February 2016


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Well I for one am waiting for Groundhog Day, and ONLY because we need the rain am I not praying for Spring. My excuse for not planting all the exotic bulbs I ordered is that it has been too cold in the shade on my balcony. Yeah, that's the ticket . . . Actually I am bringing them in for forcing. The Paperwhites and Hyacinths have brightened up the house while it is has been dark gray outside. Tulips will be small but I hope to save the petals for potpourri, especially the striped Rembrandt varieties which I got in several colors. I am writing this the day after the meeting and I can't go outside until I have finished. Betty won't believe it but I may get this out ON the deadline.

Last night Lisa Tell gave a GREAT presentation on hummingbirds and made an academic presentation fascinating. Again thanks to our program committee for raising the standards for speakers - I really look forward to the programming at our meeting.

Nile Runge, a member of our AV team will be videotaping consenting speakers. Their talks will eventually be posted on our website. Until that time those interested can access the video by signing up to receive an email link. See "Misc. Items of Interest" below for details. I also talked to Len Smith (our other AV person and Webmaster) about the Members Only section of our Website (www.lavgc.org ) so we can post the link there, along with our Yearbook and other documents. Adopting new technology is a pain until we can see the benefit and this has a huge benefit.

Marcella Rodgers and I are members of Filoli and have been egging each other on to lead a tour there in March. We both like the tulips - last year the annual beds had peach tulips with Forget me nots. Gorgeous. Nothing like ogling rich people's gardens - I love stately homes. That's all for now - got to pot up bulbs and put primroses in the window boxes and start seeds for the plant sale - happily busy inside when it's inhospitable outside. I hope to see you all at the February meeting and wish you all Happy Gardening.

Tia Kay

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Misc. Items of Interest

...don't forget to check the garden club website - lavgc.org for program details and pictures of recent garden club events.

...In fact, look at the website for details on our participation for Arbor Day this year. They were too late to include with this newsletter.

...and mark your calendars for our Spring Member Garden tour on Sunday afternoon, April 24. Details and directions will be in the April newsletter.

...Some of our speakers have given permission for the video of their talk to be posted only for currently paid members of LAVGC to view. You can be added to this list by contacting Nile Runge. This link is for LAVGC members only and should NOT be forwarded to non members per agreement of the speakers. PLEASE observe this rule.

...the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show is set for March 16 to 20, at the San Mateo Event Center. Advance tickets are for sale now at local nurseries for $17.50, versus $22 after March 1. This is about the biggest display of gardens, vendors, and seminars in the Bay Area each year. Not to be missed!

...Inspiration by Invitation, a day of Seminars for gardening enthusiasts, will be held at Alden Lane Nursery on Sat., Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. $45 includes morning and afternoon seminars plus lunch. Speakers include Susan Morrison, Dan Lassanske, Annie Joseph, Kathy Echols, Donna Mollenhauer, and Kate Frey. Call 925-447-0280 to make a reservation or see the Alden Lane Nursery web site for details on individual seminars and speaker.

...Drought Tolerant is Irrelevant, a talk to the California Horticultural Society by Saxon Holt on Monday, February 15. California Horticulture meetings are held at the San Francisco County Fair Building, Ninth Avenue at Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park. Free parking is available behind the San Francisco County Fair Building on Lincoln Way. 4:00 pm - Botanical gardens walk with the featured speaker. Meet at the entrance to the San Francisco Botanical Garden. 5:30 pm - No-host dinner will take place at Park Chow Restaurant, located at 1240 Ninth Avenue in San Francisco 7:15 pm - Announcements, Plant Forum, and Program Meeting will be held at the San Francisco County Fair Building. Non-members-a donation of $5 is requested

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February frolics.................in the garden

...do you have your roses pruned? If not it is time to ramp up the guilt meter and get it done. If you have already pruned them be sure to "finger prune" any nubs that are starting to grow the wrong way on a branch. Just take your hand and rub off that errant growth. If you are seeing aphids on the luscious tips, rub them off too or you could spray them with a jet of water. No fancy chemicals needed. Or just leave the aphids for a tasty treat for the birds. This is a good time to give them a feeding of compost or your favorite rose fertilizer if you didn't do it when you pruned so that they are well ready for their growth and bloom spurt.

...if you still have any fuchsias after our dry era, now is the time to prune them..and prune them way back since they bloom on new growth. And for the next couple months you can keep pinching and pinching and pinching back the new growth so they will develop more and more branches to get those blooms on.

...many people think of alyssum as a weed but it is an attractor for insects and animals that like to munch on the aphids. I think it looks good spilling out of containers or over walls and comes in quite a few colors now but I think the basic white is more fragrant and thus more attractive to the aphid predators.

...this month is Valentine's Day and a great opportunity to give some edible plants as a gift to your sweetie be they spouses, lids, grandkids, or friends. Find a cute container (maybe at a Thrift store) about 12 inches square or round and six inches deep, preferably with holes in the bottom but you can make some holes with a nail or awl, and put two four inch pots of exotic lettuces and two four inch pots of bright violas in them and there you have it. Kids love to break off a lettuce leaf and munch on it and for dinner you can augment your salad with some fancy lettuce and pretty flowers. These plants are what you call "cut and come again" so you don't take out the whole plant, just break off leaves or flowers and they will grow new ones. If the plants are full enough you can just leave them in their nursery pots, put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the big container (no holes needed here), and they will fill in to each other. Dolores B. brought one of these to our booth at the Make A Difference Day and it was a hit with young and old alike.

...Cut artemesia back to a new little bud at the base of the plant now because if you wait until spring they never quite recover. This also prevents that hole in the middle of an older plant.

...while we still have cool weather it is time to buy and enjoy nemesia. They have such bright colors and add such a 'pop' to containers and beds now but they don't like our hot weather at all and seem to shut off their blooms then.

...even though we are having lots of lovely rain and your watering system is turned off, this is a good time to check your irrigation system while plants are low and cut back so you can see which emitters are emitting where they should and make needed corrections and then when we need some supplemental water this summer and your plants have covered the irrigation system, you know the water is going right where it should and not wasting a drop.

...did you know you can actually eat lilac blossoms? Sort of bitter but good on salads or to top off yogurt. Purple or white blossoms are best. Rose of Sharon blooms are edible as soon as they are fully open. Remove the pistil and stamen and use as 'bowls' for cottage cheese or in salad. Daylily, fulva variety, is used in hot and sour soup and mu shu. You may have been growing edible plants and didn't even know it. These tips come from Fine Gardening magazine. Always full of fun information.

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