- Author: Trisha Rose
Last evening I attended a Holiday Open House at Green Valley Floral just down the road from Solano Community College. What beautiful holiday displays with twinkling lights throughout. One of our own Master Gardeners and fellow SCC alumni, Kimberly Perreira, is on staff and greeted us as we entered the festivities. Ken Williams also a long time Master Gardener and Horticulture instructor at SCC along with Master Gardener Monique Moench and her husband were also enjoying the good vibes amid the holiday greenery and displays.
It is always a real treat to enjoy and support our local horticulture businesses as they add beauty and character to our local economy. It is hard work stocking the florist with the best specimens to be had so the rest of us can enjoy their beauty for our own homes or as gifts to others. My family built a small business and I know the trials and joys that come with the your own business. It's hard work but the character these small businesses bring to our community makes a world of difference. Enjoy our local bounty this season and chances are you will be charmed with what you find.
- Author: Betty Victor
Isn't it hard to believe that it soon will be time again for the Master Gardeners annual wreath workshop? But it will be. Where did this year go? This year we will be celebrating 20 years of having this fun event.
As in the past few years, it will be held again in the carriage house at the Buck Mansion on Buck Avenue in Vacaville.
Prior to the big day, the Master Gardeners will be busy getting things ready for you to make your own beautiful wreath.
It's rain or shine work on the first cutting day in December. Master Gardeners will be out gathering the redwood boughs-gathering enough to fill a large trailer and a pickup truck. The next day you will find them cutting these boughs into manageable pieces that form the wreath. Then these will be soaked in water overnight, drained and boxed for your use on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. All in all it takes three day to get the greens ready for you.
Also until that fun day, the Master Gardeners will have been busy, drying a variety of plants that you can add to your wreath. There will be hydrangeas, agapanthus, dried lavender, dried roses, Deodora cedar cones (they look like little roses), sedum flowers, dried fruit and so much more. Besides dried plants, there will be a variety of ribbon that can be made into a bow so you can choose the color you would like on your wreath.
If you have any special decorations that you want to add to your wreath, please do bring them, this is your wreath make it how it pleases you. Master Gardeners will be available for those that may need help-whether you are a first timer or have been coming for awhile.
This year we will also have a small ”Market Place,” where you will be able to purchase gift bags, cards, gift tags and so much more. Please no credit cards only cash or personal check for the Market Place.
Space is very limited so if you are interested in having a fun afternoon and take home the beautiful wreath you have made, contact Jennifer Baumbach, Master Gardener Coordinator at 707-784-1321 or email@example.com.
Remember the place and date: Carriage House, Buck Mansion in Vacaville, Saturday Dec. 6, 2014; the time is from 1-4pm. The cost to make your wreath is $40.00 which includes the greens, decorations, wreath frame and wire.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, there will be refreshments as well! (Master Gardeners love food and plants!)/span>
- Author: Karen Metz
My garden keeps surprising me. After I removed the competition, by digging up the gladiola corms, my raised bed vegetable garden took off. I actually started to get tomatoes and eggplant and bell peppers. Of course the temperatures cooled off a bit at that same time. So here in late fall my veggies look the best they have all season.
I like to grow indeterminate tomatoes so that I have them over a longer time period. This year I had tried a new to me heirloom called Costoluto-Genovese. Looking it up, it said it was a mid-season tomato taking 80 days to maturity. Well, all I can say is not at my house, but then I have a pretty weird house. The experts said it had fallen out of favor because it wasn't attractive.
Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder; I think these are beautiful. I love the deep grooves which remind me of the 'Cinderella' variety of pumpkin. You will have to be your own judge. I tried the 'Zebra' variety of eggplant this year and enjoyed it's purple and white stripes. One of my favorite peppers to grow is 'Tequila' which turns purple when it's ripe.
The kale is doing well and has been something that has consistently performed in my winter garden for the last few years. Wouldn't you know, my husband just got put on a low oxalate diet. You guessed it, kale is high in oxalate. Oh well, so it goes.
- Author: Sterling Smith
I was enjoying a beverage in my backyard when I noticed something different about my Washington Navel Orange tree. Some of the foliage was inconsistent with the appearance of the remaining crown of the tree. Further investigation showed that the root stock had pushed a 10+ foot sucker from the base of the tree. Below the graft joint of the scion, Washington Navel Orange Semi-Dwarf, to the sour Orange rootstock. I had removed a similar sized sucker last spring. Normally Citrus suckers can be determined by their foliage and bark appearing to be different than the scion, oh and the 2+ inch thorns…ouch. The tree could have re-directed resources from sucker growth to fruit development.
Other grafted trees can also develop suckers. Japanese maple rootstalks for example, I have is a ‘Bloodgood' variety that has a rootstalk with green leaves. The resulting contrast provides a striking interest.
Normally it is considered to be ‘good practice' to remove sucker growth from the rootstock to re-direct resources to the scion.
- Author: Diana Bryggman
That first strange September rain that came to Solano County brought with it a wonderful surprise to my garden. Suddenly there were lavender flowers on the dull, pale grey shrub I had bought last May at the Solano College Horticulture Club Plant Sale. It had no label but it looked like a real survivor and possibly a sage relative, so I took a chance on it. Plunked it down into the dry hillside with salvias, ceanothus, agaves, grevilleas, and some interesting miniature euryops that have quadrupled in size.
My hillside is a deer-resistant forest in the making, and this grey plant looked like it could hold its own against the antler crowd. It has proven itself admirably in that regard, and seems to appreciate the lack of care I lavish on it. When it flowered, I decided I would try to identify it. My brother had asked for my help in identifying a similar-looking plant in his Arizona garden, which we eventually decided was some kind of Leucophyllum. The rain very kindly brought out the lavender-pink flowers that provided a strong clue to my mystery plant's genus.
Many sources will refer to Leucophyllum frutescens as “Barometer Bush”, since it is said to bloom with the rise in humidity just before a rainstorm. I did not notice if mine bloomed just before the rainstorm or after, but it did indeed bloom with that rain and the next. This plant has loads of common names: Texas Ranger, Texas Sage, Cenizo and Silverleaf, to name a few. Further evidence of the importance of botanical names!
Mary Irish' Trees and Shrubs for the Southwest describes Leucophyllum frutescens as “one of the most commonly used and widely revered woody shrubs in southwestern gardens.” It prefers to be dry and is happiest in poorer soil. No need for soil amendments for this tough guy. With our continuing draught, it seems that it could become a star in California gardens as well.