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Archives for May 10, 2014

New and Notable: 12 Gadgets to Tech Out Your Garden

Cabbage patch got you stumped? This free Android app is like having a pro gardener at your side 24/7. Armed with 10 chapters chock-full of DIY gardening tips, landscaping ideas, and useful information, you will be well on your way to creating the garden of your dreams.

Article source: https://ca.shine.yahoo.com/photos/notable-12-gadgets-tech-garden-slideshow/

Officials share message of improvements with Vidalia leaders

VIDALIA — Vidalia has a “screaming opportunity” if those who want it to grow will listen.

That was the message Laurence Leyens with the Orion Planning Group brought to a gathering of Vidalia business and civic leaders. Leyens was one of two consultants who were in Vidalia to follow-up on a similar planning session the city hosted in the fall.

Natchez has more than 25 houses on the market right now, Leyens said, while 25 houses have been sold in Vidalia in the last 12 months.

“These houses are selling at $123 a square foot,” Leyens said. “Y’all are paying massive dollars for 50-year-old inventory, and y’all seem to be satisfied for it.

“We need to be building yuppieville. I can take $123 a square foot and build you a to-specification house in Madison that is going to be worth $500,000 when we’re done.”

While people used to follow jobs to choose where they lived, they now choose where they want to live and work in a global economy, Leyens said.

Vidalia needs to find out why people are buying houses there and continue to develop that resource, he said.

When those present told Leyens the Vidalia school system was a draw locally, he said that wasn’t surprising.

“My son’s future is not for sale,” he said. “I am not going to move into a bad economy because it is cheaper to live there when my son’s future is at stake.”

The problem Vidalia faces, Leyens’ partner Bob Barber said, is that it is a “built out” town with no property to develop inside the city limits.

“Obviously there is vacant land just outside the city limits — we know that — but inside there is very little vacant land left,” Barber said.

Leyens likewise said the city does not have a central area that gives it a feeling of place.

“Where is Vidalia?” he said. “Right now, I drive through and it’s all highway.”

The area has plenty of potential to develop as the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale oil and gas play demands more and more from the regional transportation hubs like US. 61 and U.S. 84, Leyens said, but the city also needs to develop some kind of standards to ensure its quality development.

“Developers can come in here and build something only meant to last 10 years, and at the end of 10 years, it’s junk and they’re gone, and you’ve got junk,” he said.

Instead, leaders can adopt codes to ensure a higher standard of quality.

“I go to a lot of small cities like this, and they have this depression-era or 1970s-era mentality of, ‘Thank God we have a grocery store, even if it is a metal building.’” Leyens said.

“If you started adopting standards and expectations that are higher, you are influencing the value of that property and the property adjacent to it. You can say, ‘We want it to have a brick facade, we want it sort of set back and we want some trees in the parking lot, and suddenly it’s a different environment that raises the value not only of that property, but the property next to it.”

The city likewise should standardize its codes so the already developed properties are less disparate in appearance.

“Right now, you have people who have put up a nice front, but they don’t have the landscaping to go with it,” Leyens said. “If you don’t have the standards, all you have is a building with a funny front right next to a metal building.”

Barber worked with the group to discuss further ideas about possible code and zoning changes the city could effect.

“We did some work a couple of years ago, but we are working to develop a new city master plan,” Mayor Hyram Copeland said. “The last master plan was made in the 1970s, and we really need to bring that forward in order to move in the future.”

Copeland said City of Vidalia officials would continue to work on the new master plan in the coming months.

Article source: http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2014/05/10/officials-share-message-of-improvements-with-vidalia-leaders/

Seeds: Peony time comes to foothill farm

The colder it gets in winter, the bigger the peonies bloom.

A good dose of chill seems to enhance the size of these old-fashioned spring flowers. December’s deep freeze paid off in gigantic, fluffy peonies.

Enjoy that beauty while you can. A spike in Sacramento temperatures in late April doomed Valley-grown peonies to a short but gorgeous moment in the sun. But at higher elevations, they’re just now reaching their peak of bloom.

Starting Friday, Dragonfly Peony Farm near the Sierra foothills town of Wilseyville opens its gates to visitors for its annual Open Garden. The event continues Fridays and weekends until June 1.

Peony farmer Julia Moore has more than 1,000 peonies at Dragonfly, a mostly online nursery about two hours from Sacramento. At nearly 2,800 feet elevation, the farm feels spring’s warmth a tad later than the Valley. But by mid-May, the large, graceful flowers cover the bushes in bushels of blooms.

“People can spend hours here, just wandering around, taking photos – and they do,” Moore said during a prior visit.

Peonies are one of those flowers that refuses to bloom in such places as Los Angeles or Santa Barbara, but thrives in Northern California.

“You need some winter chill to make them bloom,” Moore said. “But if you can grow apples, you can grow peonies. They’re super-easy.”

For foothill gardeners, peonies have another bonus: Deer won’t eat them. Gophers don’t like them, either.

They also are relatively drought-tolerant. Once established, these perennials need little care; just a little bone meal before bloom time. One plant can last 30 to 100 years.

Also long lasting in the vase, peonies make excellent cut flowers. But the show lasts longer when they’re still on the bush. And they smell as good as they look.

Said Moore, “At the peak of bloom, the scent is just heavenly.”

More Greener Gardens

After the success of last month’s Elk Grove Greener Gardens tour, now it’s Roseville’s turn.

Next Saturday, the city of Roseville’s Utility Exploration Center teams with EcoLandscape California for a day full of water-saving ideas. A DIY expo will feature lots of hands-on advice on how to convert sprinklers to more-efficient irrigation, troubleshoot leaks and the easiest ways to take out a lawn.

During the ongoing drought, Roseville (along with many other cities) has asked residents to cut water use by 20 percent or more. In the Sacramento Valley, landscaping accounts for up to 65 percent of residential water use. That makes outdoor irrigation a likely target for potential savings.

Families can sign up now to take a self-guided tour of Roseville front yards where homeowners made the commitment to ditch the turf and switch to unthirsty landscaping.

In particular, Roseville’s Greener Gardens Tour focuses on participants in the city’s “Cash for Grass” program. These homeowners received rebates for lawn removal. But they also had to agree to replace that grass with new water-wise landscaping.

“By removing some or all of their turf, they’re doing their part to reduce the amount of water they use – and you can, too!” said tour coordinator Cheryl Buckwalter, executive director of EcoLandscape California. “The Roseville Greener Gardens Tour is designed to encourage the use of ‘river-friendly landscaping’ techniques and to demonstrate that you, too, can have a beautiful, water-wise garden.”

This change, and water savings, don’t happen instantaneously. Even drought-tolerant plants need water to get growing and become established. But the transformation from a traditional turf-heavy landscape to a more-sustainable alternative is a process.

“Use this time to plan and then start taking action,” Buckwalter said. “Every step taken today to reduce landscape water use will benefit our future supply of water, protect local waterways, and help us be part of the solution to the environmental challenges we all face.”

For more details or to sign up for the tour, go to www.roseville.ca.us/explore.

And what to plant in that water-wise garden? The UC Davis Arboretum’s teaching nursery hosts its summer clearance sale next Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring its “New Front Yard” series of low-water and beautiful alternatives to traditional turf and landscaping. Also find many of the popular Arboretum All-Stars, more water-wise choices to replace that soon-to-be-brown lawn.


Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

• Read more articles by Debbie Arrington

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Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/10/6392388/seeds-peony-time-comes-to-foothill.html

Trowel & Glove: Marin gardening calendar for the week of May 10, 2014

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Marin

• The Novato Garden Club’s annual May Mart plant sale is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10 outside Pini Ace Hardware at 1535 S. Novato Blvd. Call 897-8607.

• The annual Beyond the Garden Gate tour of four private gardens in Ross is from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 10. Shuttles leave every 15 minutes from the College of Marin’s Lot No. 15 on Kent Avenue in Kentfield. $40 to $50. Go to www.rossgardentour.org.

• The Friends of Falkirk Gardens succulent sale is from 9 a.m. to noon May 10 at the Falkirk Greenhouse at 1408 Mission Ave. in San Rafael. Go to www.falkirkculturalcenter.org or www.marinmg.org.

• Betsy McGee of Marin Master Gardeners speaks about “Creating a Haven for Wildlife” at 11 a.m. May 10 at the Novato Library at 1720 Novato Blvd. Call 473-4204 or go to www.marinmg.org.

• Yvonne Horn discusses “The Traveling Gardener” at 2:30 p.m. May 10 at Book Passage at 51 Tamal Vista Blvd. in Corte Madera. $25. Call 927-0960 or go to www.book passage.com.

• West Marin Commons offers a weekly harvest exchange at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Livery Stable gardens on the commons in Point Reyes Station. Go to www.westmarin commons.org.

• The Marin County Outdoor Antique Market, with antiques, collectibles, books, jewelry, art, rugs and vintage furniture, is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 11 in the parking lot of the Marin County Veterans Memorial Auditorium at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael. Free. Call 383-2552 or go to www.golden gateshows.com.

• Lloyd Kahn discusses “Tiny Homes on the Move” at 7 p.m. May 12 at the Bolinas Community Center at 14 Wharf Road. Free. Call 868-2128 or go to www.bocenter.org.

• The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards on Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 899-8296.

• Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Muir Woods or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays or 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 561-3077 or go to www.parksconservancy.org/get-involved/volunteer/.

• Lidija Treadway speaks about “The Easy Way to Exhibit Your Beautiful Roses” at a Marin Rose Society program at 7:30 p.m. May 13 at the San Rafael Corporate Center at 750 Lindaro St. $5. Call 457-6045 or go to www.marinrose.org.

• Gaylan Faulk of Avant Gardens speaks about “Landscape Designs” at a meeting of the Peacock Garden Club at 11 a.m. May 14 at the Falkirk Cultural Center at 1408 Mission Ave., in San Rafael. Free. Call 453-2816.

• The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 663-8590, ext. 114, or email preston@tirn.net to register and for directions.

• “The Groundwork of Organic Gardening,” a workshop with Wendy Johnson, is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 at the College of Marin Indian Valley campus at 1800 Ignacio Blvd. in Novato. $30. Go to ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=12001 to register.

• The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership’s Eco-Friendly Garden Tour is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17 at gardens in Novato, Petaluma and Sonoma. Free. Call 707-547-1933 or go to www.saving water partnership.org/partner/ to register and for directions.

• The Marin Rose Society’s 40th annual spring rose show is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17 between Macy’s and Applebee’s at the north end of Northgate Mall at 5800 Northgate Drive in San Rafael. Enter your roses between 7 and 9:30 a.m. All blooms will be offered for sale at 4 p.m. Call 457-6045 or go to www.marinrose.org.

• Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

• Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to www.opengardenproject.org or email contact@opengarden project.org.

• The Marin Organic Glean Team seeks volunteers to harvest extras from the fields at various farms for the organic school lunch and gleaning program. Call 663-9667 or go to www.marinorganic.org.

San Francisco

• The Conservatory of Flowers, at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park, displays permanent galleries of tropical plant species as well as changing special exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $2 to $7. Call 831-2090 or go to www.conservatoryofflowers.org.

• The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, at Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park, offers several ongoing events. $7; free to San Francisco residents, members and school groups. Call 661-1316 or go to www.sf botanicalgarden.org. Free docent tours leave from the Strybing Bookstore near the main gate at 1:30 p.m. weekdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. weekends; and from the north entrance at 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Groups of 10 or more can call ahead for special-focus tours.

Around the Bay

• Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to www.corner stonegardens.com.

• Garden Valley Ranch rose garden at 498 Pepper Road in Petaluma is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Self-guided and group tours are available. $2 to $10. Call 707-795-0919 or go to www.gardenvalley.com.

• The Luther Burbank Home at Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues in Santa Rosa has docent-led tours of the greenhouse and a portion of the gardens every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $7. A Mother’s Day plant sale is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 11. Call 707-524-5445.

• McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tips on planting olive trees and has olive trees for sale by appointment. Call 707-769-4123 or go to www.mcevoy ranch.com.

• Wednesdays are volunteer days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center at 15290 Coleman Valley Road in Occidental. Call 707-874-1557, ext. 201, or go to www.oaec.org.

• Dennis Dierks of Paradise Valley Produce speaks about “Soil Health and Fertility” at 7 p.m. May 13 at the Petaluma Seed Bank at 199 N. Petaluma Blvd. in Petaluma. Free. Go to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/667839 to register.

• Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen offers third Saturday docent-led tours at 10 a.m. March through October. The garden covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to www.quarryhillbg.org.

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to calendar@marinij.com or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of s megabytes and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/homeandgarden/ci_25725868/trowel-glove-marin-gardening-calendar-week-may-10

Gardening books worth a look

It’s spring, time to dig into the soil and a few good books to inspire and inform. These are worth putting your trowel aside for:

“The Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias” by Andy Vernon (Timber Press, $29.95) is one of the first books in a new series on specific garden plants. The format is large enough for showy photos, especially important for the flamboyant dahlias on these pages. I love that the flowers are arranged by color; flip through to find dozens of dahlias from crimson to cream, with a chapter on “Extraterrestrials” that defy categorization. The author is a British photographer who not only worships dahlias but knows how to grow them. Vernon includes the practicalities of dahlia growing from staking to storing tubers. Also new in the “Plant Lover’s Series” are books on Sedums, Salvias and Snowdrops, with more to come.

“Sunset Western Garden Book of Landscaping” (Time Home Entertainment, Inc., $29.95) is the third edition of Sunset’s take on how to create gardens. This one has a decidedly modern edge. From the starter essay on sustainability entitled “Tomorrow’s Garden” to a chapter on nature-scaping, the environment and habitat are considered as carefully as lighting and patios. The photos, as you’d expect from Sunset, are beautiful and plentiful, although most of the gardens pictured are pretty high-end. A little more realism would be welcome, along with more Northwest gardens in this California-dominated book. That said, no one book offers more information on everything from growing edibles to lawn substitutes, from saving water to laying paths.

“Pacific Northwest Foraging” by Douglas Deur (Timber Press, $24.95) may change the way you see the world. The Oregon author, a cultural ecologist for Native peoples, has a deep understanding of ecosystems and native plants. Which, along with a lifetime spent mostly outdoors, has caused him to see the natural world as a giant buffet table. Deur explains how and when to harvest wild plant foods from forests, fields, wetlands and shorelines. This celebration of the food growing incognito around us includes the familiar, like watercress and blackberries, and the surprising, like the needle buds on Sitka spruce and the reproductive shoots on horsetails. Don’t worry, Deur gives detailed instructions on identifying plants and their edible parts, as well as how best to cook and eat them.

“Trees Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest” by Mark Turner and Ellen Kuhlmann (Timber Press, $27.95) is a treasure of a field guide, thorough and well-photographed. If Deur’s book inspires you to snack on the world around you, this detailed guide draws you in closer to really look at, and identify, our wildly diverse flora. I could wish for a different organization than by leaf shape (compound, simple or none at all, in the case of our native cactuses), but since the book is all about identification, I guess that’s appropriate. What makes the book so useful is the wide range of plants included, not just natives. You’ll find ceanothus and willows that have escaped cultivation to grow on verges and vacant lots, making this book as useful around cities and suburbs as in the mountains and forests.

Also new and noteworthy:

“The Gardener of Versailles: My Life in the World’s Grandest Garden” by Alain Baraton (Rizzoli, $26.95).

“Handmade for the Garden” by Susan Guagliumi (Stewart, Tabori Chang, $27.50).

“Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise Between the Sidewalk and the Curb” by Evelyn J. Hadden (Timber Press, $24.95).

Valerie Easton is a Seattle freelance writer. Check out her blog at www.valeaston.com.

Article source: http://seattletimes.com/html/pacificnw/2023440282_0511naturalgardener1xml.html

Garden tour shows desert landscaping can be easy, fun

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Article source: http://www.desertsun.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/05/10/desert-garden-tour-landscaping/8933409/

Gardening expert Colin Parbery gives his tips for May

Gardening expert Colin Parbery gives his tips for May

By Colin Parbery, Gardening guru

Colin Parbery gives his tips on how to protect your garden

May really is the month when everything springs into life. The birds are in full song, plants are growing, your seeds will be germinating, aphids are swelling in numbers and so are snails! So what to do? There is probably nothing more satisfying than watching your seeds germinate and nothing more disheartening than finding them reduced to slug and snail trails by the morning, so keep a close eye on your garden and vegetable plot.

Tackling slugs and snails early in the season will dramatically reduce their occurrence throughout the summer, so if you haven’t already, it’s time for a tidy up of any broken or discarded pots, pieces of wood, plant debris and stones that make a safe refuge for slugs and snails.

Snails and slugs are a gardenerers worst enemy

Aphids are best treated with an organically approved soap-based product used at regular intervals. As gardeners, we do, however, have a couple of natural allies in ladybirds, (although the larvae eat more aphids than the brightly coloured adults) and, more surprisingly, wasps.

Although a troublesome pest towards the end of summer, wasps are carnivorous in their early life stages and foraging adults seek out aphids to feed their developing larvae.

Aphids can be combated with soap

From the middle of the month there should be little risk of frost and the difference between night time and day time temperatures will have significantly reduced, thus making it a suitable time to sow most of your summer vegetables, although I would still wait until mid-June for very temperature sensitive plants such as basil.

In the flower garden, consider letting plants such as field poppies, Californian poppies, foxgloves, wallflowers and pansies go to seed to ensure a good display for the coming year.

Californian poppies are excellent this time of year

Share Gardening is a social enterprise of Share Community, a charity based in Wandsworth that provides training and employment support for disabled adults.

Share Gardening provides garden maintenance and planting services. To find out more or to get a quote, contact Colin on telephone 020 7924 2949 or email gardening@sharecommunity.org.uk. To find out more about Share’s work, visit www.sharecommunity.org.uk

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Article source: http://www.surreycomet.co.uk/news/11200426.Gardening_expert_Colin_Parbery_gives_his_tips_for_May/?ref=var_0

Bee-friendly tips for Minnesota home gardeners



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    After our seemingly endless winter, most of us are itching to load up on plants and get our hands dirty. Whether you grow on a grand scale or tend a couple of pots, chances are you’ll be buying plants at a garden center or plant sale. When you do, a growing chorus of voices is urging you to keep bees in mind.

    Bee die-offs, colony collapse disorder and possible causes have made headlines. They’ve also “made the public aware of our stewardship role with bees,” said Vera Krischik, associate professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota.

    In fact, bee-friendly gardening was named a top national trend for 2014 by the Garden Media Group, and Minnesota, in particular, has become a hive of bee-related activity and advocacy.

    “Here in Minnesota, there’s a lot going on with bees,” said Lex Horan, local organizer for the Pesticide Action Network North America, which helped organize a “swarm” at a local Home Depot in February to urge the retailer to stop selling products believed to be toxic to bees.

    People have been packing auditoriums for bee seminars, pushing for new legislation to protect bees and beekeepers and urging retailers to stop selling and using neonicotinoids, a widely used class of insecticides that some suspect is playing a role in recent bee die-offs.

    Research on neonicotinoids’ impact on bees is currently underway. But in the meantime, several large local players, including retailers Bachman’s and Gertens and wholesale grower Bailey Nurseries, have decided to err on the side of caution and eliminate or sharply reduce their use of neonicotinoids.

    Feed the bees

    Trying not to kill bees is only one piece of the pollinator-protection puzzle, however.

    With more and more habitat lost to development and agriculture (corn and soybeans, the state’s top crops, don’t provide nectar), bees need food, too. And that’s where home gardeners can really help, according to experts.

    “The main thing is to plant more flowering plants,” said Heather Holm, of Minnetonka, a landscape designer and author of the new book “Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects With Native Plants” (available at www.pollinatorsnativeplants.com).

    Native bees, in particular, have a short flight distance — about 500 yards, she said. “If you and your neighbors aren’t providing forage, they will have a hard time finding food.”

    From the pollinators’ perspective, it’s important to have a continuous succession of plants flowering throughout the growing season, Holm said. “In most gardens there is a gap,” especially in early spring and late fall. Holm advises gardeners to evaluate their landscape, identify the flower gaps and fill them. Good early-spring bloomers are woodland plants, such as bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches and wild geranium. Good fall bloomers include asters and goldenrod.

    And all flowering plants aren’t equal, from the bee’s perspective. “Stick with straight species” rather than cultivars, Holm advised. “If breeding has changed the flower color, it can also change the fragrance or nectar. It may look better to us, but it may not be attractive to bees.”

    When choosing plants, opt for older, simpler varieties, Holm said, even if it means passing up the plants that catch your eye with their showy form or unusual hue. “Rethink how a bee or pollinator would see your garden — not just what you think is prettiest, with double flowers or a brand-new introduction in a cool color,” she said.

    Good plants for bees include coneflowers, liatris, salvia, catmint, catnip, hyssop, black-eyed Susans and single-flower sunflowers, Krischik said. (For an extensive list, by region, of bee-friendly plants, visit the Xerces Society’s website, (www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/GreatLakesPlantList_web.pdf)

    Many of the plants sold today “have been hybridized to the point that they don’t have much value to pollinators,” said Ron Bowen, president of Prairie Restorations (www.prairieresto.com) of Princeton, Minn., who encourages homeowners to convert 25 percent of their land to native prairie plants.

    “If you plant natives, you’re going to be helping something, native bees or other beneficial insects,” he said. “Most of us have been taught that insects are bad, like mosquitoes. But insects are pretty important. That awakening is upon us.”

    To help gardeners create more bee-friendly landscapes, Bowen has developed a series of prairie-restoration kits, which contain plants and seedlings to cover a 500-square-foot area — about the size of a very large living room — along with a book about wildflowers. One of Bowen’s kits, the “Pollinator Package,” consists of 32 species of wildflowers and grasses that provide habitat and food sources for bees and other pollinators.

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    This week’s gardening tips: plant palms and basil now, last chance to zap … – The Times

    Plant palms in May through August, as they establish best when planted into warm soil. Always ask how hardy a palm is before you purchase it. Ideally, palms should be hardy down to 15 degrees or lower to be reliable here — particularly on the north shore. Keep newly planted palms well watered during their establishment period.

    • Apply paint or shade cloth to greenhouses to prevent heat buildup. Fans should run just about constantly, and there should be plenty of ventilation. I usually empty out my greenhouse this time of the year and move plants to benches outside.
    • Plant basil now for harvest all summer. Choose a sunny, well-drained location and space plants about 12 inches apart. Consider growing some different types, such as cinnamon, lemon or Thai basil, in addition to common sweet basil.
    • May is the last chance to apply many of the broad leaf lawn weed killers before the weather gets too hot. Virginia buttonweed is particularly troublesome, and it’s easier to control now while it is young. Try using Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone or Weed B Gon.
    • Cannas that have brown, deformed leaves with holes have been attacked by canna leaf-rollers, a caterpillar that can be devastating to cannas. Control is difficult and requires regular spraying all summer. If you decide to treat, use a systemic insecticide such as acephate and make weekly applications.

    Article source: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2014/05/this_weeks_gardening_tips_plan.html

    Saturday: Woodside event offers native plants, tips on water-wise gardening

    By Kate Daly | Special to the Almanac

    A local group of garden lovers is offering fresh plants and fresh ideas on water-wise gardening at its biennial plant sale in Woodside on Saturday, May 10.

    The Woodside-Atherton Garden Club is selling hundreds of drought-tolerant natives at the Woodside Library Native Plant Garden from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Janet Larson of Atherton and Sheree Shoch of Woodside are co-chairing the fundraising event.

    “We are excited to have such a wide selection of unusual plants that are drought-resilient, yet still grow well in our Mediterranean climate,” Ms. Shoch says. “Our sale presents a great opportunity for people to replace their water-guzzling plants and pick up some tips from experts at the same time.”

    The sale takes place every other year, giving club members a chance to propagate and grow plants from seeds in their own yards.

    This year varieties include: salvia, ceanothus, mimulus, penstemon, spirea, sedum, cactuses, roses, irises, and vegetables.

    Woodside-Atherton Garden Club members will also run a boutique filled with Mother’s Day gifts, such as miniature flower arrangements in teacups, succulent potted plants, hand-painted straw hats, and books on gardening.

    In addition to the sale, informational tables will be set up with landscape designer Lori Morris advising on water efficiency, beekeeper Mike Vigo sharing insights on pollination and the honey business, and Save The Bay’s Jack States explaining the group’s plant restoration work.

    In cooperation with the Woodside Library, the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club will be introducing the new Woodside Seed Library, which member Barbara Tuffli of Atherton says is “part of a large, significant, national movement” to preserve local plants.

    Seed packets of flowers, fruits and vegetables that members have collected will be stored in a chest of drawers at the library. Anybody is welcome to come in and check out the seeds, grow plants, let a few go to seed, and ideally return those seeds to the library so someone else can “borrow” them.

    “We’re going to encourage heirloom varieties because of open pollination, and encourage natives,” Ms. Tuffli says. “We’re trying to make (the seed library) sort of educational, make it a community resource, and multi-generational.”

    Founded in 1929, the garden club is a nonprofit charitable organization associated with the Garden Club of America. Proceeds from the sale benefit the library garden and other civic projects.

    Woodside-Atherton Garden Club members maintain the garden and use it as a showcase to illustrate what natives grow well in the area. Plants are labeled and divided into different sections, such as chaparral, oak woodland, and a redwood grove. The garden is located behind the library at 3140 Woodside Road in Woodside.

    Go to woodsideathertongc.org for more information.

    Freelance writer Kate Daly is a provisional member of the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club.

    Article source: http://www.almanacnews.com/news/2014/05/09/saturday-event-offers-native-plants-for-sale-tips-on-water-wise-gardening