September 2010 Gardening Events Southern California & more

Farmer’s Markets in Santa Clarita:
Sundays in the College of The Canyons Parking Lot from 8:30am – noon
Don’t forget to visit my friend Sarah from Worldwide Exotics – she’ll be back in September, so put her on your list and utilize her expertise!
Thursdays in Old Town Newhall from 3-7pm.

Annual CROP Walk sponsored by the SCV Interfaith Council
beginning and ending at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Orchard Village. The walk is 4-1/2 miles on the sidewalks, with opportunities to walk shorter distances. Registration and pre-walk festivities begin at 8:00 a.m., with the walk kick-off at 8:30 a.m.
Twenty-five percent of our Santa Clarita CROP Hunger Walk funds will benefit community agencies meeting the needs of hungry people here in the Santa Clarita Valley: The Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry, the Santa Clarita Homeless Shelter, and the Church of Hope Food Pantry. Please walk with your faith community, or just show up and sign in on Walk Day! I’ll be at the registration table, so stop in to say, “Hello!”

9/6/10 – 10 am
Rediscover the California Garden
Explore new and updated pathways through Descanso’ California Garden. Natives Garden Horticulturist Rachel Young takes you a trek that highlights improved access to this favorite Garden. Meet at the Center Circle.
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr.
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 949-7980
Free with Garden Admission

9/7/10 from 1 – 3:00 pm
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Plant Information
A free class on a variety of plant-related topics, with botanist Frank McDonough

9/11/10 – 11 am
Harvest Basics
Mike Brown, Display Horticulturist, shows you how to harvest for maximum plant health and productivity. The class meets in Maple, then moves out to the Gardens.
$15, $10 members
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr.
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 949-7980

9/16 and 9/30/10
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Garden Talks with Lili Singer
Fall 2010: 8 Thursdays, September 16-November 11
9:30am–Noon / Palm Room
$100 for the series, $20 per class / Reservations or you may pay at the door
Information and registration: 626.821.4623 or jill.berry@arboretum.org

9/18/10 – 10am – 12noon
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Orchid Care
$22 members / $25 non-members
Instructor: Marc Hall
You CAN grow orchids! Marc Hall, certified nurseryman, will cover all the basics of growing and maintaining beautiful orchids: the use of bark or soil, proper fertilization, how to keep them blooming, light, temperature, potting re-potting, humidity, water and more!!

9/18/10 – 11 am
Fall Vegetable Gardening
The autumnal equinox signals the shifting of the seasons. Descanso Horticulturist Mike Brown gives you guidance on growing a bounty of vegetables through the fall. Meet in Nature’s Table.
$10, free for members; advance registration required
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr.
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 949-7980

9/18/10 – 1 pm
Native Plant Uses
Descanso’s Natives Horticulturist Rachel Young draws on the wisdom of indigenous people to explore the many practical uses of California native plants. Meet at the Center Circle.
$10, free for members; advanced registration required
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr.
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 949-7980

September 23-26
Pacific Horticulture Symposium
Gardening Under Mediterranean Skies VIII: Style & Whimsy in the Sustainable Garden
Co-sponsored by Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, APLD Greater LA District & Mediterranean Garden Society
September 23-26
For great information on this event, please read SCV’s own Jane Gate’s articles in the (LA) Examiner! LA Garden Symposium

Santa Clarita Valley Green Drinks Meetup
New Moon Restaurant
28281 Newhall Ranch Rd
Valencia, CA 91355
(661) 257-4321
Green Drinks allows for anyone concerned about environmental issues to get together over a drink. Green Drinks events are very simple, informal, unstructured, and self-organizing. We bring together the environmental community and have fun doing it! Please join
Green Drinks Meetup

For more info on my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreen


Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday Mom!

Beautiful combo for a beautiful lady... Agave, Penstemon, Lantana & Salvia leucantha

These Sunflowers are not as tall as dad! (for Candice too)

The beautiful bark of Arbutus x Marina

Happy Birthday Evie!

For more about my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreener


Free Weather Based Irrigation Timer for Santa Clarita Homeowners

Have you ever awoken after a long night or rain to realize that your sprinklers are on? Have you ever come home from a long trip in the dead of summer to find some of your plants getting close to their “permanent wilting point”? Have you ever noticed patches of dry grass where just days before you had green turf? If you can say yes to any of these questions a Weather Based Irrigation Controller (or WBIC as they are fondly referred to) may be just the tool you are looking for!

You are now in luck. Castaic Lake Water Agency in cooperation with your water retailer is providing free weather-based controllers to its customers and that means - you. A couple of weeks ago I attended a training class and walked away with a free Weathermatic Irrigation controller for my home. Stephanie Anagnoson from CLWA and Marlene Bernstein of Scene In SCV both mentioned the program to me within two days of one another and I joined Marlene at the class at Aqua-Flo. Rene Emeterio of SLM who can be reached at 805-520-7590 is administrating the program. Call him to find out when the next class is being held, and put your name on the list for a controller. If you don’t feel up to the installation yourself, you can either have your gardener or landscaper call to be trained or get the name of someone already trained to install the controllers.

Did you know that 70% of all water used is on our landscapes and that 50% of that is overused? By having a WBIC, you can help reduce that waste. So make sure to take advantage of this great program, while the availability of controllers is still high.

The class was extremely easy to understand, informative, and well taught by Cathy Sanchez of Weathermatic with an intro by Rene. Matt Schiller and Carlos Galan of Aquaflo also spent some time talking to us about their commitment to greener living and helping the SCV become more water wise. It is great to have a group of committed companies working together to help us attain our 20% water reduction by 2020! Hey, I’m a Landscape DESIGNER, not an irrigation contractor so if I can do it….you can too.

Right now September is the last scheduled class for 2010, so give Rene a call today and get on the list. If you miss the September class you can still contact Rene for your timer, but you’ll have to pay one of the approved contractors on his list to install your timer. Feel free to contact me for more information on that.

For more about my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreener


Wordless Wednesday - Beautiful Veggies & A Splash of Color for Sukey's Birthday week

Artichokes - are yours ready yet?

Gladiolas - in the garden & bunches

Squash Blossoms as beautiful as they are delish!

Happy (almost) Birthday Sukey! xoxo

For more about my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreener


Organic Fertilizer Vs. Dog

Organic gardening… it’s a great to be able to grow your own fruits, vegetables and beautiful plants in a manner that is safe for the planet and it’s occupants but it isn’t always easy. I have been converting my fertilizer methods over to organic bit by bit, as much as possible but I have recently found a huge problem with my client’s homes that I have not experienced in my own home.

Let me preface this with the fact that I have two SMALL dogs. One of them is a little bit of a digger, the other not at all. The digger (my terrier) has recently done a little bit of damage to my pepper & eggplant container, plants were fine – he dug in the dirt but that’s about it. These plants and all the other vegetables and herbs are planted with organic fertilizer. So, I thought nothing of bringing organic fertilizer over to two different client job sites where I was planting. Well, that turned out to be a mistake.

The first house has a lovely Golden Retriever who once my back was turned promptly stole a bag of bone meal (duh, Julie!) and my gardening gloves. After eating ¼ of the bag and sniffing around the top of the first pot I planted, I thought I’d be smart and mix the fertilizer into the bottom 1/3 of the soil and then top it with plain soil. It worked while I was there… but after I left he dug up some of the small plants again. Here’s Rufus with his head in the pot.

Second house, an adorable Black Lab (Bogey pictured below) found my mixed organic fertilizer just as scrumptious as Rufus did – even before I took it out of the package. When I read the package, it made complete sense; Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Kelp, and more… sounds like lunch to me! I am now on a quest… organics without the yum!

My research is leading me to Cottonseed Meal (which I use in my garden for my green tea plant) and Alfalfa Meal, but I need to supplement the Phosphorus or nothing will bloom or bear fruit.

Now, I get to go back up on my soapbox and it’s made of mulch. I think that is it very important to get more organic material into your soil on a regular basis so remember to use mulch in your planter beds and for an additional boost add compost too. This will help your soil utilize whatever kind of fertilizer (especially the phosphorus) you add to your garden. You can buy bags of compost or better yet, start composting those kitchen scraps.

I’m on a mission, so stay tuned!

There will be a Composting workshop in Santa Clarita (yes, I found out after I posted my August Events) on 8/21/10 from 9:30 – 11:30 at:

Castaic Lake Water Agency
27234 Bouquet Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, 91350

BEGINNING Smart Gardening Workshop - Attend a FREE Smart Gardening Workshop and learn more about backyard composting, worm composting, grass recycling, water-wise gardening, and fire-wise gardening! Compost bins can be purchased at the subsidized prices of $40 each for a backyard compost bin and $65 each for a worm compost bin (this price includes 1/2 lb. of worms).

Thank you to the "Dog Moms" that let me feature their babies: Phillis Stacy Brooks & Kim Rocke. Both amazingly talented women.

For more on my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreener


Wordless Wednesday - Photos from Turkey

Istanbul in April - Pink Tulips

Fountain surrounded by beautiful yellow tulips in Istanbul

Purple tulips in Istanbul, Turkey

Many thanks to Christie Gelsomino of Scrapbook Designer for posting these beautiful photographs on my Facebook Page.

Please visit & "Like" the page. If you post photos & allow me to - I will showcase them here.

For more info on my designs: thegrassisalwaygreener


What To Do In Your Southern California Garden In August

August is upon us, and though it is hot, hot, hot in SCV and the rest of Southern California there are a few chores that you should be doing in your garden. If you are like me though, I only garden early in the morning (when I wake up in time) or in the cool of the evening. And luckily SCV has still been having some nice cool evenings. Get those gardening gloves on and meet me in the garden at twilight!

You can prepare your rose beds for fall planting of containerized roses. Get a nice layer of compost going and till the soil a bit.

Plant those second season tomato plants and other seedlings and sow seeds to be harvested in the fall.

Check plants for pests and give them a good spray from your hose if you find cobwebs, aphids, spider mites, or whitefly. Be sure to check you tomato plants regularly and pick off any hornworms you find … see my hornworm blog post.

You might also want to keep an eye open for signs of animals eating your veggies or fruits. You might have to rig up some protection if you’re sharing too much food with your animal neighbors.

If you enjoy winter blooming sweet peas, order your seedlings now and you will have beautiful bouquets to enjoy.

Order bulbs that require winter chill now, and refrigerate. That would be crocus, hyacinths, and tulips. Also, if you planted tulips last year you can dig them up and refrigerate them too – they’ll just keep sinking every year if you neglect that little step.

Leach the alkaline buildup in your soil by adding some organic acid plant food and giving the soil some deep watering. Remember to observe the watering regulations in your specific area.

It is a great time to buy seeds for winter annuals. Spend a little time in your local nursery and see what perennials have arrived and might be right for planting now and in the fall.

Container plants and hanging baskets can be trimmed up and fertilized to spruce them up. Remember every time you water (which is often in this heat) you are removing the plant’s nutrients – so you’ll want to fertilize containers more frequently than your other plants.

For more information on my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreener


Wordless Wednesday - Tomatoes

Beautiful Heirloom Tomatoes

A Tomato String of Pearls

Yellow Sausage Tomato

All of these tomatoes can be yours! Try some in your garden or if you live in SCV order some food from Dawn Walker of Dawn's Dinners and these could be in your next meal!

For more about my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreener

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