June 2016


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Well here we are. I can't believe that this is my final letter to you all. I have to admit this was my least favorite task being President, but I can breathe a sigh of relief once this is finished. Not to mention how relieved Betty will feel. All I really wanted to do is dedicate this letter to effusively thank the usual suspects who continue to work tirelessly (or a little less tireless each year) to make this club great. I also thank new faces that I have seen contribute throughout the year. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Karen Abbruscato who has Chaired the Plant Sale MORE THAN ONCE and done a fantastic job! Lois Barber who just volunteers for anything when we are desperate even as an officer this coming year. She seems to be the Energizer bunny! Dolores Bengtson - My favorite consultant on bureaucratic matters and very swiftly and competently headed up the nominating committee and nudged me gently when I seemed to have forgotten something important. Sondra Bierre who forcefully commanded pricing at the plant sale (we FINALLY raised our prices) and devotedly makes seed saving happen. Kim Billingsley who facilitated our Visions Meetings and fed us, embroiders our Logo on our clothing, made Tomato Tasting a joyful event and is all around good folks. Dean and Pat Burnett - Dean for skillfully managing our membership database, Pat for seeming to be everywhere and both for having their home on tour this year. Janie and Roger Chapin for being their cheerful and positive selves. Mary Davis who, along with Lois, took over Hansen Park Roses on short notice. Sue Farr who has worn so many hats and is someone that can always be counted on to say yes to any request, and even at the low point when she had to move all the refreshment stuff to a new location for the December meeting - we laughed and said that we were willing volunteers but that moving all that stuff into the library was definitely getting old. Jim Farr who has made coffee for the meeting for several years - definitely below his skill level as a Master Gardener Thanks! Molly Fisher who runs our email list and gets out the newsletter every month and has done it for many years. Norma Foss who solved our very biggest problem and agreed to be our Treasurer - we are eternally grateful. Lee Giroux for letting us see her amazing garden on tour this year. Nancy Harrington for apprenticing herself to Bev and all her help on Publicity. Lori Martin and Trusted Sidekick Juan for being one of our President's next year in addition for coming early and staying late on every occasion. Tina Higashi for being our new VP of Meetings, a job she has held before, in addition to helping lead the Edible Gardening Group. Sharon Howard and Marcella Rodgers get a special nod as my right and left hands this year - doing the Visions Workshop and the Club Survey - They went above and beyond and did it excellently. Bev Howell who has stayed on as Publicity Person Extraordinaire. She is so good that she can't seem to resign. This year for sure. Tom and Karen Jefferson for raising the standard of excellence in everything they contribute to - We will be hard pressed to keep that standard going. Maudie Kuenning and Berneice Oakley heading up the 90 year old division of the club and showing all of us that gardening and service can keep us young. Nora Kvale who said yes to being an officer next year brave hearted indeed. Lynn and Bill MacFarland. Lynn has worn two hats this year Floral Design Leader and Consulting Webmistress thanks for your technical expertise and design skills. Daniel McCright like most of us past presidents keeps on giving - leading volunteers on two gardens helping choose our next presidents, and just generally saying yes. Betty Nostrand thanks for being President again, leading the Member's Tour and writing the newsletter since I can remember. How are we going to replace her next year? Jim O'Laughlin I call him our Alpha Gardener for lack of a better term and a wise council on all matters agricultural, bureaucratic, and visionary. Judy Person for her wonderful garden and decades of toil as our recording Secretary - she will be missed at our incredibly fun board meetings. Nile Runge for initiating videotaping our speakers and getting them on the website Muchas Gracias. Doris Ryon for coming out of retirement to head the Fourth Monday Lunch Bunch again when we were desperate - I love the lunch bunch and am very grateful it is continuing. Karen Sotto for saying yes to being an officer next year - and a familiar face at many club events. Jeri Stark has been interested and active at Board Meetings and Penny Pines - I appreciate her contributions and thanks a lot. Barbara Stott for being Barbara Stott - the club wouldn't be the club without her many contributions. Michelle and Bill Tallon for opening their home for our board meeting and hosting our Board Appreciation Dinner. Sandy Yamaoda for this year's Member Tour and sitting in my garden trying to remember the names of hundreds of plants

Oh I admit my complete feebleness at trying to adequately thank all of you - Fear of forgetting anyone made me procrastinate getting this done. I hope it was gushing enough - that was my intent. Now I can go play in the garden - the tomatoes are going to be red in a few weeks, the squash are looking healthy, and the peppers are pathetic. Well that's gardening in a nutshell - Hope that everything grows well for you and I'll see you all in September.

Tia Kay

(ed. Note: And a huge thank you to Tia for all her work and effort this year in leading our club!!)

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Misc. Items of Interest

...Some of you may remember the presentation about Food Security and Urban Agriculture that our own Debra Caldwell made to the EGG last June. She's happy to announce that in the Fall 2016 semester, at Chabot Community College in Hayward, she's offering two new courses in Agroecology (ENSC 15 and ENSC 15L). The 3 unit, online lecture course focuses on the science of growing food, the interactions of culture, human population growth, and major environmental challenges in the transition to sustainable agriculture and food systems. The lab, which can be taken concurrently, is for students who want to get their hands in the dirt and learn more practical aspects of growing food. Please contact Debra for more information.

...Let's Announce the Garden Club! Kim Billingsley is offering our daffodil logo in full color embroidered on your shirt, jacket, sweatshirt, for cost! Let's wear our garden club logo, at garden club events, around town, anywhere we go. You bring her your choice of clothing article. This 40% discount is for members only! A smaller logo for the chest is just $10 and the larger back logo is $15, for each one she does she will give $1 to the club. She is fitting these in between other jobs so expect a 2 week turn around. Get her your clothing item, and the appropriate payment (exact change please) and you can soon wear our garden club logo Loud and Proud! See the LAVGC Yearbook for Kim's contact information. (ed. Note: I have seen these and they are really colorful and pretty)

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

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June Jollies.................in the garden

...oh to be in California in June! Well, for the first time in about 15 years I am here for the summer and what an interesting garden time it is! Everything grows and blooms. Which is fun and wonderful but it means that the deadheading never seems to end. Heretofore I never cared if a plant bloomed during the summer or if it got deadheaded because I wasn't here. So many plants need the old blooms removed in order to encourage new blooms. If we have a hot spell it means that blooms will "go over" and look awful much sooner. Plants that bloom repeatedly often need food to keep them going. This is a good time to put more compost or fertilizer at the base of plants. The theory behind using compost - especially if it is made from your own garden - is that the plant will take what nutrients it needs from it.

...Valerian is at the end of its first bloom but if cut back, even to the ground, it will come bouncing back and bloom again. Feverfew is the same way. These plants will pop up all over the garden once you have them but they have cute flowers so I let them grow in all sorts of blank spots and just pull them where I don't want them - like when they start flopping over a walkway. You need to get at pulling the valerian early because it has a big, big tap root and that is why it needs so little water.

...note to self for next year: mark your iris while they are blooming. Although color and desirability seem so obvious while the blooms are out, once you cut them off they all look pretty much the same. Also mark them if you pull out one that is too near a walk so you know its color and whether it is an early or latish bloomer. After bloom (like now) is a good time to divide and move around iris. Just be sure you don't plant them too deep and that they will get a lot of sun to encourage bloom. They are very hardy plants and seem to survive even under very low water conditions.

...planting plants that attract beneficial insects will promote your garden in many ways and often take care of insects and things you don't want in the garden. Some ideas of plants that are attractive are dill, fennel, angelica, yarrow, asters, and coreopsis. There are many new varieties of old favorites that have new bloom colors and leaf shapes that are still lures to those good insects. Planting alyssum near roses will really help take care of any aphid problem as predators are lured in by the sweet smell and then notice the tasty aphids nearby.

...and speaking of messing around and making 'new' plants out of old favorites - have you seen the coleus plants lately. Not only are they gorgeous and unusual colors and leaf shapes they are much hardier than they used to be. They tolerate much more sun, can go drier and survive, and last through a dip in the weather.

...here are some tips from the Audubon society if you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden. Make the sugar water by combining 4 parts hot water to one part white sugar, boiled for one to two minutes. Never use honey, artificial sweeteners or food coloring. Clean hummingbird feeders with a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water once a week.

...Since I am around all summer I can finally grow vegetables. I bought two tomato plants at the plant sale and they have blooms on them. I am so excited. No baby fruit yet, but at least blooms! They look so innocent now but I know if they are successful I will be looking for tomato eaters by the end of summer. And hopefully some will be worthy of taking to the tomato tasting in Sept.! Up to this year I have been just a taster but this year I may even be a contributor. Be sure you have marked Saturday, Sept. 24, at Camp Arroyo, on your calendar so you won't miss this fun event in the fall. This is a great social occasion and everyone is welcome to participate whether you are a tomato grower or just want to see and taste what others have grown.

...do you like to decorate your cooking contributions with flowers? Here are some edible blooms: Rose of Sharon as soon as they open, remove pistil and stamen and use as bowls for cottage cheese or the petals raw in salads; Pineapple guava use the spicy sweet petals for tea sandwiches; lilac blossoms are a bit bitter but the purple or white ones look wonderful atop yogurt or in a salad; bee balm (monarda) are spicy and can be used as an oregano substitute, foliage is also tasty and can be used in dry rubs and as a marinade for meat and fish.

...you can add shredded paper to grass cuttings and other garden waste on the compost pile to maintain the carbon-nitrogen balance. Since I read that shredded paper is not recyclable in our garbage cans this is a good place for them when you finally get around to going through and downsizing your files.

...at the 4MLB talk, Jacquie Williams warned of keeping your citrus plants evenly moist in these hot/cold spells we've been having, especially if they are in the flower or tiny fruit stage as they will drop their flowers/fruit if they get too wet or too dry and then you just have a lovely green tree for the rest of the year.

...I am trying begonias again. Not the little edging ones but the huge, beautiful bloom ones. Since they are being a little looser with our water, I got some bulbs, planted them several weeks ago, and they are leafing out nicely. These plants like to be in morning sun but not afternoon shine and love our heat. They do take some water but I have mine in pots outside my back door so I can empty bits of leftover water in them to keep them happy.

...my garden has had to be pretty sturdy up to now with plants that survive 4 months on their own but this year I am taking a new look at annuals and things that are only meant to last a few months. So many wonderful color combinations you can do with both foliage and blooms and enjoy them in a pot or small garden area and then feel no guilt at yanking them out after they do their thing and replacing them with new seasonal plants. You can see which plants do well and which ones you really like and introduce them to a more permanent place in your garden. You can include those spreaders and thugs and keep them contained in the pot. Embrace plants that will croak at the first hint of frost and just enjoy them up to then. Later you can incorporate plants that can't stand our hot summers and let them shine on into the late Fall.

...getting stakes on plants before they really need it is always something to remember this time of year. My innocent tomato plants will need help soon and I need to get a cage or teepee of some sort on them before I have to work around those precious tiny fruit. When I prune my Rose of Sharon in early spring I always think I am going to weave the stems into darling mounds to grow perennials through but I have never actually carried through on that plan yet. Those stems are prefect because they stay flexible for a long time. Other plants, like grape vines, tend to firm up so you need to work with them when they are freshly cut. I also like the tall metal stakes with a loop on the end for lily blooms.

...the garden club goes on hiatus for the summer so there will be no regular meetings or newsletters in July and August. Lots more time to do work parties in your own garden! The New Board will be meeting to set plans and a budget for next year. We look forward to the coming year and seeing you at the Sept. meeting.

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