October 2021


News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Molly Fisher, Publisher

President's Letter

Greetings LAVGC members

I hope you were able to attend our September meeting with speaker Suzanne Bontempo speaking on using water wisely during the drought. With the number of questions presented to her, it was very well received.

A big thank you to all who participated in our Home and Garden sale held on August 27 & 28. We were able to raise $1,854 and sell the many items donated to the sale. Reading the news from other clubs in the area many are using new methods to raise funds for their clubs during this long-lasting pandemic. I just received a message from the Clayton Valley Club that they are holding a virtual sale with a catalog of the items they have for sale. Very impressive.

We lost a member in July with the passing of Karl Pemper, husband of Eleanor. We will be purchasing a Penny Pines plantation in his memory.

We approved the 2021/2022 budget on September 9. We also announced we will be holding Zoom meetings until early spring and looking for a new location to hold in person meetings as the requirements currently in place at Alisal School are too laborious. If you have any suggestions, send me a note. In another part of this newsletter find information on the newest State project. Very interesting and close to home. Also a reminder of all the great information found on the state and national websites and newsletters. We do post the newsletters on our web site as well.

Take care, stay healthy, and good gardening. Jeri Stark, President

Back to top

Misc. Items of Interest

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

...Yearbooks not Available for 2021-2022 yet - Please keep your LAVGC Yearbook for 2019-2020 updated with the Roster found in the Members Only section.

Back to top

October Onslaught.................in the garden

(Editor's note: I am including a garden notes article I wrote for the garden club newsletter in 2011 - ten years ago! Funny thing, most of it is still applicable. Must admit I added it because I ended up with an uneven number of pages and, heaven forbid, that we have a blank page in the snail mailed newsletters.)

... spring bulbs are coming into the nurseries now. Buy early for the best choice and also to be pretty sure that they are the color the bin says. Look for early blooming or mid-spring blooming tulips since our late spring is usually too hot for the blooms to last very long. Big, showy Tulips are mostly an annual around here but some smaller ones will come back year after year if they are dry during the summer. After a good rain it is easier to dig in the bulbs out in the soil but if planting in pots just about anytime after mid/late October is fine. Use any potting soil and top off with pansies or parsley for a finished look when the bulbs bloom. Just be sure they are kept moist after they start to grow in case our winter rains are few and far between. Squirrels and other little furry things love the tulip and other bulbs so cover the pots with chicken wire or mesh until they are up and growing. It makes me so mad when they knock over and dig up the bulbs looking for who-knows-what in the pot and break off the growing tip in the process.

...looking for Native Plant nurseries in this area? Go to find a nursery and it will list quite a number of them in northern Calif. The ones I have been to are quite an experience in themselves and worth the trip to see them and the unusual plants they have to offer.

...if you are new to this area or new to being serious about gardening you may not realize that this is about the very best time to plant! The soil is still warm (although you might want to wait until after our 90+ days) so that the plants can get their roots a bit established, the fall rains will keep them watered, and our winters are not usually cold enough to kill them (famous last words in the changing weather patterns we have had lately). Then next Spring they have a head start on growing and blooming. Nurseries are clearing out their inventory so they don't have to maintain the plants over the winter so you can get lots of bargains too.

...more and more studies are showing that we gardeners just love to keep ourselves busy unnecessarily We till and turn over the soil to plant and expose weed seeds to germinate, clean out our beds in Spring and Fall, fertilize, and then put down mulch that we have purchased. If we were more patient Mother Nature would do the same thing without any of our interference. Sort of as a middle ground you can use the compost that you made from the clippings and cleanings of your garden and return the ingredients and nutrients to the soil. This year I am just moving the mulch from my deodar cedars (very, very prolific and acidic, but small size pieces so they look pretty tidy) over to other garden beds in my garden that would probably enjoy the acidic counterpoint to our alkaline water. Aesthetics comes in here for most of us and we can't stand to see the 'litter' that has fallen from plants we have pruned and deadheaded or from annuals when they expire nor do we have enough patience to allow nature to turn it into 'black gold' mulch in situ.

...this is the time to plant sweet pea seeds. Just be sure to protect the new sprouts that appear with mesh or reemay cloth because the tender sprouts are a bird's most delightful snack and you will probably be blaming the snails (who will also enjoy the sprouts at night if the birds don't get them during the day.)

...if the rains seem to be starting in a regular pattern (and every year seems to be different) you can scatter wildflower and poppy seeds. Once they germinate they need to be kept sort of moist to survive so if you don't want to water them, wait a while until the weather cools and rains are closer together. These tiny starts are a treat for birds too - but didn't you want to attract wildlife to your garden?

...I notice Jacquie Courtwright in her Q and A column in her weekly e-newsletter from Alden Lane says that the new hydrangeas will grow on both old and new growth so you only tip back the flower heads about 6 inches. And if the plant is getting way too big, cut down every other stem to keep it the size you want. If you don't get her weekly newsletter and have access to e-mail it is a fun thing to sign up for and full of local gardening information. There are always huge events and classes going on at the nursery. Western Garden nursery in Pleasanton also has lots of classes. Both nurseries are very good to us and provide the plants for the drawing at the end of our monthly meetings.

...do you have tons of spiders in your garden lately? Just remember they are good! They are eating mites and tiny things and the birds are feasting on the spiders. They'll go away when the rains start and it gets colder. (We were so hopeful that rains were going to start that fall. Let's hope they do this year too!)

Back to top