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Dec 1      Membership Meeting and Holiday Potluck..... pictures
                  Program: Richard Turner, Editor, "Pacific Horticulture"
       "Art and Architecture in the Garden - When Flowers Aren't Enough"

...from the January 2010 "Flower Press"
December Program

Nov 3       Membership Meeting
"The Natural Gardens of California"
                  from the December 09 Flower Press 
Don Mahoney & Gardens of California

Oct 6        Membership Meeting
"Fruit Tree Selection & Planting"... pictures
                  from the November 09 Flower Press

Sep 1       Membership Meeting
                Program:  "Irrigating with Greywater".... see the pictures
                ... from the Oct 09 "Flower Press"

Aug 4        Membership Meeting & Summer Potluck &
              Program: "Designing With Succulents"
, with David Feix....see the pictures
from the Sep 09 "Flower Press"
Jun 27        2009 Members' Garden Tour... on a very hot day... see the pictures.

June 2       
Membership Meeting...
Mary Lu Burchard wins "Burt A. Bertolero 2009 Gardener of the Year Award"!... see the pictures
                Plant of the Month: Mimulus aurantiacus (Bush Monkey Flower)
                    Program:  "The Latest in Garden Trends from the 
                                Chelsea Flower Show, London"

                                          Mary Te Selle - Quite Contrary Gardening
   A world-renowned destination for gardeners came to us at our June meeting via slides and commentary from Mary Te Selle, an award-winning garden designer.
   The Chelsea Flower Show in London is considered the “ultimate event” and is presented by Great Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society.
   According to the RHS website, the Chelsea show “sets the latest gardening trends, features the newest and most desirable gardening products, and creates an explosion of colours and scents.”
   Mary Te Selle was an ideal person to share the Chelsea show with us. She has studied in England and won awards from Garden Design magazine and the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.
   Doing business as Quite Contrary Garden Design, San Rafael; (, Mary is skilled at transforming problems into lovely landscapes.
   Her presentation was super!

May 9        Annual Plant Sale... pictures
Congratulations to the members who organized and supported our Annual Plant Sale... gross was $6300+

May 5       
Membership Meeting
                    Program:  "Ornamental Grasses & Phormiums".... pictures
                Bob Hornback - Muchas Grasses
"Surprising. Dazzling. Eye-opening."
   When selecting phormiums, sedges and ornamental grasses, keep in mind how much sun and how much moisture they need.
   Those are the main considerations, said Bob Hornback when he spoke to us in May on ornamental grasses and similar-looking landscape plants.
   Ornamentals are easy to care for, and most do well in most soils, he said, although not all are drought tolerant.
   Fertilize them a bit when you plant them, but go easy on the amount, Bob suggested.
   Since ornamentals use mainly nitrogen, lawn fertilizer is fine, but apply far less than you would on a lawn, and only once a year.
   Phormiums, also called New Zealand Flax, are “easy and evergreen,” Bob said.
   You can remove old blades that have become discolored, but “don’t cut them down or whack them back,” he instructed.
Some folks do that because they didn’t know how tall their phormiums would grow.
   “Finger-comb” to remove dried leaves from thin-bladed grasses once or twice a year, Bob said. A very wide-toothed comb also can be used.
   Most of Bob’s presentation consisted of a tour through a wide array of plants that he brought along for discussion and
later to sell to eager club members.
   Bob Hornback, whose business is appropriately named “Muchas Grasses,” is a lecturer and consultant from Occidental.

April           Display of Plant Sale Fliers, Club History, and Membership at Pleasant Hill Library for April 09

Apr 09 Library Display
(picture courtesy of Jan Egan)

Apr 11        Color Bowl Work Party at Judi Fewster's Garden in preparation for May 9th Plant Sale.... 

Apr 7           Membership Meeting - 7:15 p.m., Pleasant Hill Community Center

                    Program:  "Knowing and Caring for the Dirt in your Garden".... pictures
                    Michael Baefsky - Baefsky & Assoc.
Google "Baefsky & Assoc."  for many links)
Looking Beneath the Surface Gives Deeper Soil Answers
There are many tools to study soils, and “my eye is the tool I use the most,” said Michael Baefsky, our April speaker.
“Look at the dirt,” said Michael, to see if it is crumbly or cloddy, loose or compacted, dark and full of nutrients, or light-colored and in need of more organic matter.
He favors looking deep, too, with a soil probe to get a core sample. He also likes to dig “soil pits” as deep as three or
four feet to really see what’s going on. Michael observed that digging, as well as tilling, will disturb the soil’s ecosystem – the community of bacteria that form the food web used by plants.
Tilling causes another problem: soil compaction below the tilled area. That change, or any change in soil texture will inhibit drainage because the capillary action is compromised, Michael said.
He therefore advised against using a lot of amendments in holes being prepared for transplanting. Instead, mix some of the plant’s potting soil with the native soil removed to create the hole.
Organic mulches are the best way to amend your soil, Michael said. Usually, four inches of mulch is good, but less is better in a drought, he noted, so available water can soak through the mulch to the soil.
Observing that drip irrigation is “high maintenance,” Michael mentioned a low-tech water-wise approach using clay pots  buried in the soil. Water poured into the pots will soak through the clay to keep the soil moist.
An Orinda-based environmental consultant, Michael can be reached at 925-254-7950 or His website is

Apr 4          PHGSC Organized Tour to Gardens at Heather Farms, Walnut Creek, 10:a.m.
We walked through the California Native section and discussed drought tolerant plants with a Heather Farm docent.
PHGSC visits Heather Farms natives Pacific Coast Iris
PHGSC members touring native gardens
with Heather Farms docent
Pacific Coast Iris at Heather Farms EBMUD Garden
pictures from Jan Egan

Mar 21        Members Seed Party at Grassano's ... for the May 9th PHGSC Plant Sale
.... pictures

Mar 10       PHGSC Organized Tour to Annie's Annuals
, Richmond,
                    A brief tour of the nursery with an emphasis on propagation... then on to buying!                  

Mar 10       PHGSC's Plant Sale Planning Committee Meeting, 7 p.m.
                   @ P&D Johnsen's. All interested were invited.. See "Annual Plant Sale"  for outcomes and timeline.

Mar 3          Membership Meeting
.... pictures from the meeting
                    Plant of the Month: Ceanothus gloriosus var exaltatus 'Emily Brown'  

Program:  "Raising Red Worms for Castings in the Garden" (aka vermiculture) program by Jerry Gach, "Worm Dude"
 Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) are eating machines, and their deposits (castings) make an all natural, microbiologically rich compost that is non-burning and odor-free.
   “Done right, raising worms, takes only a few minutes a week and very little space,” said Jerry Gach, our March speaker.
   “The biggest mistakes people make are overwatering and overfeeding, which reduces air flow in the worm bin,” said Jerry as he introduced the steps to take.
   Worm bin: drill several holes in the side for air, one at the bottom for drainage.
   Bedding: Soak a lot of 1-inch strips of newspaper in water for 24 hours; wring out; fluff up; put 6 to 10 inches in bin.
   Worms: Put them in the bin and shine a light on them for about two days to encourage them to burrow down.
   Food: Bury a handful of food scraps in a corner of the bin under the paper. Let the worms come to the scraps.
   Maintenance: Replenish food when it’s gone; mist the bedding to keep it moist. Keep the bin out of the sun and in a spot that remains under 80 degrees.
   Observe: Harvest when castings look black and rich, and there’s no more of the original bedding – usually 60 to 90 days.
   Harvest: Dump the bin’s contents, worms and all, onto a tarp. Create several piles and give the worms an hour to go to the bottom, away from the light. Scoop up the castings and return the worms to a fresh bed in the bin.

Jerry, “The Worm Dude,” sells worms, castings, bins and related supplies. He can be reached at 408-227-5267 or and vermiculture in action at   

Feb 3         Membership Meeting
                Pleasant Hill Community Center

Plant of the Month: Salvia apiana (White Sage)
                    Program :  "The Diverse Camellia"
              with Garth Jacober, Mt. Diablo Nursery & Garden

                (see their web page at ... pictures from our membership meeting click)

   It’s time to put camellias back into our landscape plans, in the eyes of Garth Jacober, our February speaker.
   Camellias, which were popular in the 1950s and ’60s, have since been all but forgotten in garden designs, a trend that Garth is looking to reverse in our area.
   He is the new owner (since 2006) of Harry’s Nursery in Lafayette, now named Mt. Diablo Nursery & Garden.
Camellia sansanquana 'Stephanie Golden'   Camellia sasanqua is a species that Garth featured prominently in his presentation because it blooms in winter and can give us color at this normally dormant time of year.
   Garth comes to us with a wealth of experience. He began his horticultural career at Harry’s Nursery in 1976. He moved on in the landscape and gardening field, for many years working with David Feathers, Lafayette, a renowned camellia expert.
   A Master Gardener, Garth personally tends to his own camellia garden of over 500 specimens, many of which are one of a kind.
   His presentation covered a core group of readily available camellias, their assorted fragrances and foliages, and tips on planting and ongoing care.
   Garth also brought some camellias to sell – in one-gallon and even five-gallon pots. We had an interesting and informative presentation by an avid grower and plantsman.

Jan 6
         Membership Meeting
                Pleasant Hill Community Center

                    Program :  "Daylilies, the Perfect Perennial"
              with Neal Richmond
               Some pictures from the meeting...
   To Neal Richmond, daylilies are the “perfect perennial,” and he told us why when he spoke to our club in January.
   Daylilies, he said, come in diverse colors, shapes and sizes. Many bloom for long periods or rebloom in the fall. They grow fast and survive with little care in a variety of climates, landscapes, and soil and light conditions. They bloom best with a lot of sun. Nearly insect- and disease-free, daylilies also tolerate frost and drought, but need regular water for good blooms.
   And, daylilies are edible! All parts of the plant can be eaten, Neal said.
   While showing slides of unusual daylily colors, patterns and petal forms, Neal said the best places to find them locally are at Markham Arboretum sales and at the Moraga Garden Center.
   Most daylilies go dormant during the winter, Neal noted, but there are evergreen and semi-evergreen varieties. Plant them 2 to 3 feet apart and not too deep, Neal advised. He fertilizes with Nitroform, a 38-0-0 slow-acting commercial product that doesn’t burn.
   Neal also announced the start-up of the Bay Area Daylily Society. Its first meeting will be at 10 a.m. June 6 at Neal’s home, 5325 Vista Point Ct., Concord. Please RSVP to 782-2624.