We are gearing up for our annual Wreath Workshop. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the workshop, I will tell you more. Every first Saturday of December, the Master Gardeners (MGs) hold a workshop where the public pays to come in and make fresh wreaths out of materials gathered from the garden.
Every year, we try to think outside the box and find a new plant or pod that will dry nicely to adorn the wreaths made at the workshop. Just last year, we discovered that Sedum 'Autumn Joy' works well as a decoration. We cut the flowers with a bit of stem and then dry them. There is a small team of MGs who will spray paint the decorations. It turned out the sedum were stunning in the metallic colors and a big hit at the workshop.
The flowers and materials vary every year. This year it looks like we will have an abundance of hydrangea flowers, but are very low on the agapanthus inflorescences. These agapanthus inflorescences look like fireworks that have burst, especially after we spray them red or gold.
Besides using plant materials, the MGs gather other items like feathers, shells, dried fruit, interesting twigs or bark to add to the plethora of natural materials used for the wreath decorations. If you know of something interesting and good to use, let us know!
This year the Wreath Workshop will be held on December 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Buck Mansion in Vacaville. The cost of the workshop is $45.00 and entitles the participant to create one wreath. The fee covers the metal wreath frame, paddle wire, bow, greens, natural decorations, and refreshments-made by the Master Gardeners. For more information contact me at 707-784-1321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Author: Betty Victor
Another good day working at the New Foundations Garden located at the Solano County Juvenile Hall Detention Facility, in Fairfield.
This garden was started last year with the cooperation of the Solano County Grounds Supervisor Jim Simon, the counselors at the facility and the Master Gardeners. The idea is to turn a huge empty field into several types of gardens and paths, along with a teaching area.
Over the last few months planting beds were constructed, filled with compost, and made ready to plant. The young men at the detention facility did the work under the supervision of the Master Gardeners. Summer vegetables were planted as well as red and golden raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. A citrus orchard has also been started with the trees off to a good start. So far the young people have learned how to plants seeds and trees, how to install drip irrigation, and how to compost by starting a compost bin. The Master Gardeners have taught the young men how to keep the garden tools clean and ready for use, as well as plant propagation.
Over the summer months, zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, watermelon, and pole beans were harvested. Some of the bounty has been donated to the food bank. The blackberries, raspberries and strawberries were eaten right of the vine by these hard-working young people.
This last week the beds were cleaned of the summer vegetables, except for a tomato plant, pumpkin, watermelon, and the zucchini as they were still producing. The cleaned beds were then planted with butter lettuce, ‘Pixie’ cabbage, tricolored carrots, broccoli, and green onions as the winter crops to be planted so far.
For color, one of the beds was planted with iris and cannas and another bed has been planted with sweet peas.
Also on their waiting list the giant pumpkins that were planted early in the year. All are wondering how large they will get and if any will be ready by Halloween.
More projects are planned for the coming months, watch for updates.
I just wanted to report to you about our Public Plant Exchange we had this past weekend. It was widely publicized, but if you missed attending, here is what you missed.
We have been doing the Public Plant Exchange for a few years now. At first, we just exchanged plants internally amongst the Master Gardeners (MGs). It became so popular with them, they wanted to share with the public.
The MGs love to propagate plants at home. Many are experts at growing plants and love to share. So, they bring in to the exchange any plant, seed, cutting or bulb (including rhizomes, tubers and the like). Knowing there are home gardeners out there who also like to do home propagation, we invite them to share their wares with the MGs. We bring everyone together on one date to share their knowledge and exchange plants. It is a free event we hold in the fall and sometimes the spring.
At our event we also have other items related to home gardening. The MGs bring in their books, gardening tools, pots, and magazines. This year we had a huge assortment!
We hope to plan another plant exchange for the spring, but if you're interested in attending one before then, I know of one happening in Oakland called the Lakeshore Avenue Free Neighborhood Plant Exchange. Here is the information: Saturday, October 15, 2011. 3811 Lakeshor Avenue (easy parking). From 12:00 noon until 4 p.m. For more information visit this site www.plantexchange.wordpress.com.
- Author: Karen Metz
I've always been enchanted with Naked Ladies, the pale pink flowers that seem to magically appear in late summer. Several years ago they were offering bulbs at a Master Gardener Plant Exchange. I picked up one of the coconut sized bulbs and decided to give it a try.
I did some research and found the experts said the bulbs didn't like to be moved so it might be a while before they bloomed. Okay... Next year lovely strap like leaves, but no flowers. Ditto for year number two. This year, lovely spring leaves that died to the ground, and then, in August , stalks with large terminal bulbs seemed to appear overnight. The stalks shot up rapidly then beautiful pink flowers unfurled.
The common name, Naked Ladies, comes from the fact that there are no leaves present when they bloom. The plant is also known as Pink Lady, Resurrection Lily and Magic Lily. It's not a lily, but is in the Amaryllis family. I'm just happy the ladies finally arrived!
Thank you for joining the Master Gardeners (MGs) as they share with you their knowledge and experiences of gardening in Solano County.
If you aren’t familiar with our program, let me fill you in. The MGs are residents of Solano County. They are a diverse group of people who have been trained in horticulture for the purpose of volunteering their time to share that knowledge with you, the home gardener.
Each weekday, this blog will cover a new topic, something of interest to the writer or an interesting tidbit he or she has discovered in his or her home gardens or in other parts of our county.
We are excited about sharing this blog with you and hope you enjoy reading about everything Under the Solano Sun.