September 2012

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher and Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President's Letter

Hello Gardeners,

Welcome back from the summer break. I hope everyone had time to enjoy your favorite garden task, visit a beautiful garden, or simply relax with nature. My veggie garden is producing a wonderful bounty of produce and my sunflowers are 10 feet tall. I also had the opportunity to tour the botanical gardens in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where the flowers and fauna are so different than those in our Mediterranean climate. All that humidity produces such beautiful flowers, and also bugs and sweat. Now that I think about it, I guess I prefer our LAVGC haven, clay soil and all.

I am so excited about the events and activities we have scheduled this year. The committee chairs have been busy planning lots of fun and interesting activities to keep us busy throughout the year. Until I attended my first board meeting this summer, I had no idea how many dedicated and hard working members we have in our club. Many willing hands have created a spectacular year for us all to enjoy.

This month we have the Quilts in the Garden tour weekend with a delightful combination of 10 private and public gardens along with designer Quilts on display throughout. And what would September be without our annual Tomato Tasting event? This year's affair at Camp Arroyo will carry on the traditional fun and tasty gathering. I also heard the second annual National Heirloom Exposition is September 11 - 13 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for those interested in an excursion. What a great way to start off the New Year.

I look forward to seeing you on the 13th.

Karen Abbruscato, Co-President

September signals the garden

.........if you haven't done so already you need to get your spring bulb orders in now. You can purchase them at local nurseries but get them there as soon as they arrive so you will have the best choice and be sure of color, size, etc. In our area I think it is best to get early blooming varieties since when spring is just starting in the rest of the country we have moved on to warmer weather and the blooms fade so fast. Many catalogs are having sales now if you order by mid-month. Most tulips in this area are more like annuals and don't really flourish after the first year. Bulb planting usually takes place in Oct. to Dec. after we have had a good rain and the soil is easier to work. can trim back the foliage on iris to about six inches and remove any dead leaves to make them look tidier. Be sure to get any that you need to divide or move planted soon so they have a chance to establish themselves while the soil is still warm.'s time to trim and feed roses for their last bloom cycle before their needed winter rest. winter blooming plants like snapdragons, coneflowers, sweet peas, calendulas, primroses and pansies as soon as the weather cools a bit to get them a good start on making new roots wherever they are planted before the soil gets so cool they go into neutral.

.........even if you don't have a compost pile you can collect leaves when they start to fall (and fall, and fall) and put them in garbage bags for over the winter and by spring they should be ready to put out as mulch in the garden. Run over them with a lawn mower a few times if they are large leaves. If you have a discreet back corner you can pile them there too to disintegrate and be more mulch-like next spring. If you put them out as mulch now they can mat and actually keep water from reaching the soil. Grass clippings can do this too so it helps if you can mix the two somehow so they don't clump. Some leaves, like Magnolia leaves, do not lend themselves to breaking down so give them to the municipal land fill to do something with them. you deadhead and work in the garden, take note of perennials that need to be divided and when the weather cools a bit and it looks like Fall is really on the way, you can dig up the clumps and make lots of new plants. Either use them around your garden, share them with friends, or grow them on for our Plant Sale next year. You'll know they might need to be divided if they have outgrown their space, aren't blooming very well, or have a dead spot in the middle of the clump. If trees or shrubs have grown up around them they might not be getting enough sun now and you need to move them to a better place and replace them with plants that are happier in the shade.

.........during any very hot spells is a great time now to plan any major changes you'd like to make in your garden as the Fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. If you are slowing down in your time and energy to do gardening, think of replacing some fussy plants with shrubs that need pruning only once a year and may have a long bloom period and thus take so much less tending.

.........if you are buying succulents now, be sure to ask how much cold temperature they can take. Most thrive in our hot summers but even our relatively mildish winters can freeze those fleshy leaves and make mush of the plants. You are probably safe if they can take down to 30 degrees or else if they need higher temps you are willing to move them into the garage or house for the winter. Or go out every cold night and give them protection. Not my style of gardening.

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