- Author: JoEllen P Myslik
After removing our front lawn 2 years ago, we thought we were being wise by laying out landscape fabric, then laying approximately 3 inches of landscape bark on top. We felt confident that by removing the lawn (and the weeds!), then spraying a pre-emergent herbicide on the remaining soil, we would rid our front yard of weeds forever, or at least for a long time. Oh how naïve.
Although we did enjoy a year of a lawn-less front yard, patiently waiting for native plantings to be installed (another story for another day!), this year our luck ran out! Apparently I hadn't been noticing the front yard much recently, but after the last big rainstorm a few weeks ago, I came out one day & was horrified to discover a weed-infested front yard!
There was wiry Bermuda grass creeping everywhere, plus thorny thistles & dandelions galore! And they weren't just resting on top, loosely nestled in the landscape bark, oh no, these weeds were popping right up through the landscape fabric! I was shocked and dismayed! When did this happen? More importantly HOW did this happen? Why had our landscape fabric failed us and allowed this unwanted and unattractive greenery to invade our space?!
As it turns out, apparently there is no magic wand to keep the weeds away. And unfortunately, sometimes weed barriers can be more of a burden than a helping hand. Most likely I will leave it be for now, but I'll have to keep a careful eye & enlist the help of family members to do the same to ‘nip any weeds in the bud' so they get removed quickly and aren't allowed to get out of control again. But the damage is done; holes in the fabric will be a constant invitation to more intrusive greenery!
Luckily for me, Weed Day 2014 is coming to UC Davis on July 10th, so I can hopefully figure out how to beat the weeds at their own game!! Maybe I'll see you there!?
“Weed Day is an opportunity to see ongoing weed management research on the UC Davis campus and to discuss some of the weed research projects being done in other parts of the state.” For a full agenda, visit the UC WeedRIC website (http://wric.ucdavis.edu) and click on WEED DAY 2014.
- Author: Launa Herrmann
After the last rain, I strolled outside to inhale the fresh air. Fascinated by the dew on my plants. I retrieved my camera to photograph what I saw. Idea for a blog, I thought. But the topic I envisioned that day was rather black and white. Black words arranged into sentences on a white computer screen. Words such as dew point, temperature, and relative humidity. Mere words.
There's nothing wrong with such topics or words. But after losing more than a few friends and acquaintances to cancer recently, I found my direction shifting; my focus, changing. My garden was showing me something sacred. Yet in my busyness, I was about to miss it. All you need to do in our neck of the woods is stop and notice spring. Spring break, Passover, Easter — this season of the year is a time to reflect and refocus on your garden, whatever you believe and whatever you plant.
Where I come from, there's a song I learned as a kid that speaks to coming “to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses.” Over the years, I seldom gave pause to observing dew drops. However, now as I review those earlier photographs I took, I see what alluded me before. Spattering. Splashing. The leaves almost appear as if they are seeping with sweat. More to the point, dew on plants looks like they're weeping. Water diamonds that vanish with a touch.
Perhaps I'm waxing a bit too poetic here. Forgive me. Gardeners who are also writers can't help themselves sometimes. When we see spiders in shadows and lessons in loss, we look for ways to describe what is in our face so readers see it, too.
Today, back in my garden again on bended knee staring at dirt, I realized there's not a better position on earth for cultivating what matters. Gratitude for each rain shower that renews the sun-parched earth. Gratitude for simple yet sacred dew drops. Gratitude for every single moment of this topsy-turvy unpredictable life, even if the living of it means that I risk losing.
- Author: Janet Snyder
Nothing makes a gardener happier than having a new garden to develop. It's probably like giving a painter a fresh, blank canvas to paint. Well, that's exactly what happened to me last weekend, and I'm so excited at the possibilities with this new space.
It all started with a project I had put on my husband's “honey-do” list. We have a typical side yard that I never let anybody see because it is where the not-so-pretty items are - the garbage toters, the compost bins, the currently unused chicken coop, the air conditioning unit, the broken chair waiting for the next scrap metal pick-up day, etc. Also back there is an 8'x10' shed. I've wanted to move the shed for some time so that the bedroom windows on that side of the house don't have to look out on that bit of an eyesore. I thought I might throw some hardy shrubs out there and call it done.
Anyway, my husband headed out there Sunday and took the shed apart (it's plastic interlocking panels). Moving about 12' back, he worked with our kids to set it back up. Oh my goodness! It didn't occur to me that the vacated space would look so big and blank and ready for ideas! My imagination was on overload thinking of all of the things I can do with that space. Can you say courtyard garden? Two bedroom windows look out on that spot. My husband had to put the brakes on my ideas when I mentioned taking out bedroom windows and installing french doors. A lot of my ideas become his projects, and he knows his limits of what he can or can't do!
Now I spend every spare moment looking at garden designs and plant ideas for the new space. I'm all over the internet, gardening books, and landscape magazines planning what I want to do. I'm hoping to have some big pots out there, and since I've never really tried container gardening, I'm looking forward to the experience. How about you. Have you ever “found” a new gardening space in your yard?
Wish me luck!
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
It's definitely spring in my garden. I have one of those yards that pops in spring, but poops out as far as color goes when the weather heats up.
Today is a rosy day In Dixon. Mind you, I don't have a large variety of color differences from violet to orange, but what I do have is lovely all the same.
- Author: Teresa Lavell
My Dad was able to find water with a divining rod. Sounds a bit far fetched, but it is true. It came in handy a time or two in his work as Director of Public Works. There are stories of when his crews would need guidance on where to dig for piping and Dad would pullout his divining rod and triangulate on the spot. Sure enough, that would be the right place. I saw him in action one time at our home. We had let a rather large area get thigh high in weeds. As a result none of us could find the pipe that we all knew was right there! With little fanfare, Dad showed us exactly where the pipe was hiding.
Turns out, I have inherited my father's skill. I do things a little differently, of course. My tool of choice is a shovel. Just this week, while dividing a plant, I found two pipes and promptly cut them both in half. Seems as though every time I dig a hole, I strike water. Some day I hope to use my power for good. Till then, I will be grateful that I took the irrigation class at Solano College, taught by Ken Williams, so that I can repair my finds!