- Author: Betty Victor
The Master Gardeners of Solano County are getting ready for our annual Wreath Workshop.
This year's always fun and lively workshop will be held on Saturday December 5, 2015 from 1-4pm, in the outbuilding of St. Mary's Catholic Church located at 350 Stinson St., Vacaville.
The cost is $50.00 to make one wreath for this you will get a box of greens, a wire frame, wire, and ribbon of different colors for a bow of your choice. Also to add to your wreath there will be decoration, including but not limited to hydrangeas, sedum, agapanthus, pine cone all sizes and oh so much more to beautify your wreath. If you have some decorations you want on your wreath, please bring them.
There will also be “The Marketplace”. Where you can purchase items made by the master gardeners. Cash or checks only, no credit cards, please. This Marketplace earned monies help us to put on programs on all aspects of gardening for the adults and children in the county.
Space is limited so if you would like to make a wreath of your own design contact: Jennifer at 707-784-1321 or e-mail Jmbaumbach@ucanr.edu.
- Author: Pamela Allen
Here is a secret for you, I have very little gardening talent. The seeds and plants that find their way into my yard quickly learn it is a ‘survival of the fittest' environment. I always plants with the best of intentions, but life always seems to get in the way. Did I water today? Can it wait until tomorrow? I just don't have time now! And when seedlings do not survive, I have the bad habit of reusing planters, soil and all. Normally this is not an issue, unless I am growing something new, something I will not recognize, from seed.
Here is my cautionary tale…recently we have all heard about the plight of the Monarch Butterfly. Loss of habitat and increased use of chemicals and pesticides are causing a dramatic reduction in the numbers of these majestic creatures. I decided I would plant some milkweed. I ordered two varieties from my favorite seed company, Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnate and Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberlosa. I picked up a planter of failed seedlings, soil and all, and planted both varieties of seeds waiting anxiously for my milkweed to appear, and it did (Or so I thought!).
Take a look at my beautiful milkweed!
- Author: Betsy Buxton
Here I am in the middle of a drought and I'm trying to decide what to plant in my former very small lawn. Using the process of elimination, I have looked at plants: roses, perennials, decorative grasses, etc, to use the space wisely and water efficiently, so there won't need for a re-makeover in the near future.
The in-ground spray system has been converted to drip, that is 4 heads were, and the others capped off underground. I used an easier system this time than the other conversations of sprinklers that required digging rather deep holes to remove the old sprinkler bodies. At the local irrigation store I found a kit that allowed me to replace just the “innards'” of the body and leave the outer body in the ground OR replace the whole sprinkler. I chose to replace the entire bodies for 2 reasons: a. 1 of the sprinklers to be replaced was a 12” popup and b. the others where at least 25 years old and had large tree roots putting pressure on them. Regardless of the method, the changeover was reasonably fast and painless.
Next, is a trip down to Annie's Annuals for the geum species I want, and another trip to the nearby rock and boulder store down the way for 5 mini-boulders. A couple of small linear leafed plants, perhaps festuca glauca or a similar little thing and a slow-growing groundcover (such an oxymoron) and I'm done with plant selection. Hey, I can hear the sniggering now (she's going where for a “few” plants, yeah right!)
I figure with a yellow rose with a deep purple Clematis growing through it, Weigela ‘Wine and Roses' (with deep purple new growth maturing to a purplish green) providing leaf color, the geums providing small hills of fuzzy green and orange-red blossoms, and finally a multicolored pink rose with a white clematis through it, I've got color, texture, and a reasonable drought tolerant front scape to last a good long while. Letting the plants show themselves off against the red mini-oleanders and the bright yellow-green of the already established Magnolia stellata will make the front yard look as 1 landscape. Toss down the mini-boulders in groupings and then mulch – Tad as Wall I would say. I'm done except for. ..replacing a fence, cleaning out where 2 Rhus lancea were removed when the poor dears decided to slip down and “kiss the fence”. Now there's sun where I worked so hard for shade. Oh well, that's the way the garden grows!
I'm closing with a warning about something that happened in my house a few days ago. This doesn't have anything to do with gardening BUT if this next part keeps you and yours safe, then great! I have a 52” ceiling fan in my family room that gets used almost every day and evening rather than use the AC. Bruce and I were sitting there, him almost dozing and me listening to the TV but reading. Suddenly, something flew by my head and there was a huge crash. Looking up, I saw the fan wobbling wildly up there and thought at first it was an earthquake. Nope!! One of the brackets holding a fan blade had broken and thrown the blade through the room and into the kitchen eating area where it bounced off the table leg and fell within 6 inches of the sliding door! If this had happened when my mother was alive she would be truly dead! If my dog was lying in front of the sliding door, she could have been killed as the blade landed right in “her” spot. What I'm saying is, if you have a ceiling fan, check the blades and the connectors for metal fatigue, loose fasteners, etc. My fan is 25 years old and came with the house. Please, do some checking!
- Author: Trisha Rose
Last week of August, the remains of our dead lawn and old irrigation system were removed. During the first week of September the guys built 2 redwood planters and set up a new irrigation system to supply 4 existing citrus trees, 2 new raised beds and 4 existing planting beds. Week of September 7, every day this week close to 100 degrees. On one of the hottest days this year, two truck loads of River Rock were delivered and our workers hauled the 11 yards of 1 1/2 " pebbles to the backyard. So now time to get succulents in place. Saturday the 12th should only get to 84 degrees today so finally able to get some planting done. Need to push to get something in the ground, state inspectors require 25% of the turf area to be replaced with drought tolerant plantings. I am using succulent starts to surround the 4 planting beds. Also need to have an existing or new tree incorporated into the new design. I have 4 citrus in place so that requirement is covered. Wednesday the 16th two County Water Agency Inspectors come by to check the new installation, they approved our work, signed off our paperwork, so the "check is in the mail" from the county.
So now my focus is getting the perennial planting beds and succulent starts healthy and growing so I can upload photos of this work to the State Rebate Program.
- Author: Karen Metz
It's an unassuming little succulent. Nothing special about it, right? So why am I so thrilled to get this offset from a plant my sister has? This was my grandmother's plant and it lives on even though she has been gone for nine years.
My sister and I are not sure what kind of succulent it is. She says it blooms in fall/winter with clusters of pink flowers. After hitting the books, the closest thing I saw was Pachyphytum compactum. (If any of you recognize this plant please let me know.) After my sister left, I just found myself staring at this little plant.
It became a portal to the past. I found myself back in my grandmother's greenhouse in Nederland, Texas. My grandfather had built it for her. The walls were made out of corrugated plastic panels, the floors were gravel and dirt. My grandfather had also built the tables that held her plants. I don't believe they had any heating system. For ventilation, a panel of plastic was propped open with a stick. It was rudimentary, but effective.
She mostly had succulents and bromeliads as I recall. Most other things would grow in her large yard. Her favorites were Earth Stars, Cryptanthus sp. These bromeliads were very popular in the 1970s. They were rosettes of variegated leaves in colors of green, cream, pink and red. They were very exotic.
As my grandmother aged and moved, her gardening space became smaller and smaller; from a yard to a patio balcony, and finally to a shelf. But she never stopped loving her plants and flowers. She passed her love of all things horticultural to my mother. Mom has always had a green thumb, but in the last 10-15 years, she has become the orchid and begonia queen. There is always something wonderful blooming at Mom's house. So I guess a love for green things must just be flowing in my genes, thanks to these two wonderful women.