March 2016


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

I LOVE early SPRING. Oh, who doesn't? Everything seems to be pushing out new growth. The Meyer Lemon got REALLY cut back and now it's putting out growth just where I want it to on the trellis. The bulbs are coming up and I have a huge collection of flowers in bud vases on the windowsill. Prunus bleariana made its usual appearance first in line this year and now almost all of the flowering trees are in bloom. It makes me feel like gardening again.

Thanks to everyone for the swift and easy vote last meeting. We are getting the hang of bureaucratic democracy. I love up and down votes. Now we have gotten our work done we can go back to having fun! I attended a brainstorming meeting at Kim Billingsley's this week and it was FUN to talk about impossible ideas and creative solutions to improving the club. We will be meeting again to flesh these ideas out and see what we can implement. This club is great because people are willing to give as well as take, all for the greater good.

A special shout out to Dolores Bengtson, Kim Billingsley, Lori Martin, Sue Farr and the Executive Board. All of you have done what you do for a long time and are especially appreciated by yours truly. As soon as I finish this letter and get it off to Betty I am free to go outside. Let's see - I am planting a Concord grape and filling window boxes with shade perennials and ferns and planting some bare root asparagus. The asparagus I planted last year is almost ready to eat, along with greens and baby leeks. The thing about loving what you do is that you may be insanely busy at times, but you don't regret anything. Hope to see you at the March meeting.

yer President and Chief Bureaucrat, Tia

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Misc. Items of Interest

...The Alameda County Master Gardeners will be offering a Garden Talk on Mulch-It does a garden good! Pros and Cons of different types of mulch. The talk will be on Saturday, March 12 from 10-11 am at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in front of the Agriculture Building in the Martinelli Center, 3575 Greenville Rd., Livermore. Rain cancels the talk, but keep praying for it.

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

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

...San Jose Cactus and Succulent Society Annual Show and Sale, Peterson Middle School, 1380 Rosalia Ave., Sunnyvale, CA. , April 2 and 3, 10 am to 5 pm.

...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. Please see the LAVGC Yearbook for Nile's contact information. This video 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. This is about the biggest display of gardens, vendors, and seminars in the Bay Area each year. Not to be missed! Visit their website for details on speakers and seminars.

...Jean Felton is looking for one or two gardeners to work on her flower beds once a week. She lives just outside the southwest city limits of Pleasanton in a rural area. If you are interested, or know someone who is, Please see the LAVGC Yearbook for Jean's contact information.

...The Diablo Foothills District is chartering a bus to go to the Bouquet to Arts celebration at the DeYoung museum in SF on April 6, 2016, and would arrange for one to leave from Pleasanton if there were 20 or more people interested in going. Cost is about $75 ($50 if museum member) - please contact Mona Dunlop by March 15 if you are interested.

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March the garden

...Probably the big item to do this month is to keep on top of the weeds. At least it is in my garden. We love the rains but so do they! Perfect to get out a day or so after the rain when the soil is still damp and they are so much easier to pull and get the root part so you aren't just mowing them down like a lawn and they will grow back. If you notice weeds are just breaking off, time to use a weeder or hori hori knife to dig down beside the stem and get as much of the root out as you can. If you have the little grass starts or other think tiny weeds they are deterred if you can just slice below the soil level. Way too tedious for me to pull each stem. Try not to dig up the soil too much because then you are just exposing more seed to germinate for more weeds. Obviously getting the weeds before they set seeds is really key. I have noticed that if you see one big weed (sorry I don't know their names) you will probably find another one very near it. And they love to get in on top of the plants that you want so you need to be precise in pulling them out and not take out the good with the bad. There are some 'weeds' that are really native plants like what I call "baby blue eyes" - such sweet light blue tiny flowers, but technically on most people's weed list. And I love nigella and alyssum - also on many people's weed list.

...hopefully you planted some bulbs last fall or winter or at least by Jan. Mine are about to bloom and the hyacinths have been out a while and the paperwhites are done. When all the blooms on all the bulbs are done you are supposed to leave the foliage there until it turns yellow and is easy to pull off. This is assuming they are in the ground. Most tulips won't repeat bloom (and we don't grow them for the foliage) no matter where they are. But I do take any paperwhites, daffodils, narcissus and hyacinths that have been in pots or forced inside and plant them outside in a spring bare spot after they bloom. After they bloom is the time that all bulbs are taking up nutrients for next year's blooms so you want to get them in the ground while their foliage is still green and taking up nutrients. And for those in the ground already this is when to feed them so they make wonderful blooms for next year. Then you have to wait and wait until the leaves turn yellow to get rid of that nasty, cumbersome foliage. I did read once that after 3 weeks they have done whatever they are going to do feeding-wise so you can cut them off or tie them up or whatever so they aren't so unsightly or in the way. Seems like paperwhite and other narcissus foliage is the first to come out and the last to leave and they are very long and floppy so mine are perfectly happy to be cut off after 3 weeks -if I can remember when the 3 weeks after bloom is up!

...If you have tropical plants: Water plumerias, Hawaiian lei plants, now. After a week feed with balanced fertilizer. If branches are at least 8 inches long and rather fat, feed with high phosphate to encourage bloom. Epiphyllum and orchid cactus should be watered now and also fed with high phosphate fertilizer. This assumes you have withheld much water from both kinds of plants all winter. Wise advice from Elizabeth Judge.

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