February 2020


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Happy New Year and good wishes for a new decade. It is already halfway through the month as I write this, and it is amazing how time flies by. Yesterday I attended Pleasanton's Make A Difference Day at the Pleasanton Senior Center. I was there early, and it was busy, and I hope that it continued as the day went on because the new location gave the agencies much more space. Beth Clark and Dolores Bengston worked to put together the components that made a great looking display that included a new cloth to be used when we need to set up a table. I hope you had a chance to visit.

We are working on a date for a board meeting and I repeat my request from last month, that you forward to me any items or ideas you think should be brought to our attention and considered by the board.

By the time you receive this newsletter our annual plant sale will only be two months away. Start looking through your unused garden and home items that you no longer need and consider donating them to our boutique area at the sale. This is a very popular booth at the sale and a good way for you to do the cleaning out you have been meaning to tackle. It would be best if you are able to bring your items early that morning before the sale starts so that items do not need to be handled multiple times. If that is not possible, a location will be designated where items can be dropped off in the week leading up to the sale. Look for directions in the plant sale section of this newsletter. Questions?? Email Jeri Stark, President. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Jeri's additional contact information.

Also, now is the time to check your yard for any possible transplanting that can be done to provide plants for the sale. When doing this try to mark with name and color so that the buyer can find items that will work well in their yard. If you have not already done so, it is also almost past time to get seeds and or seedlings started in four-inch pots for the sale. Pots will be available outside the doors at our meeting in February.

Happy planting and see you at our February meeting. Jeri Stark, President 2019/2020

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Misc. Items of Interest

...Lost and Found - Black seat pad left at January meeting. Jeri Stark will bring it to February meeting. Are you missing a dolly? Jeri Stark has two that are the same and the only place she could have taken it thinking it was hers was at one of our meetings. If you are missing one, email Jeri Stark and she will bring it to the February meeting. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Jeri's additional contact information.

...if you missed one of the talks at our regular meeting, members can see the video of the talk on the club website Members Only section "LAVGC Speakers: past and future" link. Most of our recent club meeting talks are on view there. Select videos are also available to the public. See the "LAVGC Speakers: past and future" link on the Home page. Thanks to Nile Runge for recording and Len Smith for posting.

...Member Alert: if you have changes to your contact information, please email Molly Fisher. See the LAVGC Yearbook for Molly's additional contact information.

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February Follies.................in the garden

...This year is almost 1/12th over! If you didn't quite get those resolutions made yet I have another idea. Make a resolution for each month. Like January might be to get the roses pruned (if that is it, better hurry because the month is almost gone!) Each month you can focus on that resolution. Be sure it is something appropriate for that time of year. February might be for cutting back and dividing perennials. (Be sure to pot up a few of the divisions for the plant sale so they have a nice start on strong roots.) Or if the term Resolution is too threatening, how about Garden Goals? Or they could be more general like plant something new, or add natives to the garden. Maybe go on a tour - either with the club or on your own. Relax in the garden with friends - great for the summer, or maybe the spring if that is the time your garden looks most spectacular. Read a book about gardening or start a journal, or even document your garden in photos.

..this is a good time of year to be planting so that they are ready to start rooting and growing as soon as the soil warms up. Surely it is going to warm up sometime soon. Think about some flowers or foliage of a contrasting color to what is already there. If you have yellow or pink roses, how about blue or lavender flowers. Magenta foliage looks great with yellow flowers too.

..Think about planting milkweed plants for the Monarch butterflies. They need all the help they can get because their numbers and feeding grounds are being taken over by development. Our local nurseries sell the proper milkweed variety for this area. They don't require a lot of care so you can put them in a corner or area that you need to fill in. Just remember that in all cases where you are trying to attract butterflies that you will also get caterpillars because that is where they come from! When pruning and cleaning, look for the chrysalises (odd shaped cocoon like things) and don't throw them away with the cuttings.

..so many insects are such helpers in the garden. I was just reading about hover flies or flower flies. They not only help to pollinate plants, they also lay their grubs where they think aphids will be because that is what the grubs eat when they emerge! If you look very closely at the aphids on your roses, you may see them being devoured by the hover fly grubs. Hover fly's favorite plants are; Aster, Milkweed, roses, and sweet alyssum. Also, know how to tell the difference between flies and bees or wasps? Flies have two wings while bees and wasps have four. Also wasps have a cinched in waist. Bees are hairy (all the better to pollinate with, my dear), but flower flies are shiny (and look more like a wasp to me but they don't have a cinched in waist). I know some of you don't like to get close enough to flying insects to tell the difference, but, really, more of them are doing good than harm.

..this is an excellent time to start a garden Journal (or add to if you have started one before). Maybe that's a good garden goal for this month. Note what you are putting in the garden so you can tell how long it took to sprout or bloom or produce edible parts. From year to year you can see if things are starting to bloom at the same time and be your own documenting of climate change. There are many formats online for journals and that is handy if you have a tablet or something you can have out in the garden with you or if you can remember everything until you get back in the house and cleaned up to add it in. I have lived in my house for 50 years and my journals definitely run in fits and spurts but it is fun to see what happened eons ago and also what plants are still here and performing just fine. And those I forgot all about planting and wonder what happened to them!

...cut grasses and perennials way, way back before the new growth starts to emerge and it will be so much easier! You can cut back hibiscus, geraniums, fuchsia, and lantana and almost all winter tender plants. We will undoubtedly get more frost and maybe some freezes still so wait until the end of the month if chilly days and nights continue. If freeze is predicted, be sure all plants but succulents are watered well!

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