January 2018


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Happy New Year Everyone. Are you concerned? I am. I wonder if we are in for another year of drought. No rain in sight as I write this. I have turned the sprinklers back on, added some extra mulch and I am glad that the weather is cool. A new year and more new gardening catalogues than I know what to do with. Some have already gone to recycle as I don't want plants from far away climate zones. Many-years ago I had my first experience with sterile plants. I had admired some marigolds planted in planter boxes in front of the old K-Mart store in Livermore. When I planted seed from those plants nothing came up. Now, it seems, sterile plants are becoming a problem for bees, butterflies and other organisms. After reading some information in a recent gardening magazine I talked with an employee at Alden Lane Nursery. I ask if they knew which plants they sold were sterile. The answer was that they do not. I think that we need to be observant of the things we plant to see if the pollinators are obtaining the pollen and nectar they need.

Lois Barber - co-president

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Misc. Items of Interest

...Corresponding Secretary Needs Your Input - Nora Kvale, LAVGC's Corresponding Secretary, stands ready and available to send cards on behalf of the Club to members who are sick, recovering from surgery, etc., or who are experiencing the loss of a loved one. However, since she doesn't know all club members, she depends on each of you to let her know when a card would be appreciated. Please let Nora know if you are aware of anyone we might wish to send our collective words of cheer or sympathy.

...California Rare Fruit Growers Scion Exchanges - The California Rare Fruit Growers Scion Exchanges site gives all the information about the upcoming scion exchanges for the California Rare Fruit Growers in January. Any questions, email Graham Stott.

...If you are getting your newsletter by snail mail and would like to receive it by email (or vice versa), please contact Molly Fisher. See the LAVGC Yearbook for additional contact information. If you do not receive your newsletter near the first of each month, you can inform her of that also to be sure your name is on the list.

...new members, who have joined since the Yearbook was printed, are listed on the Members Only page of our website LAVGC.org. Members may email the Co-Presidents to obtain the Id and password. Each month we will post names and information about new members at that location. Lots of wonderful information on the website, including an amazing Resource page and pictures from garden club events.

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January Jaunts.................in the garden

...the New Year begins without much dampness (or at least as I write this) so be sure you are getting some moisture on your garden - obviously not as much as during warmer times, but, especially before predicted frost and freezes, plants will do better if they are in moist soil. And if your plants do get frost bit, don't prune until all threat of frost is over (about March 15 is the usual timeline) so that the burned bits can protect the plant through future freezes. Many tender plants, like coleus, will just collapse so you can remove those, they aren't coming back no matter the calendar.

...if you are the type to make resolutions, maybe this year it should be to keep a garden journal and to make a monthly calendar of what needs to be pruned, fed, staked, etc. during what month through the year so you will know for next year. You can also note when plants bloom or when they get fruit or when they lose their leaves, etc. so that you can be aware next year of what is coming and what to expect. Maybe a garden maintenance plan is a better term for it. During the winter and somewhat slower gardening months is a great time to assess your garden and create a monthly or seasonal caring plan. Be sure to include when you check your irrigation system and when you should best put mulch and on which beds, and when various plants should be pruned or cut way back. If there are plants you want to move, and this is not a good time, note down and remind yourself when you should get at making the changes.

...in my garden now is the time I start really cleaning out the beds because fall has pretty well fallen and they won't get clogged with further leaf fall. Some areas I leave the leaf mulch, particularly if they are small leaves and will compost easily. In other areas where there are big leaves or ones that hardly ever compost (like magnolia leaves) I clear them out so moisture can get to the soil and snails and slugs can't hibernate underneath them. And I have to remind myself every year to clean top to bottom and back to front of the beds so I am not re-cleaning the same bed areas again and again.

...now is the time to get at the rose pruning. If you are not quite sure about how to prune, you can join in the Hansen Park work party on the 13th and you will observe and do 'hands on' pruning. One of the great things about our climate is that roses are quite forgiving and will burst forth in bloom this spring almost no matter what you do. There are various philosophies of rose pruning and no one would do the same plant in quite the same way. The best practice for disease control and overall good, fresh appearance in the spring is to remove all the current leaves. A tedious process, but rewarding when all the foliage is fresh and unmarked in the spring.

...and of course if you have not planted the spring tulip and/or daffodil bulbs yet, really hop to it. They definitely won't bloom in the bag or box and they will surprise you with blooms if they are put in a pot or the ground, even this late. Be sure to keep them moist after planting, and know that most tulips are a one year deal so often best put in pots to distribute throughout the garden when they bloom. Adding bone meal to the planting mix is just asking for squirrels and rodents to dig them up. Daffodil bulbs are poisonous to animals so they usually leave them alone.

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