Some local finds for cooks, gardeners, and plant lovers

From time to time I post about local artists or nurseries for a little change from fragrance. Thought I’d mention a few places local to me that also offer mail order and might be of interest.

First, McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma (just a little bit south of us) is a great spot for award-winning artisan olive oil. Their oil is certified organic, extra virgin, and is amazingly flavorful compared to most olive oils because it’s so fresh. They also produce organic honey and some olive oil body products.

Another unique spot in Petaluma is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, of interest to organic gardeners. They stock 1300 varieties of heirloom non-GMO veggie, herb, and flower seeds. The Petaluma store is huge, but they do mail-order too.

And the third item is something we just recently discovered at a nearby winery — botanical notecards and prints by local artist Victoria Kochergin. Her delicate drawings appeal to plant lovers.

Healdsburg Botanical Artist Martha Kemp

We have so many wonderful artists here in Sonoma, and I wanted to mention a recent discovery.  I’ve always admired classic botanical drawings that document plants in beautiful detail.  Martha Kemp of Healdsburg is a botanical artist who has won numerous awards, including six medals (five Gold and one Silver-Gilt) from the Royal Horticulture Society.  She specializes in exquisite graphite pencil drawings, though she works in other media as well.  She illustrated the book Wildflower Walks and Roads of the Sierra Gold Country by Toni Fauver and her illustrations are also featured in Celebrating Clematis by Kaye Heafey and Ron Morgan and in The Trees of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco by Elizabeth McClintock.


She’s a lovely person, warm and enthusiastic.  She’s illustrated quite a selection of our native California plants for some of her projects, but I especially love her gorgeous graphite pencil rose illustrations since I’m so fond of roses.  She is represented by Susan Frei Nathan in Millburn, New Jersey and you can see some of her artwork at this link:


Martha’s work is in the permanent collection of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, and in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society, as well as in the Shirley Sherwood Collection in London.  Here’s a link to some information and images at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s site:   


She offers prints and also has notecards with her illustrations.  If you’re interested in her work she can be reached at

The American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) is a great resource for locating botanical artists in your area or for finding workshops to help you improve your artwork (Martha usually teaches one of the workshops at the ASBA annual meeting).  Here’s their website:


Amazing Nature Photography at Capture Gallery

Recently I was in town on an errand and went inside a photography gallery because one of the photos at the entry was so stunning that it pulled me in for a closer look.


The photographs that grabbed my attention were done by Christopher Foster, and they are gorgeous  images that range from rocky shorelines to snow covered mountains to amazing rock formations in Arizona.  He captures the light as it plays across the landscape at its most precious moments.  Some of the images are huge and the technology still renders them very crisp. 


Other photographers represented by the gallery are extremely talented too.  If you’re in Healdsburg it’s a fun place to stop by and if you want to shop online they will ship.  Here’s the Capture store:


And here’s Christopher’s website: