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Wine Country Blog: Innsights to the Wine Country

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INTRODUCING THE GARDEN BOSS AT SONOMA'S FARMHOUSE INN

  
  
  
Jana, Farmhouse Inn Gardener

      Jana Mariposa Muhar,  Garden Boss at Farmhouse Inn

We just had the Resorts and Blooms Garden Tour for charity this weekend and Jana was out conducting tours of the property and answering the visitor's questions all day. We had put signage all around the property to help guests with identification but there is no way we can include everything on a sign.  We thought it was a great time to introduce her and share some information about the Farmhouse Inn gardens.


Our guests here at Farmhouse seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of Jana's efforts in the gardens.  Between the California climate and some things very unfamiliar to our out of state or even out of the country visitors we get a lot of questions about the gardens.  Every morning walking back towards the office we run into guests enjoying a beautiful Sonoma morning in our gardens, cameras (phones) clicking away, and lots of questions... 


"What is that bush that looks like it is full of strawberries?"  (Strawberry tree- Arbutus Marina- The fruit is edible with a flavor likened to a mixture of kiwi fruit and strawberry but as with the fruit of the common strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, the texture is gritty. It is a good habitat planting, as both birds and bees enjoy the tree, the former feeding on the fruit, and the latter on the nectar.) "What do you do when the deer come?" (Nothing- they were here first and we try to plant enough for everybody).  "What is that fast little birdie with the fluorescent pink head?" (Crazy hummingbirds- we have 4 species that visit the property and that one is a male Anna's).  "What was that thing that looked like a turkey on my patio this morning?" (It was a wild turkey, of course.) 

The Farmhouse gardens include ornamental, culinary, habitat, and native plant gardens employing exclusively organic practices to create habitat that is attractive and safe for birds, honeybees, frogs, lizards, native pollinators, and many other little-noticed critters. You can pick up a map with plant lists at the Concierge desk.  But let's just take a little tour of a bit of the gardens: 


The entry garden on the North side of the restaurant is planted with shrubs and perennials that will be supplemented seasonally to be blooming and lovely all year long.  Along the walkway are planted Camellias, Daffodils, Tritelia, Hellebores, Primulas (3 species), and Pulmonaria blooming in Winter/early Spring, followed by Hydrangeas, Viburnums, Hostas, Rhododendron, Foxgloves, Francoa, and Fuchsias, carpeted with the lovely native Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregona), evergreen and blooming in late Spring.  Serbian Bellflower, Campanula poscharskyana takes over blooming after the Redwood Sorrel, and the Oak Leaf Hydrangea also provides Autumn color, along with the delicate Japanese Anemones.  Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) and Giant Chain Fern (Woodwardia fimbriata), both California natives, make a strong architectural backdrop.   Our European Bay is to the West side of the stairs.

Along the driveway are the reliable Common Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Shasta Daisies, Mexican Mock Orange (Choisya ternata), and our native Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii);  Red Penstemons (‘Firebird’ and ‘Red Phoenix’), Cape Fuchsia(Phygelius), Physostegia, Foxgloves, and Columbines make this area a Hummingbird Resort spot.  Next year the Peonies should be established and blooming along with the stunning Oriental Poppies, Ranunculus, and Dahlias.  The fragrance of the Star Jasmine is quite pronounced and delightful on warm evenings as is the Mock Orange with a lovely orange blossom scent when it blooms.

And on to the Spa Shade Garden:






DUNGENESS CRAB SEASON IN SONOMA COUNTY

  
  
  
Mary Calla Rowan, Farmhouse Inn concierge



More From Farmhouse Inn bloggess Mary Calla Rowan, 
concierge and Sonoma County enthusiast 

 

 

 

 

 




FUN AND GAMES AT FARMHOUSE INN

  
  
  
Farmhouse Inn Facebook Sweepstakes

Here at Farmhouse Inn we pride ourselves not taking life in Sonoma County too seriously...we love helping our guests discover some of the whimsy and fun of living in the wine country.  When the birthday for our (fairly) new Barn building rolled around this year we wanted to do something extra fun so everyone could join in and help us celebrate.  We are fairly new to social media and Facebook...still learning the ropes (plus they keep changing everything when we do get it figured out)  but wanted to see what we could do to increase our presence there. 
And Meghan had an idea of piggybacking on the release of the new Snow White movie too...what do you think of the concept behind  our first Facebook promotion?

 

Right when we were discussing what kind of hijinks we could get up to - we discovered a company called Grosocial that specializes in helping companies grow their social media presence and designs tabs for Facebook promotions.  Right up our alley...they helped us design a sweepstakes that could be shared on Facebook with the entries and shares tracked through their application. We had the most fun coming up with some ideas for prizes and they helped us flesh it all out.  Now the Sweepstakes is done, the winner is announced, and we thought we would share some of the fun we had along the way.  It was definitely a learning experience but luckily our new friends at Grosocial held our hands through it all.  if you didn't happen to see it here is a picture of the Sweepstakes...

FARMHOUSE + SONOMA + GARDENS = JEALOUS GUESTS

  
  
  
New Farmhouse garden signs

The gardens here at Farmhouse Inn are flourishing this time of year and our gardener Jana, has been very busy this week prepping for the Resorts in Bloom Garden Tour this weekend.   We had some great guests from New Jersey with us all week (they fell in love with Charlotte) and she mentioned how jealous she was of our gardens (and our California weather).  We are seeing more and more of the guests hanging out with Jana, asking questions, and even helping her out a little.  She was handpicking an evil beetle off some of her babies and one of the guests was bringing her handfuls of the nasty little varmints. (Don't mention the word "raccoon" to her- she goes a little crazy about that bad boy.) She has new signs we designed for the gardens that she is installing for this weekend so now you can do a little self-guided tour around the grounds.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WINE COUNTRY CONCIERGE

  
  
  
Erin, Farmhouse concierge

I would like to introduce you to our newest concierge.  Erin Hartman is a recent addition to the Farmhouse Inn concierge team.  She came to us with some inn and hotel experience but was a little amazed about the layers of service and luxury offered here at Farmhouse Inn and how much planning goes into the personalized itineraries we set up for our guests and their perfect wine country vacation. I asked her for a contribution for this week's Wine Country Blog so here's Erin... and thoughts about her new position.

FARMHOUSE INN AND WINE COUNTRY SHENANIGANS

  
  
  
Clo poster

BY NOW I GUESS YOU KNOW THERE ARE OFTEN TIMES JUST A BIT OF WACKINESS GOING ON IN THE WINE COUNTRY... remember the post about the Wacky Art in Sebastopol  from Patrick Amiot or last year's post about the Burma Shave signs along the road here in the Russian River Valley.  And don't forget our famous local cow "Clo" and some of her wacky posters.




We survived Bachelor Ben and his Sonoma County dates and Miss Charlotte here at Farmhouse Inn always gets lots of attention what with dressing for the holidays and her very own mug (she's the Farmhouse cat, remember?).

FAMOUS FARMHOUSE INN CHARLOTTE AND HER VERY OWN MUG...

  
  
  
Farmhouse Inn Charlotte

ANOTHER FAMOUS FARMHOUSE INN "EMPLOYEE" - OUR MISS CHARLOTTE...

Have you met her?  She is well known for greeting each and every guest and following them around the property...We have bellmen to help acquaint you with the property but she obviously does not think they are totally up on all things Farmhouse.
Also, supposedly an outdoor kitty but known for finding her favorite guest of the evening and inviting herself in for a pet and a cuddle.  Unfortunately, she does not seem to know when she is welcome or not. And you know cats...they are attracted to those that are not true fans. 

Crab Feed Strategy in Sonoma Wine Country...add some Sparkling!

  
  
  
Preparing boatloads of dungeness Crab

Now it feels like winter...It finally started raining, football weekends, and crab feeds everywhere!

One of my favorite foods is plentiful this time of year and crabfeeds are one of the favorite fundraisers for so many of the the nonprofits in Sonoma County.  You think the wine country is just about the wine...this time of year we are crabaholics!  Some weekends there are even several all-you-can-eat feeds to choose from.  Dungeness crab is one of the sweetest, most succulent seasonal prizes from the Northern California coastal area.  Everyone seems to have their own little secrets...for crab maximization!

October Wine Country- Pumpkins, Harvest, and Art Trails...

  
  
  
Russian River Fall Color

Northern California weather is pretty amazing all the time but has this Sonoma County weather ever been more perfect?  I forget how much I love October every year...the colors changing, the still warm days (but with that fall crispness in the evenings), all manners of Harvest going on and of course, amazing wine country fall traditions. 

Sonoma Innkeepers remember...

  
  
  
Flag waving America

Though the normal summer activities continue here in the Sonoma Wine Country...(we are deep into the harvest now and there are some fun events planned this weekend) I did want to mention this 10th anniversary of 9/11.  We all have memories of that day...the original horror, the tragic losses, the loss of confidence and perhaps naivite of the American public. It was a life changing day for us all and we will always mourn those we lost. This weekend the flags will be flying and there are many events to commemorate the event. Here is a link to a recent interview with one of the firefighters that day.  Read it please.

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