Posts Tagged: Vallejo
It's mid-February and early morning in Vallejo, Calif. Westringia is blooming along a walking path near the Glen Cove Marina. Suddenly out of no...
A black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus Bombus melanopygus, foraging on Westringia in Vallejo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Check out the pollen on this black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus Bombus melanopygus, foraging on Westringia in Vallejo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
There she was--a gorgeous orange-and-black butterfly sipping nectar from a rosemary bush near the Glen Cove Marina, Vallejo. She seemed so out of...
A West Coast Lady, Vanessa annabella, sips nectar Feb. 11 on rosemary near the Glen Cove Marina, Vallejo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a West Coast Lady, Vanessa annabella, on rosemary. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The next time you see a yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) packing pollen, check out the color. Last Saturday on an outing in Vallejo...
Yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, packing red pollen as it heads for an Echium (Pride of Madeira) in Vallejo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This red pollen on the yellow-faced bumble bee absolutely glows. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This past year I was involved with a process in Vallejo called “Participatory Budgeting”. A mouthful which basically means, we citizens got to participate in how a small portion of the City’s budget is spent. Specifically, this small portion is a percentage of the larger Measure B tax that we voted on a few years ago – we voted to tax ourselves, 1¢ of every $1 spent. What a good idea that we get to have a say in how at least part of it is spent!
And one project that was proposed for some of this money to be spent on, voted on by citizens and approved by the City, was enhancing current community gardens and creating new ones. Does everyone know about this? As citizens of Vallejo you absolutely should! As citizens of Solano County it would be nice if you did, even though it doesn’t necessarily impact you directly.
But as Master Gardeners, we should ALL be aware of this great accomplishment – getting funds directed toward enhancing and creating more gardens in the community! However, the challenge now is, how does this get implemented? That will be a long and somewhat tedious process no doubt and every garden that will be enhanced or created will be a wonderful thing.
However, my original thought when I first heard about this project was putting these gardens in schools. Not only would it teach children very valuable lessons, but if the gardens could grow to have a significant yield, they could provide food for school lunches! There are a variety of benefits that could come from creating gardens in schools, but it always comes down to funding.
I didn’t write this with a grand plan in mind, nor do I expect some major change to occur. But if a few of us ponder this idea, perhaps we can think of creative ways to help this happen in our schools, no matter where those schools reside. Anyone even remotely interested in gardening could help make these ideas reality. After all, one of the best lessons that children can learn is that great-tasting food can come from something they planted with their own two hands. Not sure if this is a real quote, but it’s similar to the one about fish …. “If you give a man a vegetable you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to garden you feed him for a lifetime”
Cal Maritime Cadet & Community Engagement Student Assistant, Natalie Laconsay, at Loma Vista’s Spring Festival.(photo by Mike Jory/Vallejo Times Herald)
Unfortunately Carmen’s Garden isn’t a place you’ll be able to visit now that the Vallejo Garden Tour is over, but I’ll share some of my pictures and insights with you so hopefully you won’t feel too sad that you missed out on it in person. Although this is “old news” now since the Vallejo Garden Tour was on May 19th, my new friend Carmen deserves to have her beautiful garden bragged about!
As a Master Gardener “newbie” (Graduation: May 10th, 2012!), I was a bit nervous about being a docent for the Tour, but was relieved to share my duties with a seasoned veteran, Trishae Rose. And once I saw Carmen’s beautiful garden, I knew it wouldn’t be hard to talk to anyone about its beauty!
Carmen and her family have a lovely 1920’s home situated in the historic Bay Terrace neighborhood of Vallejo. One of the unique aspects of the garden is that it is comprised of approximately 5 different levels, each with its own interest and different types of plantings. Perhaps the most remarkable part of the story is that Carmen, with the help of her daughter, transformed this area in the span of only two months when she was approached by the organizers of the Garden Tour to participate! Because of this detail, I thought it was imperative to show “before” and “after” pictures so visitors could really appreciate the transformation. So I printed Carmen’s “before” pictures and posted them on two different sandwich boards for visitors to see the comparisons.
When visitors arrived at Carmen’s lovely home, no doubt they were impressed by the interesting architecture of the home and peaceful fountain at the front entryway. Guests then made their way around the house, along a narrow & somewhat uneven brick pathway and as they entered the back gate, they stepped into the magical world of Carmen’s Garden!
The back patio is set up for a relaxing yet upscale outdoor dining experience, including a Spanish-style candle-lighted chandelier, plus beautiful plants in the border garden beds and in patio planter pots as well, including a variety of succulents. Throughout all the levels of the backyard garden, which also boasts a hot tub(!), there are a variety of beautiful plants – Plectranthus, Lavatera assurgentaflora (Tree Mallow), Gunnera tinctora, Hydrangeas -- most of which Carmen included just because she liked them. In fact, she didn’t know much about plants at all, but purchased/placed the ones in her garden simply because she thought they were nice and they suited her taste.
I should note that Carmen has been an Interior Designer for many years – the inside of her home is evidence of her amazing talent – but it was clear that she really has a knack for being an ‘exterior’ designer as well! However, amazing talent aside, one very important rule Carmen abided by to help her choose her plants wisely, was to choose plants that fit the right location: full sun, shade, wide growth area, in pots, etc., plus the majority of her choices are evergreen and perennials so they will maintain a level of beauty year-round. So whether you have a knack for design, you’re a Master Gardener, or just a plant enthusiast, Carmen’s Garden is a wonderful example that we can all create a beautiful garden in our own backyard if we do a little research first!
Carmen's Oasis (photos by JoEllen Myslik)
View of the lower patio and Trisha, Master Gardener.