December 2014

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President's Letter

Once again we meet in Livermore for the December 11 meeting in the Cresta Blanca-North room at the Robert Livermore Community Center, 4444 East Avenue.

Doors open at 6 PM with the meeting starting at 6:30 with our annual potluck. So, bring a finger food dish to share and enjoy many gastronomical delights and the fine company of your other club members.

The business meeting will follow and then the program--our very own Dolores Bengtson will be entertaining us not only with wildflowers in our valley but also some whims of Mother Nature. Note that the programs as listed in the Yearbook for December and June have been switched because of a speaker conflict.

In October our district representative, Dolores Moffat, and I attended the Diablo Foothills District General meeting. I can't recall how many times I heard the name "Dolores Moffat". Among other things she was recognized for having been awarded on October 11 the NCNH (Northern California/Hawaii/Nevada) District of the American Rose Society Silver Honor Medal. This is the highest honor given by the NCNH District and is only given to one person a year. Way to go Dolores!

Happy Gardening, Tom Jefferson, Co-President

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Misc. Items of Interest

...Back Yard Harvest is a high school project to harvest trees of excess fruit. All fruit will be donated to Open Heart Kitchen for the school lunch program. For more information, please contact coordinator Pam Silliman, 925-998-1522,

...Connie DaRocha is no longer taking gloves or knives orders. She has arranged with Shelli Mitchell, Rep for the A.M. Leonard Co., to take orders. We will receive a discount on orders. Atlas Nitrile Gloves in all colors are $6.92, regular price is $8.99 and the Leonard Deluxe Soil knife is $16.95 regular cost is $21.99. These prices do not include shipping and handling. In order to receive the discount please contact Shelli Mitchell at 1-888-558-8665 ex178 or email If you are thinking about Holiday gifts you might want to order early for better color section on gloves.

Thank you Connie for handling this all these years!

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December the garden

...Wow! We got measurable rain!! Let's hope it is the start of a damp winter although the official season is actually still a few weeks away. I think we are going to be asked to shut off any sprinkler or automatic systems from Dec. to March so let's hope Mother Nature also got that memo and will keep us supplied with adequate moisture from the sky.

...This is the time of year I sort of give up on true planting bed clean up until Jan. since the leaves just continue to fall. I know the season is named that but the flip side of wonderful summer shade from a lot of trees is an amazing amount of leaf fall about now. If the leaves are quite big and make a thick layer I do try to pull them back from shrubs, prized perennials, and trees so that any moisture we do get will get to the soil and not just run off. I do the more particular cleanup of the leaves when the trees and shrubs are done shedding - usually about Jan.

...I cut back a lot of perennials and shrubs now because they are so much easier to just whack back and not have to worry about inadvertently cutting off new growth. If I wait until spring I need to be careful cutting around all the new growth. . My Rose of Sharon I give a really good whacking back and just open up the center since it blooms on new growth and although it looks rather stark now it will be much more attractive this summer.

...I've been trying to do some "Aesthetic Pruning" since the talk last month by Maryann Lewis. I don't have any shrubs that are forming a hedge and need to be real thick but I do have camellias, Japanese maples, and abutilons that look better if you can see through them a bit and enjoy the stem structure - part of the aesthetics I guess. You can see how we aesthetically lowered the random growth of the cotinus smoke trees at the Sensory Garden. They have finally taken hold after quite a few years in the ground and actually needed to be shaped.

...It is a gift giving month so don't forget membership to Horticultural Organizations and magazine subscriptions for gardening friends and family. Truly a gift that keeps on giving all year long!

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Remodeling your garden?

Create a wish list to better understand how you actually want to use your property. Consider atmosphere, activities, and features.

The front yard has become a welcoming entryway as well as a comfortable living space. Consider how your front yard could function if you treated it as your back yard.

Use plants to soften the appearance of a driveway and make it part of the landscape.

From "Landscaping Ideas that Work" by Julie Moir Messervy.

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