Siskiyou District Fall Meeting

Siskiyou District’s fall meeting, hosted by Grants Pass Garden Club, was held Wednesday October 18th.   The meeting was a well attended by all six garden clubs in the Siskiyou District and by a special guest, Oregon State Garden Club President, Gaye Stewart.  PenniesWorth Acres Nursery Co-owner, Christin Bryk, presented a lecture on,
“Fall interest in your Garden”

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Snowdrop anemone

Plant Name:  Anemone sylvestris
Common Name: Snowdrop anemone Snowdrop anemone
Plant type: Perennial
Height: 12-18 inches
Spread:   12 inches
Bloom Time:  Spring to Early summer
Flower Color:  White with yellow centers
Exposure: Part Shade to filtered sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained Humus, Acidic to Neutral Soil,   
Water Needs:  Moderate, needs more in the heat
Attributes:   Showy fragrant flower, Fall color: glossy leaves turn burgundy, Deer resistant, Rabbit resistant,  
Note: Lives in the forest floor in leaf litter & shade
Uses:  Naturalizing, Woodlawn garden, Cut Flowers,  Mass plantings, Urban gardens where where buildings create shade, Containers, Water side gardens
Native to: Meadows & dry deciduous woodlands of central and western Europe
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Horticulture Report: Gaillardia aristata

Gaillardia_Gallo_Peach

Plant Name: Gaillardia aristata
Common Name: Gallo Peach Blanket Flower
Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
Height: 12-16 inches
Spread:   12-16 inches
Bloom Time:  Spring to late summer  
Flower Color:  Yellow with peachy gold blush, Yellow-orange center.
Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Best in poor sandy soil,  does not like clay soil.  
Water Needs: Water well until established, then water occasionally  
Attributes:   Showy prolific flowers, Long bloomer, Drought tolerant once established, Deer resistant, Attracts Butterflies, Interesting globe seed pods 
Note:   Clip spent flowers to encourage repeat blooms. Cut back in late summer to encourage second blooming in the fall. Divide every 2-3 years.
Uses: Cut flowers, Borders, Perennial garden, Pollinator garden, Native garden, Butterfly Gardens. 
Native to: Patented plant
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-10

National Fire Prevention Week

October 8-14 is National Fire Prevention Week. Everyone needs to have an escape plan – Every second counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!

• Practice home fire drills twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home and practice using different ways out.
• Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
• Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
• Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
• Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.Fire_know 2 ways out.png

Gardening Tips: Soil Conservation

This is the time of year when those giant paper bags full of fallen leaves start appearing on sidewalks around the country. This is also the time of year I drive around my neighborhood picking up those bags of leaves in my truck and spreading them throughout my garden beds.

The practice of removing our yard waste to landfills is enormously unsustainable:

  • We spend endless hours raking, blowing, and bagging the leaves that fall every year.
  • The use of leaf blowers is a source of noise pollution and air pollution, and uses large amounts of non-renewable fossil fuel.
  • These huge piles are hauled away by truck, using more gasoline and causing more air pollution.
  • Often this organic yard material is dumped into landfills, which destroys wildlife habitat.
  • Then we have mulch trucked in to replace the benefits of the leaves we just hauled away.
  • And we replace the nutrients that were freely available from the decomposition of those leaves with synthetic fertilizers, which are another petroleum product.

This cycle cannot be sustained without causing increasing damage to our environment. It is much more sustainable to manage this yard waste on our own properties.

Fortunately, this is very easy to do and also returns nutrients to the soil, provides habitat for many organisms, and ensures healthy plants.

I pile up these leaves in every one of my flower beds, sometimes it is more than two feet deep. In the spring I take a hand rake and loosen the leaves around my emerging plants, which hide the leaves during the growing season. By the time the next leaves fall, the old leaves have completely decomposed and the soil is ready for a new blanket.

Why do I do this?

  • There is a cycle of life contained in the leaf litter and we destroy many forms of wildlife every time we remove these leaves.
  • Many butterflies find shelter in the leaf litter, either in egg, pupal, or adult form, to safely wait out the winter and emerge in the spring.
  • Leaf litter provides food and shelter to an amazing variety of invertebrates who break down the leaves, which feeds the soil and other wildlife.
  • Healthy plants are dependent on healthy soil.
  • The deeper the leaf litter, the more spiders are supported. Spiders are an essential element in keeping pest insects in balance.
  • Leaf litter is also home to ladybugs, salamanders, toads, and other predators of pest insects. It is no wonder that pests like aphids thrive when we continue to destroy the habitat of the predators that would keep them under control.
  • Every spring these leaves are covered with birds who pick through the leaves in search of a tasty meal.
  • Trucked in mulch is not necessary when the leaves are left to cover the soil because the leaf litter acts as a natural blanket of mulch, controlling soil moisture and temperature.

I know there are many gardeners who cannot bear the thought of even one leaf creating a “mess” in their pristine garden beds. But it’s easy to tuck the leaves under your shrubs or in a back corner where they can work their magic and leave your sense of tidyness intact.

Or the leaves can be composted and then spread over your soil so at least the natural nutrients can be returned to the soil.

The benefits to your local wildlife far outweigh any need for neatness.