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Archives for October 1, 2016

Pacific Horticulture event to inspire gardeners

Photo by Margaret Spaulding
Margaret Spaulding’s Glen Ellen garden features dramatic hillside plantings.

if you go

What: Pacific Horticulture’s Summit 2016

When: 8 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Oct. 15, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16

Where: Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa

Admission: $250, $225 for members

Information: 510-­849-1627,

More: Admission includes breakfast and lunch both days, and a Saturday evening reception

Garden lovers, get ready! Pacific Horticulture, the Berkeley-based nonprofit garden resource loved by garden devotees, has organized “Sonoma County Weekend Summit 2016: Shaping a New Garden in a Challenging Environment.”

The event on Oct. 15 and 16 is packed with inspiration, garden tours, good food and fun. If you go, wear a pair of good walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat, along with a notebook to take full advantage of the agenda.

“The goal of Summit 2016 is to prompt outside-the-box thinking about the breadth of possibilities inherent in landscapes rooted in natural systems,” says Carol Moholt, Pacific Horticulture’s executive director. “We hope to motivate change, whether it shows up in a professional design practice, on a public policy stage, or right in our own backyards.”

Moholt says the group purposefully assembled a variety of speakers from throughout the West Coast and beyond, including:

• Washington D.C.-based landscape architect and author Thomas Rainer, a designer of landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds and New York Botanical Garden, who is guided by design principles focusing on climate-appropriate plant communities.

• Michelle Sullivan, principal at Mia Lehrer + Associates in Los Angeles, who will show how L.A.’s public spaces are being transformed into multiuse landscape systems while introducing nature into the urban fabric.

• Bob Hyland, a Portland, Oregon, garden designer and horticultural consultant who has worked at Longwood Gardens and Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and whose container plantings have been featured in the New York Times and on Martha Stewart TV; he will share his ideas for making a big impact in small spaces.

• Phil Van Soelen, a co-owner of California Flora Nursery, will discuss how to effectively use native and summer-dry plants for year-round interest.

• Marilee Kuhlmann, president of Urban Water Group, who designs and creates water-conserving landscapes in Southern California, will discuss how to create a watershed-sensitive garden and rainwater harvesting.

Following Saturday’s presentations, guests will be shuttled to visit Glen Ellen’s 25-acre Quarryhill Botanical Garden to view its renowned wild-collected Asian plants. An evening wine reception at Shone Farm, operated by Santa Rosa Junior College, follows.

After Sunday’s talks, guests will be given catered boxed lunches and maps to 30 notable garden destinations in Sonoma County.

For example, guests can stop in Occidental for a private opening of Western Hills Garden or shop an organic plant sale (perennial food crops, and culinary or medicinal herbs) at Occidental Arts Ecology Center, for example.

They can meet the staff and designers of the new Sunset Test Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma that showcase themed gardens of “Farm,” “Backyard Orchard,” “Flower Room,” “Cocktail Garden” and “Gathering Space.”

They can choose to tour five private gardens that will be open to guests. “They’re amazing private gardens,” says Anne Weinberger, who is involved with managing the tour for Pacific Horticulture. One is a gorgeous 2.5-acre hilltop garden that belongs to garden designer Mary Reid and her husband, Lew, an avid propagator. Another is a delightful Guerneville garden belonging to noted horticulturist Roger Raiche.

“Sara Malone’s garden is a large garden palette with fabulous conifers and Mediterranean-climate plants, natives and succulents,” Weinberger says. “Like Mary Reid, Sarah’s interested in the interplay of texture and color for year-round interest.”

Margaret Spaulding’s hillside garden has a large collection of vintage roses that are low-water users and Josh Williams, the manager of California Flora Nursery has a garden with native plants from different regions of California. “It’s really a gem,” she says.

Don’t-miss events

• Plant a pumpkin with gorgeous succulents for fall during a “Pumpkin Succulent Planter Make Take” workshop at 10 a.m. Oct. 12 or 9 a.m. Oct. 15 at Armstrong Garden Centers at 130 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Ross (415-453-2701) or 1430 South Novato Blvd. in Novato (415-878-0493); $49 includes all supplies. Go to

• Get tips on autumn planting from Buzz Bertolero, the Dirt Gardener, when he presents “Fall is for Gardening” at 10 a.m. Oct. 8 at Sloat Garden Center at 700 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Kentfield. $10, free for members Call 415-454-0262 or go to

• San Jose bonsai artist Peter Tea will share his bonsai tips at the monthly meeting of Marin Bonsai Club from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Marin Art Garden Center at 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Ross. For details, go to

• Trees, ferns and rhododendrons perfect for our climate will be featured at the San Francisco Botanical Garden monthly sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 8 at Ninth Avenue at Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Admission is $8; discounts for seniors, children and families. Call 415-661-1316 or go to

• Find your next favorite native perennial, shrubs, grasses and host plants for Monarch butterflies from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 15 when the California Native Plant Society presents its fall native plant sale at Falkirk Cultural Center at 1408 Mission Ave. in San Rafael. Tips for gardening in deer country will be offered at 11 a.m. Admission is free.Call 415-892-9148 or 415-388-1844, or go to

PJ Bremier writes on home, garden, design and entertaining topics every Saturday and also on her blog at She may be contacted at P.O. Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at


If you go

What: Pacific Horticulture’s Summit 2016

When: 8 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Oct. 15, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16

Where: Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa

Admission: $250, $225 for members

Information: 510-­849-1627,

More: Admission includes breakfast and lunch both days, and a Saturday evening reception

Article source:

Gardening calendar

Friday-Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1

Garden Design Meet and Greet: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Meet local designers and chat about your garden. Light refreshments and beverages. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or

Friday, Oct. 7

Pollination Celebration: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Garden City Library Legacy Courtyard, 6015 N. Glenwood St. Educational stations for children, guest speakers, local food trucks, native plant sale. Concludes with a community screening of the Disney film “Wings of Life” and there will be a Smoky the Bear/Woodsy Owl poster contest that will emphasize the importance of saving our pollinators. 472-2940.

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 7-8

Festival Container Design: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 14-15

Essential Garden Maintenance: October through March: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Overview of garden tasks and pruning for winter-loving gardeners. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or

Tuesday, Oct. 18

Fall Tips for a Healthy and Successful Spring Garden: 6:30 p.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Comprehensive class covers all the fall basics to encourage a glorious garden next spring, includes how to evaluate your landscape for future improvement, what to prune in the fall, soil amendment and mulching, tool maintenance and more. $12 IBG members, $17 nonmembers. Register: 343-8649,

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Botanical Garden Society looks at major improvements

The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society wrapped up a two-day charrette last weekend, where members of the society met with landscape and architecture experts from Lees + Associates to discuss ideas for a 15-year master plan at the garden.

“We want to make it easier for visitors to find their way around, and have them naturally know what’s interesting to go to by the circulation of the pathways,” Botanical Garden Society president Paddy Wales said. “[We want] little hubs of information so the landscape isn’t littered with signs but so there are different layers of information for people who want only the name of a plant to people who want to know the background and more interesting ecology of places, and so on.”

Wales was elected president at the Annual General Meeting on Sept. 29.

Certain areas of interest have come up for potential landscaping work, such as the ravine at the back of the garden.

“The ravine is incredibly beautiful but it’s a wildlife corridor and we think of it as a reserve of nature,” Wales said. “There are native species that are there because it hasn’t been used much. We don’t want to damage that, but we also want people to experience it in ways that don’t damage it. All of these questions are still up in the air, and the next months will settle a lot of them.”

Eileen Finn, a landscape designer with Lees + Associates, said that one of their underlying goals with this project is to make the garden more accessible.

“Speaking generally, we’re looking at circulation, so how do people get around the site?” Finn said. “How do the pathways work? How do trucks or little service vehicles get through? How does the site work, functionally? How do visitors encounter the site, what does the entranceway look like, what’s the whole experience of arrival when you’re coming up Mason Road? How do you know that you’ve arrived?”

After the ideas from the charrette have had time to settle, they will be presented to stakeholders at a meeting in December.

“At that point things will open up a bit more to other stakeholders within the garden and we’ll really be getting a lot of feedback on the strategies that we’ve come up with,” Finn said.

The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden is located at 5941 Mason Road in West Sechelt. Find them online at

© Copyright 2016 Coast Reporter

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Littleton residents gather for a Common vision

The Master Plan Update Committee hosted a series of meetings focused on ideas for the future of Littleton Common.

Roughly three-dozen people gathered on Littleton Common for a walking tour to share their ideas for the future of a key crossroads in town as part of the ongoing master plan update process.

Quincy-based RKG Associates was hired to help the town update its master plan and is participating in a series of charrettes, or meetings, to gather public input.

“What we’re going to do with these charrettes is we’re going to take all of this information and we’re going to integrate it into the next piece of the master plan,” Boston-based RKG Associates project manager Eric Halvorsen said. “Which is really the recommendations, the strategies, and the implementation that we think the town should follow going forward in the next 15-20 years.”

The Littleton Master Plan Update Committee hosted three events to focus on the Common specifically — a Common walking tour and follow-up meeting at Littleton Middle School on Sept. 30 and an interactive exercise on Oct. 1.

Walking tour feedback

The walking tour allowed landscaping consultants of RKG Associates to better understand the Littleton Common area from the perspective of a resident, according to sub-consultant Peter Flinker of Ashfield-based Dodson Flinker.

“The purpose of it was really for local residents and business owners who know this place to literally takes us by the hand and show us things that need to be fixed, things that are great but need to be protected or enhanced,” Flinker said. “To really show us what the Common is like through the local person’s eyes.”

During the walking tour, Littleton Historical Commission member John Leger suggested the Common needed improved crosswalks to help with pedestrian safety and additional parking to help nearby businesses.

The area’s many historic properties and houses are also an aspect of the Common the Historical Commission would like to preserve, Leger said.

“Of course we’re concerned about the historic aspect of (the Common) – the shape of it, the church,” added Leger. “The corner store is historic also.”

Littleton Conservation Trust Vice President Rick Findlay suggested the Common needed some kind of a parking garage behind existing businesses as well as shade trees along the streetscape and underground power lines.

Littleton resident Colleen Feltus said traffic around the Common was a concern for her family.

“In the 20 years that we’ve been here, the influx of traffic through this entire area has increased tremendously,” Feltus said. “And I feel like a large percentage of that traffic are from people who aren’t actually from town and don’t necessarily have a dog in the fight.”

Shaping a future

The master plan update consultants showed residents different maps of Littleton Common at the follow-up meeting on Sept. 30 to highlight what future possibilities the area has. Maps displayed the area’s zoning districts, soil suitability for building, and development constraints like wetbacks and sloped terrain.

RKG Associates will soon produce a preliminary master plan update document compiling residents’ suggestions in the process so far, according to Master Plan Update Committee Chairman Paul Avella.

The document will be released some time in October and will be published for residents in both print and digital formats. Residents will be able to submit comments on the preliminary report, which will allow the Master Plan Update Committee to collect and compile opinions and identify any strengths and weaknesses early on.

“It’s going to be a good course correction tool,” Avella said.

The next master plan update charrettes will be on Oct. 14 and 15 – covering topics such as open space and recreation, transportation, economic development, agriculture and food systems.

A plan before a sewer

Flinker encouraged participants not to focus on the question of bringing a sewer system to Littleton Common at the public workshop on Sept. 30, instead asking them to direct time exploring the area’s future possibilities without restrictions.

“The sewers obviously been a controversial topic here in the past for lots of reasons,” Flinker said. “But the sewer is really a way to implement a plan, so the decision about whether or not to pay for a sewer or whether or not a sewer is necessary really should come after the town decides what it wants this place to be.”

However, selectman Paul Glavey questioned why the topic should be limited in discussion.

“I just find it odd that out of all the topics we could be talking about, one gets picked out – don’t talk about that,” Glavey said.

The master plan update process should be guided by ideas, not by what infrastructure an idea might necessarily need, according to Avella.

“We’re going to decide as a community what we’d like the Common to be like and to achieve that is going to require resources and tools,” Avella said. “What’s the infrastructure requirements to facilitate the Common we want to see and that’s what we’ll work towards.”

A main goal of the master plan update process is to produce a document that can be implemented, added Avella.

“It’s certainly our intention that it’s a plan that will consider the resources available to Littleton,” Avella said. “It’s a plan that will be implementable.”


Follow reporter Alexander Silva on Twitter @IndieEagleWL.

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9 Tips For Turning Side Projects Into Legit Businesses

There are numerous reasons why people start a side project. Maybe you just want the extra cash or want to finally work on a job that you love. Regardless of the reason, there’s been a long history of side projects, like Gmail and Twitter, that have become successful businesses on their own.

But, how can you become one of these success stories?

Start by following these 9 steps and begin turning your side project into a legit business.

1. Find a problem and solve it.

I’m not saying that you have to re-invent the wheel here. However, you do have to identify a problem and come up with a solution. Otherwise, this whole venture is pointless.

For example, Joel Gascoigne started Buffer a side project because he wanted to be able to easily and conveniently schedule tweets multiple times a day.

Photographer Benji Wagner noticed that there weren’t outdoor products for the young generation of surfers, snowboarders, skaters, and couch surfers that were also affordable. So he launched Poler Stuff.

Both Buffer and Poler Stuff realized that there was a true need for their products and services, along with having a target audience. Their ideas were simple to implement as well, which meant they didn’t have to spend a lot of time perfecting their ideas.

2. Test the water.

The best thing about a side gig is that it gives you the chance to validate your ideas and market. For example, if you were to start a landscaping business, you could mow lawns on the weekends when you have off from your 9-to-5 job. If you have enough customers, you may be on your way to starting a full-time landscaping business.

If you only have one of two yards to do, then you may have to think of a different business and keep mowing lawns as a way to pick-up some extra cash in the meantime.

3. Start marketing your business.

In a perfect world, customers would just come knocking on your door. Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world. You’re going to have to market your business so that you can find your audience – or at least make it easier for them to find you.

Old school tactics like yard signs, flyers, or ads in local papers worked if you’re a local business like that landscaping example. However, we live in the world of digital marketing, so that’s where you should focus your efforts.

The first place to start is to obtain a blog and website. The best way to go about this is picking a domain, purchasing it on a site like GoDaddy, and set-up WordPress. Today, though, the process is a bit simpler with companies like Weebly.

Whatever path you chose, the idea here is that you start blogging so that you can demonstrate your knowledge and provide value to your audience. You can also use your site as a portfolio to showcase your work whether you’re a web designer or landscaper.

Here’s some other basics for marketing your business online;

  • Write guest articles on leading industry publications or websites.
  • Host a podcast or webinar.
  • Publish an eBook or Whitepaper.
  • Create infographics or instructional videos.
  • Be active on social media.
  • Get listed on leading online review sites.

The best part apart online marketing is that not only can you connect your with audience, you can also do so on a shoestring budget.

4. Pickup clients as a freelancer or presell products and services.

Before committing yourself full-time, start out as a freelancer or preselling your goods or services. For example, if you’re an accountant, then start acquiring clients on the side by joining freelance marketplaces. This allows you to slowly build a roster of clients that you can manage while still keeping your day job. It also helps you gain experience and build a portfolio.

If you’re tinkering around with creating a product or service, then start preselling these items on your website or through crowdfunding. Not only will this validate that there’s a market, it gives you a chance to earn money that you’ll invest back into the company so that you can launch.

5. Define your idea of success.

If things are starting to get busier, you need to sit down and determine how much money you need each month to quit your current job. If you’re getting close to that dollar amount with your side project alone, then that’s a pretty good sign that it can become a successful business.

To accurately define this, make sure that you create and track financial landmarks, as well as a monthly budget.

6. Cross your t’s and dot your i’s.

If you really want to make your side project legit then you’re going to have to consider legal and tax essentials like;

  • Choosing an available business name.
  • Applying for an official business structure like a sole proprietorship or LLC.
  • Registering your business name in your state.
  • Applying for any applicable permits.
  • Obtaining a Tax ID number.
  • Knowing what taxes you’ll have to pay.

Since this is an important area that shouldn’t be overlooked, unless you’re looking for trouble with Uncle Sammy, then use resources like to assist you in figuring out all of these legal and tax issues.

7. Scale correctly.

It’s awfully tempting to go on a spending spree when you have excess money in the bank in order to grow your business. The problem with this method is that this is a surefire way to fail. In fact, premature scaling is one of the main culprits in startup death.

Grow slowly and gradually, but steadily. This business model is a tactic that has worked for numerous companies that began as side projects. Take Craigslist, for example. Craig Newmark started it as a side gig in 1995 and didn’t turn it into a real company until 1999.

8. Avoid burnout.

Between your full-time gig and getting this new business venture off the ground, you’re going to be putting in a lot of hours working. And, that means you’re going to get exhausted and ultimately burnout.

To avoid burnout, try techniques like;

  • Establishing boundaries like the hours that you work and the hours you don’t
  • Asking others for help.
  • Establishing goals and priorities.
  • Building long-term relationships.
  • Using productivity tools.
  • Exercising and eating healthy.

9. Don’t burn bridges.

If the time has officially come to leave your 9-to-5, make sure that you don’t burn any bridges by leaving like a jerk. Give your employer plenty of notice in advance, complete your projects, and remain productive until your final day.

Why? Because what are you going to do if your side project doesn’t pan out as a full-time gig? You don’t want to have any bad blood with a former employer in case you have to ask for your old position back or ask for a reference in your new job search.


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Shade Gardens: A Conversation with Victoria Coyne

click to enlarge

  • Larry Decker
  • Shade plants in the nursery at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale

At the corner of Route 213 and Cottekill Road in Rosendale, partially atop an ancient (375 million years old) limestone ledge dotted with fossils, you’ll find the retail nursery, garden gift shop, and landscaping division base of Victoria Gardens ( Thirty years ago, fresh from her horticulture studies, Victoria Coyne started a landscaping business. In 2003, she bought the Rosendale property, which came with an abandoned cement block building that Victoria’s late husband, Wayne Waddell, rebuilt into a gorgeous, high-ceilinged, wood-framed garden gift shop that opened in 2007. The shop is so beautifully constructed and laid out that it feels like a high-end experience, but without the steep prices.

The nursery is set up like a garden, with plants grouped together according to their growing conditions. “Because of the way the nursery is laid out, if you have a garden that’s in full sun, you won’t accidentally fall in love with a plant that needs shade,” Coyne says. “You can look at the flowers, colors, and textures instead of squinting at the tags, trying to figure out if it will survive in your garden.”

Longtime nursery manager Russel Wiser can help you get to the right section, where you’ll find your options are many. For instance, the nursery has more than 500 varieties of deer-resistant plants, many of them suitable for shade. Shade gardens are one of Coyne’s specialties, and Victoria Gardens designs, installs, and maintains many of them every year—the majority of them in deer country.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about shade gardens?

click to enlarge

  • Larry Decker
  • Victoria Coyne

Victoria Coyne: Many people think if you have shade, you can only grow hosta. There are so many things beyond hosta, and lots of plants that deer leave alone—hellebores, columbine, goatsbeard, waxbell, Japanese forest grass—the list goes on and on. Sometimes people are challenged in understanding the differences in shade—that some shade is dry shade and some shade is moist shade. Dry shade is the biggest challenge, like under sugar maples where the roots are exceptionally shallow. There are plants like epimedium and andromeda that thrive in dry shade; we have 12 different varieties of andromeda. Hostas also are champs in dry shade, but they are not deer resistant.

How do you keep deer at bay?

VC: There are two main approaches: install a tall deer fence around the perimeter of your property, or use deer-resistant plants in combination with spraying repellent. We have extensively field tested Deer Defeat, which is made locally in Red Hook, and now we use that exclusively. Unlike other repellents that we had to reapply after every rain shower, Deer Defeat holds up through the rain; we only have to apply it every three weeks. Also, the deer don’t seem to get used to this repellent, so we no longer have to continually switch brands.

Unless there’s a perimeter fence, our crews don’t leave a job site without spraying repellent because deer are habitual—they will come back to the place where they remember there’s something tasty. They will try any new plants, even the “deer-resistant” ones (they’ll spit them out), but if we spray plants with Deer Defeat, they won’t even nibble.

In terms of plant selection, we don’t sell anything as “deer resistant” until we observe that directly. A lot of times nurseries or growers will label things deer resistant that I’ve found Ulster County deer love. For that reason and for all our plants, when we consider adding a plant to our stock, we try a few out first and do our field testing so we can speak to the plant’s merits from experience.

What is the one shade plant you feel everyone should have?

VC: Hellebores, also called lenten roses. They are deer-resistant perennials; the foliage is beautiful and evergreen. The flowers come in countless expressions (from light pink to chartreuse to black, from singles to doubles, with spots and ruffles or without), they emerge in March (through the snow if need be), and they bloom for several months or more. I want everybody to have them. Even if we have a full-sun-blasted client, we will plant a tree so we can get some hellebores in [laughs].

How should shade garden beds be prepared?

VC: Don’t skimp on building the beds. If you just go in under a maple and start digging, that won’t work, because the new plants won’t be able to compete with the shallow tree roots. You want to build up the soil gradually—three inches initially, and replenish each year—so that you can plant your perennials and they’ll have a chance to establish before shallow tree roots colonize the new soil. Avoid putting soil against or near the trunk, because that can interfere with the vascular system of the trunk, which is just under the bark.

For soil amendment, we like Dynamulch, made locally by Croswell Enterprises in Kingston. It’s an organic hybrid of compost and bark mulch that looks like beautiful dark soil. We mulch everything to retain moisture, keep the weeds down, add organic matter, and give the gardens an attractive look. I don’t use synthetic landscape cloth, by the way, to suppress weeds except for under pebbles/stones, like around a pool. We do not use it in garden beds ever, because the beautiful mulch on top of it breaks down and becomes beautiful soil that doesn’t get to the plant roots! Also, weeds grow in that beautiful soil and when you go to pull up the weeds, here comes that cloth because the roots of the weeds found their way through the cloth—it’s always a mess. You can use thick layers of landscape paper, newspaper, or cardboard instead—something that will compost and disappear.

What are some other considerations?

VC: To know whether you have sun or shade conditions, ask, “When does it get sun?” If the site gets sun in the morning only, it’s appropriate for a shade garden. If it gets sun in the hot western afternoon light, that’s sun, even if it’s sunny only for a few hours. If the only trees you have are old and you have a high canopy like I do with the mature oaks on my property, to have a shade garden you’ll need to plant a layer of understory trees—things like dogwoods, redbuds, or silverbells. For any perennial, I group in masses of three, five, or seven rather than planting things like polka dots so that the garden looks more naturalistic. Think in terms of lots of textural changes, so if you have round-leaved hosta, add feathery-leaved ferns, astilbes, goatsbeard, and the like to vary texture. I am enamored of using bright chartreuse and variegated foliage plants sparingly in the shade to brighten up the garden. When working with dry shade, I’ve had success using soaker hoses under the mulch. When a tree that’s providing shade for a garden dies, you have to move the plants. Lastly, take time to observe and analyze your site up front, and if you’re struggling trying to figure things out, a one-time consult with a professional can really clarify and open things up for you.

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Garden club lists final business landscaping awards for the year

The Nasturtium Garden Club has chosen two Main Street gardens for its September Business Landscape Awards.

These are the final awards for the 2016 season. The awards for next year will begin in June and continue every month through September 2017.

Septembers recipients are the ornamental landscape of Unique Vintique’s Market, 223 S. Muskogee Ave., and the in-the-ground landscape of Kidz Zone, 1209 S. Muskogee Ave.

Sherrie Ball is the owner of Unique Vintique’s Market, a new antique store at the intersection of Choctaw Street and Muskogee Avenue, which has morning shade and afternoon hot sun. Ball has created a garden display on the concrete at her store front using plant groupings in different-sized pots, a wheelbarrow spilling out with containers of multi-colored flowers, and tables of pots with plant groupings at various heights. This make a colorful entrance to her antique store. The old wagon wheels and iron trellis, located in the design, also help to enhance the gardens around them. The plant cultivars she has chosen to include: green dwarf junipers, maroon purple hearts, yellow creeping Jenny, red and white geraniums, and white and purple million bells. These blooming plants do well in sun, and with daily watering, survive their street-side location just fine.

Kidz Zone, on the east side of Muskogee Avenue, is also a newly established business. Owner Aletha Rodgers just opened the kids’ play place in July 2016. Nasturtium Garden Club wants to thank her and Sunshine Nursery for beautifying her property from the outset with a good variety of multi-colored trees, perennial and annuals. She has used Japanese maple, and redbud and dwarf junipers for the bones of the landscape. Under these she has planted cherry crape myrtles, purple, pink, red and white vinca, yellow million bells, pink zinnias, lavender plants, and red and white geraniums. According to the business landscape award committee, these will attract attention and spark the appreciation of parents and passers-by.

Garden Club wishes to thank these business for creating places of beauty at their locations. They are helping improve Tahlequah one business at a time. Our committee was able to give these awards because of telephone recommendations keeping us up-to-date about new landscapes being planted. Members hope the day will come when all new businesses will install a beautiful landscape as an integral part of their plans.

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Agromin gardening tips: October is planting season in Southern California

Just when your summer garden’s best days are behind it, October comes along and a new planting season begins in southern California, says Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly compost products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California cities. Residents can obtain Agromin soil products in bulk or in bags at Rainbow Environmental Services (gate seven) in Huntington Beach and in bulk at South Coast Supply in Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos.

Cooler Weather Means Less Stress on New Plants: While Santa Ana winds can still bring hot spells in October, average temperatures are generally mild–in the high 70s. The soil is warm so it is perfect for developing new root systems. Less daylight hours means less water evaporation so less watering. And who knows? It may even rain in October.

Prepare The Soil For Your Fall Garden: Remove any remaining summer vegetables that have stopped producing and weeds that may be sprouting. Turn over the soil, being careful not to dig too deep. Add organic soil amendments to give your fall garden a fresh start. Make sure you select the soil amendment that’s right for your soil. Soil tends to be clay (slow draining) or sandy (quick to erode). Amendments can provide the proper balance.

Plan Your Fall Garden: Buy and plant six packs of seasonal vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, peas, spinach, Brussels sprouts, lettuce and rutabaga.

Add Trees, Shrubs And Groundcover: Just about all types of trees, shrubs and groundcovers do best when planted in fall. The exception is citrus trees. Ice plant does well as a groundcover on hillsides and does not require much water. Lantana is another drought-tolerant groundcover with almost year-round flowers that come in a variety of colors. Other groundcover to plant includes verbena, purple sage and mountain lilac.

Keep Critters Away: Rabbits, ground squirrels, gophers, opossum and raccoons are just some of the animals that can feast on fall vegetables. Keeping these animals away from gardens is just as important in fall as it is in summer. Line your garden bed bottoms and sides with rust-resistant chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep gophers from digging up roots. Rabbits love broccoli and leafy greens. Surround your garden with chicken wire or other barrier high enough so rabbits and other animals can’t enter.

Revitalize Lawns: If you are still watering your lawn, it might as well look good. October is the time of the year for lawn repair. If your lawn suffers from patches of crabgrass, remove the area and seed with a lawn seed that matches your lawn. Consider changing over to more drought tolerant grass such as Bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia When planting from seed, use topper mix to help keep the seeds moist and at their optimum for growing.

Plant Cool Weather Flowers: Flowers that do particularly well in fall include sweet peas, pansies, violas, primrose, calendula, chrysanthemums, cineraria, dianthus, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, nemesia, snapdragon and wild flowers. Wildflowers that thrive in southern California and can be planted now are California poppies, larkspur, linaria and gypsophila.

This article was released by Agromin.

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Water saving gardening tips

AT the Johannesburg South Garden Club meeting, guest speaker Sally Mulligan, from Sally Sunshine Nursery, spoke about water wise gardening and how to plant correctly, to save water.

“Our nursery in Walkerville is a natural nursery and we grow many herbs, as well as seedlings, plants, shrubs, trees, etc.,” she said.

”We have two boreholes on our property, which helps tremendously with watering, but a bit of advice I can give to all gardeners is to use mulch as much as possible. I use leaves and pieces of tree bark, which I lay thickly around the bottom of plants and it really does help to keep the soil moist.

“We all need to try to plant water wise and, if you visit your local garden nursery, you can ask which plants will do well with little water. Usually the greyer the leaf, the less water the plant will need.

”Lavender, Rosemary and sage are all good to grow and won’t need much watering. ”Perennials to consider include Leonotis leonuris (wild dagga) which has beautiful orange flowers and Pelargonium cuccuistum (wild geranium), with its velvety leaves and masses of light purple flowers.

“Ground covers include Gazania hybrids, which are available in beautiful colours, Arctotis suriculata which have grey foliage and large daisy flowers in an assortment of colours, and Osteospermum jucundum, an excellent evergreen ground cover with large pink or purple daisy flowers.”

Sally also recommended that the club members take into consideration planting which will encourage birds, bees and butterflies, and said indigenous plants are ideal for this.

“Aloes can make a lovely show, and also use grasses,” she advised.

”You can even do a whole bed of grasses with stones and dry river beds. Put in plants or grasses in threes or fives; odd numbers are always recommended in the gardening and flower world.”

Sally has a stall at The Art Farm, Plot 56, Klipriver Road, R550, Alewynspoort, every Saturday, and can be reached on 083 393 1921 if you require any further information on water wise plants.

Related Articles:

Johannesburg South Garden Club’s garden competition – part 1

Time for tea at Johannesburg South Garden Club meeting

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Successful fall vegetable gardening tips


• Johnny’s Selected Seeds:

• Parks Seed Company:

• Stokes Seed:

• Burpee:

Winter Plants for Victoria County

• Beets – Pacemaker II, Ruby Queen

• Broccoli – Green Magic

• Green cabbage – Golden Acre, Green Boy, Market Prize

• Red cabbage – Red Acre, Rio Verde, Ruby Ball

• Carrots – Danvers Half Long, Imperator 58, Nantes Half Long, Red Core Chantenay

• Collards – Blue Max, Georgia Southern, Vates

• Lettuce – Black Seeded Simpson, Crawford Re-Seeding, Oakleaf, Ruby Red, Salad Bowl (green and red)

• Mustard – Florida Broadleaf, Green Wave, Large Smooth Leaf, Tendergreen

• Squash – Acorn Types, Butternut Types

• Swiss Chard – Lucullus, Ruby

• Turnips – Royal Globe

• Turnip Greens – All Top

• Turnip roots and greens – Just Right, Purple Top White Globe, Tokyo Cross

Fall is often a preferred time to be in the garden because it is cooler, and it means the holidays are forthcoming. I will share a few gardening tips for growing healthy vegetables.

Successful germination

A surefire way to have strong young seedlings is to grow them yourself. Use recommended vegetable varieties for your county or zone. How do you find the best variety for your county? Texas AM Agrilife Extension horticulture has made a list of vegetables that are recommended for Victoria. This list is called the Vegetable Variety Selector and is available at

If you follow this list, you will get better results from your vegetables. Sow seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi in shallow furrows covered with half an inch of soil. Keep soil moist until seedlings germinate.

It is important to get seeds up and growing while there is six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Your garden should face the south to maximize the use of the sun. The ideal size for a garden is no more than 4 feet across and as long as there is room. If children are going to be a part of your gardening, you might change the garden width to only 3 feet across. This allows your child to help in the weeding without walking in the growing area.

One of the most helpful things one can do is to keep a log of what you plant, when you plant it, how long until maturity and the maturity date. This will help you not forget when you planted and when the maturity date should be.

Think soil first

Fall gardening provides an opportunity to put great tasting food on your table, manage soil fertility and control weeds. If you have not done so, now is the time to remove any spring plants that are no longer producing. Weed before you plant any new seeds or transplants.

If you don’t have a recent soil test, now would be a good time to take one. Soil test kits are available from the Texas AM Agrilife Extension, 528 Waco Circle, Victoria, or your own county extension office.

Mustard and turnips make great fall garden crops. They taste good, their broad leaves shade out weeds and they recycle nutrients back into the soil. Additionally, now is the time to enrich the soil with compost or aged (not fresh) manure. This will help to replenish micronutrients that will give plants a good, strong start.

The organic matter in soil can hold nitrogen. The space that was planted with beans or peas during the spring is a great place to grow spinach and cabbage. If you have some corn stubble left, think about putting in leafy greens (lettuce) that can find the left over nitrogen.

Watering fall garden plants

First rule of thumb is to keep them fall gardens soaked. It is especially important to keep your vegetable plants well watered. A good average to follow is an inch of water per week.

Using a drip irrigation system is the most efficient. It is timed to come on daily when the weather is extremely hot. Change the settings as needed as the temperature starts to decline. After seedlings or transplants are established, give them a good, deep watering once a week rather than light watering.

Go mad for mulch

Near the Victoria County landfill on Farm-to-Market Road 1686 toward Bloomington is Garden-Ville of Victoria where you can get mulch all year long. You have to bring a pickup truck or a trailer to load the mulch. I personally get my mulch there. Fall is not the usual time most gardeners think about mulch, but it is perfectly OK to mulch in this season. Use about 3 inches of mulch to control weeds and keep the soil moist. Find a source that works for you and go mad with your mulch.

Deploy defenses against garden pests

At the sign of the first pest, start your defenses. An easy way to nab bugs is with tape. Wrap the tape around your fingers, sticky side out. When bugs are sighted, just push the tape on them. This process captures the bug or bugs and then dispose of the tape with bugs attached.

Don’t be afraid to squash any garden pest. I used to have trouble doing that, but not anymore after seeing the damage insects can do. One of the first things to try on insects is a good blast of water from your water hose. This will knock the insects off, and hopefully, drown them.

Some common crop insecticides are insecticidal soaps, bacillus thuringiensis (bt), spinosad and neem oil. Always use according to label directions.

Fall gardening is an excellent time to grow seasonal plants in a cooler environment. Get out and enjoy the (hopefully) cooler weather.

The Gardeners’ Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AM AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or, or comment on this column at


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