March 2014

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President's Letter

Spring is almost officially here, but with the weather we have been having it seems spring arrived months ago. My yard had roses budding and blooming in mid-February. Everything seems to come alive in the spring; hopefully, with little lasting damage from that very cold spell in December.

The March Club meeting is the last before our annual Club plant sale on April 5. Let's all make the sale a great success. Join the fun. Take the opportunity to volunteer for one or more of the 11 plant sale committees, either by signing up at the Club meeting or by contacting me Tom Jefferson.

At the March meeting we will be asking for three volunteers to serve as the nominating committee for 2014-2015 Club officers, with nominees to be announced at the April meeting. Please consider serving.

Last March, at a meeting of the Contra Costa Rose Society, my wife (Karen) and I first met this month's speaker, Bill Mann, President of Star Roses. Then, he said his company likes to donate roses to public gardens. He was not kidding. As a result, Livermore's Hansen Park has benefited from his company's donation of approximately 75 roses. Please be sure to thank him. As I compose this, I continue to wish for rain, rain, and more rain. Sigh.

Happy gardening,Tom Jefferson

Misc. Items of Interest

...both the Bouquets to Art (March 18-23) and the SF Flower and Garden Show (March 19-23) will be held this month. You can Google the Bouquets to Art to find out how to get tickets ($23, $20 Seniors) ahead of time so you don't have to wait in line the day you go to the show. Alden Lane is selling tickets to the SF Flower and Garden Show, held at the San Mateo Exposition Grounds, they are $16 for a one day admission and it is good any day of the show if you hustle over to Alden Lane and get them before March 10. Tickets are $20 at the door - and there's usually a long line. If you go online you can see who is speaking when at the Show. Both shows are about the best horticultural events we have going in the Bay Area.

...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 can contact Connie Darocha.

March the garden much going on outside this month - rain or shine! Plants are bursting forth in my garden. Some are confused about when they usually bloom (my Calif. poppies are in full fettle and usually aren't until mid April) but most plants are sprouting new growth right on schedule.

...You can do your 'finger pruning' of roses and other new growth to keep plants going in the desired direction. As you wander around your garden warming up your muscles for a full out garden job, notice what is sprouting out the wrong way (to the center, crossing branches, facing over a walkway) and just snap it off so no plant energy is spent on its growth. I'm sure the aphids will arrive soon and they are easily wiped off with a gloved hand. Probably more politically correct this year rather than hitting them with a spray of precious water.

...if you are dividing perennials early this month you can still pot them up and have them settled in for the plant sale if you are sure they have lots of roots on the division. Many plants like Shasta daisies (quite drought tolerant) and iris (which should have been divided in late summer but will survive now too) really need to be divided about every 3 years to bloom well. It's probably too late to start cuttings or seeds for the plant sale because they won't have time to develop a good root system by April 5 and customers are a bit huffy (and rightfully so) when they get home and find a plant with no roots in the pot they just purchased.

...also look for plants that just aren't right in your garden but would be nice in another setting and pot them up soon so they will be perky and happy by the sale. All sale plants should be labeled with the name of the plant and cultural requirements and brought to a pricing place (see page 2) before Fri., April 4. If you have lots and lots of plants (goody, goody) you can price them in your car and take them directly to the sale on Sat. morning if you come by one of the pricing parties on Fri.

...toward mid month we should be done with all threat of frosts and freezes so you can remove in good conscious all the foliage that froze in Dec. and Jan. If the stems are just mush at the base, the plant is probably a goner but if there is any green you might get new growth. Plants, like citrus and roses, that are often grafted onto stronger root stock should not have shoots coming from the very base below the graft (a swelling in the base stem or trunk). Those shoots will be that of the graft roots and not the plant you wanted to grow. Woody shrubs you can run a finger nail down a stem and see if there is green beneath the bark, if so, the plant should be okay. can prune geraniums and lantana now and cut back pretty severely so new growth will make the plant bushy and lush. Remember, in general, don't prune anything if it's about to bloom.

...snails and slugs will be sashaying out in full force this month and should be dealt with when young and before they can procreate so very, very much as they like to do. Be sure to check the rims of pots, overhanging plants on retaining walls and other happy hiding places. If you have kniphophia, agapanthus, artemesia, and/or daylilies (among many other plants) the snails love to live in them at the base of the leaves so check them carefully. If you see sort of translucent tiny balls in the soil, those are probably snail eggs and need to be disposed of however you choose.

...A new site for gardeners and others who want to approach critter control with insight and understanding Creative Critter Control. Nature-friendly tips from a wildlife educator. Information on effective, non-toxic, humane control of: Gophers, Moles, Voles, Deer, Tree Squirrels, Ground Squirrels, Raccoons, Skunks, Opossums, Mice, Roof Rats, Wild Rabbits, Wild Turkeys and other common wildlife. To contact: email wildlifeinfo.

...interesting article from the New Yorker by Michael Pollan on Plant Intelligence: Plant Intelligence .

"My garden is too small for all the plants I want to grow, and too large to maintain." - John Gwynne


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