PHGSC Recent Events 2006

to 2005 events and 2004 and earlier events

Some recent PHGSC Events in 2006

December 5th Membership Meeting:
Holiday Potluck and Entertainment 
Tucked nicely between Thanksgiving and Christmas, our PHGSC holiday potluck dinner was a fine time for being grateful for our gardening friends and enjoy the gift of their good company over great food.
   After the meal, we enjoyed upbeat music by the Mary Stark Duo of holiday songs and standards and even some sing-alongs!
   Plants for the Homebound were also brought to the meeting for 
later delivery to those homebound and under hospice care. Thanks to Jan Egan for the the labeling and Gail Sutherland and Carol Nelsen for delivering the plants to two hospice organizations. 
Pictures from the evening.... click here

November 7th: Membership Meeting
“A Sampling of Roses from A to Z”
rosebookcover   Carolyn Parker, author, newspaper columnist and rose gardener extraordinaire, visited us to elaborate with words and slides on many of the subjects she writes about in her newest book,
   On her website, Carolyn says that "...'R IS FOR ROSE' “journeys through an alphabet of roses that grow in my garden. Each rose receives celebrity treatment in stories, histories, and photographs. Practical tips on gardening and flower arranging intermingle with my life with roses, and thoughts on love, life, creativity, beauty….”
   As a child, Carolyn Parker had a barren yard and yearned to fill it with the flowers she saw in fields and neighbors’ gardens. In her first career as a fashion designer, the roses she came to love appeared as apparel decorations. After she moved to Lafayette and retired from the fashion business, she planted roses, took pictures of them, and ended up with two delightful books, The Poetry of Roses, and Roses from A to Z.
   Parker’s enchanting presentation to our members in November was a blend of “rose talk” and stories about how roses have figured into so many of her memorable life experiences.  For instance, while working on her second book, she traveled to England, a treasure trove of roses. Amazingly, she met Graham Thomas, the famous rosarian, and interviewed him at age 92, a year before he died. The G in her A to Z book is the Graham Thomas rose.
   Although her talk didn’t focus on the “how-to” side of rose growing, she did say in answer to a question that nice roses need two important elements: a lot of compost and thick mulch.
   For more information on Carolyn Parker, visit her website:
   Carolyn Parker’s books were for sale at the meeting. She generously donated a portion of the sale to PHGSC.... pictures from the meeting

October 7th: PHGSC Members Tour
AW Pottery and Several Private Gardens in Oakland
... pictures

October 3rd: Membership Meeting

Mahoney.JPG   Don Mahoney, Horticulture Manager at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens at Strybing Arboretum spoke on "Bulbs and Beyond: Adding Color to the Winter Landscape" 
   Fall is spring bulb planting season, so it was very timely that Don focused on bulbs, and specifically the ones that bloom in winter or early spring that provide winter color (although winter bloomers must have been planted last spring or summer).
   Mahoney also discussed shrubs and salvias that bloom in the winter .
   His slide presentation and samples of live plant material rounded out his talk.
   Well-known for his bulb presentations, Mahoney holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and was on the board
and ultimately president of the California Horticulture Society from 1994 to 2001. He has been president of
the Hallberg Butterfly Garden since 1998.

September 5th: Membership Meeting
(parapharased from the Flower Press)
"Controlling Garden Pests Need Not Be a Toxic Affair" - Ken Williams, Master Gardener
   When you spot a garden pest the first thing to do, says Ken Williams, is ask yourself, “Can I live with it?”
   For instance, you may not like aphids, but they won’t really harm your roses, said Williams, a Contra Costa  Master Gardener and our September speaker.
   Because pesticides end up in our water supply, he favors “integrated pest management,” or the least toxic means to fight garden invaders. Williams listed four types of pest control and gave examples:
Physical – Deter snails and slugs by using copper tape around your seedling pots. Fence out deer.
Cultural – Put the right plant in the right spot, or it’ll get sick and attract pests. Keep rose bushes away
from the house, since roses attract aphids, which attract ants. 
Biological - Attract beneficial insects that eat pests by having your
garden include “insectary” plants such as alyssum, lavender or yarrow.
Chemical – Use as a last resort, and then choose “safer” versions with
toxins that are not as long-lasting. Read the label three times, advised
Williams: before you buy it, before you use it and before you dispose of it.
   On the subject of gophers, he said the only things that truly work are traps or well-placed bait.
   To supplement his talk, Williams handed out the “Healthy Gardening Guide” published by Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.

August 1st: Membership Meeting (parapharased from the Flower Press)
Members Summer  Potluck: 6:30
Members and Visitors: 8 p.m.
"Evaluating the Health of Your Trees"
"Our trees may outlive our grandchildren -- they deserve the best care they can get!".... Richard Trout
   If you intend to plant a few trees, consider how their roots and branches will spread in the decades ahead, advised Richard Trout at the outset of his talk at our August meeting.
     “Plant the smallest tree you can,” he suggested, because younger specimens will have a better chance of establishing a strong root system.
     Trout, formerly lead arborist at UC-Berkeley and now a consultant, warned against over-pruning because foliage is the fruit producing area of the tree. He also said trees located in lawns that are sprinkled tend to develop surface roots.
     Other danger signs of trees in distress, said Trout, are decay at the base of a tree, a white fungus growing out of the bark, and “root heave” causing the tree to lean.
     Heart rot, or decay of a tree's inner core, can be hard to identify until the tree becomes extremely hollow. A good time to remove a stressed tree, he observed, is when it no longer serves the landscape or is not safe.
     Treatments exist for some tree diseases, but not much can be done about fungus, said Trout, adding that many trees have reserves and recuperative abilities until they get old.
     Asked if Sudden Oak Disease will wipe out the oak population, Trout said, “probably,” but it's not a certainty.  Another question was if pounding a nail into a tree can cause decay.  It depends on the tree's hardness, answered Trout.  Disease can enter a tree at a damaged site, he noted.

   Trout is a certified arborist with more than 30 years of working with trees in landscape settings. An Albany resident, he is the principal of Arboricultural Consulting Services. Previously, he was lead arborist at UC Berkeley, created  its Tree Fund, and headed its response to the Sudden Oak Death threat.
   For more information on Richard Trout and his specialities, go to his website:
Pictures from the evening's meeting

July 15th: PHGSC members visit the Jennings at their country retreat ... pictures

June 27th: Board of Director's Meeting
In a celebration of the changing-of-leadership, the Board of Directors met at Jan Egan's patio garden for som light fare provided by Jan, some Board business as this was Jan's last Board meeting as President and welcoming of new officers: Marc, Gregory, and Lisa. There was also a presentation to Jan of a certificat of appreciation of her Club leadership as well as a Shooting Star hydrangea. ...  pictures

June 24th: Members' Annual Garden Tour
Visits to the gardens of 3 members:  Jack and Carol Giolitti, Mary Hurlburt, and Rocco and Lynn Grassano.  parrotjungle.JPGAs an optional 4th stop -- we were graciously hosted to a visit to Neal Richmond's Open Garden in Concord. Neal is a daylily fanatic as well as grower. He had 300 different daylily cultivars in a garden setting at his home.

June 6th :  Membership Meeting

Club Business: Elected - President: Marc Kiefer succeeds Jan Egan; Vice President - Membership: Gregory Mayfield succeeds Susan Pratt; and Vice President - Program: Lisa Robinson replaces Latha Rajagoplan resigning due to work commitments; 06-07 budget approved as submitted by Kathy Mendenhall..
Guest Speaker: Estelle Solomon
  "Drip Irrigation Systems"
    (paraphrased from the June 2006 "Flower Press")
   Thanks to many new products now available, drip irrigation systems are much easier then they were in the past.
   There's still a lot to know about them, though, and we got a good overview from Estelle Solomon's hands-on presentation at our June 6 membership meeting.
   The owner of Estelle Solomon Landscaping in El Cerrito has been using drip irrigation for many years, and shared her acquired knowledge.
   In addition to passing out product materials, she brought along drip irrigation items to show as she discussed them.
   Most of her clients are homeowners, so she was familiar with the issues we are likely to encounter. She concluded her presenation by answering questions from members and guests.... pictures from the evening

May 20th: CGCI Diablo Foothill District Garden Tour
Several of our members' gardens were on the DFD Tour... see some pictures

May 13th:
Annual Plant Sale
Winslow Center, SE cor of Pleasant Hill Road & Taylor Blvd
(see more info)  (some pictures...special thanks to Eileen Housfeld)
thumbnail of flyer

May 2d: 7 p.m. Membership Meeting
Renee Shepherd, Renee's Garden
"Easy Gardening from Seed" ... paraphrased from Flower Press
renee.jpg      An interesting and informative presentation exciting presentation was made at our May meeting when seed maven Renee Sheperd, founder of Renee's Garden was our guest speaker.
   The full title of her slide talk was  "Easy Gardening for Busy People from Seed".
   More specifically, she discussed which kinds and varieties of seeds are best to sow directly in the garden for abundant harvests of delicious vegetables and harbs and beautiful cutting flowers.
... some more about Renee Shepherd:
   Renee founded the Sheperd's Garden Seed Catalog in 1983 after receiving her Ph.D. at UC-Santa Cruz and teaching in the Environmental Studies Department. In 1996, she started Renee's Garden. Its seed packets can be found at independent garden centers or online at
   Renee has also authored two cookbooks, which she brought along to sell. As an added bonus, she gave free seeds to those who attended the meeting..... some pictures from meeting

Were you there?... Club meeting attendees at May 2, 2006 membership meeting.

tidbits from June 2006 "Flower Press"... on Renee's presentation (above)...
P1020025.JPG    Many flower, vegetable and herb seeds can be planted directly into the ground and produce bountiful results, according to Renee.
   Summer seeds to plant include beans, cucumbers, sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias, she also said. In fall, sow lettuce, sweet peas and poppies, for instance. Spring is the time for chard, all kinds of lettuce, baby bok choy, radishes, herbs, morning glory and nasturtium.

Renee's slides provided even more ideas.
For successful seed planting, Renee said remember the following:

April 25th: 7 p.m. PHGSC Board Meeting

April 4th: 7 p.m. Membership Meeting
Buzz Bertolero, Navlet's Garden Centers
 "The Buzz from Buzz " ... from the Flower Press
dg_BuzzRTface.JPG  Well-known Navlet's nurseryman Buzz Bertolero - also known as the “Dirt Gardener” - was our guest speaker in April. He devoted a good portion of his talk to answering the question of what we are up against with our wet and cold spring. Buzz also showed us some garden items that are new, unique, timely or good for solving problems, especially this spring.  Currently executive vice president of Navlet's, Buzz started in the family-run business at age 13. He is active in the nursery industry, writes a weekly syndicated gardening column, appears weekly on KRON-TV's “Henry's Garden”, and hosts a website,  
   We learned the probable scenarios for the very wet spring we've been having.

... excerpted and paraphrased from he Flower Press
What to Expect After Our Wet Spring.... from Buzz Bertolero's presentation April 4th.
   "It's been wet, wet, wet, and that will cause problems," declared Buzz Bertelero as he opened his prgram at our April meeting.
   The Navlet's executive vice president provided information, insights and ideas on how to hendle ths year's cold and moisture-laden late spring.
   Roses are likely to suffer from downy mildew, he said. unlike black spot, this disease has squarish dark purple-red splotches and causes rapid defoliation from bottom up. One of the few downy mildew controls, he said is Afri-Fos.
   Fruit trees may suffer brown rot on new growth, Buzz said. After the rain depart and foliage dries, fungicides may help address the problem.
   "This will be a humonguous year for snails," Buzz predicted, because of all the moisture in the ground. Sluggo is a good organic pesticide, he said, adding "whatever you do to fight the snails, be persistent.
   Tomatoes should not go into the ground until the weather is consistently warm, Buzz advised. "Tomatoes don't have a 'catch-up' gene" that boosts them along if they're planted too early, he quipped. 
...some pictures from the meeting.

March 7th: 7 p.m. Membership Meeting
Featured Speaker: Margo Banner, Markham Regional Arboretum Society
Excerpted and paraphrased from our "Flower Press" newsletter...
Margo started growing tomatoes at age 5, and with her brother, selling them door-to-door in her Southern California neighborhood.  Over the years, she has learned a lot of tomato-growing tricks and problem-solving techniques that she shared, along with slides, at our meeting. Now a resident of Concord, Margo told us about tomato varieties that do well in this area. She also discussed starting from seed, saving seeds, the best time to plant, staking methods, tomato trivia, and a bit about hybrids vs. heirlooms.

Tips and Tidbits on Tomatoes from Margo Banner:
 If you want garden-fresh tomatoes for as long as possible during the growing season, hedge your bets and plant early, mid-season and late varieties. Margo Banner's advice came with a mention of her favorites: early - Stupice and First Lady II; mid-season - SunSugar; late - Lillian's Yellow Heirloom. She named more in a handout that also listed seed sources and these useful suggestions:

February 28th: Award of DVC Horticulture Student Book Grants.... original application
As part of its support of community horticultural activities,  PHGSC solicited DVC horticulture students to submit applications for up to $50 grants to subsidize their horticulture book purchases. Congratulations to the following selected students :
Shawna Anderson, Emily Clark, Priscilla Farfan, Gillian Gray, Mark Kiefer, Sally Lanzarotti, Kathleen Till, and Tonia Zink.

February 23rd: Diablo Foothills District (area garden clubs) luncheon
hosted by our club. Held in the Parkside Room in the PHRPD's Community Center (our normal meeting room), 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., included a buffet luncheon catered by Pasta Pompodoro and a presentation on "Prepare for Spring: New Rose Introductions" by Bonnie Brousseau of Orchard Nursery in Lafayette. Pictures and other information coming soon.... maybe

February 11, 2006 - Members Workshop
"Plant Propagation by Seed and Division"
at George and Sharon Hatch's home.
George Hatch and Phil Grieg leading
.... some pictures

February 2, 2006 - Membership Meeting
Featured Speaker: Bobbi Feyerabend, Landscape Architect,
Feyerabend & Madden Landscape Design, Inc.

"Garden Structure"
   Stonework, walls, arbors and other design elements are landscape solutions that also can give your garden a cohesive, pleasing structure.
   An East Bay "pro" in this area, Bobbi Feyerabend brought slides to our February meeting and commented on ways to revamp challenging areas or just jazz up a site.
   Bobbi is a principal in the Emeryville firm of Feyerabend and Madden Landscape Design, Inc. Their specialty is custom designing each site with special attention to solving problems and achieving goals through form, color, texture, scent, and seasonal change.
   Some pictures from the meeting....
   More information on Bobbi's firm's work is available at the company's website: or by WWW search engine.

January 14th, 2006, Saturday morning
For members only, Jack Giolitti leading
Birdhouse Building Brigade
for our May Plant Sale @ Jack and Carol's home
.... pictures

January 3rd, 2006, Membership Meeting
 Featured Speaker:  Jennifer Hidalgo,
Orchard Nursery, Lafayette
"Winter Container Gardening"
JenniferHildago.GIF    With our relatively mild winters, container gardening is a viable option during cold weather utilizing everything from woody shrubs in larger containers to annuals. Jennifer will show us how.
   Jennifer is the perennials buyer at Orchard Nursery and has been a floral designer and organic gardener. She is also a Contra Costa Master Gardener.
 ... no pictures...
see "Flower Press" newsletter for more details...