Tam Valley Improvement Club
P.O.Box 1446
Mill Valley, CA 94942
Message line: 415-383-3691

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Extraordinary Gardens of Tam Valley

June 25, 2004 - A lovely koi pond submitted by Robert Mault.

If you have a spectacular or extraordinary garden -- or know someone in the neighborhood who does -- please email us.

    Gardening in Tam Valley

    by Brenda Grantland

    (that's my cat Baby, guarding the garden)

    Gardening in Tam Valley is very different from the rest of the country. Because of the topography -- with a mountain, the Bay, and the Pacific Ocean surrounding us -- we have strange weather and micro-climates.

    In the canyon where I live it almost never gets hot. It's often 10 degrees cooler here than in downtown Mill Valley. It never gets hot enough to grow tomatoes. There's lots of fog (certain plants like the moisture, other's don't), and a constant breeze from the ocean. It was so windy and cold this summer that my deciduous vines either died or shed their leaves by August. A block away, the land is flat and sunny and totally different types of plants thrive. The same vine that lost all its leaves in my back yard is thriving two blocks away.

    We also have deer living among us -- especially in the canyons which border on park land -- and they dine with great pleasure on our prize roses and just about anything else they want to eat.

    I've lived here three years now, and each year I waste a lot of money on plants that either won't grow here, or immediately get consumed by deer. By trial and error, and by sharing tips with neighbors, I'm learning what thrives here. See our new web page Living With Deer.

    In this section of the Tam Valley website I want to feature gardening tips from various Tam Valley residents who have successful and spectacular gardens. We want to pick examples from each of the different microclimates and terrains -- what grows well on steep hillsides, and flat areas, in the shade, in the sun, in the fog belt, in windy areas.

    This section will also cover horticultural tips and information on issues of current interest, such as:

    • the Sudden Oak Death disease which has turned up in Tam Valley
    • Ginestra control
    • poison oak control
    • deer-proofing
    • tips on pruning trees
    • fire-resistant gardening
    • pesticide free zone & pest control
    • Coyote creek and wetlands preservation
    • endangered species
    • exotic plants
    • native plants & wildflowers
    • fruit trees
    • erosion control & drainage
    • drip irrigation systems
    • mulching and fertilizing
    • gardening on steep slopes
    • plants that grow in shade
    • rock walls, paths and hillside terracing

    If you would be willing to write a short article on any of these issues, or if you have expertise, information or photographs you'd like to share for this website, please email us at webmaster@tamvalley.org.

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