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Table of Contents for 2010.... click item below to go to event...
Jan 5th Membership Meeting -- Bonnie Brusseau on Roses
February 2d Membership Meeting -- Kathy Echols on "Propagation 101"
March 2d Membership Meeting -- Juanita Salisbury on "Color in the Garden"
April 6, 2010 Membership Meeting - Carol Notaras on "All You Ever Wanted to Know About Begonias"
May 4, 2010 Membership Meeting - Suzanne Arca on "Garden Makeover Ideas"
May 8th 2010 -- Annual Plant Sale...
June 1st 2010 - Membership Meeting -- Judy Sankuhle on "Geraniums & Pelargoniums"

June 19th 2010 - Annual Member's Garden Tour
July -- no meeting
August 3rd, 2010 Member Meeting - Gary Lawrence on "Bees in the Garden"
September 7th, 2010 Member Meeting, Tomato Tasting, Rose Cane Swap
    & Program "Japanese Maples in the Garden...

October 5, 2010 Membership Meeting, Elizabeth Ruiz on "Fruit Tree & Aesthetic Pruning"
November , 2010 Membership Meeting, Kat Weiss on "From Lawn to Natives...Not Hard...Saves Water...Brings in Beauty"
December 6, 2010 Membership Meeting... "Review of the Garden Programs PHGSC Helps Fund"

Jan 5th Membership Meeting ... pictures

Feb 2d Membership Meeting "Propagation

                              Plant Propagation Notes
                                            From Kathy Echols, DVC Horticulture Instructor
                                            Presentation before the PHGSC meeting of Feb 2, 2010

Soils and Materials;
Seed mixes: Perlite, Peat, Vermiculite
Sterile media 

Seed planting: Plant seed 2x depth versus size
Cover with light covering
Seed media should be damp prior to planting.
Care of planted seeds: Keep damp don't let dry out, the smaller seeds dry out fast.
Watering: use a soft spray or for small seeds, water from the bottom. 

Containers for propagation:
Any that are clean and sterile -- yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, regular nursery pots 

Cuttings: Cutting material should be free from pest and disease, young and succulent, and preferably non-flowering. Tip cuttings should be able to bend but not break. They should not feel like butter as that indicates they are too young.
Sharp-shears are used to cut cuttings or a very sharp knife.
Cuttings are dipped into a hormone for inducement to root. Hormones available through mail order only (exception Dip ‘n Grow is available at Orchard Nursery, Lafayette): 

Dip ‘n Grow                                       Hormex
c/o OBC Northwest                          c/o Mellingers
P.O. Box 759                                    2310 W. South Range Rd.
Canby , OR 97013                           North Lima, Ohio 44452-9731
1-800-477-4744                               1-800-321-7444 for catalog       

Low hormone strength used for easy things, medium for more difficult, and high for woody and hard to root things.

Cuttings of geraniums are not done with shears but by breaking the stem below a node.
The cutting is allowed to callus for 12 to 24 hours and then stuck into a sterile media.
No hormones are necessary for them. 

Cuttings (other than Geraniums) need to be kept moist by periodic sprinkling or misting.
A plastic bag can be put over the cuttings after watering and tied to keep in the moisture.
After cuttings have rooted (two to three weeks-generally) they can be moved into a pot with a good garden loam mix. Fertilizer is generally added lightly at this stage.

In transplanting cuttings, be careful of their roots. They are lifted from their cutting tray by using a fork or a pencil or anything which can be put below to loosen and lift them without disturbing the roots excessively. 

PHGSC Post-script: Kathy also mentioned a non-toxic spray for ants… garden and home …using ZEP Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser in the cleaning products section at Home Depot… Kathy says dilute it (20%) with water (80%) [i.e., 4:1] and spray or drench … it's available in gallons (~$10+ undiluted) or RTU spray bottles (probably need to be diluted ~$4)... a gallon could last a long, long time… unless your garden and/or home is “ant city”.

March 2d Meeting -- Juanita Salisbury on "Color in the Garden"...

April 6, 2010 Meeting - "All You Ever Wanted to Know About Begonias

May 4, 2010 Meeting -

May 8th 2010 -- Annual Plant Sale...
see the pictures

June 1st 2010 - Membership Meeting... see the pictures

June 19th 2010 - Annual Member's Garden Tour ... see the pictures

No July Member Meeting

August 3rd, 2010 Member Meeting ... see the pictures

PHGSC Presentation by The Bee Man

August 3, 2010

By Mella Leibrand


         Gary Lawrence – a modern Renaissance man, chicken rancher, winemaker, gardener of prize irises, teacher at a drama school, new grandfather, and Beekeeper of the Year 2003 for the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association – may be best known simply as  “The Bee Man.”

         He often talks about bees and beekeeping to young people, and at the PHGSC August, 2010 meeting, he treated members to a little slice of childhood by discussing the nature of bees in a captivating, informative, and easily understood presentation.

         Gary told us that the bee family is a hive. The queen bee is the mother, and is bigger than the others. The wellbeing of the hive depends on her. She has a long abdomen because of the thousands and thousands of eggs she will lay in her lifetime. Before she lays an egg, she pushes her head into the cell of the honeycomb, inspects it, then backs into it, lays the egg and fastens it.

         Gary explained the mystery of how the six-sided cells of the honeycomb are so uniform in size and shape Worker bees make wax for the honeycomb from pores on the sides of their bodies. They scrape the wax toward their triangular-shaped heads as they work together to form the honeycombs. The bees literally use their heads as their measurement device.

         At first the cells are left open so when the eggs mature to the larva stage, they can be fed. The cells are sealed with wax during the pupa stage, followed by the emergence of full-grown bees.

         Worker bees also serve as forager female bees. They have six legs and a proboscis that they stick in the flower for nectar. Something special happens inside their bodies: the nectar becomes honey. The forager bees fly back to the hive and give the honey to the nursery bees, which place it in the cells as food the larvae. The worker bees also gather pollen with their front legs and store it on their back legs. Back at the hive, the worker bees shake the pollen off, and the nursery bees put it in the cell with the honey to feed the larvae.

         Gary interjected that one teaspoon of local honey in tea at the beginning of allergy season can diminish the effect of seasonal allergies because of the pollen in honey.

         Gary also dispelled some common misconceptions regarding drone bees (males). They aren’t lazy. Rather, they don’t forage because they can’t. They have no proboscis with which to gather nectar. They are dependent on the worker bees for food. They cannot make honey or beeswax. They can’t even defend the hive because they have no stinger. After mating with the queen, they die.

         Unfertilized eggs go into drone cells, which are larger and are grown before swarming season in the spring when the colony is splitting. At this time also, many queen cells are made. The worker bees go through a hormonal change and make royal jelly, not honey, for the queen larvae.

         During swarming, the bees collect around the queen, absorbing her pheromones. Scouts are sent out to find a dark enclosed place for the hive – enclosed to keep wild animals out, and dark so the wax of the new hive won’t melt.

         Once the hive moves into the new place, the bees do “scenting” or blowing the scent to those who enter the hive to announce the presence of an active queen. The first eggs appear in a few days.

         Gary told us that honeybees came from Europe, and in the last hundred years the environment has become hostile to them. Bees were transported to farms as pollenators, and it caused stress that made them more susceptible to mites from the Orient. Stress contributes to CCD – Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon of abrupt failure to thrive. In short, the colony dies.

         He noted that bees do better in the mountains, although Pleasant Hill is a fairly good area for them. However, local beekeepers must remove any spiders building nests beneath the hives. Ants can also be a problem.  Motor oil on cement blocks beneath the hives will help keep the ants out, and is a better solution than ant powder, which can be toxic to the bees.

         Gary assured us that no baby bees die during the collection of honey at his hives, since he collects only from cells located above a queen “excluder screen” that he inserts into the hives. The queen can’t cross the screen because she is too big. However, the worker bees put honey in the cells, not knowing that the queen can’t get to them to lay eggs. 

         During his presentations, the audience is usually interested in viewing the queen bee in his glass demonstration box. To make her more visible, Gary carefully isolates the queen and dabs her abdomen with paint. This is a somewhat delicate procedure, as the queen can die if it is not done correctly.

         In our gardens, plants that foster honeybee proliferation include sunflowers, lavender, rosemary, and borage. Avoid California buckeyes, as they are poisonous to bees, Gary said.

         He referred us to the website of the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association, for detailed pictures of his hives. The site also has more information about local beekeeping, including beekeepers who specialize in removing unwanted hives from the walls of houses by vacuuming and transporting them to a beekeeper who can care for them.

         Gary also invited us to attend a Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association meeting, held on the second Thursday of the month at the Gardens at Heather Farm.

September 7th, 2010 Member Meeting, Tomato Tasting, Rose Cane Swap
    & Program "Japanese Maples in the Garden...



  October 5th, 2010, Member Meeting and Program "Aesthetic Pruning and Fruit Trees"... pictures   

November , 2010, Membership Meeting & Program 

December 6th 2010, Holiday Member Meeting, Potluck, and Program