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Spot of gold.

All it takes is one unique plant to draw attention to a special area of the garden. In Shelly and Bill Coglizer's Lafayette backyard, that attention-getter is Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea'). Like a yellow headlight, its foliage adds an enticing spark of color to a lush green shade garden.

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To further brighten the once-dark corner and to complement the barberry, landscape designer Freeland Tanner chose gold-tinged hostas (Hosta fluctuans 'Variegated'), golden Acorus gramineus 'Ogon', and gold-leafed lysimachia. Nearby are bright green tree ferns, golden Hinoki false cypress, and lady's-mantle. A casual decomposed-granite path leads to a weathered bench, which anchors the composition and gives it structure. --L.B.S.

DESIGN: Freeland Tanner, Proscape Landscape Design, Yountville (707/226-2540)

A hardier mandevilla

Highly fragrant and surprisingly frost-tolerant, Chilean jasmine (Mandevilla laxa) must be one of the most underused vines in Northern California. Its cousins M. 'Alice du Pont' and M. splendens 'Red Riding Hood' have long been popular, but they're unreliably hardy here. Chilean jasmine grows in Sunset climate zones 7-9 and 14-17 (all but the mountain areas of Northern California), and although it prefers full sun near the coast (light shade inland), it requires less heat to bloom than other mandevillas.

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But what really sets Chilean jasmine apart is the gardenia-like fragrance of its snowy white 2-inch-wide flowers, which appear in summer. Plant a vine near a patio where you can enjoy its perfume on balmy summer evenings.

Chilean jasmine likes well-amended, evenly moist soil. It can reach 15 feet tall; provide a trellis or similar support for it to climb on. Thin or cut back if growth becomes tangled. --DAVID C. BECKER

Is your garden dog-friendly?

Have you modified your garden to create a landscape where your dog can coexist with flowers and lawn? For an upcoming Sunset article, we'd like to hear from dog owners whose gardens look good despite occasional canine mishaps.

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What kind of dog do you own? Did your dog's habits--such as digging in the soil--play a role in the design process?

What dog-friendly design elements are included in your garden? Examples: long paths for running, crawl-through tunnels, special dog-houses, or gates with low windows (like the one pictured above, created for Susan Carsen by landscape designer Jolee Horne)?

What plants did you include? Which ones did you avoid or remove to safe-guard your dog's health?

We'd also like to see photographs of your garden and dog (don't send original photos). Please email your tales to readerdogscapes@sunset.com or mail them to Dogscapes Editor, Sunset Magazine, 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Northern California Style.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:436
Previous Article:Events.
Next Article:What to do in your garden in July.
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