September in the Garden & North State Calendar of Regional Gardening Events

August 30th, 2014

PHOTO: Ripe Ribes sp. (roezlii?).

September in the North State garden begins in earnest our biggest and best window of opportunity to plant in our gardens. From mid-September to the end of October, from Davis to Redding, a generous number of arboreta, plant societies and nurseries will host plant sales to get us started on our annual garden additions. From perennials to fall and winter vegetables, from trees to shrubs and vines and bulbs and even the broadcasting of annual wildflower seeds, from drought tolerant natives to fruit trees – now begins the best time for us North State Gardeners to dream it, plan it and plant it. Read the rest of this entry »

Succeeding with Natives - Mt. Lassen CNPS Horticulture Symposium September 14

August 17th, 2014

On Sunday September 14th, 2014 the Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will host a day-long symposium on designing your garden space to include more native plants while at the same time using far less water, creating far less maintenance for yourself, and having more life and beauty than you’ve had till now (registration on-line at: Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of an Empress, August in the Garden & North State Calendar of Regional Gardening Events

August 3rd, 2014

I never did get a get picture of her. Not a drive-by snap shot, not a proper portrait. Despite regularly remarking on how lovely she was. And now that she’s gone – with the others – I go out of my way to avoid driving where I used to see her. Why bother? It’s painful to see the gaping hole, painful to know I had never taken the time to get a good photograph of this beautiful life by which I seasonally marked my place in time and space. She was a marker on my internal compass and now she is gone. I am regretful, wondering if I perhaps I never acknowledged her or appreciated her enough. Read the rest of this entry »

A Penny For Your…..The Penny Pines Reforestation Program in CA

July 12th, 2014

A penny for a …..pine? As they have for the past 50 years, this year the Chico Horticultural Society – along with other garden clubs statewide - chose honorees to receive a Penny Pines Plantation. I was among this year’s honorees, and to me it is a high honor indeed.

According the US Forest Service, national forests in California cover some 20 million acres, or about 1/5 of the state - an area just slightly larger than the state of South Carolina. Stretching from the Mexican border to Oregon, these forests include a variety of terrain and vegetation. These areas of great beauty and majestic stature are routinely affected by natural and man-caused fire, pests and disease, which - while often part of the natural life cycle of a forest - do also damage and reduce them in several ways. Given enough time, the land will recover naturally, but Penny Pines provides a helping hand. It is a cooperative conservation program in which everyone can participate.

In 1941 the Penny Pines Program was officially launched under the sponsorship of the San Francisco Sportswomen’s Association. Recognizing the great need to help restore forest areas, the association sent donations to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Northern California.

Over the years since, Penny Pines – so-called because in 1941 a seedling tree could be purchased for about 1 cent - has grown into a statewide initiative, and individuals, community organizations, and groups of all sizes have participated in the program, donating well over 1 million dollars in the past 73 years. Garden clubs, women’s clubs, men’s service organizations, youth groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts, and schools have all contributed.

Other states have cooperative planting programs, but the Penny Pines Program is unique to California. Almost every National Forest in the State has a Penny Pines plantation area, featuring a sign that lists contributors.

By 1964, Penny Pines was so successful that money contributed to purchase seedlings far exceeded funds available for site preparation, planting and care, and so the conservation agreement was rewritten to provide that Penny Pines funds be used for reforestation activities in general.

According to long-time member and club historian, Emilie White, the Chico Horticultural Society purchased their first Penny Pines Plantation in 1963 at the Chaparral in the Butte Meadows area, and has since purchased more than 70 plantations honoring individuals and groups. Recently the club’s honorees included firefighters of the Lassen, Plumas and Mendocino National Forest.

Today $68 buys a one-acre Penny Pines Plantation of over 300 tree seedlings. Trees of 16 species are used throughout the state, including Ponderosa Pine, Jeffrey Pine, Douglas Fir and Incense Cedar.

Current Forest with Penny Pine Plantation sites:

• Angeles National Forest, 701 N. Santa Anita Ave. Arcadia , CA 91006 (626) 574-1613
• Cleveland National Forest, 10845 Rancho Bernardo Rd., Rancho Bernardo 92127 (619) 673-6180
• Eldorado National Forest,100 Forni Rd., Placerville 95667 (530) 622-5061
• Klamath National Forest, 1312 Fairlane Rd. , Yreka 96097 (530) 842-6131
• L. Tahoe Basin Mgt. Unit, 870 Emerald Bay Rd., S. Lake Tahoe 96150 (530) 573-2600
• Lassen National Forest, 2550 Riverside Dr. Susanville, Calif,.96130 (530) 257-2151
• Los Padres National Forest, 6755 Hollister Ave. Suite 150, Goleta 93117(805) 968-6640
• Mendocino National Forest, 825 N. Humboldt Ave., Willows 95988 (530) 934-3316
• Plumas National Forest, P.O. Box 1500 159, Lawrence St., Quincy 95971 (530) 283-2050
• San B’dino National Forest, 602 South Tippecanoe Ave, San B’dino 92408 (909) 382-2600
• Sequoia National Forest, 1839 South Newcomb ST , Porterville 93257 (209) 784-1500
• Shasta-Trinity Ntl Forest, 3644 Avtech Parkway , Redding 96002 (530) 226-2500
• Sierra National Forest, 600 Tollhouses Rd., Clovis 93611 (209) 297-0706
• Stanislaus National Forest,19777 Greenley Rd. , Sonora 95370 (209) 532-3671
Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote St. , P.O.Box 6003, Nevada City 95959 (530) 265-4531

Follow a North State Garden on Facebook

To submit plant/gardening related events/classes to the on-line Calendar of Regional Gardening Events, send the pertinent information to me at:

In a North State Garden is a twice-monthly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California. It is made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum - Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell - all rights reserved In a North State Garden airs two weekends a month on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time.

Unity of Opposites: July in the Garden & North State Calendar of Gardening Events

June 28th, 2014

“I hear my mother calling when the summer wind blows,
Go out into the garden in your old, old clothes…”

Rosemary Wells, “First Tomato”

The garden in the height of summer is a source of deep comfort for me despite some contrasts between the reality of it and the idea of it. This quote from Rosemary Wells’ childrens’ book “First Tomato” captures the essence of this comfort for me in both the tangible place of the garden - and the garden as a state of mind.

July in the garden is likewise a unity of opposites: the heat of the summer days, the cool of the summer mornings; the fireworks of early July, the fatigue of late July, the long - seemingly slow - days and yet both mine and my plant’s urgent need for water and shade - which truncates my gardening hours spent in labor or appreciation to the first and last few hours of light each day. Read the rest of this entry »

Oreganos: Ornamental, Useful, Fragrant & Tough

June 14th, 2014

Ahhh, despite heat and drought, these tough-as-nails beauties are in bloom again….enjoy revisiting this summer garden treat: oreganos.

I’m a big believer in Beauty for its very own sake, but in a gardening life where choices must be made as to what we will give room, resources, time and attention – it’s always nice to love a plant that is both beautiful and useful beyond this beauty. Read the rest of this entry »

June in the Garden & North State Calendar of Gardening Events

May 31st, 2014

Sometimes I’m really organized as a gardener and sometimes I’m just not.

Take for instance the deadheading that is now in progress among my early summer blooming perennials – sometimes I get everything in order in advance: I get my gloves and clippers and even the kids’ old red wagon for collecting the cut back blossoms and branches of roses and lavender, wallflower and coral bells, all of which are ready to be sheered. Other times, I’m little more haphazard: I might wander out to the garden with my coffee in the morning or cool drink in the evening, and thinking of the day notice a dead bloom and perhaps absentmindedly bend over and snip it back with nothing more than my fingernails.
After about 15 minutes of this, I might have deadheaded one large lavender or two-three coral bells, have accumulated a little pile of trimmings to pick up at some later time and have fully enjoyed my thoughts and the feeling in the garden at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

Henderson Open Space - The Restoration and Recovery of a Public Treasure

May 10th, 2014

Randall Smith - known as Randy - is a retired physician and community activist who for more than a decade now (many of these as the environmental chair for the Rotary Club of Redding) has been working with the California department of Fish and Wildlife and the City of Redding spearheading a native plant restoration project in an area known as the Henderson Open Space, a 35 acre parcel of public land along the Sacramento River with Redding’s City Limits.

Randy and I have been corresponding for many months now about the project and its remarkable progress from overgrown and impenetrable tangle of rubbish and blackberries to accessible park, 18 hole disk golf course and nature trails along the river showcasing Redding history along the way. As Randy wrote to me early on “Poor, yet spectacular, Henderson is truly the Cinderella of Redding’s parks.” I had the pleasure of walking the property with him one spring day and learning more. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweet - May in the North State Garden & Regional Calendar of Gardening Events

April 26th, 2014

PHOTO: Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’

April has me left considering the total inadequacy of the word Sweet. I have happily filled my house this past month with old roses, hybrid tea roses, musk roses and climbing roses, with Salvia fructicosa, Salvia ‘May Night’, Salvia officinalis, and Salvia spathacea, with sweet peas, and now with peonies – big blousy delicately scented white Peony ‘Festiva Maxima’ and deep pink Peony ‘Alexander Fleming’. Furthermore, we have eaten the last of the sweetest grapefruit and plates of the first strawberries and snap peas. Sweet doesn’t begin to cover it. But life is indeed both sweet and good in the North State Garden this time of year. Hard in fact, to rival let alone put one word to or sum up – in a lifetime or in four minutes. And Life – being what it is, can be counted on to balance the sweet with the bitter over time. Read the rest of this entry »

In a North State Garden and Two New Friends

April 12th, 2014

On Tuesday April 8th, I hosted a special edition of In a North State Garden during Northstate Public Radio’s Spring Membership drive the theme for which has been “A Steady Stream.” With this in mind, my special was a celebration of the steady stream of garden, nature, ecology and local food programming that North State Public Radio provides now and was also an introduction to some new tributaries to this healthy stream of information and community.

My guests on the program were Pam Geisel – former statewide coordinator of the University of California Master Gardener program, and a previous guest on In a North State Garden many times, as well as Matt Shilts, my producer and engineer for In a North State Garden. Joining us in spirit was Earl Bloor, food writer and photographer and co-publisher for the past 8 years with his wide Candace of the local food magazine, Edible Shasta Butte.

For the past 6.5 years, since I first approached Northstate Public Radio’s famed “Joe O” in November 2007 about Northstate Public Radio once again developing a garden program, the station has supported the weekly program In a North State Garden. We have produced more than 300 plant people and place profiles of interesting things going on and being done in relation to plants and the natural environment in our 10 county region. The entire journey has been expanding and illuminating for me personally.

This week, Northstate Public Radio and I would like to announce some increased diversity to our crop of garden and local food programming with the introduction of two new field-fork, from-the-ground-up programs that will be joining In a North State Garden as weekend plant-related programs.

Beginning with programming the week of April 19th, In a North State Garden will be joined in a weekly rotation with two additional plant programs – one conceived and hosted by Pam Geisel entitled “The Practical Gardener” the mission of which is to provide practical, research based solutions to garden problems and the other program entitled “Edible Northstate”, hosted by Earl Bloor, and the mission of this program being to raise awareness and educate our radio audience to the importance of improving our local food system for food availability, health and sustainable economic growth of our communities.

Our producer and engineer will be the unflappable Matt Shilts.

If you are a lover of the gardening/plant/environmental programming on Northstate Public Radio – you’re listening to In a North State Garden’s spring 2014 membership drive special “A Steady Stream of Plant Programming” from North State Public Radio. If environmental issues, community issues and local programming are important to you - I urge you to make a pledge to the station today:

“The Practical Gardener”, hosted by Pam Geisel.

Program Mission: to provide practical, research based solutions to garden problems.

Program Description: “THE PRACTICAL GARDENER is a show about helping to bring the science of gardening to home gardener in a way that is understandable. I want people understand the science but in ways that are applied, researched based and implementable in the home garden. I want to give people ideas about how they can have beautiful but sustainable gardens using practical methods. It’s always great fun to look at really complicated strategies for managing certain pests. However, the reality of what you might be able to actually implement at home is often limited. One great example is managing peach leaf curl on peaches and nectarines. I have heard one strategy to control this disease is to manually pick off infected individual leaves. The science and research doesn’t support this this practice in that it doesn’t do anything to reduce future infections or the spread of the disease. The practical and science based solution is to invest in resistant varieties if you are planting new trees and to spray the trees at bud swell in the spring before the buds show any color with copper.”

Pam’s Personal Story: “I have a Masters Degree in Plant Science with an emphasis in Pest Management with Post graduate work in Agronomy/turfgrass management. I have worked for the university of California in the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources as a Horticulture Advisor; first I Fresno County for 25 years and then was the Director for the UC Master Gardener program for 8 years at UC Davis. I moved to the North state about 7 years ago from Davis after meeting the love of my life. I recently retired from the University and now am a horticulture consultant and teacher for Master Gardener Training sessions throughout California.”

To reach Pam with questions or topics you’d like to hear covered, contact her by email: Pamela Geisel -

“Edible Northstate”, hosted by Earl Bloor

Purpose: To raise awareness and educate our radio audience to the importance of improving our local food system for food availability, health and sustainable economic growth of our communities.

Program Description: There is a wealth of people in north central California to tap for interesting programming and we also plan on interviewing experts and authors outside our region. Some interviews will be by phone, some in studio and some onsite in the fields, markets or restaurants. Edible Northstate will feature interviews with growers, chefs, food craft producers, consumers, policy makers and educators. We will highlight local issues and personalities who also represent national issues, problems and solutions

Topics for Discussion might include: -GMO -Differences in Round-Up Ready insertion compared with drought tolerant enhancement. Adding/removing genes -Climate Change -How is agriculture planning to adapt -How can home gardeners adapt - Aging Farmers and Barriers to farm/ranch ownership/operation - Pollination -Honeybee Colony Collapse -Post harvest produce from Financing to Co-Packer to Store Shelf -What’s involved, how to do it and who’s done it successfully - Positive Indicators and trends in small-scale agriculture -The future of urban agriculture - Water and urban ag policies that will improve local food production.

Earl’s Personal Story: For eight years my wife Candace Byrne and I have been
chronicling the local abundance of the Northstate in a magazine we publish, Edible Shasta-Butte .

I continue to be impressed with the growth in opportunities to purchase fresh, healthy, locally-grown food in our community and in communities throughout this country. Farmers’ Markets are growing and bursting at the seams with shoppers eager to purchase healthy food. More farmers’ markets are opening to meet this demand. And recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or CalFresh, are no longer issued paper Food Stamps. Instead, they are issued an Electronic Benefit Transfer (or EBT) card which can be used at farmers’ markets to pay for fresh, local food. And Farmers’ Markets are being supplemented with a growing number of CSAs ― Community Supported Agriculture programs ― in which individuals contract with farmers for regular (usually weekly) boxes of fresh produce.

And there are other innovative ways that food is being distributed. Such as the 15 different farms in Siskiyou County, Full Circle Farms, that pool their produce to offer weekly bags of fruit, vegetables, herb, artisan bread, mushrooms, flowers and more! And there are Craig and Jen Thompson in Scott Valley who operate Rockside Ranch Farmstand near Etna where all sorts of food ­ and even firewood ­ can be purchased or ordered for delivery.

To reach Earl with questions or topics you’d like to hear covered, contact him by email: Earl Bloor -

The “From-the-Ground-Up” Suite of Garden Programs are co-productions of Northstate Public Radio.

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To submit plant/gardening related events/classes to the on-line Calendar of Regional Gardening Events, send the pertinent information to me at:

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In a North State Garden is a weekly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California. It is made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum - Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell - all rights reserved In a North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time.