- Author: Betty Homer
For those of you who have been following this blog for awhile, you know that each year I try to attend the Urban Farm Tours organized by the Institute of Urban Homesteading (IUH) based in Oakland, California.
I had the good fortune of being on this tour again this year, visiting 2 sites located in Benicia, California (explanation below). The first site is known as the Benicia Sunset Garden & Farm site. The lot size is 1/4 acre (10,000 square feet), and of that, 4,000 square feet is being used for urban agriculture (i.e., 40%). I love this site because it is beautiful, bountiful and practical. The site consists of sixteen raised beds, an orchard, livestock such as chickens and rabbits, and a large trellis which served the dual purpose of enclosing an entertainment area as well as provide support to climbing vegetation. At one point, this property was featured in Sunset Magazine many years before it fell into disrepair. The current owners are in the process of restoring the garden to its former glory.
It is hard to believe from the pictures or in person, that this garden is only 2 years old with the exception of the various fruit trees (three varieties of avocados, apples, pear and fig). In addition to these fruits, the owners have begun to plant citrus and stone fruit fruits, grapes, kiwis and trellised berries.
There is also 40-foot long poulet palace (chicken palace), a small enclosed area for rabbits, swale terraces, potato bins, and garden art. At the heart of this urban farm, is a bee garden, planted to attract beneficial insects.
In the next installment, I will report on the second site in Benicia. Stay tuned!
- Author: Sharon L. Rico
In 2010, my husband and I traveled to Woodland for the Woodland Library Rose tour, always held in April. On the tour we discovered a gorgeous rose named 'Eden'. This pale pink rose had climbed up two stories of a mid century Victorian home. We put it on our ‘must have' list and talked about it for several weeks. Our 1930's little bungalow sits on a tiny lot, already filled with roses (about 50) along with fruit trees, dahlias, iris, camellias, succulents, geraniums, Mexican petunias, clematis, ferns, a vegetable garden etc. You get the picture, ‘lotsa' plants!
Seeing 'Eden' haunted us until a 2-½ gallon plant jumped into our truck and followed us home. We sacrificed a ten-year-old 'Joseph's Coat' that had struggled for years. It seemed to always have black spot, never really thriving. So to plant 'Eden' into the same area meant we had to dig out and replace soil so we did not move black spot to our new rose. This gorgeous rose gets more beautiful each year as it matures and cascades over the arbor at the end of our front porch.
More about Climbing Eden:
Cultivar: Eden Climber
It is also known as ‘Pierre de Ronsard'. It was created by Marie-Louise Meilland and introduced in France in 1985 as part of their Renaissance collection. It was registered in 1987. The plant is described as having luscious creamy light pink and white blooms with a faint green cast. Pests or diseases rarely bother it. It's known for its vigorous growth. It begins blooming in early spring and continues to bloom throughout the warm weather.
This spring it was a show-stopper. The long canes cascaded over the plant bearing large clusters of roses. Cars would stop and photos were taken. Neighbors across the street would sit on their front porch and admire the view of Climbing Eden. It's definitely one of our favorite roses.
Woodland Library Rose Club:
The club was founded in 1989 by a group of rose lovers with a desire to help others learn about growing and caring for roses. So in 1991 the club dedicated a Memorial Garden on the grounds of the Woodland Public Library. Each rose planted in the garden had a memorial plaque. In 1992, the Perimeter Wall Garden of roses was planted around the library. The gardens were extended with the support of the City of Woodland. It was an ambitious project that took years of planning. In 1998, the John Saltsman garden was dedicated. This garden has examples of species, heritage and modern day roses. Metal arches were placed and old-fashioned climbing roses were planted to create a shady stroll. In 2003 the club became an affiliate of the American Rose Society and now has 600 varieties of roses. The club members teach the public about the beauty and cultivation of roses along with a pruning class every January. The home and garden tour in held yearly in April.
- Author: Jenni Dodini
While I was at the MG training class on the 14th, I. Was looking around the room and it occurred to me that as a group, we have a huge amount of diversity. We come together from all over the country, or world. We come from all walks of life. We come from a broad spectrum of professions. We all are here because of our love of plants. Within that distinction, we all have areas in which we are more expert than others. And here we are. We learn together and from each other and move out into the public to share that with others who also love plants, or want to learn to love them or just want to learn more about them.
This picture that I took at the old cemetery in Sacramento last week pretty much sums things up for me. By combining diversity, we can make something truly beautiful.
- Author: Mike Gunther
New May flowers bloom
13 New Master Gardeners
New hands hearts and minds
- Author: Trisha Rose
A couple of years ago, I took the Soil Science class at Solano Community College. This was my last class in the series of courses required to complete a Horticulture Certificate. There are about 7 courses in this program with no particular order of completion required. Each course is taught over a semester with projects, tests and written assignments appropriate to the subject. It is strongly suggested that students begin their studies with the Introduction to Horticulture, an overview course that touches on a number of aspects of this very broad subject. A mini-version of this overview course was presented in the lecture series of my Master Gardeners training in 2010.
It took me a few years to get through all the courses due to my general lazy nature and the way the classes are scheduled, but as I approached the last course on my checklist I was glad to have spent my time delving into many of the aspects of horticultural science and art. So as the course, Soil Science, began, my curiosity was awakened, although the first bit on geology was a little dry, the discussions of the elements and how they influenced plant life were very interesting.
Finally, the mystery of what and how elements such as Zinc, Manganese, Copper, etc., influence plant health and growth were unveiled. Each of the 17 elements necessary for plant life was discussed. Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are taken from the air and water surrounding our planet. The 14 soil born elements are grouped as either Primary, Secondary or Micronutrients. The Primary elements, N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus) and K (Potassium) are grouped together because they are the 3 most commonly deficient nutrients. This is the familiar NPK group listed on our Fertilizer containers. The Secondary Group nutrients are Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur, fortunately they are less frequently found to be deficient in the soil so they are grouped as secondary.
The discussions about the Micronutrients caught my attention. These elements are used by plants in very small amounts but they are just as essential for plant health as those elements in the Primary and Secondary Groups. Zinc is an example of one of the Micronutrients. It is used as a supplement for many crops including tree fruits, nuts, beans, onions and tomatoes. Deficiency may appear as a decrease in stem length and rosetting of terminal leaves, reduced fruit bud formation, mottled young leaves shown as interveinal chlorosis and die-back of twigs after the first year.
The study of soil is fascinating, there is so much more to learn and understand. I found the readings, chemical experiments and discussions about the elements very interesting, and continue to go back and read about them and how they influence plant health and vigor.
The Western Fertilizer Handbook, second horticulture edition, 1995 and Soil Science Simplified, fifth edition 2008 available used on-line were the two books we used in our Soil Science class at Solano Community College.