Category Archives: Did You Know

Relieve Stress & Fatigue Naturally


I thought this article was fascinating and it helps explain why I walk out on my porch or go sit in my backyard whenever I feel overwhelmed by the work I need to be focusing on.  It’s excerpted from The American Society of Landscape Architect’s blog, The Dirt, and is well worth a read.

Nature Works In Mysterious Ways!

Michael Posner, professor emeritus at University of Oregon who studies attention, says that our brains get fatigued after working for long periods of time, “particularly if we have to concentrate intensely or deal with a repetitive task.” Taking a break may or may not help deal with stress during high-pressure times. What’s crucial is the type of break taken: According to The Wall Street Journal, taking a stroll in the park “could do wonders” while drinking lots of coffee will just be further depleting. Also, in other instances, not taking a break at all may be the best course, simply powering through can be “more effective than pausing.”

Let Nature Re-focus The Mind

Recent research shows that taking a stroll through a natural setting can boost performance on “tasks calling for sustained focus.” “Taking in the sights and sounds of nature appears to be especially beneficial for our minds.” In fact, Dr. Marc Berman and fellow researchers at the University of Michigan found that “performance on memory and attention tests improved by 20 percent after study subjects paused for a walk through an arboretum.

Even just looking at photos of nature in a quiet room has a greater cognitive boost than walking down a busy urban street. “In a follow-up study, the researchers had participants take a break for 10 minutes in a quiet room to look at pictures of a nature scene or city street. Although the boost wasn’t as great as when participants actually took the walk among the trees, it was more effective than the city walk, says Dr. Berman. You don’t necessarily have to enjoy the walk to get the benefit … just looking at images of nature engages our so-called involuntary attention, which comes into play when our minds are inadvertently drawn to something interesting that doesn’t require intense focus. We can still talk and think while noticing the element.” In contrast, walking down a busy street is exhausting because we are on the look out for cars and bicyclists, and people bumping into us.

Chill Out With Nature

So if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed or can’t focus on what you know you need to focus on, take a few minutes and walk outside, sit in the garden, walk around the block or just open a book and enjoy looking at some beautiful pictures of nature or go to my website: and take a walk through my gardens. The Japanese discovered this a thousand years ago and have been doing it ever sense – sipping tea in their Zen gardens.


Does Landscaping Add Value To Your Home?


This is the one question that I am forever being asked by both my current clients, whenever they’re considering a make over, as well as prospective ones, who have just bought a house and want to re-landscape or have children or a dog and need to reconsider their environment.

It’s also a very valid question because landscaping can be a substantial investment and it makes financial sense to know if that investment may pay off in the event the home is ever put on the market.

I recently read an interesting article at that examines these considerations so I thought I would share their POV with you. What follows is a truncated and personalized version of that article.  For the complete version please check out their website above.

What the Experts Say

According to Buzzle’s experts, a well-maintained landscape in the front and backyard will add 15% to the selling price. Also, well-landscaped homes sell 5 times faster than any other home.

To continue reading … Eva’s Note & News


Coffee – Great For Your Prostate & So Much More!


That’s right … Mother Nature has done it again. Not only does coffee get you going in the morning, it also prevents cancer, makes terrific compost, plant fertilizer, insect repellent, slug deterrent and, would you believe, a high quality skin exfoliate and facial – just in case Estee Lauder wasn’t your cup of tea.

Although it does require repeated trips to the loo and a bit of twitching, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, found that nearly 48,000 men who drank more than six cups of coffee per day had a 60% reduced risk of developing lethal prostate cancer compared with nondrinkers.

And from Permaculture Magazine comes the news that in addition to the benefits of adding old coffee grounds to the compost bin and around your roses, those grounds will also make a terrific exfoliate for the skin.

Trader Joe's Body Scrub

Ready to start scrubbing? Here are the instructions … “Using an old loofah or just your hand, work the grounds with a bit of soap all over your body in the shower. It works beautifully. Apparently expensive cellulite creams contains caffeine so this scrub is especially good for your thighs and bottom. It can be used more gently on your face as the grounds firm and tone your skin, minimizing pores and sloughing off dead cells so that the fresh new skin underneath is revealed.”

In addition your old coffee grounds can be used for the following:

  • As a deodorizer for removing fishy and garlic smells on your hands after cooking.
  • As insect repellant for ant relocation – sprinkle old grounds around places you don’t want ants, or on the ant piles themselves and they will move on or stay away.
  • As sail repellant –sprinkle them around your plants.
  • As a cleaning product – the slightly abrasive, grounds can be used as a scouring agent for greasy and grimy stain-resistant objects.
  • As cat repellent – sprinkle grounds mixed with orange peels around your plants.

All this and … a good buzz to boot!


Add Some Beer To Your Swedish Composter!


Not the beer itself, of course, but the grains used to make it– barley, corn, oats, rye and wheat. They’re a great source of nitrogen once they’ve been malted and used to make that cold bottle of Bud. Brewery grains pair particularly well with a bin composter, like the Jorg Composter I mentioned in my last blog,  since they are are easy to compost but need tossing to maintain their warmth. You may have to add some wood shavings to keep the compost from getting too smelly.

Spent Beer Grains Off To The Composter

Brewery grains are likely to be very smelly when you first pick them up, so get mulching them as quickly as you can. Some grains also have allelopathic qualities,  like corn gluten meal, that can prevent seeds from germinating.  If you are composting corn gluten, I would use this compost in areas of the garden where you don’t intend to plant from seeds and where you would like to prevent weeds from growing.

Spent brewery grains are not a good material for mulching due to the fact that they are too smelly and also attract animals. Spent brewery grains that are very soft, wet, and smelly can be dug directly into the soil as they are already well on their way to breaking down and will release nitrogen in the form of gas directly into the ground in a form that plant roots can absorb.

One easy way to compost these left over grains and increase the organic matter in your soil is simply to dig trenches, for example between the rows in your vegetable or cut-flower garden, pour the grain in there, cover it over with soil, and let the worms do the composting.


Swedish Composter For A Swedish Designer


As many of you know I was born in raised in Sweden and came to this country only after I graduated from the University of Uppsala with a Masters Degree in Molecular Biology. But that was a lifetime ago so we’ll just fast forward till today and deal with what I’m really writing about, which is the Jora Composter.

The Jora Composter #270
Jora Composter #270

What’s a garden without compost, right?  I understand from the review I’ve just read that this Swedish drum composter, Jora Composter is the best on the market. It’s extremely sturdy and does exactly what it’s designed to do, turn kitchen waste into nutritious compost that’s ready for use on the garden in just a few weeks.

The Jora Composter was designed in response to tough Swedish recycling regulations and has been used successfully by households throughout Scandinavia for many years to compost all kitchen waste, including cooked food and meat products.  Many are also in use in schools and kindergartens, where they make a good educational tool for younger pupils.

There are two models available in the U.S., the JK 125 and JK 270.  The 270 is the one in the picture, the 125 is smaller and can be hung on the wall.

If you want to check them out, their available from a number of sources on Google,  but the one linked to the Swedish home page is the Composting Warehouse.  There’s also an excellent video on You Tube that demonstrates how it works.

Leave it to the Swedes to create something that is well built, works like it’s supposed to and saves money. In fact, it reminds me of a certain Swedish landscape designer I happen to know.


Landscape Industry Show, January 12/13


I’m off to see what’s new to the market place this year at the the mother of all landscaping shows this Wednesday at the LA Convention Center.

This is a “must-see” for any landscape designer or garden consultant who wants to keep current with what’s happening in irrigation and water management, water conservation alternatives, stone, rockwork and water features, out-door lighting, and, of course, sustainable gardening and drought-tollerant lawns, plants, trees and shrubs.

While this is a to-the-trade only show, I plan on walking my feet off, taking lots of pictures, gathering up all the goodies I can and will most definitely “tell all” in this month’s newsletter.

So, if you want to know what’s “happening” in the world of landscape design – how to conserve water – or what’s new in sustainable gardens, make a point of reading it. It’ll be out in a week or so – or if you haven’t signed up for it and want to … just click here.


Did You Know … Perennials Aren’t For Sissies!



People often ask me to design an “easy-care” garden full of perennials — but that’s an oxymoron. Perennials aren’t easy, they’re complicated, and many plants called perennials such as salvia, geranium, pelargonium, lantana and lavender don’t live forever.

Also, it’s often impossible to teach hired gardeners how to care for them since each one requires different care. Every perennial has it’s own requirements:

·       Soil

·       Care

·       Light

·       Timing

·       Pruning

That said, now is the time to cut back many perennials in the garden. With some, however, you need to wait until spring or until 8 inches of new foliage – called basal foliage – emerges from the ground, usually in late winter and then cut to that.

So if you love perennials and want a garden full of them, the smart thing to do is research each plant to see what it’s requirements are and then decided if you have the patience and fortitude to take them on or if your gardener is capable of doing the job for you.


Did You Know …Blueberries grow in California (continued)!


While there are a number of “highbush” blueberry varieties that will do well in Southern California (see my previous blog on Blueberries), the most important thing to remember before you rush to plant, is the soil requirement. Blueberries must have acid soil (ideal pH range for blueberries is 4.2 to 5.2) and most of our soil is alkaline.

This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but you must either plant them in half barrels (one plant per barrel) or you can add one cubic foot of peat moss to each planting hole. The half-barrels soil should be a mixture of three-fourths acid-type peat moss (pre-moistened) and one-fourth commercial potting soil.

Blueberries also require full sun and benefit from a 2-inch layer of thoroughly composted organic mulch surrounding the plant.

As for watering, for the first eight weeks water the new plants twice a week (assuming there’s no rain). Once the plants become established, those set in soil require weekly watering while those in barrels should be watered two or three times a week. Never allow the soil to completely dry out.

At planting and for later feeding, use only slow-release fertilizer tablets that contain micronutrients. Never add fast-acting fertilizers to the soil at planting time as this may kill the young plants.

Blueberries live and produce for many years, so they are a great investment. They are deciduous, loosing their leaves in the winter and will turn a brilliant red in late fall, which makes for a colorful addition to your garden.
Many local nurseries should have bare-root blueberry plants and Pacific Tree Farms will have a good supply. Pacific Tree Farms is at 4301 Lynnwood Drive, Chula Vista; phone (619) 422-2400 You also can phone your favorite local nursery to see if it has or can get the plants.


Did You Know… Blueberries grow in California!


Yes, that’s right. Not your standard type, of course, which are common to the Northeast, but what are commonly called, southern “highbush”, because they grow to about 4 feet in height. And … they are not only extremely flavorful, but they can cope with both our hot weather and mild winters.
Think of it … these wonderful plants with their silver-green leaves and white blossoms make a fabulous edible hedge! How lucky are we!
There are several varieties to choose from and Bill Nelson of Pacific Tree Farms in Chula Vista recommends these:
• Misty – also known as Challenger, is a prolific bearer of good-sized berries that have terrific flavor. Nelson considers Misty to be the best all-around choice for San Diego area gardens.
• Georgia Gem – great flavor, very reliable under most climatic conditions; heavy production.
• Blue Crisp – a new introduction, good quality fruit, prolific producer.
• Star – very similar to Blue Crisp.
• Cape Fear – old-timer, quite popular and reliable, probably the most likely variety to be found at local nurseries.
And while these varieties are all self-fertile, they will produce more fruit if two or more varieties are planted together so they will cross-pollinate.
However, there is one VERY important thing to know before you go ripping out that old row of rosebushes, but … I’ll cover that in my next blog on

Did You Know
Beautiful Blueberries