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It Takes a Village-New Sensory Garden Dedicated at Fairfield Library


On Saturday, August 11th a New Sensory Garden and a bench in honor of Mary Bourguignon were dedicated at the Fairfield Civic Center Library on Kentucky Street.


Mary Bourguignon was a lifetime community activist and Fairfield library supporter. The bench is dedicated in her honor and features herself reading a favorite book to her son. Directly across the bench is a plaque honoring Mary B.


The sensory garden was the brainchild of supervising librarian Serena Enger and Teresa Lavell a literacy program assistant. The garden started off with a $1,000 staff innovation grant quickly followed by a $7,028 grant from the Solano Community Foundation. The grants were just the beginning as Serena and Teresa worked endlessly soliciting in-kind funds, materials, and labor from various community sources. Within 14 months the vision of a sensory garden, that vision became a reality with the first shovel of dirt being overturned by volunteer labor from the Master Gardeners (MG) of Solano County. Teresa Lavell herself a Master Gardener asked Jennifer Baumbach, program coordinator of UC Master Gardeners of Solano and Yolo Counties, to ask for volunteer help on the UCCE Master Gardener-Solano website.


The MGs who contributed their time were: Teresa Lavell, Jennifer Baumbach, Brenda Altman, Benita Brittain, Mollie Jarret, Amy Mason, Karen Metz, Kristina Moore, Sherry Richards, Melissa Sandoval, Kathy Tomko, and Beth Wells. The digging wasn't easy, the soil consisted of hard clay and rock but the group was able to plant over 80 plants in two-morning plantings. Follow up volunteer work on successive days included irrigation installation done by Teresa. A weeding and mulching party days before the Saturday dedication completed the garden. One library patron Ryan saw our mulch party and joined right in, he a grabbed a wheelbarrow and distributed mulch around the site, thank you, Ryan. Overall the MGs contributed about 60 hours of labor. It truly took a village to make this garden a reality.


Many thanks to the Landscape Architect Aimee Ruskewicz who donated her time and expertise to the planning of the garden. Her blueprints were easy to follow.


Thanks, are also in order to: Mija Berg (a former MG and owner of the Ranch Motel) who donated a truckload of compost, and Lemuria Nursery in Dixon who provided the plants at cost.


Wait there's more! Coming soon tree rounds that have been donated by MG Sterling Smith will be installed as seats for the story time area. The library is hoping to add signage and an information board to update visitors to look for in the garden as it develops.


The garden as it develops and grows will incorporate all the five human senses except for taste. The lambs' ear gets my vote for touch!


If you haven't seen the garden drop by next time you visit the library. In six months, the landscape will change as the plants mature and flower. Come springtime next year, take time to smell the flowers and touch the lambs' ear. Several local bees have already tasted the nectar and they give it two antennae up!


Beth Shedden commenting on the initial grant thanked the Solano Community Foundation, “We appreciate partners like the Solano Community Foundation who support our mission of literacy and lifelong learning. This is a gift that will keep giving to Fairfield families for years to come.”


This is your garden come by and enjoy it!

photos by Brenda Altman



Garden site before bench and plantings!



Garden after planting



Mary B's Bench



Teresa Lavell presents a thank you gift to Landscape Architect Aimee Ruskewicz

MGs at the dedication

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 1:45 PM

UC Master Gardener program arrives in Stanislaus County

UC Cooperative Extension in Stanislaus County is launching its first UC Master Gardener program to extend research-based gardening assistance and information to county residents, reported John Holland in the Modesto Bee.

“Our goal is to encourage healthy environments (and improve the appearance of our community) with sustainable landscaping and gardening, green waste reduction and water conservation,” said Roger Duncan, UCCE county director.

Since the UC Master Gardener program's inception, more than 5 million hours of volunteer service have been donated.

Gardening enthusiasts may apply for the first round of training until Sept. 28. Weekly training sessions will be from Jan. 30 to June 5, 2019. Tuition is $180. After certification, Master Gardeners volunteer 50 hours of service in the first 12 months, then 25 hours per year after that.

The training will be held in Stockton this year, along with UC Cooperative Extension in San Joaquin County.

"They are joining our regular training to help get their program up and running," said Marcy Sousa, the UC Master Gardener program coordinator in San Joaquin County.

The volunteers do not need to start out with detailed knowledge of gardening, said Kari Arnold, the UCCE farm advisor overseeing the program. That will come from experts tapping into university research on the various topics.

For more information and to apply, visit the Stanislaus County Master Gardeners website.

UC Master Gardener program, launched in California in 1981, now serves more than 50 California counties with 6,116 actives volunteers. 

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 10:13 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Valley Carpenter Bees: Drama in the Garden

Don't bug me, I'm trying to wake up. This female Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, peers over a blue spike salvia (Salvia uliginosa) blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Some folks call them "bumble bees," but they're not. In size, the female Valley carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta) resembles a bumble bee, but...

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2018 at 6:17 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment Yard & Garden

AB 589 Water Diversion Monitoring and Reporting Training - King City, October 24

Water Measurement Flyer For King City

Join us on October 24 at the Orradre Building at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm to learn what you need to know...

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2018 at 1:54 PM

The Predator and the Prey: Just Wing It!

A male Stagmomomantis limbata, as identified by mantis expert Lohit Garikipati, a UC Davis student who rears mantids, stretches in the passionflower vine. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Judge: "Will the defendant please rise?" The defendant, a praying mantis--a male Stragmomantis limbata--rises solemnly, stretching his spiked...

Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 3:56 PM

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