News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher and Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President's Letter

It's definitely autumn season now, with the first rain behind us, the chill is in the air and the leaves are turning beautiful colors of red, yellow and orange. Pumpkins that were planted last spring at the Eden Project Organic Garden are sitting on the front porch. I'm busy raking the leaves that fell from the last storm and adding them to the compost pile. I look forward to next spring when I get to add this compost to my spring garden. Compost -- It's always a wonderful display of the circle of life. Once I get my spring bulbs planted I'll settle in for the winter and get cozy with the garden catalogs and dream of next spring. What are you going to do, plant a winter garden, a tree or some hedges? Or is it time to start planning for the holidays? There's always the Sensory Garden and the new project taming the roses in the Livermore Hansen Park calling for us gardeners.

Karen Abbruscato , co president

November noodling the garden

.........we've had a pretty good rain as I write this but possibly not wet deep enough to be really good for planting bulbs in the ground. I like to aim for getting them in on Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas at the latest but always remember plant the bulbs sometime - they definitely will not bloom in the bag! Sprout maybe, but not bloom. Of course if you are planting them in containers as I do you can really do it anytime. I know that if I don't have them planted by early December the schedule will get so hectic that it will be late, late Dec. or Jan. before it is done. If you need to chill tulip bulbs you need to get on it because they really want a month in the refrigerator, and of course you know not to have apples in there at the same time because the gas given off by the apples will stunt the blooms of the tulips. I don't chill my hyacinths or daffodils and they seem to do just fine.

.........Fall is here and "fall" seems to be the operative word if you have trees around your house. Discouraging to get everything all tidied up and then have a breeze undo it all. I just wish the leaves would all fall at once but if you have a variety of trees the "fall" just seems to go on and on. Beds do need to be cleared out and perennials cut back, deadheaded, divided, etc. but sometimes if you wait until early January you only have to do it once. The basic thing to remember in cleaning out planting beds and areas is to work from top to bottom (on fences, arbors, etc.) and then back to front or otherwise you are cleaning out the same area over and over again as more debris falls where you have just cleaned. Try to get perennials cut back before new growth starts so you can just whack the whole top off and not worry about eliminating the new growth. It is a good time to put down compost after you've cleaned so that the winter rains can wash the nutrients from the compost down into the soil. Just be sure not to get the compost or mulch so close to the stem of the plant or shrub that it will rot if it remains wet all winter. Leave at least 2-3 inches around the base of the plant.

.........if we have a wet winter, remember to knock down all those basins that you built up during spring and summer to keep water in because you don't want the plant to sit in water now. This is especially true of most Mediterranean plants that are so popular now. Lavenders and many Australian plants that need excellent drainage are happiest if planted on a slight mound so the water drains away from their roots.

.........if we have a dry winter remember also that many "drought tolerant" plants will survive during a drought but really do perform better with some water. They are tolerant of dry weather but happier with some moisture. is the time to shape up and prune to shape any evergreens that you have.

.........twist off excess camellia buds for bigger blooms.

.........cut chrysanthemum stems to 3 inches from the soil. thankful we live in such a wonderful place to garden!!

The Meaning of Garden Club Work

  • For some it means the actual gardening, hands in the soil, body in the sun and a vision of color and fragrance and form.
  • To some it means the use of flowers as a medium of artistic expression.
  • To some it means an opportunity to serve their community by turning the ugly places into beauty spots.
  • To some it is a spiritual experience, whereby they may serve God through their gift of flowers to the churches and hospitals and the lonely forlorn.
  • To a few, it means the challenge of leadership and personal ability in the group.
  • To a very few, it is meaningless, a name on the membership list and a sometime attendance.
  • But to many it means making friends, meeting with the old and mingling with the new.
  • Garden club work is as complex as the unfolding of a rose and as simple as the face of a daisy. It is social. It is spiritual. It is political. It is educational. It is scientific, It is the way of life.

The author is unknown, reprinted by the Iowa Federation as found in the Luther Burbank District 1990-1991 yearbook.

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