|December 15th Members tour
Golden State Bonsai Collection-North at Lake Merritt in Oakland.... pictures by Peter Johnsen
December 11th Membership Meeting
Holiday Potluck Dinner and Evening Program,
Kathy Echols, "Propagation Pointers".... pictures
Departing from musical entertainment this year, we enjoyed a holiday program geared to gardeners. Our “Santa Claus” present… er, presenter… was the ever-popular Kathy Echols, instructor and plant sale coordinator in the Horticulture Department at DVC.
A teacher of propagation and plant production, Kathy’s gift to us was tips on starting the new year by starting plants for ourselves and for our sale in May. ... and a gift of numerous seed packets as well. Kathy’s down-to-earth approach included use of plant material to help explain some of her information. Besides propagation by cuttings, Kathy discussed starting plants from seed.
Having Kathy join us in December was a great way to round out our 2007 program year.
At this this meeting we also donated potted houseplants to homebound people served by hospice groups. Each December, members attending our December meeting are invited to bring potted houseplants that will be given as holiday cheer to homebound people. Our donations are taken to two hospice organizations that deliver the heartwarming plants to patients confined to their homes during this festive season. Tucked into each plant is a holiday label that identifies our club as the donor. Jan Egan prepared the labels; delivery to the hospice groups will be handled by Gail Sutherland and Carol Nelsen. Special thanks go to these women and to everyone who brings a plant for donation
Background Music … While we enjoyed our potluck, we enjoyed piano melodies performed by Pete Banwell.
Seeds and Cuttings – Plant Propagation Pointers ...from Kathy Echol's presentation...
(as extracted from PHGSC's January Flower Press)
If variety is your propagation goal, seeds are great, but for Kathy Echols cuttings are more fun.
“I look at every plant for its cuttings potential,” admitted Kathy..
She combined basic instruction on cuttings propagation with bits of information and insight. For instance:
* Most cuttings need a rooting hormone. Kathy said powders don’t work as well as Dip ’N Grow, a liquid sold at Orchard Nursery in Lafayette.
* Many plants root well in perlite. Kathy likes to mix it with peat moss.
* Some plants root fine in water, but can suffer transplantation shock when placed in soil. The reason is that water has no air, and soil does.
* Allow succulent cuttings to air out so the edges become a little calloused before rooting them.
* Choose cuttings from young plant material because it roots faster.
* Make your cuttings small and with few leaves, so most of their energy can go into making roots.
* When striping leaves, don’t tear away a stem’s cambium – the thin layer of outer skin.
* But, when rooting woody plants, use a potato peeler to strip the cambium off one side so the hormone can enter the stem.
* Make cuttings of camellias in June, begonias in mid summer, roses in August and September.
* If cuttings of a particular plant don’t work in one season, try another. Chart your result.
* Sharpen your cutting shears often; thoroughly clean and oil them once a year.
* And a final thought on seeds: they need warmth to germinate. A good place to get them going is on top of your refrigerator.
November 6th Membership Meeting -
Lighting Up Your Garden for Delight and Practicality .... pictures
Georgia Madden, Feyerabend & Madden and Jeff Calhoun, FX Luninaire
We’re lucky to have a climate that allows us to be outside much of the year – so it makes sense to light up our gardens at night to extend their usefulness and enjoyment. Georgia Madden started with that premise when she spoke in November on garden lighting, one of her areas of expertise at Feyerabend & Madden Landscape Design, Emeryville.
“Effect is more important than the fixture,” Georgia emphasized. Be sure to have the wattage and beam spread you really need, and invest in durable equipment. “You always need more light than you think you will,” she cautioned. Effective landscape lighting usually calls for a lot of fixtures, strategically placed for comprehensive results. Daytime vistas change dramatically
at night, when focal points can be emphasized and fill lighting can add accent, Georgia said.
She advocated blending esthetics with other lighting purposes, such as security, pathway and stairs visibility, and illumination of tasks such as grilling.
A low-voltage system is more flexible than a 120-volt box, Georgia said, adding that all electrical concerns should be handled by an electrician. If children or pets are likely to run and trip over wires laid on the ground, run them through PVC pipes placed slightly underground, Georgia advised.
Besides exhibiting various fixtures and discussing their effects, Georgia brought along Jeff Calhoun from FX Luminaire, who set up several lighting displays in the park outside our meeting room.
Georgia Madden is co-founder and a principal at Feyerabend & Madden Landscape Design, Emeryville.
Jeff Calhoun, FX Luminaire representative (e-mail: email@example.com and web at www.fxl.com). FX products are available through the Urban Farmer Store and Ewing Irrigation (wholesale for contractors).
October 2, 2007 - Membership meeting - "An Introduction to Bonsai" pictures
A presentation by Bob Gould
A great deal of attention, knowhow, and especially patience are part of the package if you want to grow bonsai plants successfully. Bob Gould alluded to those qualities in his bonsai presentation at our October meeting.
Bonsai is a form of horticulture in which a normally larger tree or bush is forced to become a miniature plant by confining it in a small pot and regularly pruning the crown and root.
“It takes constant trimming back – almost every week to 10 days,” Bob said. “If my plant grows five new leaves, I cut it back to one or two.”
Bonsai plants are grown in very coarse soil and watered often. “Fine soil would rot the roots, and root rot
is the biggest problem with bonsai,” Bob said. “Fertilize like crazy” without burning the plant, Bob advised. He favors a 5-5-5 fertilizer mix, applied every month or three weeks during the growing season.
Bob named trees and shrubs most suited to bonsai, and he discussed esthetics, such as trunk taper balanced by branch direction. Wires are used for two or three years to achieve a desired shape, he noted.
It takes many years to grow a bonsai to maturity, and then it can last for decades, and sometimes centuries, Bob indicate.d
Why do bonsai plants live so long? The question prompted a passionate answer: “Because they are taken care
of so carefully.”
To begin growing bonsai, Bob recommended Sunset's “Bonsai” book.
Bob volunteers several days a week at the Golden State Bonsai Collection – North, located in Oakland’s Lakeside Park, in the gardens near Lake Merritt. It is the largest public bonsai collection in northern California. For more information, check out its website: http://web.mac.com/ltferzoco/GSBF/C-N_Home.html
September 4, 2007 - Membership meeting --
The Season Begins for Organic Gardening"
on this topic was also published in the PHGSC’s March 2007
Flower Press. You
can also find a Master Gardener planting calendar and recommended
for planting in interior
August 7, 2007 - Membership meeting -- "Growing Heirlooms" ... pictures
Following our Summer Potluck, our August speaker, Dave Stockdale enlighted us on "why grow heirlooms" – and which ones are best adapted to our area. By growing and buying heirloom fruits, vegetables, and flowers, we perpetuate the biodiversity passed along by generations before us.
Dave is executive director of the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), which sponsors the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco.
Heirlooms – open-pollinated plants that are generally at least 50 years old – have adapted to specific growing conditions and can be more resilient than modern varieties, said Dave. Typically, heirloom vegetables and fruits have better flavor, color, and texture than their supermarket counterparts, which are usually hybrids (the offspring of two different parent plants) developed primarily for uniformity and ease of transport.
Dave stressed buying produce locally for maximum nutrition value. Purchase only as much as you can consume in two to three days. Following his talk, Dave gave everyone a chance to taste four varieties of heirloom tomatoes and vote on their favorites. Surprisingly, there was no clear winner; each type had its own qualities and fans.
July 28, 2007 -- Annual Members Garden Tour ... pictures
PHGSC members tour the gardens of members Steve Morse, Mary Lu and Bob Buchard, and Dianne and Peter Johnsen on a warm Saturday in late July.
June 5, 2007 --- Membership meeting and tour of Ruth Bancroft Garden ... pictures
May 24, 2007 - ... and the Diablo Foothill District Annual Award Winners are....
Steve Morse (left) was named Propagator of the Year, Kathy Mendenhall (center) was first runner up for Gardener of the Year, Janice Press (right), also a member of the Concord Garden Club, was named Floral Arranger of the Year. (Karen Mahshi presenting awards to Steve and Janice; Buzz Bertolero of Navlet's presenting Kathy her award.)
May 12, 2007 - PHGSC's Annual Plant Sale ... pictures
May 1, 2007 Membership Meeting
Bob Hornback: “Fantastic Foliage”... pictures
Why be interested in variegated plants? Bob Hornback had several answers when he spoke at our May meeting.
“Variegated plants are ornate,” Bob said. They’re more fascinating than their monotoned relatives, and in shady places, the lighter colors in the variegates provide a sense of brightness, he added.
Many plants have a variegated version, Bob pointed out. There’s even a variegated-leaf oleander with a variegated flower – an unusual combination. Variegation is usually a mutation, which calls for propagation by cuttings or divisions. Seeds of such plants generally do not produce variegated offspring, Bob said.
He warned that variegated plants often grow shoots that revert to green. “Pluck them, or they will take over,” advised Bob.
He said a few plants are naturally variegated, such as aloe variegata, Of course, even it can be mutated to produce aloe variegata variegata. Most variegated plants are not sick, but about 10 percent are, Bob noted.
Whether from a virus, air pockets, or just plain mutation, variegated plants have less chlorophyll and may be less hardy. Their eye-appeal, however, certainly makes up for their delicacy, in Bob’s opinion.
April 2007 PHGSC Display at CCC Central Library, Pleasant Hill
For the past several years, PHGSC has had a month-long Club information display in the lobby at the PH Library. This year's lobby display, as in the past several years, was primarily the result of the work of Mary Eisenhour and Reta Jennings. The head librarian said it was one of the most attractive displays all year! Inside the library were plant arrangements by Reta, Phil Greig, Carol Nelsen and Gail Sutherland. Thanks to all.
April 3, 2007 Membership Meeting
Kathy Echols, DVC Horticulture, “Garden Myths”
We do things in the garden out of habit, belief, or because we were taught that way. Are they practical, efficient or useful?
In an entertaining presentation at our April meeting, Kathy Echols dispelled a lot of useless or senseless garden myths, i.e. bareroot season buying, use of Vitamin B1, what really is in manure, not using specialty fertilizers, etc..
As many of our members already know, Kathy is a driving force in the Horticulture Department at DVC, where she’s been teaching for 16 years. Kathy is in charge of DVC’s plant sales, and she teaches classes in propagation, plant production, greenhouse and nursery practices, and the identification of plants new to the trade each season. In addition to plant propagation, Kathy’s chief specialties are drought tolerant and Australian plants.
Trying to be “nice” to our plants can be useless or worse.
For example, when planting bare root fruit trees, many people add vitamin B1 and redwood mulch. However, the tree pores are too small for B1 molecules to enter (although a zinc additive in the vitamin can help a little), she said.
And backfilling the hole with removed soil is better than mulch, which inhibits roots from establishing themselves deeply, said Kathy. “It’s better for your plants to try hard to get into the regular soil.” She cautioned against tilling for that reason, but did advise composting.
Also, it’s not good to stake trees tightly, she noted, since they’ll grow stronger if they sway in the wind.
Back to wood mulches… they steal nitrogen from your plants, so add fertilizer if needed. “Nitrogenated” mulch is misleading because it has only a whiff of nitrogen, Kathy said.
The cheapest source of nitrogen is urea, Kathy indicated. A byproduct of petroleum refining, it is organic and good for soil – but don’t get it on your plants.
Lawn clippings or alfalfa pellets are a fine way to add nitrogen to wood chips, Kathy said, adding that roses like alfalfa’s nitrogen, too.
She also advised nitrogen and not bone meal for bulbs, to encourage season after season of lovely flowers.
A good fertilizer with nitrogen (in the form of urea) is chicken manure, but use it sparingly, Kathy said. Steer
manure contains salt and probably should be avoided, she noted.
Her final advice: go beyond what you hear from retailers, try new things, and use the Internet for answers
March 6, 2007 Membership Meeting
“Water in the Garden: Focal Pieces; Cooling Places” Bobbi Feyerabend, www.fmlanddesign.com
An intimate Mediterranean garden can feel very lush with a small fountain to add charm and humidity.
So said Bobbi Feyerabend, the landscape designer who has worked with several of our members and given us previous – and splendid – presentations on other topics.
Bobbi talked about why water is an asset to a garden, and her slide show provided examples of how water can be worked into various garden settings.
Fountains of all types may be purchased, of course, but Bobbi will also give some ideas on how individuals can build their own attractive water feature.
A principal at Feyerabend & Madden Landscape Design, Emeryville, Bobbi’s entire career has been in the field of landscape horticulture.
Recently, two of her firm’s residential designs in Walnut Creek won prestigious awards. The company’s garden designs have also appeared on television and in printed publications. Examples of her firm's work can be seen on her web site.www.fmlanddesign.com
Table decorations for the March membership meeting... thanks to Reta Jennings and Mary Eisenhour
March 4, 2007 Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings Workshop .... pictures
What: We learned a simple and inexpensive way to get new plants for your garden, to share with your friends, but most importantly, for our annual plant sale on May 12, 2007
Who: Members of the PHGSC
When: Sunday March 4th 1PM – 4PM
Where: Lynn & Rocco Grassano’s residence... more details on workhsop...
Members "Trip" to Robert Ehrhart's Camellia Garden in Walnut Creek ... pictures
It was camellia
new member Bob Ehrhart invited us to visit his garden of 2000+
while many of them are in bloom. Bob
has been growing
camellias for 40 years. He is past president of the American Camellia
and active in the
6, 2007 Membership Meeting ...pictures
2, 2007 Membership
This weather pattern allows people to enjoy an agreeable indoor/outdoor lifestyle, O’Hara said, while plants adapt in a variety of ways. They “mound” to trap air and water. They have evergreen, leathery foliage that saves energy (no need to produce new leaves every year) or gray foliage that reflects light. They go to seed or go dormant when the hot weather arrives.
O’Hara admitted that most
gardeners, especially in
“In most Mediterranean climates, water is treasured and respected because it’s a precious item,” O’Hara observed, adding: “Lawns are probably the most water-wasteful, resource-wasteful thing you can plant.”
He advocated avoiding most chemicals most of the time by bringing your garden into balance. And he advised: “Demand more Mediterranean plants from your nurseries.”