March 2011

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President’s Letter

Dear Fellow Garden Clubbers

Spring is definitely in the air. Lovely bulbs, trees, and plants are blooming all around us. This is such a lovely time of year so enjoy the renewal. While gardening, if you are dividing your perennials or have too many volunteer seedlings, remember to pot them up. We have six weeks to get our plant donations ready for our plant sale! Sign up at the meeting to help out during the pricing and sale. We have many jobs that need your help. Also we are attaching a flyer to the email newsletter. Print out either color or black and white flyer to distribute around, or better yet, mail it as an attachment to all your gardening friends! We need lots of shoppers too at the sale so spread the word!

I am excited to welcome back Jeff Rosendale from Sierra Azul to speak to us on Mediterranean gardening. Last time he was here our slide projector was down and we could not see his slides. This time we are ready for the complete program. This month also is the San Francisco garden show. It looks to be a good show this year with lots of interesting speakers. I do hope that you will consider going. At the meeting will be your last time to purchase tickets for $16, the next day the price goes up to $20.

We have lots going on this month so read on. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting at Alisal School on March 10th.

Sondra Bierre, Co-President

March the garden

...hopefully we are headed towards more Spring-like weather and when you get this our ‘snow’ season will be over. Time to get out and get the beds completely cleaned up. If you have not pruned back your artemesias, butterfly bush or Rose of Sharon, do it as soon as possible. A little more frost won’t bother them.

...If plants got hit by the cold weather and have blackened or damaged foliage don’t do anything. Most of all, don’t cut them back until all possibility of frost should be over – usually March 15. Many plants will regenerate and in a month or two you will see small bumps of new growth at the base of the stems – even many of those you thought were goners. very cold weather most plants should be wet and not dry to help them survive but succulents are different. They do better if they are dry during a very cold spell and especially if it remains cold and rainy – they tend to rot if they are wet. You should clean out debris between leaves on the succulents now that may have fallen into them over the winter. If this stuff gets damp in there it can also cause rot. On a prickly plant I find that long medical tweezers are a help in getting things out.

...take off the spent blooms on bulbs as soon as they fade so the bulb does not set seed and can spend more time gearing up for next year’s blooms. This is a good time to feed them too. If we have a prolonged dry spell be sure they stay moist until the leaves come off. can ‘finger prune’ roses and shrubs now that have growth starting in a direction you don’t want it to go – like to the inside of the plant or straight out if you are training them against a wall or fence. Just rub off the growth start with your hand. While you’re inspecting the plants, rub off any aphids too. Or hit the aphids with a water spray. Or alert the birds of a tasty treat.

...if you have home compost to use in the garden, just sprinkle or lay it on top of the ground and let nature and the earth worms take it into the soil. You are actually just completing nature’s cycle of decay and mulch after you’ve cleaned up the debris the plant shed. By raking or scratching compost into the soil you are exposing many dormant weed seeds to light so they germinate.

...while the ground is moist and even downright wet, don’t walk on the beds because you are just squishing the air out of the soil and the plants need that to survive. Place decorative stepping stones where you need to step if the beds are too deep and use these areas to put plants near them that need their roots kept moist as the soil under the stone will not dry out as fast.

...feed camellias as soon as they finish blooming to set the blooms for next year. You can also prune for shape (possibly cutting them in bloom to use in the house). Be sure to keep spent blooms picked up and disposed of so they don’t cause blossom rot.

...aren’t hellebore blooms great now? Aren’t you sorry you didn’t get more plants last fall?

Livermore Valley Garden Club (LAVGC) serving the Tri-Valley: Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, Sunol, and San Ramon