- Author: Betty Victor
Why you may ask would several Master Gardeners be spray painting dried agapanthus, hydrangeas, sedum, and so much more in the rain and wind?
Well there is a simple answer; the Master Gardener’s 19th annual Wreath Workshop is just around the corner. We are getting things ready so that you can participate in making a beautiful wreath for your home, what better way to start the holiday season?
To do this, we start by drying some plants we have grown in our gardens. The dried foliage and flowers that look good get to stay their natural color when dried. The not-so-good looking dried materials get spray painted different colors. In addition to the materials mentioned, we also have magnolia leaves, Deodora cones, statice, as well as other plants. The pine cones are of various sizes and we have been painting them to look like they have been dusted by snow. There will be ribbon in a multitude of colors for bows.
Prior to the actual date of the Wreath Workshop, which is December 7, 2013; Master Gardeners will spend 3 days gathering greens. They will then cut materials to a size that is manageable for wreath making, and finally, boxing them. In this box of foliage you might also find in addition to the redwood, some lavender or rosemary.
If you have never attending this Wreath Workshop, this is what you can expect to get for the fee that you will pay: a banana box filled with greenery, a wire wreath frame, paddle wire and all sorts of natural decorations and a bow. Refreshments will be served throughout the event. There will be Master Gardeners to help if you need a refresher on how to make a wreath.
The event is being held at the Buck Mansion Carriage House in Vacaville, December 7, 2013 from 1-4 pm. Space is limited to sign up now! Here is link to the website to sign up for this fun event. Http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber-11507
You can also call Jennifer Baumbach at 707-784-1321 for addition information.
- Author: JoEllen P Myslik
This past year I was involved with a process in Vallejo called “Participatory Budgeting”. A mouthful which basically means, we citizens got to participate in how a small portion of the City’s budget is spent. Specifically, this small portion is a percentage of the larger Measure B tax that we voted on a few years ago – we voted to tax ourselves, 1¢ of every $1 spent. What a good idea that we get to have a say in how at least part of it is spent!
And one project that was proposed for some of this money to be spent on, voted on by citizens and approved by the City, was enhancing current community gardens and creating new ones. Does everyone know about this? As citizens of Vallejo you absolutely should! As citizens of Solano County it would be nice if you did, even though it doesn’t necessarily impact you directly.
But as Master Gardeners, we should ALL be aware of this great accomplishment – getting funds directed toward enhancing and creating more gardens in the community! However, the challenge now is, how does this get implemented? That will be a long and somewhat tedious process no doubt and every garden that will be enhanced or created will be a wonderful thing.
However, my original thought when I first heard about this project was putting these gardens in schools. Not only would it teach children very valuable lessons, but if the gardens could grow to have a significant yield, they could provide food for school lunches! There are a variety of benefits that could come from creating gardens in schools, but it always comes down to funding.
I didn’t write this with a grand plan in mind, nor do I expect some major change to occur. But if a few of us ponder this idea, perhaps we can think of creative ways to help this happen in our schools, no matter where those schools reside. Anyone even remotely interested in gardening could help make these ideas reality. After all, one of the best lessons that children can learn is that great-tasting food can come from something they planted with their own two hands. Not sure if this is a real quote, but it’s similar to the one about fish …. “If you give a man a vegetable you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to garden you feed him for a lifetime”
- Author: Betsy Buxton
I keep back issues of my favorite gardening magazines as do a lot of gardeners. We justify this magazine “hoarding” by telling ourselves that they are needed “in case I want to refer back”; but rarely do we look at anything in the stack again! Well, I’m here to suggest that we need to periodically check out those not outdated articles, and this blog serves as a good reason!
Years ago I subscribed to Flower & Garden, which was published back in the 1990’s – I know since my subscription ended with the January, 1996 issue. In the 1990’s, it seems that most people thought of succulents as exotic plants. These were meant to be carefully tended, shaded from the direct sun, kept from harsh temperatures, and planted in sandy, rocky soil.
Interesting, but since a lot of succulents come from either desert-like climates or cold, windy alpine mountains, it does seem that the coddling “required” was a bit much. Where are the succulents growing in your yard? In the full sun, away from winds (try that in Suisun or Fairfield!), in crumbly semi-moist soil? Mine are growing like weeds in pots outside in regular potting soil; they get water when “everyone else” does and they don’t get sheltered from the elements! Nope, mine thrive where they are, thanks!
The article continues on about picking out the right size pots: for a barrel type cactus, use a pot 1 to 2 inches wider than the plant; for vertical type plants such as aloes use a pot ½ the height of the plant.
I don’t have many specimen succulents here. I have creepers mixed with verticals and here and there they are interspersed plants that grow wider than tall. Everything spills, and tumbles out of the pots so that one succulent looks like it belong with the plants in the next pot over. One of my succulents is rangy, with leaves spaced a good 4 inches apart and a rather strange shade of pale green; not an attractive plant BUT when it blooms – wow! – pale yellow bell-shaped flowers abound in a semi-panicle form. It’s just beautiful! And then the flowers are through and it becomes its rather nondescript self.
Aloes, Agaves, Crassulas, Echeverias, and Sempervivums are plant groups that fall into the succulent category. Come to the plant exchange on October 12, and see the variety there. Thanks to Elizabeth who came to my house and harvested cuttings, there should be a goodly bunch for you to select from. Come and take the free plantlets and stay to listen to the various mini-talks by the Master Gardeners of Solano County.
Hope to see you there!
- Author: Kathy Low
When it comes to gardening, there is always something new or something more to learn. Luckily there are many opportunities nearby to expand your gardening knowledge. Below is a sample of some upcoming educational opportunities, most of which are free of charge.
August 31, 10:00-11:00
Topic: Composting. This class will be taught by Solano Master Gardeners.
Location: Vallejo People’s Garden (www.vallejopeoplesgarden.org)
Sept. 7, 10:00-3:00
Event: 30th Anniversary Sustainability Fair. For list of presentations see the Contra Costa MG website (http://ccmg.ucdavis.edu/?calitem=191703&g=12498)
Location: Walnut Creek
Sept. 14, 10:00-12:00
Topic: Seed Saving
Location: Loma Vista Farm, Vallejo, CA (www.lomavistafarm.org)
Sept. 14, 10:00-12:00
Topic: Loose Your Lawn and Sheet Mulching http://www.bayfriendlycoalition.org/Calendar.shtml
Location: Solano County Water District, 810 Vaca Valley Parkway, Vacaville
Sept. 17 – 19
Event: Weed Science School
Location: UC Davis Weed Research and Info. Center (www.wric.ucdavis.edu)
Note: a course fee applies
Sept. 22, 10:00-4:00
Event: “Down the Garden Path” Educational Garden Tour
Location: Napa (UC Master Gardeners of Napa County)
Note: There’s a fee of $25 in advance, or $30 on the day of the event.
Oct. 12, 9:00-12:00
FREE Event: Master Gardener Public Plant Exchange (and Gardening Talks)
Location: 501 Texas St., Fairfield
Bring a plant to share if you have one, if you don’t you can still take home a plant.
Come learn about the Master Gardener Program (11:30).
Attend one or more gardening talks.
Free Gardening Sessions scheduled:
10:15 Plant Propagation
11:00 Garden Gift Ideas for the Fall
Pick up a free vegetable planting guide and other gardening information.
Fun for kids too!
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
If you missed it, the Solano County Fair ran from July 31 to August 4. It's been about 5 years now that the UC Master Gardeners have participated in the Amateur Gardens competition at the fair.
The first year, they did not enter the garden competition. However, for the past four years, they have won blue ribbons (yes, I'm bragging about it here!). The Master Gardeners are not professional gardeners, they are people who just love to garden and share their knowledge with others.
The theme this year was "Home Grown Fun", so they create a house façade and planted a colorful variety of plants around it. They embellished the garden with whimsy, such as a metal sculpture, a gourd, a fun chicken planter and a cat peeking out the window.
The MGs create a non-competition garden for the entryway to these competition gardens within the Twilight Theater. This garden had a tropical, relaxing vibe to it.
In addition to the gardens, we some times have MGs who enter their own plants in the plant or flower competitions as well. Karen Pryor used to enter this fabulous shrimp (Justicia brandegeana) plant year after year. It was gorgeous!
This year MG Carolyn Allen entered her crested aeonium. It's crazy, weird appearance caught the eye of many an onlooker and the judges. She placed Reserve Best of Show in the Container Grown Plants.
Congratulations to the UC Master Gardeners in Solano County! A wonderful group of gardeners!