By Jere Peck, Garden Manager at The Gardens at Heather Farm


With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might be asking yourself, “How the heck is it already November?” But alas, the leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, and we even had our first soaker of the rainy season (hooray!). Yes, once again, it is that time of year to pause and give thanks.

Pumpkin, berries and harvest vegetables on wooden backgroundThanksgiving is truly the perfect holiday for gardeners and cooks. The whole meal is built around use of seasonal foods. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, sweet potato casserole, and of course, anything made with cranberries. The entire Thanksgiving meal is a showcase of the garden’s abundance, as well as a chance to share its bounty with family and friends and be thankful for all that we have.


You don’t necessarily need to grow edibles to join in the festive, seasonal fun. In fact, you likely already have everything you need in your garden to make your own holiday wreath. Evergreen branches will last several weeks, but you can also use vines, ground covers, or anything else that suits your fancy. Nothing quite says the holidays like little red berries; however, if you plan to bring your wreath indoors, keep in mind that those berries can attract bugs.


Decorative autumn wreath of berries and leaves.Here at The Gardens at Heather Farm, we are grateful for so many things. We are grateful to our wonderful volunteers who help to maintain a beautiful space. We are deeply grateful to our members, donors and community partners who support us in pursuit of our mission to enrich the community through the beauty and environmental stewardship of our gardens. Also, we are grateful to the garden itself for its fertile soil, colorful life, and all that it teaches us.

Meanwhile, out in the garden…let the subtle hints of Fall sound an annual alarm in your head, “Plant now! Plant now!” Forget spring, here in California the time to plant is Fall. Especially those California natives! Get plants in the ground now and by spring they will have developed a healthy root system that will prepare them for the long dry months of scorching heat that summer brings.  And for all the “black thumb” gardeners out there, plant bulbs. These garden treasures require little to no effort at all. Simply place the bulbs in a shallow hole, cover, and watch them explode next year. Garden tip: plant bulbs extra dense. You will be grateful you did.

Dig it. Happy gardening!