Winters up in Truckee can be wonderful - the skiing, sledding, a warm fire... but the surrounding landscape of the homes here undergo the harsh realities of seasonal living - and lie dormant for months under all the snow. Basically, everything in the yard dies, every year.
The acre of cleared land around The Log Cabin provides a pristine, natural mountain meadow full of Shasta Daisies and Black-Eyed Susans in the summer months budding from late June through the end of August, when all the plants in the yard go to seed - Fall in the Sierras is a browner time of year, but brings relief from trimming and deadheading - as you want your flowers to go completely to seed - that is how they regrow and multiply.
I began cultivating the meadow grasses and wildflowers surrounding the house 17 years ago. When I first moved up here from the Bay Area, I really thought a manicured lawn and perfect rows of flowers were what I wanted - I soon learned that without a full staff of gardeners coming once or twice a week from May through the end of June, it was impossible to support that kind of landscaping.
I planted long grass seed and wildflowers and every year they would reseed and come back more prolific than the year before. It is now a wild, natural setting complete with frogs and bunnies that cavort around in the yard in the morning and at dusk.
To combat the high desert dryness, The Log Cabin's yard has a 20 station sprinkler system which helps immensely to cool things off on hot summer days. There is an 80 foot shade-planter in the front of the house bordering the slate pathway. I also plant about 22 flower pots every year for the porch and decks.