Small "big" things in the garden

Our last post was about the flurry of activity—a planting party 
tansitioning from winter/early spring to a spring/summer garden. 
As the title suggested, a lot happened that day with tractors going 
and many hands furiously working to plant 
150 tomatoes, 100 peppers and 100 eggplants. 

But actually there is always a lot happening at the farm. 
Sometimes it may not be as visible or obvious as when the tractor is rolling. 
But there is always activity at the farm—whether it is a day 
when just one or two of us are weeding and 
tending to the beds, 

or on those days 
when no one is even there.
garlic bed photo by Cece Hugo

At the biodynamic farm on Imagery Estate Winery vineyard, 
our stalwart assistants, the "good bugs," 
are ever present doing their work all the time, 
 when we can see them and often when we cannot.

The soldier beettle is aptly named as an important predator of aphids. 
This little guy is" highly desired by gardeners as 
biological control agent of a number of pest insects." 
So we are careful as we do our work 
when we encounter a soldier beetle 
 to allow him to do his.

And we try to remember, and you should too, that while caterpillars 
may be a nuisance for some plants, they do turn into 
butterflies who enjoy the garden as much as we do, and bring us great pleasure.
photo: Matthew Ruff of Butterfly in sage plant at ESTATE
Perhaps the hardest worker at the farm are the bees.
  "Bee pollination of crops, something that most farmers heavily rely on, 
is responsible for as much as 30% of the U.S. food supply." 
Much has been written about this and the current crisis 
of bees dying at unsustainable rates.
Bees are the premier pollinators of the world, and without them, 
farmers worldwide would experience massive crop failures, especially for orchard fruits, 
berries, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers and other bee-pollinated plants.
Bees are truly a farmer's and gardener's friend.
No question about the phrase, "busy bees!"

carefully peering into the lavender where the bees are hard at work

 The lavender bushes in the Insectary which attract the bees,
are close to our planting beds so they can support our work.  

All of the plants in the Insectary surrounding the farm have been designed
to maintain a natural balance attracting the good bugs.

Our owl house ensures we will have a sentry to help control rodents
Certainly the owl monitors all the "small moments" at the farm.  

so much going on in these bushes at the Insectary
And, truly every day there are small things happening
at the farm that are really big moments. 
As one brave blossom appears and begins to grow, 
we can feel the energy of the plant or tree as it begins to "breathe" and stretch out.

one of our first figs
the apricot tree begins to bloom
and pear blossoms in the Orchard
strawberries starting to appear
inspire this vanilla ris au lait with port-roasted strawberries 
The small things in the garden matter as much as the big major events.
And small gardens matter too.
 We are proud of the farm and the orchard
but also appreciate how much we can grow around the restaurants.
this lemon tree right outside ESTATE's bar
makes for a very fresh Lemon Drop (photo by Steven Krause) 
And you can grow so much food at home as well.
Check out Verdura for tips on creating an edible garden, even in small spaces and
we really enjoy A Sonoma Garden for insight and inspiration.

Let us know about the progress in your garden 
and please share links that pique your interest in the gardening experience. 


  1. I'm really enjoying reading about all the progress on your farm. It's coming along beautifully! I am the incredibly, incredibly lucky owner of "A Sonoma Garden's" previous home and garden. It has always been a dream of mine to grow our own food and we've been given a wonderful head start, thanks to them. In addition to 'sonoma garden' being a wonderful resource, we also get the upside of five years of history of our own backyard.

  2. Kathryn-thanks so much for your kind words-yes, we are excited about everything growing a the farm and sharing it with our guests at the restaurants. How very lucky for you to have "inherited" such a treasure garden--keep us up to date on your progress and happy gardening!

  3. Found your blog through the New York Times today -- how wonderful! You make we want to travel to Sonoma. Can regular people visit the long as we promise not to mess with the soldier beetles, bees et al?

  4. Delighted you found us. We hope you will continue to follow the blog--Every week we will take you along as things change at the farm. We are particularly struck by how different the farm looks each season. And do come visit Sonoma for sure! Our farm is on the property of Imagery Estate Winery and yes, it is open and accessible for visitors to see what's growing. Hope to see you!