Gardening greenly at home

Updated October 23, 2018
Gardening greenly at home
When teaching her Green Gardner at Home series at the Utility Exploration Center, Cheryl Buckwalter sometimes hears this from a student: “I wish I knew this six months ago! I just got my landscaping redone and no one told me about that!”

But she also hears an equal number of comments like this: “Wow, I’ve got to tell my friends and family about this. None of us knew trees should not be topped!”

Cheryl is the lead instructor for the eight-week Green Gardner at Home workshop series, using her knowledge and experience as a landscape practitioner for more than 13 years.

“In the Green Gardner at Home series, we demonstrate that there’s a right plant for the right place and for the right purpose,” said Cheryl, who has taught in that series for four years. “For example, if you’re looking to plant trees to shade your home, you should make sure you don’t plant a tree under a power line.”

One question that comes up in almost any workshop on gardening is, “How much and how often should I water my lawn?” There’s no one right answer. Cheryl says a lot depends on your soils, the season, your plants and other variables.

“What we teach is that you water the soil, not the plant, because it is the health of the soil that determines the health of the plant,” she said.

“Over-irrigation is a big problem everywhere, though we hope our classes have helped curtail that in Roseville,” continued Cheryl, who also runs her own landscape business.

“The rule of thumb we use is that most people irrigate about 50 percent more than they need. Besides wasting water, over-irrigation also creates other problems in the ecosystem. So if we can reduce over-irrigation, we will reduce other systemic issues facing Roseville.”

If you're interested in learning about upcoming gardening courses offered at our Utility Exploration Center, visit

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