- Author: Sharon L. Rico
Now that planting the Solano County Fair gardens is history, we can begin focusing on the upcoming Plant Exchange. This will be held on Saturday, September 8th at the Cooperative Extension office, 501 Texas Street, 1st floor conference room, Fairfield, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The plant exchange is open to the public and is a busy, enthusiastic time where everything is FREE. We ask participants to bring a plant to share. Some do and some don’t, but we let everyone join in the fun.
If you haven’t been to the plant exchange in the past, this is the time to come. Many of the Master Gardeners are busy planting seeds, dividing plants, propagating and collecting unwanted or unneeded garden paraphernalia. Anything you want to clean or clear out will work. In the past, I have asked my friends to check for unused items and some have contributed containers, yard art, books and other “hot” items. Remember the saying, “One persons trash is another's treasure”?
You may be good at growing herbs that can be shared. Pot up a few. Do you have winter vegetables started yet? Set some aside for the plant exchange. My yard is getting full of ‘garden art’, so I plan to downsize and bring a few metal fence hangings. My sweet peas were a huge hit this year, so the harvested sweet pea seeds will be placed in envelopes to share. Our two Hibiscus syriacus have volunteer baby trees underneath. These have been potted and labels will be added . It helps if you can provide photos or information on the items you donate. As Master Gardeners, we are there to share and to educate.
Just had to add this, too. Some of my favorite items from previous plant exchanges? The magnificent Ginkgo biloba bonsai (a real treasure), a small green ceramic pot with a frog, reference books and some goofy, unique garden books. Oh, almost forgot; a funky little fork that I use to groom bonsai and succulents planted in small containers. You can find the unusual and the ordinary. So mark your calendar before you forget. See you there!
- Author: Sharon L. Rico
Garden art definitely enhances any garden no matter what is planted within in its boundaries. Over the years, we have enjoyed the art in garden tours, botanical gardens, friends gardens and even in our own garden. Garden art can consist of fountains, statuary, vertical planted walls, containers, metal signs, ceramic artwork, birdhouses, and unusual designed yard furniture.
In Italy, some of the elaborate gardens have magnificent fountains with different spray patterns, huge statuary or monuments of saints, famous people and angels. Often cathedrals have small walled in gardens that hold carved crosses and statuary that honors deceased priests or conquerors of the town. Fontarronco, a garden near Arezzo, in Tuscany, has exquisite tiled water fountains and tiled walkways. This garden is highlighted with flowers to cut for the house, vegetables for the table and artistic arbors providing shade from the intense heat. It is a simple garden that is breathtaking due to the colors of plants and tile work.
Often Botanical gardens will have hand made wooden or iron gates, windmills, carved benches and waterfalls. Around every corner there will be a surprise. One of my favorite Botanical gardens is in Fort Bragg. It is divided up into “rooms” and if you stay on the 3 mile path, you will end up at the ocean. The dahlia garden is my favorite spot. The hand made benches are to sit upon while surrounded by a rainbow of color in this sea of dahlias. A three sided gazebo anchors the dahlia garden where occasional weddings are held. The gate leading to this garden is a statement itself.
In our yard, the garden art is mostly cement faces, angels, and rabbits. Occasionally metal dragonflies can be found scattered throughout, In the winter when the garden is sleeping, the artwork still allows us to appreciate the views from every window.
- Author: Mary B. Gabbard
With Christmas just a short 10 days away, many of us are still adding the final touches to our home. The way things are going this year; a wreath on the front door may be the extent of my holiday flair. Yes, I wish I had time to do more, but don’t despair, I have the privilege of living next store to an amazingly talented individual. She has taken Christmas decorations to a new level, with what I call a form of garden art. Every year her front yard is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. Her strands of hand-painted lights have been transformed into beautiful flowers, each with their own stamen. She does have the standard reindeer or two, the typical Christmas tree, but these pale in comparison to the rest of the show. I can’t wait for her to put on the final touches this weekend, strands of hand painted butterflies (made from the bottoms of plastic one gallon milk containers-these are incredible) woven in-between the strands of flowers. Her front yard is the most unique display of garden art transformed into holiday spirit, really quite a site to see! Of course, I asked if she could move on to my front yard to add to my lonely wreath…we’ll see what happens.