm Seeds, Swamp Boys Seeds, BC Bud Depot, MTG Seeds, DNA Genetics, TGA Genetics, Green House Seeds, Archive Seed Bank, Aficionado Seeds, Amsterdam Genetics and The British Seed Company.
You can also stop by the Emerald Cup at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in December. An Early Bird Weekend Pass is on sale now for $120 plus $12.74 fee, no babies in arms and no strollers. You probably don’t want to take the kids to this event anyway. For tickets, visit theemeraldcup.com/tickets/
For starter plants, talk to a growe.r
Identifying gender of cannabis plants
If you let the male plants spread pollen among the females, you’ll ruin your crop, unless your aim is to grow and harvest seeds. If pollinated, the females will put their energy into ripening seeds, not producing big kolas of flowers.
Male and female marijuana plants are identical for the first six weeks of life. After June 20, they will start to differentiate by gender. If you’re serious about growing quality plants, you must remove all male plants and get them off the property or bury them as soon as you can tell their gender.
Use a magnifying glass to look at the joints on the stalk where the branches meet the main stalk. At first both males and females will have small clusters of ball-like bulbs there, but soon small, hairy, translucent filaments will emerge from the female bulbs. When many of the female bulbs show these filaments, it’s time to remove the male plants, which will still not have filaments but will soon shower the patch with pollen. Pull them out and get rid of them asap.
For more information and pictures, visit wikihow.com/Identify-Female-and-Male-Marijuana-Plants