- Author: Karen Metz
A good friend of mine is passionate about sweet peas, so passionate that she wears a pin in fall that reminds people to plant them. Despite her gentle reminders, life had swamped me and many weeks passed before I remembered to plant the seeds. I put some in my raised beds, some in a container and then some in a container that already had a tomato in it. I figured the tomato would die soon and I wasn't sure if seeds would sprout now or in spring, but even if they sprouted now I didn't think they would get to any size.
Well this November has been very strange with very warm weather. The seeds sprouted all right and are growing tall. I talked to someone out at the college who said theirs were blooming. Of course sweet peas aren't the only things affected. My blueberries are flowering. My cymbidiums started blooming late October. It's all very odd, but that is one thing I love about gardening, it's a little bit different every year. This year though it's a whole lot different. It will be interesting to see what happens once it gets colder.
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
The UC Master Gardeners of Solano County have been out and about cutting redwood in anticipation of their wreath workshop. The workshop is being held on Saturday, December 10. See flyer below.
The behind-the-scenes work is all done by the MG volunteers. Tomorrow, they cut, prepare, soak, box and bring the greens to the workshop. They have also been working on gathering decorations from their gardens.
Each year, the participants of the wreath workshop are treated to materials to make unique wreaths, but also a wonderful spread of food made by the MGs. It's quite the gathering.
There is still space available. Please see flyer for more information.
- Author: Betty Victor
Isn't it hard to believe that it soon will be time again for the Master Gardeners Wreath Workshop?
This year the Wreath Workshop will be held at the Community United Methodist Church, located at 1875 Fairfield Ave., Fairfield, CA.
Prior to the big day, the Master Gardeners will be busy getting things ready for you to make your own beautiful wreath. Rain or shine-the first cutting day- in December Master Gardeners will be out gathering the redwood boughs, enough to fill a large trailer and a pickup truck. The next day you will find them cutting these boughs into manageable pieces that will be used to create the wreath base. The greens will be soaked in water overnight, drained and boxed for your use on Saturday Dec 10. 2016. All in all it takes three days to get the greens ready for you.
Also until that fun event day, the Master Gardeners will have been busy, drying a variety of plants and natural decorations that you can add to your wreath. There will be hydrangeas, spent agapanthus flower stalks, dried lavender, dried roses, deodora cones, 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. UC 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 again have a” MarketPlace,” where you will be able to purchase gifts that have been made by many of the talented Master Gardeners. Looking for a special gift, this could be the place. Only cash or personal checks will be accepted for this shopping.
If you are interested in having a fun afternoon and take home the beautiful wreath you have made contact Jennifer Baumbach, UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator at 707-389-0645 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Remember the place United Methodist Church. 1875 Fairfield Ave., Fairfield. Saturday Dec. 10, 2016; the time is from 1-4. The cost to make your wreath is $50.00 which includes the greens, decorations, wreath frame and wire and a bow in a color of your choice. RSVP today!
Oh yes, I almost forgot, there will be a potluck of food and refreshments as well.
- Author: Tina Saravia
I simply love that we have so many pine trees in this neighborhood. Yesterday, I gathered my lawn rake and tied a 20-gallon nursery pot to my little hand truck and walked a few blocks to gather pine needles to mulch my blueberry bed.
Pine needles are a great mulch for acid-loving plants like blueberries because of their acidic nature. They are slow to decompose so the effect of acidifying the soil can take many years.
That's not the only reason I use pine needles for my blueberry bed. I use them because the mulch protects the soil from losing water to evaporation from the sun and wind, reducing the frequency of watering and the amount of water. (We are in a drought.) It also controls weeds by blocking sunlight that weeds need to grow, and when it breaks down it adds its nutrients to the soil, reducing fertilizer needs.
It saves me time and money. How could I not love that? And did I mention it's free for the taking? And close to my house.
For more information on mulching and watering, check out this link to a delightful web page — the Ruth Risdon Storer Garden - A Valley-Wise Garden.
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
Sometimes you just can't figure out what is going on with a plant. One day it looks great and the next time you look at it-not so much. I had this happen to me recently. Long ago, I planted two Ceanothus 'Dark Star'. If you've never seen this ceanothus, you'd be in awe of it's bloom. It's a deep, rich purple flower. Much darker than the normal light blue ceanothus flowers you normally see.
About a year ago, the older ceanothus of the two started to leak sap and limb by limb it descended into death. I was really bummed about this as the ceanothus compliments the bright yellow, waxy flowers of the California flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum) I planted it by. I eventually pulled out the ceanothus and discarded it, thinking great, I at least have the other 'Dark Star' more like the Death Star.
Just this season, I noted the second ceanthous was looking sickly. I was hoping it was just the drought and that it would show new life in spring after the winter rains. Upon closer inspection, I found that the whole plant was indeed dead, dead, dead. I decided to dig the hole plant up and inspect the roots to see if I could perform a post mortem exam. I found that there were roots circling and girdling the main part of the trunk not allowing the flow of nutrients or water to the plant. In essence, starving the plant by strangling it-mystery solved.
It could be that I didn't loosen up the roots enough when first planting or maybe another factor is the hard clay it was planted in not allowing it to penetrate the soil outside the hole I dug. My guess would be that I didn't see a root that was kinked when it was smaller. I have had experience with plants that actually had their smaller pot still attached, but was so buried and hidden in the roots it was undetectable until you did that post mortem inspection.