October 2016


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Wow! A lot going on (as usual) with our club! Hopefully some activity for everyone and the nice part is that you can do as little or as much as you like. Our presence will be felt in the broader community through our participation in the Sunol Ag Festival and hosting the Diablo Foothills District luncheon. Both of these activities require volunteer help on our part so we hope you'll join in on the fun.

We did well on our 'going green' effort last month at our meeting and hope you'll continue to use the proper cans provided this month. Having the agenda on the screen helped with clean up too.

As summer winds down a bit, take time to get out and enjoy your garden. Maybe plant some new herbs from our speaker this month.

Betty Nostrand - Co-President

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Misc. Items of Interest

...Please pick up your copy of the Yearbook at the meeting. Each Yearbook will have a name on it so be sure you get yours. Please pick up neighbors or other members that you know can't come to the meetings so we do not have to mail any of them out. Expensive - $1.36 each! If you know you aren't going to be at the meeting, please ask someone to pick up your copy. Thanks again to Den and Molly Fisher for doing such a fabulous job in putting together the Yearbooks.

...don't forget to check on the website - www.LAVGC.org - for the latest information on activities and pictures. We also now have a Member's Only page that contains the roster and videos of recent speakers at our regular club meetings. Members may email the Co-Presidents to obtain the Id and password.

...Garden Maintenance for Wildlife Benefit - Birds and other wildlife benefit from spent flowers and seed heads. This workshop will be presented on Sat., Oct., 8, 2016 at 11AM at the Livermore Demonstration Garden in the Martinelli Center, 3575 Greenville Rd., Livermore.

...Long time garden club member available for house/plant/pet sitting. Lots of experience and references. Available for 2-3 weeks at a time. Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton areas. Would stay overnight. Reasonable rate. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Olivia Cox's contact 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! You bring her your choice of clothing article. A smaller logo for the chest is just $10 and the larger back logo is $15. 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.

...Looking for Garden Angels - Periodically club members need some help in their gardens due to illness. If you would like to be on the Angel call list for a workparty, contact Peggy Despotakis. See the LAVGC Yearbook for additional contact information. If you know someone in the club who is ill or recovering from surgery or chemo or such and would like some help in their garden, please let Peggy know so she can organize a workparty.

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October occasions.................in the garden

...Fall is officially here and of course around here this is known as the 'second spring' and an excellent time to be planting and dividing in the garden. The soil should be cooling down so roots can get adjusted more easily to their new home.

...lots of Horticultural organizations and most nurseries will be having plant sales this month because it is such a great time to be planting and adding new treasures to your garden. Just remember if you go to a sale that is not in our valley that their climate can be quite different from ours- usually not as hot in the summer and warmer in the winter. Many areas near the bay or ocean get quite a bit of moisture in the air and more humidity than we do around here. If you go to a sale, take along a Sunset garden book or other reference volume to double check on how hardy or tender the plant may be. What can survive the lowest temperatures in Berkeley, San Jose, or on the Peninsula may croak in our Dec/Jan. dips. Also it is good to take boxes or even a wagon or cart so you can gather more things to purchase and not have to carry them or run back and forth to a holding area. Local nurseries will also have sales to lower their inventory so they don't have to tend them over the winter so you can pick up good bargains on plants that you know will revive and thrive come next spring but look a bit weary now.

...speaking of local nurseries, we want to thank again Alden Lane Nursery and Western Garden Nursery which alternate in donating a wonderful plant or plants each month for our end of the meeting drawing. For the first time ever I won the plants last time and am enjoying the gorgeous additions to my garden that were donated by Alden Lane. Be sure to turn in the right half of your sign-up sheet (even if you can't sign up for anything that month) so your name might be drawn to win next month's plant.

...before you rip out all the old plants that have bloomed and gone to seed, remember both our seed sharing project and also the birds and animals that love to nibble on the spent blooms and seeds. If you don't know how to collect the seeds, try to make it to one of the seed sharing workshops and ask about your specific plant. Probably someone there can tell you exactly how to do it. Save your summer heirloom seeds of tomatoes, peppers, basil, beans, sunflowers, cosmos, and other hardy reseeding varieties. SeedShare wants them.

...remember as the soil and air cools down that your plants won't need as much water because the soil should be holding more moisture and not drying out as fast. Hopefully we will get a good rain in October and that will really soak the soil and you can adjust your irrigation systems accordingly.

...this is the time of the year to think bulbs. Probably you have already ordered yours from a catalog or gotten to the nursery so you can have the best choice of variety and color. Daffodils really do the best around here and tend to repeat but most tulips don't get enough cold time to flower well year after year (and most people don't grow tulips for the foliage) so consider them more of an annual and put them in groups and pots where they will shine this spring and then be done. The easiest time to plant bulbs, particularly in the ground, is after a good soaking rain. You really should have the bulbs in - rain or no rain - by the end of Nov. for sure but please plant them sometime as they definitely won't bloom in the bag. If you are chilling your tulips in the refrigerator, be sure there are no apples in there as the gas from the apples stifles the blooms on the tulips. And I learned the hard way that the freezer is not the way to get the tulips colder faster. They just freeze and turn to mush. You only do that once.

...daffodils are poisonous to animals so they usually leave them alone but tulips can be like candy so protect them with mesh cages if you tend to have gophers. Bone meal is another attractant to animals so best not to put that in the holes, even though many books tell you to do this. Bulbs actually have the blooms already in them for next spring so the time they really need fertilizer is after they bloom to prepare them for the following year. The key thing is to keep them watered over the winter if we have a dry winter again. Drying out is what will ruin their ability to grow and bloom.

...pansies and violas should be coming into the nurseries soon, if they haven't already, and they are great to plant beneath bulbs, especially if you are planting in pots because they should bloom all winter and be a great foil for the bulb blooms in the spring. Pansies just love to be deadheaded and the more you do it, the more blooms they will produce.

...Fall is a great time to add compost to your beds so that the rain (yes, let's think rain this fall and winter) will water in the nutrients to your soil. If you are making your own compost from your garden and kitchen cuttings, you will be returning to the plants all the nutrients that the plants took out of the soil. If you want to purchase compost and or fertilizer and wonder what those three numbers mean, the N is nitrogen and is good for the plant parts that are above the ground, the P is for Potash and is feeding the parts of the plant below the ground, the K is potassium and it is an all-around nutrient. So think of the three numbers as up, down, and all around.

...this is a great time to divide crowded perennials. You can dig them up in a clump and break it apart to make several plants. Replant a few in the same spot but a ways apart after adding lots of compost to the hole, and then pot up a few to have for our plant sale or give to friends. If we get a hot spell (and we have been known to have that in Oct.) be sure to protect and shade the new divided plants. Really soaking the planting area will also help them to adjust to their new home. Your plan should be to get their roots started growing again in the warm soil before it cools down so much plants go into neutral growth.

...this is a great time to start on landscaping projects, especially if they include hardscaping and irrigation systems, so that you can have them either done early enough to plant this fall or be really ready to plant in early spring. If you do have a big project planned, you might want to show it off next spring at our member garden tour. We will be seeking gardens in Pleasanton and Dublin this year, probably in late April, to share for members to enjoy.

...if you're thinking of adding trees to your garden with fall color, this is a great time to go to the nurseries and see the trees in their fall coats. Look around neighborhoods and gardens in your area at trees and large shrubs that are thriving, find out their names if you don't know them, and ask for them at the nurseries. You might also want to talk to the homeowners to see if the trees have any bad habits, along with their fall color, like invasive roots, prone to some disease, or other nasty habits not visible in their fall finery.

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