- Author: Sharon L. Rico
Doing monthly maintenance at the Children’s Memorial Garden in Fairfield has been more enjoyment than labor. The volunteer Master Gardeners who participate, show up early on the appointed day, with their tools, always eager to begin the task at hand. Everyone finds a job from weeding, deadheading, raking leaves and removing debris. Often we talk and share plant information or discuss upcoming Master Gardener events. Occasionally, in silence, we listen to the hum of bees and observe dragonflies and damselflies as they zoom in and out between the plants. Earlier this year, we observed a crow and heard a meadowlark in the magnolia and arbutus trees behind the little garden.
It was listening to the sounds of the garden that gave me an idea. Why not add a birdhouse on a pole to the garden. It might become a home for the birds and would be a delight to the adults and children who pass by daily. My husband and I had a rustic birdhouse that was embellished with a western motif (metal horse head, stars and horseshoe). The pole we envisioned was something natural, not something perfect or man-made. When we found a seven foot long tree branch in the alley behind our house, it was exactly what we were searching for. After removing most of the branches and cleaning the trunk, the birdhouse was attached to the pole with glue and screws. One weekend we took the birdhouse on the branch to the Children’s Garden and dug a two foot hole to place and stabilize the pole. Not many people notice this addition as it blends into the garden like it has always been there.
As of this writing, there are no new residents in the birdhouse. Maybe the birds are unsure of the horse head significance on their potential nesting home. The birdhouse is standing guard over this tiny garden the Master Gardeners planted in memory of the children of Solano County who have passed away.
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
It never ceases to amaze me how crafty the Master Gardeners are. They do all sorts of things outside of gardening-quilting, felting, small engines, weaving, professional clowning-you name it!
One of our Master Gardeners was an art teacher in her non-retired life, no big surprise there. For a while now, she's been holding ceramic classes for the Master Gardeners. She started out with simple gardening wall plaques with a little pocket to hold plants in. However, over time, the pieces created by the Master Gardeners have morphed into all sorts of elaborate ceramic works of art. There are masks, plaques, flowers, fish-to name a few. Most of the artwork is for the garden.
Here are some of the items that have been created:
- Author: Sharon L. Rico
The Children’s Memorial Garden is a small garden (17x27 feet) in front of the Solano County Health and Social Service Dept. on Beck Avenue in Fairfield. Solano County Master Gardeners created this lovely garden in 2007. Carolyn Allen designed the garden and a crew of Master Gardeners dug holes and placed 1 and 5 gallon plants. The garden has evolved into a mini-sanctuary which the Solano Master Gardeners maintain. It is an educational garden with signs naming unusual plants and pests (such as spittle bugs).
On Friday, April 26th, the annual memorial ceremony was held in front of the garden. The Children’s Memorial flag had been displayed over the garden all month. The flag shows a chain of children holding hands with one child missing.
A group gathered consisting of county workers, Supervisor Linda Seifert, a couple of Master Gardeners, a minister and some loved ones to honor the twenty-two children in Solano County who died in 2012. The list consisted of two male teenagers who had died as the result of gunshot wounds, two female teenagers from an auto accident, three children as results of medical complications and fifteen babies (from SIDS and premature births). What made this event visually poignant was seeing the blanket with shoes from each child displayed, including the tiny knitted socks belonging to the babies.
Everyone attending was invited to fill out a cardboard cutout of a child attached to a stick and place it in the soil. Many wrote their message and silently placed their personal memorial. Later this month as the Master Gardeners work in the garden, the faded and water worn paper tributes will be collected as part of the maintenance of the garden.
- Author: Betty Victor
The U.C. Master Gardeners of Solano County will have an information table where they will give out home gardening information. The location of the information table is at Orchard Supply Hardware, 1500 Travis Blvd., Fairfield on the following dates:
March 9 and 23, 2013
April 6 and 20, 2013
May 4 and 18, 2013
June 1 and 15 and 29, 2013
September 7 and 21, 2013
October 5 and 12, 2013
You are invited to bring any gardening questions you might have. If you have a sample of plants, insects or plant disease, please bring it in a sealed baggie. If you have samples of disease, be sure to bring a sample of the diseased part of the plant along with a healthy sample as well. We will do our best to research your question and get you an answer.
Look for us inside the store!
- Author: Betty Victor
The wreath workshop is just days away. Master Gardeners have been busy gathering redwood, rosemary, lavender, Nadine and so much more greenery for people that attend to make a wreath of their own design.
Starting in late October-early November the Master Gardeners have been busy cutting drying, and spraying decorations for you to choose from to add to your wreath. We have agapanthus heads, hydrangea flowers, statice, lavender, pine cones, and so much more (feathers, grass flowers). In addition, participants are welcome to bring any items they have from home that they would like to add to their wreath. There are assorted colors of ribbon that can be made into bows to complement your wreath .
Food did I mention food? Yes there will be food and drinks for you to snack on, as you make your wreath. Complements of the Master Gardeners.
This event is held on the first Saturday of December at the Buck Mansion in Vacaville. Seating is limited to 40. If you have not registered on line this year to attend, it could be to late. Here is the link http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=9007 Make sure you mark your 2013 calendar in late October or early November to watch for the announcement for 2013 so you don’t miss this fun event next year.