January in the WEL
January 10 Workshop (Saturday): An early morning frost preluded a brilliantly sunny, unseasonably pleasant (60ºF) , calm day to initiate our Victory Garden 2009 Workshop series focusing on edible landscape basics, attracting beneficials and building soils. Over 140 fellow gardeners came to learn about Edibles in the Landscape from Pam Bone, Pruning Berries from Cheryl Vivas and Bonnie Thalken and Grape & Kiwifruit Pruning from Rose Gong, Diana Blasingame, and Tim Inouye . It was a wonderful turnout. All the planting areas look great for January, the presentations were well received and there were lots of very pleasant, helpful, enthusiastic Master Gardeners everywhere sharing gardening knowledge. The damage from the vandals was not obvious other than the missing plastic pamphlet racks. A special THANK YOU to all the Master Gardeners who showed up early to tidy up the WEL and re-site the scrambled plant markers (from the vandalism).
After listening to Pam, I realized that we have many edible plants and flowers in the WEL garden. Two of the 3 trees she recommended, the sweet bay and persimmon, bookend the length of our garden. We have lovely spreading rosemary bushes, pineapple guava, and blossoms of society garlic, eastern redbud, and daylily (@ ‘Edible Flowers’ by Rosalind Creasy). Additionally, we are considering adding an artichoke and jujube tree. (And, we are open to suggestions as to other edibles for the WEL)
January Highlights: Much of the garden is resting. Hibernating. Simplified. The deciduous trees and shrubs are leafless, brightly blooming herbaceous perennial blossoms have faded into the earth, formerly waving bronze sedge and golden grasses are withered and dry, and frost blackened, slimy annuals are composting into mulch. It is the time to admire red and golden trunks, twigs, and branches, and evergreen shrubs and trees that in other seasons provide background and structure. Red highlights sparkle throughout the garden; from the burgundy bark on the African Sumac in the Mediterranean garden to the solitary berry clumps on the common garden Chinese pistache, to branches of the native garden’s Dr. Hurd Manzanita and dried cloaking scarlet oak leaves at the end of the perennial walkway. The rain freshened evergreen manzanita, ceanothus, coffeeberry, and pigeon point coyote bush shrubs in the native garden look especially healthy and attractive. (another reason to plant natives...they shine in the winter!) Other evergreen winter charmers are the mock orange, grey green artemesia, rosemary, and coprosma lining the perennial path. Border penstemon, tree mallow, and rosemary are starting to produce blue blooms reminding us that spring is not far away. The 2 soil nurturing cover crops that Candace planted in the future Asian garden in early November of clover and mustard are thriving in the warm days which have encouraged vibrant growth not only of the cover crops, but also California poppies. Soon, soon, spring will be here.
Soon, soon also, in February, we will be pruning back many of the perennials and grasses in preparation for spring growth and bloom. Thanks to Gail’s comprehensive pruning guide, the salvias, sages, grasses etc. will require the best of our efforts next month. Our next Victory Garden workshop (highlighting many of our plants...the theme is “Mow No More”) is February 28th. I hope to see you all after Feb. 14th. (Until then, I will be off to visit some dear old friends in Australia.) Pat
Winter 2011 in the Fair Oaks Water Efficient Landscape (WEL)
Deciduous trees, shrubs and perennials have lost their leaves, summer flowering annuals have withered away and frost tender vines, shrubs and succulents have been thinned by mother nature’s freezing nights in early December and January leaving behind the bare bones of the WEL sparkling in the rare winter sun or resting in the seemingly endless gray foggy, overcast days. Now is the time to visit the WEL to check out the hardscape, the dry creek bed, the overwintering birds, and the siting and spacing of evergreen shrubs, trees and grasses (and to see the attractive dried flower stalks) within a garden. The rain has revived and cleansed many of the late blooming winter natives, rosemary and euphorbias which are beginning to bloom and attract beneficial insects and birds. Especially attractive are are the flowering catkins on the native coast silk tassel, Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’, the Dr. Hurd and Howard McMinn manzanitas, all the euphorbias, the freshly green fescue ornamental grasses, the blue-purple rosemary blooms and the gray-green lavender flowering UC Davis all-star shrub, Teucrium fruiticans (bush germander).
FEB in the WEL
Very First Report 2/29/08
Wel Garden Wakes up!!
Spring is on its way to the FHOC water efficient landscape!!! The temperature for the sunny Friday, Feb 29, 2008, morning work group reached 71º and the plants were definitely responding. The Rosemary and Ceanothus are covered with luscious bright blue blooms, and the red sedum is turning a bright fresh yellow green. The Euphorbia has bright lime green new growth tipped with yellow blooms that are attracting bees. Buds are everywhere and by the March 8th open garden day winter will have become history.
Candace, Karen, Joan, Anita and Pat worked to give the Mediterranean climate area a tidy look by trimming back the geraniums along the fence, cleaning out old, dead, and bending New Zealand flax leaves, and dead iris leaves. The area beneath the Bunya-Bunya was gleaned, meaning the sedges and grasses were pruned back and tidied up. In addition the Guava tree was lightly pruned, as was the Bauer’s Dracaena. The flower stalks were also removed from the Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea.
One clump of Euphorbia near the central area was found to be infested with white scale. We plan water blasts and a horticultural oil treatment. Also, the willow oak will be removed to add additional light.
Our next work day is planned for March 7. Cleanup will continue and some transplants will be made. Candace is considering adding some annuals to our perennial mix.
WINTER WEL HIGHLIGHTS
Much of the garden is resting. Hibernating. Simplified. The deciduous trees and shrubs are leafless, brightly blooming herbaceous perennial blossoms have faded into the earth, formerly waving bronze sedge and golden grasses are withered and dry, and frost blackened, slimy annuals are composting into mulch. It is the time to admire red and golden trunks, twigs, and branches, and evergreen shrubs and trees that in other seasons provide background and structure. Red highlights sparkle throughout the garden; from the burgundy bark on the African Sumac in the Mediterranean garden to the solitary berry clumps on the common garden Chinese pistache, to branches of the native garden’s Dr. Hurd Manzanita and dried cloaking scarlet oak leaves at the end of the perennial walkway. The rain freshened evergreen manzanita, ceanothus, coffeeberry, and pigeon point coyote bush shrubs in the native garden look especially healthy and attractive. (another reason to plant natives...they shine in the winter!) Other evergreen winter charmers are the mock orange, grey green artemesia, rosemary, and coprosma lining the perennial path. Border penstemon, tree mallow, and rosemary are starting to produce blue blooms reminding us that spring is not far away. The 2 soil nurturing cover crops planted in the future Asian garden in early November of clover and mustard are thriving in the warm days which have encouraged vibrant growth not only of the cover crops, but also California poppies. Soon, soon, spring will be here.
Pam Bone’s edible landscape talk during the VICTORY GARDEN BASICS workshop highlighted several of the edible plants and flowers in the WEL . Two of the 3 trees she recommended, the sweet bay and persimmon bookend the length of our garden. We also have lovely spreading rosemary shrubs, pineapple guava, and blossoms of society garlic, eastern redbud, and daylily (@ ‘Edible Flowers’ by Rosalind Creasy). More edible plantings are planned for the future.
MARCH in the WEL
Hello and welcome to the first day of spring.
First, here is what is the garden looks like. ( I will tell you what we did in a second eMail). Come visit and bring your camera......
It was another warm (mid 60s) and sunny day at the FOHC
Our garden is AWAKE. Lavender and pink, gold, yellow, white and red are everywhere you look. The pink flowering Eastern Redbud is gorgeous next to to the purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis). The Ceanothus gloriosus (Anchor Bay) is definitely living up to its name by the entrance gate, and the Creeping Jupiter is adding just the right red accent to the all the yellow Gelsemium sempervirens, Oregon Holly grape and the yellow green succulents. Orange California poppies are everywhere. The white potato vine is waking up as all are the manzanitas and ceanothus varieties. Bradford pears in full white blossom line the parking lot fence. The purple hued Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum'' and the white African Trailing Daisy (Osteospermum fruticosum) are also starting to shine.
While the KVIE crew was filming in the other part of the FOHC, we were weeding, trimming starts, thinning, transplanting and checking the irrigation system. The California Pitcher sage near the entrance was dug up (big job for Elinor and Pat.... there was 2 inch tap root) and transplanted near a fence (Thank you Norm for breaking up the soil at the new location). Weeds were removed from the tile cracks, a break in the irrigation hose was repaired, the Guara was tidied up, and dead woody growth on the hummingbird plants (Dicliptera suberecta) were trimmed back to allow the new ground level growth to show through. Candace planted a Bougainvillea 'California Gold' at the end of the perennial walk. (Note, the Bougainvillea didn’t make it)
Highlights : The Native Plant area especially continues to lead the garden growth into spring. Masses of small blossoms and new yellow-green leaves are everywhere. As the sunny California Golden Current blooms fade, the Ceanothus ‘Julia Phelps’ just behind it is in full violet-blue splendor. Other California lilacs varieties are also starting to bloom, as are all the manzanita varieties, including the groundcover, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Point Reyes’. Their soft red and white blossoms are a nice counterpoint to the pulsing purple and blues of the rosemary and ceanothus. Yellow-green blooming Euphobia are entrance area show stoppers. And the imposing trellised Carolina Jessamine is blanketed in warm yellow blossoms. Birds are chirping, bees are cruising and lady beetles can be spotted on the new growth. Visitors (including a daycare provider pushing 6 toddlers in a bright red stroller) are often seen strolling, pausing, note-taking and photographing the scenery.
April in the WEL
2008 Newsletter article
Spring has come to the WEL garden
Now is the time to come to the FOHC water efficient landscape (WEL) demonstration garden. Bring your camera!! Our garden is AWAKE. Lavender and pink, gold, yellow, white and red are everywhere you look. The pink flowering Eastern Redbud is gorgeous next to to the purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis). The Ceanothus gloriosus (Anchor Bay) is definitely living up to its name by the entrance gate, and the Jupiters Beard is adding just the right red accent to the all the yellow Gelsemium sempervirens, Oregon Holly grape and the yellow green succulents. Orange California poppies are everywhere. The white potato vine is starting to bloom as all are the manzanitas and ceanothus varieties. The many varieties of Ceanothus and Rosemary are covered with luscious bright blue blooms, and the red sedum is turning a bright fresh yellow green. The Euphorbia has bright lime green new growth tipped with yellow blooms that are attracting bees. One visit to our spring show will convince anyone that an attractive, low maintenance drought tolerant garden is something that everyone in Sacramento should consider. If you would like to join our WEL project, contact Candace Schuncke or Susan Post.
Highlights : April flowers are definitely here (no need to wait for May). From the Southern border scarlet oak that has finally dropped it’s Fall foliage to the Echium wildpretii “Tower of Jewels” now waving in the wind in the raised Mediterranean bed it is clear that it is Spring. In the native garden the early blooming manzanitas have gracefully passed the baton to to the California Lilacs. In fact, each area in the garden has it’s own special brilliant blue ceanothus spotlight from the ‘Anchor Bay’ and ‘Yankee Point’ near the WEL entrance to the ‘Concha’ and ‘Julia Phelps’ varieties in the Native plant area. Early April is the time to compare the varieties! Bright yellow-green blossoming Euphorbia’s continue to attract oohs and aahs. After our 4 day 90º + record breaking heat wave from April 19-22, red and golden blooming sun lovers including yellow day lilies, lilacs, golden poppies, red clover, buckwheat, early blooming salvias have added additional color accents everywhere, enticing the bees, and lady beetles into action. We get many many visitors (many returning) and they all have good things to say about what we are sharing and showing (and often they are taking notes!).
May in the WEL
What a month May 2008 turned out to be.!!! May WEL workdays were Friday, May 2, Friday, May 9 , Saturday, May 17 - and Saturday, May 24. On both May 2 (temp around 73º F) and May 24 we had overcast cool weather, with a light drizzle on May 24 (unseasonable temperatures around 60ºF). These workdays sandwiched some incredibly unseasonably hot days mid month (100ºF+) to keep our plants challenged to say the least. Since I was only around to help out on May 2 and May 24th my report will cover the before and after effects the early summer heat had on our water efficient landscape.
Highlights May 2 More of our plants are coming into the peak blooms. New notables are the Kangaroo Paw in the Mediterranean garden which is putting up tall red spikes, the soft blue green grey lambs ears are setting up stalks for their spiky lavender blooms and the bush anemone ( Carpenteria californica) looks especially lush.
Highlights The landscape has excelled in handling the May weather challenge. Our garden is putting on a white and yellow glow in anticipation of the bright summer days ahead. Splashes , dashes and skirts of yellow and white blooms are everywhere. Yellow bloomers such as the golden lantana, coreopsis, nastursiums, sunrose, prostrate evening primrose, Stella d'Oro day lillies, and yellow fortnight lillies are all competing with the white blossoms of the Shasta daisy, white yarrow ( Note: the native yarrow left in the center of the Asian garden area has not received ANY irrigation water this year and it looks terrific. Definitely a plant to consider for a water wise garden) and creeping boobiala also in full bloom. The delicate white and pink guara blossoms are waving about on their tall spikes,and the white and red lantern like flowers of the pineapple guava are peaking. Not to be out done, our grasses are all waving bunches of pink, golden white, and light green seed stalks. The pink crystal ruby grass, the Australian blue grass, the Mexican feather grasses especially look good. Accent colors are everywhere. The Oregon grape now has purple grapes, the seed pods are dangling from redbud branches. Ruellia is blooming with small purple petunia like blossoms, along with purple hued verbena and bush germander. Whew, are you seeing a lovely mental picture of the landscape? The best way, however, to experience the garden is to see it in person. Come join us Saturday, June 7 for the next open garden workday (Other June work days are Friday, June 13 (8 am) Friday, June 20 (8 am) -- day before Chuck's wedding!!! and Saturday, June 28 (8 am)) if you are out and about in the area, stop by for a WEL garden respite.
Additional note: Since Saturday, May 10, the WEL garden irrigation has been under the control of the newly programed "Smart Controller". For more details, see Chuck Ingalls very detailed email dated May 12. I am copying his last paragraph here: "Regarding how much we probably should be watering the WEL: The average ET for this region in mid-summer is just over 0.25 in./day, and landscapes can easily get by with 0.8 (80% ET) adjustment factor, so 0.25 x 0.8 = 0.2 in./day (1.4 in./week) is what we should be targeting. And the 0.8 factor assumes we have average irrig. efficiency, and our system is highly efficient. We're pretty close with our 6 hrs./week, and we could water less. The controller watered less because it's not very hot yet. From now on,irrigation will more closely match ET (soil evaporation and plant water loss).
Invasive common pokeweed is growing happily throughout the entire FOHC, especially in the Mediterranean raised plant bed. see http://www.cal-ipc.org/ip/management/plant_profiles/Phytolacca_americana.php More weeding for us all!!
The weather this month continues to challenge. We had over an inch of rain, mid month 100ºF+ days; cool below average 70ºF days (and lots of very pleasant weather). Warm nights, cool nights, humidity and wind. The weeds are especially prolific. Pokeweed, thistle, oak trees, spurge, bindweed, common salsify to name a few. Yarrow, verbena, sunflowers and poppies have also self sowed in many unwanted spots. Early May flowering show offs included the stunning biennial rose red 3’+ spiking bloom of the Echium wildpretii (Tower of Jewels) accompanied by fuzzy scarlet waving kangaroo paws in the raised Mediterranean garden . Joined by warm colored pink geraniums , Jupiter’s beard, the White Pearl in the Red Dragon’s mouth rose, garnet and magenta border penstemon the early blooming Salvia nemorosa and orange trailing gazanias all herald the heat to come while soft and light yellow green leaves of the Wheeler Pittosporum, Worcester Gold Bluebeard , society garlic, and lavender soften the scene. By mid month the heat and sun prompts invited our yellow bloomers to dominate the late spring show. Star performers include Fremontodendron ‘Ken Taylor’ flannel bush, bush anenome and California buckwheat in the Native Plant garden, to the prostrate evening primrose, day lilies, lantana, gazania, gold flower, Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis), Santa Barbara Daisy, and coreopsis throughout the rest of the WEL. Finally, not to be left behind, the arching foliage and flower stalks of the Poa Costiniana Australia blue grass and aptly named Rhynchelytrum nerviglume ‘Pink Crystals’ ornamental clumping grasses are providing graceful, soft, shimmering counterpoints to the brilliant spring blooms. Spring is coasting into summer and our garden continues to demonstrate that water efficient landscaping provides unlimited, diverse gardening opportunities in all seasons. I encourage everyone to join our friendly group for one or more of our monthly workdays.
June in the WEL
June 7 Open Garden
A brilliant blue sky, temperatures in the 80s, a slight breeze and very vibrant garden greeted WEL Master Gardeners last Saturday in Fair Oaks. In other words, it was a perfect late Sacramento spring day. Candace, Susan, Ann, Laura, Joan, Gail, Pat, Teresa and others managed to groom , prune, weed and plant all the while greeting and informing the public who came to admire and learn from our thriving water efficient landscape. Hopefully, the garden will continue to get the attention that it deserves especially since on 6/4/2008 Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed a statewide drought and stricter water conservation measures will undoubtably be in our future.
Highlights: Summer is now less than 2 weeks away and the garden is definitely trying on it’s summer wardrobe. Volunteer sunflowers are starting to bloom in the dry creek bed, along the perimeter walk and near the garden entrance. Many Spring bloomers, including the grasses, ceanothus, manzanitas native sages and flannelbush have finished blossoming. The “sulfur flower buckwheat” and the “pozo blue sage” have fascinating dried lavender and gold pompom flower heads. The remaining grey green, blue green, dark green etc summer foliage is the now aperfect backdrop for the new arrivals mentioned above and the newly blooming butterfly and hummingbird magnets such as California fuchsia, Ava’s hummingbird mint, and border penstemens . Bold swaths of color have given way to a multicolored green carpet with warm gold, orange, purple, red, and white accents. Pollinators are everywhere, flying from flower to flower and bush to bush. They especially are attracted to the creeping boobiala and lavenders
Highlights : The 2008-2009 water year ended June 30th. The National Weather Service reported July 1 that for the 3rd consecutive year, we have had below normal rainfall. (83% of the average annual rainfall amount of 19.87 inches). In fact, during the last 10 years, we have had below average rainfall in 7 of years*. Our Water Efficient Landscape continues to demonstrate the diverse variety of desirable, easy care plants with low water requirements available to local gardens in these dry times. Now especially, in early summer, the garden is stunning. Just about everything is blooming, (and in the Native Garden especially, earlier bloomers have developed attractive dried flower clusters and seeds... check out the California Buckwheat and the Pozo blue sage). Birds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators flit everywhere, from the cool purple and blue palettes represented by plants such as Goodwin Creek and Spanish lavenders, Russian sage, Cleveland sages, butterfly bush, plumbago, tree mallow, penstemons, society garlic, blush blue verbena, germander and catmint to the warm yellow sunflowers, coreopsis, black eyed susans, orange dicliptera, zinnia, dwarf pomegranate and agastache, pink milkweed, red kangaroo paws, mutabilis and “White Pearl in the Red Dragon’s Mouth” roses and golden grass spikes. Charming, spiking succulent flower stalks accent the raised Mediterranean Garden, while waving feather reed grass, ‘Pink Crystal’ Ruby grass and Australian Blue grasses throughout the perennial plant areas provide shimmering back drops and solo attractions. Come see for yourself. Our workdays are the 1st Saturday and Third Friday of each month. We will be out more often, I am sure this July as we prepare for Harvest Day August 1. Just contact me or one of the other project leaders for more information. Pat
July in the WEL
July 2008 - see August for July 2009
July 2008 has become another memorable Sacramento month for all the wrong reasons. We have had 19 days (so far) that our air has exceeded the moderate air quality index standards (AQI) for our region. On July 2 the particulate matter (PM) index peaked at 242 and on July 10, the Ozone index peak was 201. These figures were drastically above the highest Moderate threshold of 100. (For more information see sparetheair.com. You can sign up there to receive air quality alerts and forecasts and learn more about the Sacramento Region air quality measurements.) Our plants once again were challenged by Mother Nature to survive and thrive under tough conditions and as the summer progresses we will need to keep these conditions in mind as we continue to nurture the garden.
Highlights The garden is thriving and charming in spite of the weather. New rocks shine in the dry creek. Black Eyed Susans embellish the front walk. Grasses wave at the sages and salvias who continue to attract bees. Orange dwarf pomegranates ripen at the entrance to the herb garden. All the lantana looks terrific. What a good choice for a midsummer Sacramento Garden.! Golden, lavendar, white and warm colored easy care lantanas are adding bright accents throughout the entire garden. The Dynamite crape myrtle is living up to it’s name with brilliant red blooms that are a shocking contrast to the sky blue Cape Plumbago and sunny yellow sunflowers nearby in the common variety area. Two ground covers are lovely; the stunning blue bloomed Dwarf Plumbago and “Blush” blue verbena which continues to amaze me with continuous blooms.
The garden continues to bask in the golden California sunshine. Crape Myrtles and Budlea blooms are peaking. Warm summer flowers of the orange and red California fushia, zinnias and yellow Blackeyed Susans and Moonbeam coreopsis and Gold Rush lantana are offset and cooled by the Ruella, white and purple lantana, Blush verbena, and Tree Mallow blooms. Grass and shrub foliage of all shapes and shades calm the color riot with a green cool contrast. Carpenter bees are especially infatuated with the Ruella.
August in the WEL
Highlights As our Harvest Day guests enter the horticulture center, they should be especially wowed by the black eyed susans, the golden and purple lantana, the ruella and verbena,the many varieties of waving bunch grasses, bee magnet sages and salvias, the crape myrtles and the bright orange zinnias, hummingbird plants and California fuschias along with our volunteer sunflowers. I hope that the public will share my amazement with our demonstration that a water efficient landscape can be an attractive, manageable option here in the Sacramento valley.
The entire horticultural center was abuzz with activity as everyone prepared for Harvest Day on August 2. It was such a productive, fun atmosphere. Laura Santigian’s new signs were adding pizazz everywhere. Rose Gong’s delicious, warm, fresh from the oven berry cobbler arrived about 11:30 providing a congenial well earned break for all. All the gardens looked fabulous with healthy ripe and ripening fruit and vegetable crops and blooming, flourishing herbs,trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Tasting, directional and educational displays were springing up throughout the gardens. Long hours were spent by many and it showed up. The entire Fair Oaks hort center could not have been better prepared for Harvest Day. (Thank you everyone for making my first year as a master gardener rewarding in so many ways beyond my expectations! I have had such a good time!)
2009 July and August combined
July and August 2009 in the WEL garden
July was a busy month as the WEL group put in many many group and individual hours to ready our gardens for Harvest Day. Several work days were scheduled throughout the month at the convenience of the project leaders including July 9, July 17, July 28, and July 31. Irrigation continues to be a constant concern. Areas of the Native Plant and the entrance perennial pathway have been especially dry and at least 9 new natives were lost.
Since our “Smart Controller” did not reliably water our landscape we decided mid month to go back to manual settings. As of July 14th, all areas except the natives are being watered 3 hours Sunday and Thursday evenings and the natives are being watered Friday mornings for 3 hours.
Weather this July ranged from a high of 106ºF on July 19th to a low of 53ºF on July 25 with an average maximum temperature of 92.6ºF and average low of 58.3ºF. Overall, it was a very pleasant sunny Sacramento summer month and most our plants thrived.
In addition, those unwelcome volunteers; spurges, oak and redbud sprouts, grasses and other weeds were especially prolific. Most of the work days were spent weeding, deadheading, pruning and containing overgrown plants such as the Goodwin Creek Lavendar, rosemary, penstemon, New Zealand flax, centranthus, coreopsis, rose, top heavy tumbling sunflowers and the naked ladies dried foliage. The overgrown ‘Yankee Point’ ceanothus lining the parking lot was severely trimmed back, overreaching, drooping pear limbs cut off and water stressed areas were given extra hand watering, especially the entrance path black eyed susans, goldflower and creeping raspberry ground cover. The area reserved for the new Asian garden was cleared of weeds and dead material.
Highlights : Our garden has something for every gardening personality. From the serene, sturdy semi dormant native ceanothus, manzanita, coffeeberry, and ‘Pigeon Point Coyote’ bush shrubs in the native area to the riotous bee love-ins around the abundantly flowering waving flower stems of the ‘Dark Knight’ and ‘Worcester Gold’ caryopteris and hummingbird socials centering on orange Dicliptera suberecta (hummingbird plant) and Agastache x ‘Ava’ (Ava’s hummingbird mint) and other gleefully flowering penstemons, salvias, sages and agastaches in the perennial pathway area to the cooling, calm pastel blue, lavender, white and grey green charm of the lantana, Russian Sage, blush blue verbena, plumbago, society garlic, guara and potato vine in the common variety garden to the diverse assortment of succulent and exotic plants showcased in the raised mediterranean beds. There, especially, is a charming collection of ‘hen and chicks’, ‘pork and beans’, ‘blue chalk sticks’, upright coral yucca and other plump leaved sedums and succulents sheltered under the purple leaved smoke bush, Cotinus coggygria. AND, I haven’t even mentioned all the flowering waving grasses, the bright blossoms of the red ‘Dynamite’ and purple ‘Catawba’ crape myrtles and eye catching seed pods of the redbud, eyelash grass, pozo blue sage and red berries on the coffeeberry and manzanitas and other sensory delights.
Come visit and see for yourself, as many happy visitors found during our very successful
Harvest Day August 1. All our hard work paid off many times over. It was so worthwhile seeing the many people taking notes, pictures, asking questions and smiling during Harvest Day. Thank you Master Gardeners each and everyone there, everywhere, doing everything and anything to contribute to such a successful day.
SEPTEMBER IN THE WEL
Highlights Spikes. Exclamation points. Swooshes. This is the time of year for the bunch grasses to dance and show off their slender, spiking leaf blades and inflorescence. Red, soft green, gold, wheat, tan, beige, and ocher spikelets wave gently throughout the garden. The variety is amazing right now, from the charming propeller like short seed heads on the knee high blue grama grass to the tall sturdy Pennisetum setaceum rubrum ~ Red Fountain Grass. If you are considering grasses in your landscape, come check out the Ruby grass, the Australian blue grass, the Mexican feather grass, the pink muhlygrass , the orange bronze sedge and others. Also, the small grass like Zephr lily is blooming with charming white open petaled blossoms. In addition to the grasses, the Autumn Joy Sedum is in full bloom, with full red flower heads contrasting with the Purple ruellia standing behind in the raised Mediterranean bed. While in the Native Plant garden, the coffeeberry red berries and the Red bud seed cases remind us that Fall is on the way.
Highlights : Late summer and early fall is a lovely time to visit the garden. The low growing delicate white Zephyr lilies have burst into bloom along the entrance walkways. The ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Matrona” sedums are flowering bee magnets. The upper pathway areas sparkle with the lovely lavender Texas Ranger blooming next to the yellow marigold, Copper Canyon daisy, ( which has a very pungent scent if you brush against the foliage) and across from the orange California Fuchsias, drying Lions’ Tail and ‘Profusion Fire’ zinnias. In fact, the garden is reminding us that orange, gold and red are THE October hues. Orange persimmons are ripening and reflect the last of the California Fuschia and Dicliptera suberecta. Red berries shine on the coffeeberry, hackberry, and Chinese pistache. Drying grass seed heads wave at the contrasting, newly blooming brilliantly blue Mexican bush sage (S. leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ ) and blue sage (S. azurea) . Last but not least, the curtain is rising on our deciduous Fall foliage show. Come check it out!
OCTOBER IN THE WEL
Highlights : Our native plants are waking up from their summer dormancy. The buckwheat, currant, Douglas Iris and ceanothus etc., are sprouting new growth. The guavas, dwarf pomegranites and persimmons are ripening and the purple and red autumn blooming salvias are sharp accents to the ripening, drying grasses. Bees continue to sample all the remaining blossoms. The garden visitors ooh and aah over how lovely the garden is and children run up and down the paths.
The foliage of the redbud in the Mediterranean garden has an infestation of the redhumped caterpillar, Schizura concinna which is skeletonizing outer leaves.
October Master Gardener Newsletter
Water Efficient Landscape Fall Highlights
The WEL garden hosted a rain garden information table on the Native Plant patio during the September 12th Open Garden event. (A rain garden is a shallow, landscaped swale that is designed to capture and filter rain water run off directly into the ground, reducing or eliminating water that flows into the streets, gutters, storm drains and our rivers) Using primarily materials provided by the Sacramento County Stormwater Quality Program that are readily accessible at:
we encouraged many of our visitors to consider setting up rain gardens using our dry creek bed and a birdhouse neighborhood as visual aids. Check out this web site! It features many references, including a 11 page Planning Booklet and several plant selection guides (and a link to our Sacramento County Master Gardener web site!)
October is a lovely time to visit the garden. The low growing delicate white Zephyr lilies have burst into bloom along the entrance walkways. The lovely lavender Texas Ranger is blooming next to the yellow marigold, Copper Canyon daisy, ( which has a very pungent scent if you brush against the foliage). The orange persimmons are ripe and reflect the fading orange California Fuchsias, Lion’s tale, and ‘Profusion Fire’ zinnias. Red berries shine on the coffeeberry, hackberry, and Chinese pistache. Drying grass seed heads wave at newly blooming brilliantly blue Mexican bush sage (S. leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ ) and blue sage (S. azurea) . Last but not least, the curtain is rising on our deciduous Fall foliage show. Come check it out!
November in the WEL
Highlights : The early November rains have dusted off and revived our plants. The low-growing white lily like zephyr flowers near the entrance continue to enchant arriving visitors. Lovely Fall colors abound, including bronze sedge spikes, orange persimmon fruit, hot-lips salvia, red-orange zinnias, newly blooming orange nasturiums, red chinese pastiche berries, golden chinese pistache and willow oak leaves, brillant scarlet oak, crape myrtle and winged eunoymus foliage, and the Red Hot Poker, Kniphofia uvaria which are all ending the growing season in a flaming frenzy. The late blooming lavenders, purple sages and salvia, and white and purple lantana provide a cooling contrast. The garden remains a joy for all who visit and I encourage you to stop by and take a look before the winter winds and rains spoil the show.
Fall 2010 in the WEL
The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center Water Efficient Landscape is undergoing a facelift!!! Trees are being replaced, shrubs rejuvenated , removed and renovated and perennials planted.Thank yous are especially in order to the AmeriCorp work crew that worked so hard on October 23 to chop, prune, dig and haul many wheelbarrow loads of plant material and mulch. The parking lot Bunya-bunya trees have been removed, as have several aging ceanothus and other less viable native garden area plants. African sumac suckers have been tamed and many volunteer trees removed. Much more effort is needed, but we have been given the gift of a big head start by the Americorp work crew which was arranged for us by Bill Maynard (thank you,Bill). Planned garden updates include a revised native plant hillside, replacement trees, parking lot planter re-do and more easy care drought tolerant shrubs, bulbs and perennials.
Highlights : The garden continues to delight and engage all visitors. While scarlet,crimson gold and orange changing leaves on the scarlet oak, persimmon, Chinese pistache, crape myrtles and winged Euonymus alatus remind us that we are now in November, surprising white, purple and pink accents are everywhere. The delightful low growing white zephyr lilies near the garden entrance provide contrast to the shimmering pink/purple inflorescences of the pink mulhy grass and the pitcher sage straddling the perimeter fence just behind. The stunning purple stalks of the upper parking lot Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’) ,the purple petunia like ruellia blossoms, oregon grape berries and lantana in the Mediterranean garden and all the fall blooming salvias such as Salvia greggii ‘Hot Lips’ continue to attract bees and birds. Drying ornamental grass flowering stems wave and shimmer in back lit light throughout the garden. The pungent leaves of the Copper Canyon daisies are tipped with masses of yellow, cheerful, bright flowers. Mockingbirds, magpies, crows and hummingbirds swoop, chirp, and chatter in delight in the lovely habitat we have given to them. Visitors are often seen walking, talking, note taking and photographing our lovely water efficient landscape.
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