Melissa KeyserHi there, I’m Melissa. When I grew up, I wanted to be a mermaid. Obviously, that didn’t pan out. Instead, I teach skills that encourage simple, sustainable living, and consult and design home landscapes that nurture both the environment and it’s urban residents.

Welcome to Sweet Bee Garden, my little piece of the internet. Here you will find information on my services and my weekly blog, where I share my experiences on cultivating and living a lifestyle that is connected in nature and self-sufficient. I hope to encourage you and help you learn DIY skills to create resiliency in your home and your community.

More and more of us are starting to feel the call for a more simple life. We hunger for an authentic connection with the land, with our food, with nature, and for more meaningful experiences. If you are one of these people, you’re in the right place!


I grew up on the central coast of California, in the mountains of Santa Cruz. I created a love for the natural world at an early age. My family lived without electricity, and I surrounded by redwoods and only minutes from the beach. My mom is an avid horticulturist, my dad an arborist.

It wasn’t until after college and I moved to Sonoma County did I discover my passion for gardening and self-sufficiency. Growing my own food, cooking from scratch, and undertaking projects myself gave me confidence and I felt like I was actively in charge of my own life. As I became more in tune with the seasons, I strived to also be a good steward of the land- growing organically and gardening not just for me but also for birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife. This lead me to study landscape design and becoming an ecological garden designer.

I started this blog (previously under the name Forgotten Skills) as a way to share my adventures in cultivating a lifestyle that was self-sufficient and in harmony with the earth. Along the way I’ve learned how to grow my own food, cook from scratch, can, ferment, pickle, brew, knit, butcher, make fruit wine, barter, forage, mend, and a slew of other DIY homesteading skills.

If I’m not working in the garden or helping a client, you’ll find me hiking, putting food in jars, or reading young adult fantasy fiction. I’m married to my husband, Matt, and have a menagerie of rescued animals: mutt Stella, perpetually annoying black cat Bacon, and 3-legged orange tabby Gaia. I collect sea glass, rocks, and (if you were to ask my husband, shoes).

After a decade of living in Sonoma County, we sold our half-acre homestead and my family moved to the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento. I’m in the early stages of designing a new urban homestead garden, making our 1900 Victorian house a home, and slowly adjusting to city living.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts from University of California Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies and studied Horticulture and Landscape Design at Santa Rosa Junior College.


John Muir once wrote:

When California was wild, it was one sweet-bee garden throughout its entire length, north and south, and all the way across the Sierra to the ocean.

But things have changed a lot since then. Every day, acre after acre of wilderness disappears. Adults and children alike are losing the connection with our natural world and suffer from nature deficit disorder. The average American kid spends more than 50 hours a week looking at an electronic device. Most of us have lost the knowledge of how to tend the soil, how to grow our own food, and how to work with our hands. We have lost an intimate relationship with the Earth. Even if we don’t realize it, deep down, we crave for a connection. We need nature- it’s a part of us and we are a part of it.

I believe we can achieve a connection to the natural world regardless of where we live, and this quote reminds me of what to work towards.


It makes me feel warm and fuzzy when readers and fellow bloggers find my work worthy of sharing. Please give property credit and link back to the site, with mention of Melissa Keyser, Sweet Bee Garden.

The use of photography on this site is only permitted with prior written consent. I photograph with an iPhone 5, in case you were wondering.

Unless otherwise noted, all content and photography ©2013-2017 Melissa Keyser | Sweet Bee Garden. If you are interested in reproducing any content or photography, in portion or entirety, please contact me for permission.


All are welcome here, and I am happy to work with you regardless your age, race, religion, country of origin, gender or sexual identity and orientation. Unless you’re just a jerk, then you can go away.