We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.


Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Tips for Drought-Resistant Gardens

• Use drip irrigation rather than spray watering, because the former goes right into the ground at the root of your plantings without the risk of loss from surface evaporation.

• Do not till your garden: Tilling the soil breaks up its structure, enabling weed seeds to propagate and destroying the soil’s texture and micronutrients.

• Add white blossoms in the garden. They’ll bring everything to life and be visible in the dark.

• To slow the water flow on your slopes, you can create swales that redirect this runoff.

• Instead of grass, consider ground covers such as dymondia. It has little yellow flowers, but is low and walkable.

• To control weeds, replace pesticides (which are poisonous) with horticultural vinegar whenever you can.

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.”


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.


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

After many years in fashion, she decided to make a change and thought about either gardening, which had become a pastime, or pet care. “I had grown up with a fruit orchard and roses at my grandparents’ place in the San Fernando Valley,” she said, “so gardening was a natural choice.”

Kabot studied design, horticulture and drafting at SUNY Farmingdale and SRJC two years, touring the great gardens of the East Coast as part of her training. A self-starter, she has continued to take courses, as she did at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Soon, she had discerning clients in Nassau County.

“I was willing to do fine garden care, which has been the bread and butter of my business ever since,” she said. “We do hand pruning, maintain irrigation systems and nowadays convert lawns into drought-resistant and water-saving gardens.”

Kim Kabot can be reached at kimscape@comcast.net, 236-0968.

Show Comment