April 2015


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President's Letter

PLANT SALE, PLANT SALE, PLANT SALE, April 11. You surely do not need reminding--but, just in case.

At our April 9 meeting the nominating committee (Daniel McCright, Lori Martin, and Connie DaRocha) will announce the committee's nominees for next year's (2015-2016) club officers. Perhaps you will be honored by being one of the selections. At the May meeting elections will be held, and the officers elected will be installed at the June meeting.

I found it a bit disappointing that this year's Member Spring Garden Tour had to be canceled because of a lack of volunteer gardens. Seeing other members' gardens has always provided me with ideas to improve my own. Thanks to Garden Tour chairs, Sandy Yamaoda and Betty Nostrand for their efforts. Volunteering and sharing is what makes LAVGC such a great club. Let's hope for greater participation next year.

Ending on a high note, David Oakley, long time do-it-all club member and former president, was honored at the Diablo Foothills District February 26 General Meeting with a Penny Pines Plantation for all the work he has done for District. That's one more well-deserved award for David.

Happy Gardening, Tom Jefferson, Co-President

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Misc. Items of Interest

...New officers have been announced for the Diablo Foothills District. They are: Director: Marlene Kinney; Asst. Dir: Audrey Marlovits; Rec. Secretary: Linda Cruz; Treasurer: Stella Cade.

...Mount Diablo Rose Society on Wednesday, April 8 at 7:30 at the Dublin Library - 200 Civic Dr, Dublin. The Good, The Bad, and The Bugly - Baldo Villegas. Baldo, who is a retired entomologist for the state of CA and a leading expert for ARS on rose insects and diseases, describes himself as "entomologist, gardener, horticulturist, and rose nut". Learn more about the insects, spiders, and mites in your garden and how to recognize the good guys and pests.

See Mt Diablo Rose Society for more information.

...Sacramento Historic Rose Garden Open House Saturday, April 18 9:30 AM - 2:00 pm at 1000 Broadway. Sacramento. The Sacramento Historic Rose Garden is holding their Open Garden Day on Saturday, April 18 from 9:30 AM to 2 PM. The rose garden is located within the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery (at 1000 Broadway), which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The day's activities include sales of rare historic roses and rose related items and garden and history tours of the cemetery. This year's rose sale will be better than ever, with over 500 roses for sale. See Roses for Sale. The rose sale starts at 9:30, but if you are interested in specific varieties - come early to ensure a good selection. If you love roses and history and enjoy spending time in a beautiful rose garden, don't miss this very special day. All proceeds go to support the Historic Rose Garden.

...The Ruth Bancroft Garden's Annual Spring Plant Sale is the Bay Area's best source for drought tolerant plants, succulents, cacti, California natives, and members of the Protea family from Australia and South Africa. Featured succulents include Agaves, Aloes, Echeverias, including gems propagated from the Garden's plants, some dating back to Ruth's original collection. The Garden's expert staff, docents, and nursery propagators will provide insider tips and tricks to planting a stunning garden that looks great all year long with less irrigation than a lawn. Unique garden related gifts and books will also be available. Sunday - Thursday, April 12-16. The public sale continues 10am - 4pm each day at The Ruth Bancroft Garden, 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek CA 94598. For more information: Please visit The Ruth Bancroft Garden or call 925-944-9352.

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April Activities.................in the garden

...so many things growing and blooming in the garden these days! Just remember the famous line - "Anybody can do Spring!". Some plants are a bit confused by our dry, warm weather, others are flourishing - perhaps because we normally water them too much and this year we aren't. Of course I am assuming that as considerate gardeners you have cut way back on the amount of water you are now giving your plants.

...mulching, mulching, mulching seems to be the current recommendation. Our speaker in March recommended a foot of mulch but I have found in most back yard beds it is hard to get mulch that deep around a plant without submerging the stem or trunk in mulch and subjecting it to rot. Be sure to pull any compost or mulch away from the base of plants and if you hollow out basins for shrubs and trees put mulch on top of the basin but not touching the trunk.

...my tulips aren't quite sure what to do. I got them in late so a lot of it is my fault, but the tulips I planted in containers that I did not cover with screen or chicken wire haven't even come up because the squirrels have stolen them all! Next year I will definitely put screen over them or stick to daffodils and narcissus which are poisonous to animals so they don't bother them.

...freesia bulbs do very well in my garden and expand their clumps every years. I think there is some messing around between them somehow because there are new colors not seen before. The foliage gets ungainly after a while but I cut back the spent bloom stems and then fold over the rest of the foliage until they turn brown and can be pulled off easily. If you receive freesia in a pot as a gift, just take the soil, bulbs and all and stick them in the garden somewhere near a path so you can enjoy their fragrance next year and they'll be back next spring. Cut off blooms and fold back foliage as above.

...Our speaker at the 4MLB, Leta Gates, highly recommended the water holding crystals you can buy at the nurseries. Her only warning was to hydrate them before putting them in the soil, especially when using in pots and do it in a bucket because each innocent looking white sand grain expands 400 times to the size of a fat raisin. They take about 45 minutes to an hour to fully hydrate. Less than teaspoon of dry material, when expanded, will be enough to mix with soil for a 2 gallon pot. And don't be handling them near any sink - indoors or out - or you might have a real stopped up mess when any spilled granules hydrate! You can let unused expanded 'raisins' dry in the bucket and store them to use another time. She said these granules can cut the need for watering in pots by half.

...take the time to look around your garden to see empty spaces that can be filled by drought tolerant plants that you find at our plant sale. Take down names from the speaker at our regular meeting on April 9th of plants that are happy to grow in a drought situation in our area.

...Or think of plants to put by the back door or on the front porch in pots so any leftover water in glasses or whatever can be used to quickly and easily water them. Sort of use a xeriscape theory to put plants in pots that need a bit more water close by where you can easily use those dibs and dabs of water. Coffee and tea remains make any more acid loving plants very happy.

I never met a plant I didn't like. If it's rare, we want it, if it's tiny and impossible to grow, we've got to have it. If it's brown and has black flowers, we'll kill for it. - Ken Druse

(See you at the Plant Sale!!)

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