February 2014

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President's Letter

Happy February Gardeners!

It's been a tough winter for us with the long hard freeze that our plants are not accustomed to. Typically, I start my day with the dog at my side and a walk through the back yard. I look at each section of the yard and take notice of how it's doing; I check on my chickens and take in what the day has in store for us. This last month has been different. Where I once saw healthy hardy plants and flowers I now see frost bitten plants that are withered from the blanket of the winter chill. I did notice, though, that the few natives I have made it through so far. They're looking good, so maybe it's time I look into more natives. If you're not on the mailing list already, check out the Bringing Back the Natives for their May tour. I signed up and am I'm looking forward to learning more about our natives. See Bringing Back The Natives tour.

Karen Abbruscato - Co President

Misc. Items of Interest

...as many of you know Patsy Neely is very ill. A caringbridge website has been set up for her so you can express encouragement and greetings to her and be updated on her condition. The web site is no longer available.

...Janie Chapin is looking for the person who brought or bought a colorful over-sized foreign language children's book on a science theme at the Boutique at the December meeting. It was at the back Christmas sale table. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Jamie's contact information.

...Trudi Hartley has some hybrid tea roses to give away. They are about 8 years old and 4 feet tall. They have been pruned (although could be cut back more for moving). Names are: Rio Samba with yellow blooms tinged in orange, slight fragrance; Mister Lincoln and Chrysler Imperial both with velvety dark red blooms and a strong damask rose scent; Just Joey with pink blooms with orange undertones, slight fragrance; and Perfect Moment with red edges and yellow undertones, little fragrance. If you are interested in coming and helping to dig them up, see the LAVGC Yearbook for Trudi's contact information. She has a pick-up truck if you need a way to transport them.

...Wish list for Eden Garden. At Eden garden we'll soon be getting ready for spring planting. There are a few things we could use that you might have around your house that you're not using and would like to find a home for. If so, please bring them to the February meeting or contact Barbara Stott or Beth Clark so that we can arrange to get them from you. These are the things that we can use: Small hand tools, particularly hand clippers; 5 gallon buckets. (The plastic buckets that kitty litter comes in works fine.); A couple of watering cans; A sprinkler for the end of a hose, particularly one that has a lever to shut it on and off; Bender board and pitchforks.

...Each February for the past few years Alden Lane Nursery has gathered a number of inspiring figures in California's gardening circles to share inspiring, informative information in an area of expertise. This year's Inspiration Day event is Saturday, February 15. From more information or to register go to Inspiration.

...SOIL KNIVES AND NITRILE GLOVES: For sale at the meeting will be Deluxe soil knives at $18.00, regular knives with sheath are $18.00 sold as a set. Knife blades are the highest quality of stainless steel from Italy. Nitrile gloves are $6.25 each, in all sizes. Those who do not plan to attend the meeting, see the LAVGC Yearbook for Connie DaRocha's contact information.

February flings........in the garden

...last month it was the freeze, this month it is the dreaded "D" word. There's always a challenge for gardeners! It does seem that if we have been very careful with our water as a habit that it will be harder to cut back 20%! Rain (actually some kind of moisture from the sky, maybe rain is too strong a word) is predicted for late this week so let's hope it is the start of a series of storms that will ease up on the dryness.

...there is some fear that this will drastically affect our Plant Sale as people hesitate to replace their lost frozen plants and will definitely be looking for drought tolerant plants. I've discovered that "tolerant: means just that - plants tolerate less water and survive but they don't necessarily look their best. And new plants of whatever kind need to be nurtured and watered until they get their roots firmly established and can draw moisture from deep in the soil.

...but have you noticed that many weeds are definitely freeze and drought tolerant and haven't missed a beat! Maybe we should look at them in a more receptive way. My Santa Barbara daisy is deep green and flourishing. Nurseries do sell this plant but many consider it a weed since it will spread itself all over the garden if happy. Same with the oxalis or sourweed. This is definitely considered a weed but it does have cute yellow flowers (or pink on some varieties) and it is thriving and spreading through freeze and drought. I love forget-me-nots but some consider those weeds but I'm happy to see that they are sprouting all over for some cute spring color. Easy to pull out once they've bloomed and in doing so you spread the seeds for next year.

...if you are hesitant to buy new plants because we don't quite know what is ahead, this is a good time to get garden art and place them around the beds instead of plants. Even large rocks can help keep moisture around them. Stepping stones can be decorative and help you get in the back of beds or areas where you shouldn't be tramping down the soil anyway.

...one way to use water efficiently is to have a pot(s) near the back door so you can use leftover tea kettle water or half empty glasses of water to pour on the pots. Keeping a pitcher on the counter by the sink or even a pan lining the sink to catch perfectly good water that would go down the drain can provide moisture for quite a few pots. Growing lettuce is great in a pot by the back door.

...I have been quite anxious because my beds are not cleaned up and I felt so behind but I realized it is still Jan. as I write this even though the weather makes me think it is early March so I'm not behind schedule really. Without rain and storms the leaves and debris are really thick in the beds but that has helped keep them as damp as possible and I feel sort of guilty clearing out Mother Nature's mulch and know I should replace it as soon as I clear so that no soil is showing and it will retain whatever moisture it gets. I've noticed fewer snails than usual (not to say there isn't any at all) but I'm not sure if it is because it is so dry or because raccoons cruise through the garden on a regular basis.


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