October 2019


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

What a great celebration on September 12, honoring our 35th year as a club. We had a full house with many new members and guests wanting to share in the fun. The presentation prepared by Dolores Bengtson, Betty Nostrand, and Beth Clark was a masterpiece that reminded long time members of the many activities that have occurred through the years, and a special bonus was the information our new members learned about our many programs. I have received cards of thanks from some of our special guests and from new members as well.

My thought is to use some of the props prepared for the anniversary in our display at MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR PLEASANTON FESTIVAL on January 18, 2020, and our display at the Pleasanton Library in March. These are two events/projects that take little time but present our club to the community and give them an idea of some of the ways our members help our community. If you would like to help, please sign up at our meeting in October or give me email me at

At one of our planning meetings this summer, many ideas were exchanged, and I am trying to ensure that they are not forgotten in our busy times. One such thought was that many times our members have needs or items to get sold or donated. If you have garden related items that you want to sell or give to someone to reuse, you are welcome to submit a request to go in our new section, GARDEN CLUB WANT ADS. You can also put in a request for recommendations on gardeners, landscapers, helpers, etc. What better place to look for help then among your fellow gardeners? We try to limit the mail that goes out to our members and so it has been difficult to communicate such a need, now we have a way to include the requests in our regular newsletter.

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall weather; a bit of rain, a bit of warm, and cooler nights allowing for a good rest. With these changes I have seen many announcements of harvest type festivals and magazines arriving that contain recipes using our fall veggies and fruits. Squash soup with apple cobbler for dessert sounds like a plan.

Looking forward to seeing you in October. Jeri Stark, President

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Misc. Items of Interest

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

...Yearbooks Available at Oct. Meeting - Yearbooks will be available at the October LAVGC meeting. Members are encouraged to take their own Yearbook and, should they have a member friend or neighbor who cannot attend, take their Yearbook for them. Postage is expensive; we hope most of the Yearbooks can be distributed at the meeting.

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October obligations.................in the garden

...It is officially now fall and the trees are starting to get the message and shed their leaves. Not my favorite aspect of fall. But it is an excellent time to plant and renew gardens and get plant roots well on their way before winter sets in and plants go a bit neutral. By next spring they will be ready to burst forth with growth. If you are planning on adding new trees for fall color, this is a great time to go to the nursery and actually see what color they turn. Not all trees, even of the same variety, turn the same colors in the fall. I think this is especially true of Japanese maples.

We learned a lot about Pollinators at the Heirloom Festival in Santa Rosa last month. (Sorry, I kept calling it the Heritage Festival at the meeting) One thing that was stressed was that pollinating bees need blooming plants all year, so be sure you have some plants that will carry on and bloom during the coming months. Lots of annuals do this.

We also learned a lot about bees. There are honey bees and these are "managed" and mostly live in boxes and are often taken to the plants that need to be pollinated, especially fruit and nut trees. These bees are very efficient in their pollinating and get the pollen on their back legs and then deposit it on the next flower they visit. And then there are the native bees - over 1600 kinds of them just in our area - and they are not so careful and tend to get pollen all over their tummies and deposit wherever they go next. But they are really good pollinators too and need to be encouraged to come around our gardens. They can live in the bee boxes that you see in stores (or can make yourself but be sure to drill the holes deep enough - large bees can need up to 6 inches deep!). Since there are so many kinds of these bees you also need to have a variety of hole sizes as they are quite particular on where they nest and know the right size. Most of the native bees do not make honey and live for about 6 weeks.

If you've started your compost pile, be sure to add some green material to all the brown leaves so that it keeps composting. If you still have lawn and don't drop the cuttings behind the lawn mower, grass clippings are an excellent source of nitrogen for the pile. Kitchen waste is also good for nitrogen. Add water now and then too to keep the process moving along.

Now is a great time to scatter wildflower seeds and to plant sweet peas. I find sweet peas do best in an area that you haven't grown them before. They seem to take some nutrient out of the soil so that the next year they don't do as well. Give that area a couple years rest and the plant again.

This is a good time to start dividing perennials, especially if you want to spread them out for a repeat design in your garden. Get them replanted while the soil is still warm and the roots can get growing a bit before the winter. And of course you can pot up the rest of the divisions for our plant sale next April. Many perennials tend to get an old woody part in the center and really love to be divided every few years. If the whole clump comes out you can just divide it into parts with your soil knife or other knife being sure that you have a couple of strong shoots or eyes on each part.

When it starts to rain (and who knows when that will be but let's hope it does) be sure to check your Mediterranean plants that they are not in a low spot where water will sit and rot their roots. Any succulents or cactus that are particularly sensitive to too much water you can move under eaves or places where the rain doesn't hit so much.

As you work around your garden and notice some garden ornament or statue that you are really quite sick of, why not list it next month in our new Want Ads column. Your 'old thing' might be someone's new treasure!

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