Archive for the ‘Gardens’ Category

Autumn Lights Festival

Thursday, October 19 thru Saturday, October 21 is the 6th Anniversary Autumn Lights Festival at the Gardens at Lake Merritt in Lakeside Park. The event is from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Local artists create gigantic and small works of art using light. The event will blend larger-than-life art and lighting installations, live music, art, fire dancers, food and drink (food and drink available for purchase).

Advance Tickets suggested:

$20 advance/$25 event day for adults
$7 advance/$10 event day for youth (ages 6-17)
Children aged 5 and younger enter free

Lakeside Park Garden Center
666 Bellevue Ave
Oakland, 94610

Whole Foods Market – Back To School Dinner Menus

We want our children to do well in school and good nutrition is important. Start at home by including the kids in planing and preparing dinner.

For new quick and easy ideas stop by the Whole Foods Market on Blossom Hill Road today, August 19, at 6 PM for a class on Back To School Dinner Menus.

One Idea – Whole Foods Recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Collards and Aduki Beans.

The healing power of the sweet potato

Whole Foods Market on Blossom Hill on Facebook.

Whole Kids Foundation

Whole Foods Market
Back To School Dinner Menus
August 19, 2011 at 6 PM
1146 Blossom Hill Rd. Map
San Jose, CA 95118
(408) 266-3700

Coming up: Going Native Garden Tour

Visitors at the 2010 Going Native Garden Tour

A highlight for South Bay gardeners this weekend is the annual Going Native Garden Tour, which we’ve written about a couple of times before. This is a great chance to see how to build a beautiful garden from low-water California native plants. Gardens on the tour typically include everything from large estate-scale hillside gardens to small urban backyards.

The tour will be held on Sunday, April 17 from 10 am to 4 pm. Advanced registration is required to get the list of gardens on the tour, but there’s no charge for the event.

Talented Local Chef Cooks for a Cause

Out at Veggielution Community Farm yesterday, classically trained (New York Culinary Institute of America) Chef Joseph Gaudet prepared a delicious and satisfying lunch to promote the Bounty of Hearts Delight Banquet, Veggielution’s annual fundraising dinner. Veggielution Community Farm began when two San Jose State students offered to establish organic vegetable gardens in local backyards in exchange for a place to grow vegetables. The project grew to what is now a large farm that produces around 800 pounds of produce a week (much of which is donated to local charities) and has as many as 80 volunteers come out to help on community workdays. Veggielution has always been about teaching (and learning from) the community and they now sponsor workshops, youth programs, internships, family days and cooking/nutrition classes for moms. Chef Gaudet gave us a sneak peak of the kinds of dishes that will be part of the banquet. We had his version of the BLT which was crispy, golden strips of pork belly and tempura green tomatoes wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves.

He also served a rich, creamy gumbo with influences from many cultures.

For dessert we enjoyed fresh picked Sugar Baby and Stars and Stripes watermelons.

Mark with watermelons right out of the field

The Bounty of Hearts Delight banquet will begin with appetizers (and a tour) at the farm and proceed to beautiful Eulipia Restaurant in downtown San Jose. To see the menu for the banquet you can go here.

Master Gardeners – They’re here for us!

Who needs University of California Extension Service Master Gardeners? Just about everyone. Whether you have a single house plant or a vast fruit orchard, Master Gardeners are the perfect resource for gardeners. In addition to their newsletters and hotlines, they present free community workshops around Santa Clara County. I have attended three of them so far: Organic, Sustainable Gardening, Canning and Preserving and Growing and Using Herbs. I have been gardening for about 50 years and still, every time I attend a workshop I am amazed at how much I have to learn about gardening. Last weekend I attended an herb workshop given by Sharon McCray. She has been teaching gardening for eighteen years and has 12,000 hours as a volunteer Master Gardener. Among other things, she taught us how to start herb cuttings in mini greenhouses made from plastic bags. Their next workshop is Friday, August 6 at 7:00 P.M. at Evergreen Library. The focus of the workshop is Cool Season Vegetable Gardening.

Plants vs. Zombies

The best $2.99 I ever spent was on my iPhone version of Plants vs. Zombies.  This is a game which requires you (the suburban homeowner) to defend your back yard, pool, and eventually the roof from invading zombies of increasingly bizarre aspect and powers.  Your defense is garden plants: peashooters, sunflowers, cherry bombs, wall-nuts, potato mines, and other creative variations.

What does that have to do with San Jose?  At this time of year after the unusual amount of rain, it is easy to view my Willow Glen backyard as a battlefield with the plants (and me) vs. the snails and weeds.  My Matilija poppies, which are now extending their huge fried egg flowers enthusiastically into the branches of the almond tree, easily seem as odd as some of the plants in the game. The Nasturtiums are spreading as wide horizontally as the poppies are shooting upward. And my Aloe flowers look like orange explosions floating above the spiky plants below.

My daughter Jessica wrote a zombies blog a few months ago which referred to a 4/13/2009 New York Times editorial by Adam Cohen which says: “Monster stories are a projection of our collective anxieties — and that may explain why in the current economic downturn, zombies are starting to catch up with the long-fashionable vampire. … Zombie stories often end with a hearty band retreating to a small, secure space — a cabin or a shopping mall — and fighting for survival.”

When I clear my garden of weeds and snails, and when I clear my electronic roof of zombies, I feel like a heroic defender. Very satisfying.

Matilija poppies




Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson

Garden tour report

Tour-goers exploring a California native plant garden in south San Jose.

Every year I’ve been on the Going Native Garden Tour, I’ve explored the California native plant gardens of a different part of the South Bay. One year it was Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. Another year, the San Jose downtown core. This year I headed for Los Gatos and San Jose’s Camden and Cambrian areas.

In the Los Gatos hills (actually in Monte Sereno) I saw a grand, 1.7 acre garden, established for 12 years, where a hillside of poppies and blue-eyed grass frame a view across a small valley. Near downtown Los Gatos was a showpiece home garden by designer Alrie Middlebrook, as well as a community volunteer-planted garden at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, also designed by Middlebrook.

Both the Los Gatos garden and one I saw in central southern San Jose were planted on more modest lots. These gardens are on a scale that any homeowner could replicate, saving water and still presenting a beautiful front yard to the neighborhood.

Finally, along Capitancillos Drive in a south San Jose neighborhood, volunteers have planted over a half mile of parkstrip bordering the Capitancillos Meadow with a variety of California native plants, including ceanothus (California lilac), bush lupines, buckwheats, and more. This garden is completely unirrigated, but still makes an attractive and impressive border for the road edging this upscale neighborhood.

My discovery of the day was flannel bush (aka Fremontodendron), a striking tall shrub, with dramatic yellow flowers and dark green foliage. I saw this both at the Monte Sereno hillside garden and on Capitancillos Drive. I only wish I had enough room in my own garden to fit in one of these dramatic plants.

Flannel bush at the Capitancillos Drive parkstrip garden.

Don’t forget, garden tour this Sunday


We’ve mentioned it before, but I thought this would be a good time for a last minute reminder about this Sunday’s Going Native Garden Tour. The tour features dozens of gardens all over Santa Clara County. All of the gardens emphasize native California plants, and most are low-water, low-chemical, and beautiful too. You can still register to join the tour until 3 pm on Sunday (or until the tour reaches capacity). All the details are at the tour website.

Gardening: Saving Water and Bees in San Jose

Limnanthes vinculans (Sebastopol meadowfoam)

For many reasons plants native to California are quickly disappearing, urban development being just one. Citizen groups are encouraging homeowners to use native plants in their landscaping. Not only do these plants look natural and save water, they may be beneficial to birds, butterflies, and play a role in saving the bee population.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man,” – a quote attributed to Albert Einstein.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District has four Saturday workshops where the homeowner can learn to select plants and how to be more efficient with their water use.

One of the workshops will be presented by Rebecca Schoenenberger.
Rebecca, a garden consultant, will discuss how to garden with native plants.

Gardening with Native Gardens:
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Saturday March 20th, 2010
9am to 12 noon
Cost: Free
Call 408-265-2607 (x 2554)
Class size is limited.

Native wildflower Blazing Star (Mentzelia lindleyi)

Pollinators and Native Gardens, with Rebecca Schoenenberger (landscape and maintenance expert)
Learn how to create a habitat garden and encourage pollinators:
Almaden Valley Library
6455 Camden Ave, San Jose
March 23rd, 2010
6:30pm to 8pm

Rebecca Schoenenberger
California Nativescapes
408-666-1822 (Cell)
408-243-5663 (Office)

California Nativescapes on facebook

The Going Native Garden Tour 2010

This free tour features plants native to California which can flourish with as little water, chemical, and pesticide use as possible.

Registration for the April 18, 2010 Going Native Garden Tour is now open. It (Registration) will close on Sun, April 18, 2010 @ 3:00pm or when the tour reaches capacity, whichever comes first.

Each tour of about 45 gardens will be from 10 am to 4 pm.

Check the site for the details.

A look at the gardens of 2009

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.