Meet Toni Gattone, author of “The Lifelong Gardener, Garden with Ease and Joy at Any Age“. She gardens in Marin County, CA, Zone 10a. In this profile, Toni shares her passion for gardening and the importance of adopting methods to garden safely and comfortably. You can learn more about Toni at her website.
What type of garden do I have?
My husband and I live on a small lot in a very pedestrian-oriented suburban neighborhood in Marin County, CA . We are blessed with a mild microclimate enabling us to garden most of the year. In addition to gardening with the drought and how it affects our selection of plants, we are currently working towards transforming our traditional ornamental front yard into an edible and fire-smart landscape.
What new, useful gardening tool have I discovered?
This year I tried a new elevated raised bed that has taken my gardening to a new level. The Vegepod, with its innovative canopy, keeps hungry birds and acrobatic squirrels out, so for the first time, I’ve been able to grow all my veggies and salad greens from seed. I was never successful because most of the seeds were eaten before they had a chance to grow.
What advice would I give to a beginner gardener?
If you really love the idea of gardening, take the time to create a garden you will be comfortable working in not just today, but tomorrow and next year using an adaptive gardening approach. In other words, we should all be looking for ways we can adapt for change, because it is one thing you can count on. Plan for the future by incorporating elevated raised beds and containers, and look for vertical garden opportunities so you can garden standing up. Your back will thank you for it.
What is my next garden project?
Ever since we had a fire safety inspection, we have been transforming our traditional yards to be fire-smart. That means spending a lot of time modifying the first five feet of “defensible space” around our home and adding Mexican pebbles (any inorganic material will work), pruning away the bottom third of tall trees and shrubs, and removing foundation plants that are highly flammable. We just removed three Italian Cypress trees because the fire chief referred to them as “roman candles” because they ignite so easily. That was a sad reality.
What garden would I love to visit?
There are so many I want to visit, both here in the US and worldwide. I have a book called 1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die, and at any point when I pick it up, I am transported to gardens around the world that I hope to someday visit.
Thank you, Toni, for sharing your passion for gardening!
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