- Author: Amy Weurdig
It's been awhile since I attempted gardening any kinds of vegetables out in the Mesa after the initial year of failures.
I thought hard about putting in raised beds closer to the house, maybe putting in a pest deterrent fence around it.
I've had some fun and a lot of success having my garden at the Bishop Community Garden, so why would I want to garden at home? Well, it'd be great to just pick what I needed for the meal right then, rather than planning on it ahead of time and driving the 11 miles into town. Not very eco-friendly to keep driving back and forth to get a tomato!
So this year, we had some left over tomato starts and I acquired a six pack of habanero peppers that I decide to try out in a trug – you know one of those rubbery garden buckets. The idea being that the trug would elevate the plants enough that the critters couldn't reach them – like a raised bed.
Fast forward 3 weeks: the plants looked pretty good. Had some crazy windy, cold, rainy weather for a couple weeks,but the plants still looked good. Then one evening I went out to water and found stumps.
All my plants were stumps. Cleanly eaten with no evidence at all other than the stumps.
So, my test showed that if I should do raised beds, they need to be at least 3' feet off the ground, enclosed in a wire cage, in order to see any fruits of my labor.
Here is the moral of my story: I'll keep my plot at the Community Garden where I get to see my friends, pull weeds, and pick my veggies free of pepper-eating varmints.
- Author: Alison Collin
Chelsea Flower Show is England's premier showcase for horticultural endeavors. It features several show gardens designed by top designers, extraordinary displays by many specialist nurseries, trade stands selling a vast array of tools and gadgets, outstanding sculptures, paintings, exquisite embroidery, garden clothing and, of course, plants. There are hundreds of exhibitors.
The center of the show is the Great Pavilion and to enter it is a truly jaw dropping experience. There are dozens of displays by nurseries from all over Britain and the rest of the world and every one is absolutely stunning. Some depict the traditional cottage garden with a mix of representative flowers, while others are dedicated to one particular specialty such as gladioli, carnivorous plants, hostas, house plants, vegetables, proteas, cacti or bonsai. Each of the thousands of plants and blooms is a perfect specimen! Stands of spring-flowering daffodils shown at their peak and autumn-flowering chrysanthemums are a testament to the skills that growers have in manipulating flowering times. There were educational displays on such topics as creating children's gardens, and one which detailed the results of genetic research on snapdragons growing wild in the European Alps. And then there are the spectacular floristry displays.
Outside of the Pavilion around the edge of the exhibition site are the 26 show gardens, each designed by a top designer and featuring different themes such as female-led, climate-smart agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, a Finnish garden, and one based on a Japanese herbal garden. English gardens also loomed large, such as one designed for a disused quarry site, one based on the canals of northern England, a garden designed for children in hospice care, and just too many others to mention here.
This link takes you on a tour of these gardens: http://rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Gardens
Some of the sculptures displayed were very imaginative, especially those made from driftwood, but I was particularly drawn to a huge metal foxglove about 10 feet high, and also some metal kinetic sculptures of maple seeds and ginkgo leaves.
The shopping area had a magnificent array of tempting things to buy, but the constraints of my luggage on the airline kept my spending in check. I did however succumb to a new and very splendid garden trowel with a 75 year guarantee. After all, one can never have too many trowels!
Outside the show grounds many of the local shops had decked out their doorways with ebullient swags of fresh flowers.
As a child I attended Chelsea flower show annually but it is now fifty-five years since I was last there, and it did not let me down. The sheer magnificence, elegance and beauty of the whole experience will never be forgotten.
Now back to reality - the challenges of growing in a California high desert garden!
- Author: Edie Warkentine
Did you know that more than 400,000 gardening injuries are treated each year in the emergency room? If winter ever ends, we will all be spending a lot more time in our gardens. The following gardening safety tips may help you avoid becoming one of the 400,000.
- Set realistic expectations for the work that you need to get done and plan rest breaks;
- Take time to stand and stretch between tasks;
- Take time to check in and listen to your body. Don't push through pain during tasks. You can always come back to the job at a later time after stretching and resting your muscles and joints;
- Wear gloves while working outside to reduce blistering and protect skin from fertilizers, pesticides and prickers;
- Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Try alternating between activities that work different muscle groups or joints;
- Use the right tool. Good gardening tools can be especially helpful to reduce risk and pain associated with repetitive use injuries;
- Use proper ergonomic posture. “Posture” refers not only to your whole body position but also to the angle of your wrist while using hand tools.
These gardening safety tips were compiled by Northern Inyo Rehabilitation and shared with the Master Gardeners.
- Author: Edith Warkenine
On Saturday, April 27, 2019, fifteen Inyo-Mono County Master Gardeners served as volunteers for the 50th annual Manzanar Pilgrimage. Each year since 1969, the Manzanar Committee has sponsored the Pilgrimage. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people attended this year to honor and remember Japanese who were incarcerated in this remote spot during World War II, and to learn from what happened at Manzanar so that we may apply those lessons to the present day.
Many of those held at the camp worked hard to create a little beauty in their surroundings by creating gardens and tending the orchards. These are now in the process of being restored. Inyo and Mono county UC Master Gardener volunteers assisted the National Park Service, which hosts the annual event, by greeting visitors at specific gardens and sharing stories and information about the gardens. Master Gardeners were stationed at Arai Pond, a representative barracks garden, Merritt Park—the largest community garden—and the mess hall gardens at Blocks 9, 15 and 22. Volunteers spent a considerable amount of time before the Pilgrimage studying the Manzanar gardens and orchards and the Manzanar Garden Management Plan.
This event was the first stage of the Master Gardener's Manzanar Project. Over the summer, Master Gardeners will be working with NPS staff to begin docent tours of the gardens and orchards, to conduct research on other barrack gardens, and on the Manzanar guayule project. (Guayule was grown at Manzanar during the war as a potential source of natural rubber.)
- Author: Vivian Patterson
Viv Patterson and Trish Schlichting, both Inyo/Mono Master Gardeners, visited the Flower Clock in Geneva, Switzerland, this past October.
Geneva is recognized all around the world for its watch-making tradition. In 1955 Geneva created the biggest clock in the world made from flowers. The flower clock is in Le Jardin Anglais (the English Garden). The garden was constructed in 1855; the Flower Clock was built at the park's centennial to pay homage to Switzerland by perfectly combining watchmaking and horticultural know-how.
The Flower Clock was renovated in May 2017. A new floral concept consisting of more than 12,000 plants was carefully installed by mosaiculture* experts (see note) from the Greenspace Department of the City of Geneva. A watering system, essential for the survival of the plants and their full-sun exposure accompanies the installation. New hands, with an elegant design close to the original one, were manufactured and offered to the City by the firm Patek Philippe. The seconds hand is 2.5 meters long and is arguably the largest in the world. The clock has an electronic time setting via satellite.
*Mosaiculture is the horticultural art of creating giant topiary-like sculptures using thousands of annual bedding plants to carpet steel armature forms.