May 2019


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Well the very successful plant sale for 2019 is over. We were so fortunate to be able to collect everything in Robyn Gade's yard to layout, organize and price all the plants and Boutique items. We were very fortunate this year to have several people both members and those who were not members but were willing, before their moves to other areas, to give us many garden related items for the boutique area and even a few plants. We gained 20 new members during the sale. There was a great turn out of members, at least 70 signed in. The success this year should not keep someone from coming forward to lead the plant sale for 2020 thinking that they can't do as well another year, this was a very unusual one.

Fellow gardeners, I am interested in your experience on starting plants from seed this Spring. I used some brand new nine pack containers, new seedling soil, seed packaged for 2019. I watered the containers and placed them on a heating mat after sowing the seed. I made sure the soil was damp but I did not over water them. In one case I questioned if I had forgotten to plant the seed, not one plant came up. In another, one plant came up, in all-of the other containers the sprouting was very poor. I usually only place one seed per space but even where I put two it didn't seem to give better results. If you would like to share your experience or have any ideas about what I could have done better I would be interested in hearing from you.

Don't forget the Garden Share on Saturday, May 4, when you can see what other garden club members have done to their landscaping. You are welcome to bring a guest.

Happy Planting... Lois Barber, Co-President

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Misc. Items of Interest

... Hands-on Gardening Enthusiasts: A Bonsai Workshop will be presented by Chip Harder, founder and leader of the Valley Bonsai Society, at the Senior Center on Sunday May 5 at 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton. He will demonstrate techniques for creating a living sculpture from the ground up. Each student will take home their own bonsai in a pot. Cost is $50-- to pay for the plants, pots, wire, and special soil. Tools will be loaned to students who do not have their own. All levels are welcome. The three-hour workshop will occur in Room A, (just off the Senior Center Foyer) from 1-4 PM on Sunday May 5th. To register: Go to This workshop is part of the hands-on portion of "Treasures of Japan." Admission to "Treasures of Japan", to the exhibits, demonstrations, and activities-- is FREE. On May 4 and 5.

...Western Garden Nursery provided the April Plant of the Month which was won by Lori Martin.

...Member Alert: Please contact Molly Fisher if you have changes to your contact information.

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May the garden

...surely we will start having consistently warm days and a glorious time for our Garden Share on Saturday, May 4. Roses should be in bloom and plants still lush from our spring rains. Seeing what people have done in their gardens here in the Tri-Valley are such great ways to get ideas for your own garden. Tours that have gardens all over the Bay Area are really fun but so many nearby climates are so different from ours that many things that you see just aren't practical for here. Members say they never get enough time to socialize at the meetings and work parties so here is your chance to get better acquainted with other members or visit with friends you have known for years by ending up at the Dublin Heritage park about 4 PM. the weather gets consistently nicer it is tempting to go outside and just work and work and work in the garden. But don't forget to warm up, just as you should for any exercise. Walk around the garden and assess what needs to be done to loosen up your muscles. Don't forget to drink water while you are working. Also, try to change positions and jobs often - take a break to empty the cuttings basket, get another tool, anything to work different muscles for a few minutes. If you tend to work too long and not realize how sore you'll be the next day - set a timer for a couple hours (or however long you can comfortably work) and when it goes off - STOP. You'll be able to work more days in a row or even again the same day if you really take a break and rest up for a while. Maybe you could enter into your garden journal all you did that day - where you planted things, ideas for next year, weather, and what's in bloom. So many things to include in the journal while you sit and rest. is the time to think about a staking system for your plants that will get floppy later on this spring and summer. And it may be too late for some. Getting a frame or something in place before the plant grows and needs it will save you having to bend, twist, and likely break some stems getting it into the staking system after the plant has grown. Different plants do best with different types of stakes. I like the tall metal stakes with a circle on the top for lilies or single stem plants. Bushier plants do well with the large wide wire mesh circles that you put over the plant and let it grow right up into it. you go on the many garden tours that are offered this month, note what staking system they are using and what plants have the stakes - or maybe should have had. Also take note on plant combinations that you love, especially those that are blooming at the same time. You may see plant combinations in magazine photos but if they are growing in Ohio or some other place those same plants may not bloom at the same time in our area. I know from experience that great textural or color combinations between plants don't matter if they aren't blooming simultaneously.

...Also Note on those tours what plants are especially vigorous - perhaps too vigorous - and talk to the owner about their feelings about it. Gardeners usually love to talk about their gardens - so ask what their favorite plants are, where they shop for plants, what is new in the garden that year, what has taken more maintenance than they expected, what they wouldn't plant again and why, etc. Don't just look, really learn as you tour. It often helps to take notes too so you remember all the interesting information when you want to use it.

...with all the emphasis on encouraging pollinators in our gardens for our food crops, did you know that most double flowered plants are sterile because the anthers have become petals so be sure you have some single flowered plants in your garden with lots of pollen for those bees and other pollinators to roll around in and do their work.

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