We love this land and all that is here.
Backcountry Gardens is located in southern California in the very center of San Diego county. The area is named for the diverse 'gardens' around the property, most of which remain completely natural. The current human inhabitants, Doug and Lisa Barnett are nature lovers and feel fortunate to have very diverse terrain which allows the property to support a wide range of native wildlife. The property includes many large rock outcroppings, a seasonal blue granite spring, a wide expanse of native chaparral, and over 100 oak trees -- all important for wildlife support. There is also a 100-year-old Mission olive grove and mill remnants on the property. Less than 10% of the property is being cultivated for cut flowers with a large focus on drought tolerant varieties from California and other Mediterranean climates.
Why Grow Cut Flowers?
The cut flower business was started in 2018 as a much needed break from corporate life. "Thirty years in an office job had taken a major toll on my health", says LisaBee. A perpetual workaholic, Lisa was hospitalized with stress-related injuries and suffered a heart attack a few months later. "I was absolutely terrible at work-life balance!". When the opportunity for early retirement presented itself and I had to take it.
Lisa grew up in a very southern, Cajun area of Louisiana in the midst of sugar cane fields and spent much of my time outdoors raising horses. "Of course, food is a huge focus in the Cajun culture and I was probably 8 before I realized that the whole world didn't celebrate Mardi Gras!
My father had a large rose and tomato garden and my mother loved colorful perennials and bulbs, including a beautiful Caladium collection. Once free from the corporate life, I guess I naturally gravitated to gardening.
After moving to San Diego, I became very interested in succulents and growing tomatoes from seed. More recently I fell in love with the beauty of Protea, which was being grown very successfully here. I just love San Diego because you can garden year-round!"
Doug is the engineer of the operation. He handles all of the infrastructure design, installations and repairs which is a vital part of the operation.
The G-SOB Story
Over the past few years, it's been very painful to watch our beautiful 200+ year-old Coast Live Oak trees succumb to the dreaded Golden Spotted Oak Borer, sometimes referred to as G-SOB. Many of the trees on the grounds had also been hit by the 2007 wildfires, followed by a multi-year drought. This combination of challenges proved to be too much for the oldest and largest oaks being hit the hardest.
Over a 3-year period, over 2-dozen stately oaks were lost, each one having a huge impact on the local wildlife. These oaks are considered "keystone species", with each one supporting thousands of species of plants and wildlife.
Considering ourselves stewards of the land, we began to work with a local arborist to find ways to preserve the remaining trees. We also began to explore ways for the land to help us support the expense.
We hope to see the idea of growing cut flowers for market flourish into a fun and rewarding experience while helping to support and preserve this beautiful land and all that live and thrive here.