May 2011

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-Presidentís Letter

Greetings Members,

I am so proud of our club! We had a wonderful plant sale. It was relaxed but we managed to still make money, $5310.65. Thanks to all of you for your contributions of plants, your time spent in all the ways that were needed to get the plant sale moving forward, money from purchasing new plants, and the camaraderie that develops from working together on a common goal. It was a lovely day and we had many return customers looking for new plants. One member talked to one such person who ten years ago bought from us a small maple tree who told her that it has now grown into a beautiful tree in her backyard. How good is that! I love the plant sale!

Looking ahead to this month, I hope that you will take advantage of the events that we will be offering, from nature walks to helping out at the Sensory Garden, Pleasanton Garden, and Camp Arroyo, attending one of the special interests FMLB, Herb Group, Floral Design, and finally attending our District Luncheon at Pleasanton's Calliope Golf Course. We are nearly over with our year but we still have lots of time to get together. Please take advantage of these special times to make new friendships.

Sondra Bierre, Co-President

May the garden

...There are so many garden tours going on this month and next that you could spend every weekend touring gardens in the Bay Area. The Danville Alamo AAUW tour is from 10 to 4 on Fri., May 6 and Sat., May 7, (further information at ) The Bay Friendly Tour is on May 15, a Sunday, and registration is required before that (further information at One of my favorite tours is put on by Gamble Garden Center in Palo Alto and is/was April 29 and 30, probably before you get this newsletter but mark it down for next year. The local paper (Times or Herald) had a list of garden tours recently so it should be on their webpage somewhere.

...Just a final note about daffodils. Each year I take the ones that I have planted in pots out of there and put them in the ground as soon as the blooms fade so they can get the nourishment for next year out of the soil. If you put them in a spot that doesnít get too wet during the summer but is open to fall and winter rains, most of them bloom again for me and keep blooming for a number of years. Some varieties are better than others but you do get repeat blooms out of them. Tulips not so much. If they are the early, early blooming tulips they might repeat in an area that is really dry in the summer but most often only the foliage comes up in subsequent years and thatís not what you grow tulips for!

...For plants that you thought might have gotten frozen but left in to see if they would recover Ė they should be showing some sort of growth or new leaves by now. The weather is still a bit erratic but we shouldnít get any more freezes for heaven sakes so you can cut back to the growth area. If you have citrus that got freeze damage and notice big new shoots coming from the base of the trunk, especially if they have big thorns on the branches, this may be growth from the root stock where the citrus was grafted and not the citrus fruit that you desire. Take off this sucker growth even if it looks much healthier than the rest of the plant.

...After they finish blooming it is a good time to divide and replant iris. If the plant didnít have many blooms this year it is also telling you that it is probably time to divide the clump. Dig up the whole clump, take out withered or damaged parts and break apart the clump so there is a leaf on each part. Donít replant them too deep Ė you should almost see the top of the corm after it is planted. Another reason for lack of bloom is not enough sun so you might want to move iris plants that have been in the ground a couple years but donít bloom to a sunnier location.

...Later in the month you can start cutting back chrysanthemums to about 12 inches for bushier plants. You can make cuttings of what you cut off to make more plants if you want. You can pinch back azaleas, fuchsias and marguerites for bushier plants too.

...With all the rain and with no big hot spells so far this spring everything seems to be just booming. Weeds included. Keep on them but many will grow tall enough to get your attention to get them out. Try not to spread the seed heads as you weed.

...Keep flowers and plants deadheaded (take off the spent blooms) so that they donít spend any energy on making seeds and most plants will try to bloom again (spring bulbs excepted of course). Some spring flowers and bulbs like decorative oxalis and camassia and other native bulbs will naturally die down in the summer so donít panic but will be back next spring to dazzle you again.

...Before going on vacation is a great time to cut everything way back so that it can get lush new growth while you are gone and be ready to bloom when you return. Daylilies particularly thrive on this treatment and are so much tidier when all the dead undergrowth is cut away. Santa Barbara daisies are refreshed by this too and so are valerian and feverfew. The last 3 plants are considered weeds by some people but they do give repeating lovely blooms if kept in check.

...Trees and shrubs need deep watering and you can help this along by building basins around the base of them. You donít want the water to sit there during the winter but as the soil warms up you need to have water there to soak in and encourage the plant to form deep roots so that it can withstand hot, harsh weather should we have it this summer.

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