santa Barbara Landscape Design

THE ALDRICH COMPANY ~ Alida Aldrich Landscape Design

~ NEW FROM THE ALDRICH COMPANY ~

Recently Completed Montecito Estate Garden

August, 2022 by the Aldrich Company

New Garden in Montecito by the Aldrich Company

See Before & After photos below

Main House Before and Main House After

Outdoor Living Room Before and Outdoor Living Room After

Rear Garden Before and Rear Garden After

Secret Garden Before and Secret Garden After

As appeared in "The Montecito Journal", September 24, 2021
by Alida Aldrich

The Bloom’n Times

Between masks, fires, floods and election anxiety, we’re all suffering from a sense of loss of what we used to call ‘normal.’ But…. before you pull out all your hair, start kicking the dog or stop speaking to your partner - help is on the way – I’ve got ‘The Fix’ to calm you down.

I’ll be writing this seasonal Bloom’n Times column to remind you of the comforts of nature in general - and of gardening in particular.

The Cure for Nature Deficit Disorder

Spring Gardens in Santa barbara

‘The Fix’:

Being cooped-up for the last six months, we’re all afflicted with NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder). Your doctors (from your dentist to your cardiologist) will tell you one of the best things you can do for your health is to get outside and enjoy nature - every day.

Beyond your own garden, we’re blessed with extraordinary public gardens (Upper Manning Park, Casa de Herrero, Lotusland, Alice Keck Park, The Botanic Gardens, Postel Memorial Rose Gardens, Chase Palm Park, Douglas Preserve, SB Zoo, Elings Park) all just waiting to help restore your emotional well-being . Make an outing of it - quietly stroll thru any of these gardens to let nature ‘do its thing.’

Talk about your super-sized parks - where else can you go for a mountain hike in the morning - and enjoy a beach picnic by lunch?

You may not be able to get out every day, so let’s talk about enjoying your own outdoor space, be it a garden or patio. I’ll be offering ideas and tips to enhance your own private piece of paradise. By creating and nurturing other living beings, you’ll remember how to relax and appreciate your place on Earth – and maybe even figure out how you fit in.

Quick Fixes:

Get a hummingbird feeder, and put it outside the window near your favorite chair.

Pick out a birdbath – both you and the birds will love it.

Buy a fountain to place out in the garden, or on your patio as a focal point and a source of a stress-reducing music.

Begin paying attention to your five senses:
Listen for the sound of the breeze whispering thru the trees
Touch a soft petal – or even hug a tree
Smell the sweet bouquet of a flower
Notice the all the different shades of green in plants
Taste the bounty from your own garden (more about this in the Spring issue).

We still have warm weather to enjoy for a while, so pull out the croquet set, set up a horseshoes pit, play ‘hide and seek’ with your kids (or grandkids). See if you can get a friend interested in taking up bird watching – a great hobby to share.

Outdoor fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. We have such low light pollution in Santa Barbara – perfect for stargazing. Enjoy picking out constellations and experiencing the grandeur of our galaxy.

Longer-Term Fixes – Plant Now – Enjoy Later:

Retail nurseries should have their selection of spring bulbs available (or will soon). Planting Narcissus, Crocus, Daffodils or Iris this fall, will surely put a smile to your face next May.

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Alida Seasonal Garden Tips:

Fall is the time for garden cleanup. Thinning trees now will protect them against breakage from strong winds.

Watering can be tricky in the fall. Santa Ana winds can dry your a garden overnight – it pays to be vigilant.

Try over-seeding warm season lawns with cool season grass seed.

Fall is the best time for planting in our region, so plan ahead.

Call for a complimentary consultation:
1-(805)-969-3391

As appeared in "The Montecito Journal", August 12, 2021
by Alida Aldrich

The Bloom’n Times

IN PRAISE OF PLANTS

Spring Gardens in Santa barbara

It’s time to pull out the picnic basket – slip into your favorite pair of shorts - roll down the windows of the car and head out for the beach, the park, or a mountain hike (speaking of which, the generous volunteers at the Montecito Trails Foundation publish a detailed map of our local mountain trails).

This year we’ll be able to gather for 4th of July BBQs. Hold Badminton or Croquet tournaments (hopefully accompanied by a crisp Rosé wine). Take day trips to Santa Ynez or Ojai Valley. Maybe rent kayaks and paddle around Santa Cruz Island. The Postal Memorial Rose Garden across from the Mission is in full bloom now – a must see. Or…. simply relax and do absolutely nothing. It’s Summertime, Summertime, Sum-sum, Summertime, Summertiiiimme….

In each of these four seasonal columns, I have been touting the virtues of Nature. A few months ago I wrote about how plants play to our five senses. That’s hardly a start of all they do for us. We can be thankful for the fact that trees and plants are the basis for all life on earth by exchanging carbon monoxide for oxygen. Flora and fauna have been on the planet for over 420 million years. We, on the other hand, have been stumbling around terra firma for a mere 4 million years. That alone is due our respect. Trees and plants are the source of so many offerings which benefit us: of course food, plus industry (timber, fossil fuels, bio-fuels), chemicals, medicines, science research, mythology, religion, tourism and, not to be overlooked, our love of gardening.

Trees don’t stop growing you know. Above ground their trunks grow in girth (replacing old bark with fresh layers). As they get taller and taller, they send out limbs with leaves reaching for sunlight (which, through photosynthesis, they convert into sugar as food).

Trees are also communal creatures. They communicate with nearby trees by emitting chemicals alerting the others of life threatening diseases or pests. Those trees then alter their own chemistry to combat the invaders. Trees will open space to allow their children to receive needed sunlight. They share nutrients and water through their miraculous, fungus-fed root networks. Sometimes when I’m walking by a stand of oaks I think they must be laughing their leaves off knowing how puny and self-serving my vascular system is compared to their system, which spreads across acres and acres to care for one another.

Richard Powers received a Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Overstory, which opened my mind, heart and gratitude to the plant world. It’s also a compelling mystery story that you might want to pick up for a summer’s read.

After compiling and analyzing a database of DNA from sites around the world, researchers estimate that there are a staggering 1 trillion species on Earth – that’s not even counting microorganisms. That’s more species than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy. By the numbers, we humans are insignificant, yet we’re vital to our species’ survival. For billions of years, the planet has always adapted to global catastrophes. We’re the fragile ones.

To paraphrase Carl Sagan:
Here we are on this exceptional blue planet, circling a rather small star, in a rather ordinary galaxy, in what may be one of many universes – what are the chances?

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Alida SUMMER GARDEN TIPS:

It doesn’t take a second to see the difference between a well-tended garden verses neglected ones. Garden maintenance is not ‘outdoor housekeeping.’ While you might count the minutes on an exercise machine, no one counts the minutes in the garden. It can be your quiet time to look after those living beings you share your home with.

Pest Patrol:

Insect pests, animal pests, plant diseases, weed control. It’s an on going struggle between using organic cures or chemical pesticides. My advice: Refer to the guide in Sunset Western Garden book – they’ve got it down. Sunset’s book will also advise you about which plants need summer fertilizer now, and which are to be left alone.

If you hurry it’s not too late to plant summer herbs, vegetables and your cutting garden. Deadheading spent flowers make room for fresh shoots to set new flowers.

Call for a complimentary consultation:
1-(805)-969-3391

As appeared in "The Montecito Journal", March 19, 2021
by Alida Aldrich

The Bloom’n Times

An award-winning, published landscape designer, with over two decades of experience, Alida is well known for designing new gardens as well as restoring landmark gardens throughout Montecito and Santa Barbara. In the spring, Alida will be teaching a course in the Principles of Landscape Design through Santa Barbara City College.

THE RITES OF SPRING

Spring Gardens in Santa barbara

Photo by Daryl Metzger, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Spring seems to be everybody’s favorite season. Temperatures start to rise. Daylight Savings Time begins, and the Vernal Equinox (March 21st) brings us more healthy, natural Vitamin D. Wildlife keeps its watchful eyes on their newborns, Leaves appear on deciduous trees, absorbing the carbon dioxide, and spring flowers and bulbs start to bloom everywhere!

If you don’t already have one, it’s time to buy The Sunset Western Garden Book, the must-have’ reference book for The Santa Barbara garden enthusiasts and professionals. After 25-plus years in the industry, I still refer to it for answers.

If you’re looking for a different, garden-related book, pick-up The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. This non-fiction murder mystery centers on the 1893 Worlds Fair in Chicago and goes into fascinating detail about how Fredrick Law Olmstead helped engineer and supervise the plantings of some 600 acres on the fairgrounds. Today, Olmstead is recognized as the farther of American landscape architecture, who not only laid out the World’s Fair but designed New York City’s Central Park.

I turn to his ideas and philosophies to guide me whenever I begin a new project.

Principles of Landscape Design

If you’re a true garden hobbyist (or would like to be), I’ll be teaching a course on The Essential Principles of Landscape Design thru SB city College (online via Zoom), beginning May 22 for five weeks – two hours each week.
In early April, you can find out more specifics by going to: https://sbcc.edu/extendedlearning/feebased.php

Prepare for Drought.

Summer will surely follow spring – and bring its own seasonal offerings.
Due to the small amount of rain we received last fall and winter, experts predict that that we’ll have a serious drought this summer. We need to prepare our gardens now for the summer season. Accessing enough affordable water has become a problem in our region. In general, irrigating our landscapes and gardens is a major use of residential water in Santa Barbara, with green lawns being the most thirsty plant of all.

I’d like to propose a soul-saving alternative to some of the lawns or planting beds in your garden: a pollinator garden! As you may have read – populations of birds, bees and butterflies have been nearly decimated by man’s use of chemical pesticides and loss of natural habitats. There are specific plants that these delicate, winged creatures need and desire, plants that are drought tolerant, and well-suited to our Native and Mediterranean climate zone. These three different species thrive on many of the same plants. Of course, milkweed is a favorite of the butterflies, while the bees and the birds (especially hummingbirds) like to visit and collect pollen from salvia, penstemon, cosmos and lavender. There are a lot of other flowering plants they love too. Just search on the web for ‘pollinator plants.’

If space is a concern, then pots are the answer. A pollinator garden can be a do-good family project, which will pay you back with hours of viewing pleasure.

You can find many other native, pollinator-friendly plants on a stroll thru our esteemed Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. In the past, the gr=garden has held an annual Spring Native Plant Sale, but this year consider combining a nature walk there with a buying trip. For the more adventurous, drive over to Figueroa Mountain in Santa Ynez. You should be a spectacular display of wildflowers this spring.

There’s another concern looming this summer: the potential for fires. Those of you with properties on the hillsides can find excellent information about to create defensible space zones around your home; choose fire resistant plants, and ember-resistant building materials at www.montecitofire.com.

Doomsday tales aside, fate has brought us to this extraordinary spot on the planet. Treat yourself by getting out and about on these glorious days.

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Alida Some Seasonal Tips:

- It’s time to fertilize the entire garden. I use a general-purpose fertilizer mix 10-10-10 (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium). You may have specific plants that require a more complex mix as well;
- Plant your herbs and vegetables now for fresh, yummy dishes in the summer;
- Update your time on your automated irrigation system.
Later, I’ll write about how to tackle your garden maintenance patrol.

Call for a complimentary consultation:
1-(805)-969-3391

As appeared in "The Montecito Journal" January 27, 2021
by Alida Aldrich

The Bloom’n Times

IN APPRECIATION OF WINTER

Ahhhh…. winter has just arrived (December 21st). More time for bundling-up, hot soups, warm fires and lit candles. Winter in Santa Barbara brings on crystal clear days and nights. It’s as if you could touch Santa Cruz Island. And the stargazing in winter is outstanding – look for Orion’s Belt in the S/W sky.

Last fall I talked about some of the natural virtues of living in Santa Barbara. There are more noteworthy factoids to appreciate in our unique locale: Santa Barbara is in one of only five Mediterranean Climate Zones on the planet (along with the Mediterranean Basin, Southwestern Australia, Central Chile and the Western Cape of South Africa). I’ve visited Cape Town, and it you’d think you were in SB. There are Jacaranda trees and Bougainvillea vines blooming everywhere! Stellenbosch (their wine country outside Cape Town) looks just like our Santa Ynez Valley. There’s actually a Mediterranean Plant Palette specifically suited for these five zones.

Another SB bonus: Because of the proximity of our mountains to the ocean – we’re considered to be in perfect Feng Shui harmony, lucky us.

Everything that happens in a garden takes place in slow time. Flowers, shrubs and trees simply get on with growing at their own pace. A number of plants and trees including roses, stone fruit trees, and hydrangeas go deciduous in winter – they require this down time. There’s still plenty to enjoy now though. Study the bare, architectural structure of our Japanese Maple, Birch, Liquidambar, and Sycamore trees. They’re every bit as impressive now as when they leaf-out.

Winter is the season to quietly take stock of your garden’s strengths and weaknesses – design-wise. I view the discipline of Landscape Design just as culturally valuable as Literature, the Performing Arts, and the Visual Arts. If you’d begin to see yourself as an artist - and your garden as an opportunity to create, you’ll come to understand that not only is the concept of ‘form follows function’ essential - but you’ll learn to appreciate that the artistic value of color, texture, light, form, movement, contrast, perspective, scent and touch - all have a distinct place in a thoughtfully designed garden.

You might consider the areas in your garden as rooms with ceilings, floors, walls, doorways and focal points. You have a distinct style of your own – trust your intuition on this, as it’s simply decorating for heaven’s sake.

I found 2020 to have been a long, hard slog - for all of us. We deserve to spoil ourselves now. Think about your garden in terms of wants and needs. When you get bored with the ‘needs-part,’ go for it! Have you always wanted a – rose garden – water feature – pergola with an outdoor kitchen – garden sculpture – hammock – sundial – hot tub – fire pit – vegetable and herb garden? My sister has one of those tower herb/veggie gardens, and swears by it. She’s a marvelous cook to begin with, but she says the freshness of her hand picked bounty makes a big difference to her dishes. There’s no harm in daydreaming about this stuff. Also, it’s planning for future – something positive to look forward to in 2021.

agave in snow

Agave layered in snow is a sign that winter is officially upon us.

As a special gift, Cymbidium orchids (and other orchid varieties) are in bloom now. There are a few excellent greenhouses in Carp. At the very least, treat yourself to a bunch of fresh cut flowers now and again.

______________________________

Alida

Some Winter Garden Tips:

Check your irrigation system for clogged lines, heads or emitters. Be sure gutters are clear - and drainage systems are working properly before more winter/spring rain. Now is the time to fertilize your citrus trees. Last chance to buy and plant bare root roses (my new favorite rose is Sugar Moon. A luscious white rose, with an incredible scent). La Sumida Nursery, in Goleta, has a vast selection of roses. Don’t forget, your existing roses will benefit from a deep pruning now.
In the Spring Column, we’ll need talk about the ‘elephant in the garden.’

Call for a complimentary consultation.

Herb Garden in Santa Barbara

Home Herb Garden

~ Top herbs to try out in your garden. These herbs are essential for flavoring meals. Fresh herbs from your own garden are easy to grow. Once you've tried your own fresh herbs, you won't want to go back to your dried spice rack!

Call For A Complimentary Consultation: 1-(805)-969-3391

Visit Our blog for how to plant, grow
and use in your cooking.

Alida Aldrich

A Winter Garden Scene:

~ We Specialize in creating artistic  - yet sustainable, cost effective gardens - with special attention paid to native and drought sensitive plantings.
We provide Conceptual Landscape Plans, Complete Working Drawings and Installation Oversight. Principal Designer, Alida Aldrich, is a local seasoned professional with an "A" team of reliable  artisans.

Call For A Complimentary Consultation: 1-(805)-969-3391

Alida Aldrich

Fall Garden Reminders:

~ Fall is a great time for garden clean-up, as well as thinning trees to prevent future breakage from winter winds.
~ Be vigilant regarding your garden’s watering. Cool nights and shorter days will lower water needs, but Santa Ana winds can easily dry out your plants.
~ Check out bulbs at your local nursery for winter and spring blooms. Paperwhites are an easy and charming addition to the winter garden.
~ Try overseeding warm-season grasses with cool-season grass seed.
~ Fall is the best time to plant in Southern California, especially California Natives. Visit our Botanical Garden to shop native plants.

Need Help on Your Garden Design and Direction? Call For A Complimentary Consultation: 1-(805)-969-3391

Artwork by Maria Velasquez, Chrysanthemum mortifolium

Alida Aldrich

~ Summer (Waterlily):

To see plants suited to our region, a stroll through Alice Keck Park or our Botanic Garden is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon while gathering inspiration.

Don’t forget seasonal feeding and putting down mulch – both are very important for a healthy, vibrant garden.

Summer is the time for outdoor entertaining! Is your garden ready for company?

Alida Aldrich

~ SPRING (sweet pea):

Due to all the rain we’ve had, its important to feed now. A healthy garden is better able to fight off pests and diseases. Maybe this spring you’ll grow a few of your favorite herbs and vegetables.
Roses! Roses! Roses! Now you can see the actual flower color on the bush – local nurseries have roses in containers waiting to be planted in your sunny garden plot. An inviting garden will call to you to come outdoors to spend time enjoying the peace and beauty it offers. Create a special haven for yourself. Let your imagination soar! Remember, change can be good.

Houzz Awards Best of Houzz 2019

- Client Satisfaction
This professional was rated at the highest level for client satisfaction by the Houzz community.

Awarded on January 18, 2019

Alida Aldrich

~ WINTER (African violet):

Last chance to plant your bare-root roses and stone fruit trees! There’s still time for winter annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, primrose, stock and violas. Now’s the time for dahlia, gladiolus, tuberous begonia, and tuberose bulbs.
Pure of heart will set out seeds for beets, carrots, chives, lettuces, and other seedlings in the cabbage family. Winter is a good time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your garden.

Contact The Aldrich Company
alida@aldrich-landscapes.com

Call For A Complimentary Consultation 1-805-969-3391

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