March 2020


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter


Looks like we are getting some early spring, but still hoping for more rain, perhaps not as much as Great Britain or the southern United States, but some more before we settle into real spring.

It has been good fun to welcome so many visitors to our meetings this year and much of it is due to the great programs the program committee has put together and of course the great articles appearing in the Independent and the Pleasanton Weekly. Make sure that when you see someone at our meeting with a handwritten badge you take time to say hello and welcome them.

We will be holding a board meeting on March 5 at the Livermore Library board room starting at 6:45 pm. You do not need to be a board member to attend the meeting and we welcome ideas and thoughts from members, whether they attend or not. If you are unable to attend and wish to have something brought before the board, send me a message at Jeri Stark.

I hope you have started your spring cleaning not only in your home but in your yard. If you have garden related items that no longer fit in your yard or home, put them aside and donate them to our plant sale and boutique scheduled for April 4. It is also time to start any seedlings so that they have time to build a good root system before you bring them for the sale. If you are not great at starting items from seeds, it is perfectly alright to pick up a couple six packs at one of the local nurseries and transplant them to 4 inch pots and give them love for a few weeks and they will be ready for the sale.

As a member of our club you can read the newsletters of our regional, state, and national clubs. They contain a lot of good information and do a good job of sending out information valuable to all types of gardeners. You can go online directly, or you can read the newsletters posted on our own website.

Best wishes for a great spring and hope to see you at our next meeting. Jeri Stark, President

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Misc. Items of Interest

...Jim Kane, an early club member and long-time coordinator of Pleasanton Gardens work parties, passed away in Feb. A Penny Pines Plantation has been donated in his honor.

...If you missed one of the talks at our regular meeting, look on the website - - to see them there - thanks to Nile Runge for recording and posting the video.

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

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March the garden

...A dry February makes us wonder what is coming next, weather-wise. The 'normal' last frost date is March 15 so there might be some cold nights ahead. Let's just hope they are cold, wet nights. Any watering system is probably turned on by now but in case we have a wet March or April, be sure to monitor whether it needs to remain on or could be turned off for a couple weeks. Let's hope the latter!

...Hellebores are looking good right now. If you have spent, dead leaves, be sure to remove them. These are fun plants, like the shade, and tend to bloom very early in the year when not much is out yet.

...Many spring bulbs like daffodils and narcissus will be fading now. I just read that you should remove the daffodil bloom head but leave the stem for added nutrition channels to set the plant up for stronger blooms next year. If you had daffodils that didn't bloom well this year it could be because they are not getting enough sun. Or it could be if they have been in the same spot for several years it is time to dig them up and divide them.

...Feed, feed, feed! Time to give your plants food to enable the spring growth. Many rosarians use Dave's formula on their roses - oops, I can't find it right now, but Alden Lane puts it in their newsletter each year.

...Camellias are blooming now but be sure to pick up the fallen blossoms as they can carry blight into the soil. After the bloom is all gone you can feed the plants so they store up lots of energy for next year's bloom. They are sort of acid loving plants so they enjoy coffee grounds as mulch now and then or some vinegar in the water when you irrigate.

...Try to keep ahead of weeds so they don't rob the plants you want of precious water. Especially get any weed before it goes to seed to prevent more weeds all spring and summer.

...You can pretty well prune all tender summer blooming plants after mid-month because we shouldn't have any frost to 'burn' the new growth. If you have fuchsias, they should be pruned back hard by now so that they will branch and bloom on the new tips.

...If your spring blooming plants have already bloomed (some plants are as confused by the weather as we are) this is a good time to shape and prune them so they have a long time to set up blooms for next year. Take out all dead or diseased branches or stems, and cut off any crossing stems. You want to open up the plant so air can circulate. Be sure your clippers are sharp so they cut cleanly and don't tear the stem tissue. Cut just above a bud or shoot. Have the bud facing out and not toward the center of the plant. Water well after you prune. Plant should not be bone dry when you start either.

...With the soil warming up it is a great time to plant! Fill in those bare spots. Our plant sale is early in April so you might want to make a list of desired plants and shop the sale to fill in areas.

...When digging a hole for the new plant, fill it with water and be sure it drains quickly. If it doesn't, dig deeper beyond the hard pan or maybe change what plant you were going to put there. Most natives and Mediterranean plants do not like to sit in water for any length of time. You can also mound the soil, using well-draining soil in the mound so that any water drains away from the roots.

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