Photo : A small Pacific chorus frog, waiting.
How long has it been?
I sat with my eyes closed this past Wednesday just listening - listening to the sound of the rain on the roof, on the trees, on passing car tires and I wondered - how long has it been? Within minutes of the rain beginning I got texts, emails and phone calls: IT’S REALLY RAINING!!
Just like seeing green after a long colorless dormant season is soothing to the eyes somehow, so too the sound of the rain this week was soothing and relieving to the ears. Our bodies know - and our gardens, farms and landscapes remind us daily - we need precipitation to survive and thrive.
According to the National Weather Service “2013 marked the smallest amount of precipitation since record keeping began 164 years ago,” and so far 2014 isn’t looking better. There are a variety of reasons attributed for this current trend, including a massive (4 miles high, 2000 miles long) high-pressure ridge in the atmosphere sitting off the coast of California and deflecting any winter weather around us. The International Business News reported on January 27th that “The country’s most populous state is entering its third year of record-low rainfall, and now scientists are raising the alarm that “megadroughts,” [which can last 10s and 100s of years, and] which haven’t been seen in hundreds of years, could be just around the corner.”
Photo : A stand of grey pine back lit by winter’s afternoon light.
California Governor Jerry Brown said in a statement earlier this month “We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas. I’ve declared this an emergency, and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”
Photo : The dried seed head of a native twining brodiaea seed head in place in Late January.
The last rain in my Chico garden prior to Wednesday’s .25 inches, was on Friday December 6th when my rain gauge registered .23 inches. That’s 54 days without rain, and a rainfall total of .58 inches, in a time period when our (wishful) average rainfall should total more than 10 inches. In our mountains, the California Department of Water reports that our snowpack ranges from 6 – 21 % of normal for this time of year.
And you can see, smell and hear the difference all around us. The early spring bloomers are up in the garden and on the trails, but they seem smaller and fewer than usual. “They seem to be a little confused, too” said one gardening friend. “The narcissus appear and dry out almost immediately,” said another and noted seeing butterflies like pipevine swallowtails already hatched out - far, far earlier than usual. In a time of year when we are usually enjoying evenings full of the sounds of rainfall and Pacific Chorus Frogs in our creeks, the January evenings have been relatively mute. How do these creatures adapt? How can we?
We’re all waiting for the rain, and trying to figure out what to do now and going forward as it does not arrive.
Photo : Unfurling leaves of the first of the native buckeyes.
WHAT TO DO IN YOUR GARDEN THIS MONTH:
February in the garden is an interesting in-between month. Keep pruning dormant trees and vines, and roses in the warmer sections of the North State. Bare root plants are widely available at our local nurseries and ready to be planted during breaks from bad weather if your soil is not too frozen or too wet. With continued dry weather, remember to irrigate new plantings as necessary. Keep in mind that while the dry weather might prompt you to irrigate your established plants - annual edibles and your perennials plants and trees - keep in mind that less is more. Daylight hours are still short and nighttime temperatures are still cool, so established plants might appreciate a deep watering once a week or once every other week, these plants are not yet in their real growing stage and do not require a lot. Overwatering now will only increase your fungal issues in the soil and on foliage.
Now is a great time to consider what plants (and lawn areas) require a lot of water to stay looking good and to consider how important these are to you. Perhaps this is the year to replace your unused lawn areas?
If you are going to start tender vegetable or annual seeds indoors, bad weather February days and early February evenings are good times to do this; some cold happy vegetable starts or seeds including lettuce beets broccoli carrots and chard can be sown outside already.
Photo: A frosty little oak leaf pinch-pot sculpture in the morning garden path.
Here is a MID-WINTER CHECKLIST from Wyntour Gardens in Redding:
FOR WATER GARDENS & FISH PONDS ˆ Check water-flow from pumps, check
intakes, leaf traps, skimmer nets, clean out all debris, and clear debris from filters. Check the health of
your fish, check water levels in your pond and overall pond area. It‚s time to add Barley Extract, or
Barley Straw, also beneficial bacteria. It‚s time to divide Lotus and Water Lilies. If you have any
questions, please give Sherrie, our Pond and Water Garden expert a call.
COOL SEASON VEGGIE STARTS Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage,
Cauliflower, Chard, Collards, Arugula, Red Sails, Mesclun mix, Joi Choi, Onions, Spinach, Kale and onion
starts of California Red, Italian Red Torpedo, Walla Walla and Yellow Sweet Spanish.
Now is a good time to plant SPRING PLANTED SUMMER BLOOMING BULBS: Gladiolas, Japanese Iris, Dahlias, Clematis, Tuberose, Begonias, Cannes, Oxallis, Peonies & Tree Peonies, and Oriental, Tiger & Asiatic Lilies.
While weather remains warm, dry and not windy, consider applying another dormant spray on your fruit trees and to give them a fresh coat of white latex paint to protect them from sunburn.
Photo : As the light lengthens a little each day, the hens begin to pick up in their laying.
CALENDAR OF NORTH STATE GARDENING EVENTS:
The On-line Calendar of Regional Gardening Events at jewellgarden.com adds events throughout the month. I do my very best to keep the calendar up to date and accurate, please confirm all events with the event host. If you have an event you would like listed or if you are aware of a mistake on the calendar, please send all pertinent information to: Jennifer@jewellgarden.com! Thanks!
Photo : Witch hazel branches in bloom by mid-February. Handcrafted pottery vase by Roseberry Winn Pottery and Tile in Tiverton, RI.
Feb 1 - Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Winter Birds in Davis: Slide Show and Tour 10:30am, Environmental Horticulture 146. Our feathered friends are fascinating! Learn about birds that winter in Davis during a slide show talk. Then take a walk to see birds in the Arboretum (weather permitting). The event is free; limited free one hour parking is available along Garrod Drive near the Gazebo or in nearby Visitor Parking Lot 55 where parking can be paid by meter or by purchase of an $8 daily pass. For more information and directions, please call (530) 752-4880 or visit http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/calendar.aspx.
Feb 1 - Whiskeytown: Fruit Tree Restoration Workshop Annual Wiskeytown Fruit Tree Workshop 10 AM. Learn about and participate in the techniques of old tree restoration. Learn from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundations Certified Arborist Rico Montenegro. This workshop and hands on activity is an annual event and is for those who want to learn how to restore old, neglected and abused fruit trees. Whiskeytown’s fruit trees are about 100 to 150 years of age. The information will be applicable to all types of trees as well. This is an opportunity to not only have hands on experience, (so bring your tools), but you have an opportunity to feel that you’re contributing something back to the community. The workshop is about an hour and will be held upstairs in the old Camden House or outdoors depending on weather. Afterwards we will assemble outside to tour and actually participate in some of the restoration of these old heritage fruit trees. Space is limited, please either RSVP and further information will be provided. RSVP contact: Rico Montenegro 530- 515-7657
Feb 1 – Redding: McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay: Charlie Rabbit and His Friends 10:30 am. Join us the first Saturday of every month for an interactive program in the Gardens (or Greenhouse when it rains) for children, their siblings, parents and Grandparents. Join Charlie, our adorable jack rabbit puppet, in various gardening activities. Wear your favorite gardening clothes! Presented by Dennis and Sherrill Bambauer. Free with park admission! Meet at the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Office (1135 Arboretum Drive next to Nursery Greenhouse)
Photo : Early foliage and bud of native fritillary.
Feb 1 - Redding: Shasta Chapter CNPS Field Trip Sacramento Ditch Trail at Walker Mine. This fieldtrip will explore the Sacramento Ditch Trail starting at Walker Mine Road. We will walk up the trail for about two miles, and take a side trail to the Sacramento River. There are varied plants along the trail; a free plant list will be given to participants. This will be an easy walk on a fairly level trail for four to five miles. Meet at Redding City Hall south parking lot on Parkview Avenue at 9 AM. No dogs, please. For more information, call David Ledger at 355-8542. For more info: http://www.shastacnps.org
Feb 1 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens: Grape Vine Pruning and Care Workshop 11 am, join us for some great information! please call or email to reserve your seat! 8026 Airport Road - Redding, CA. 96002 - 530-365-2256 - Email Us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours of Operation: Monday thru Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Feb 4 – Chico: Chico Seed Lending Library Monthly “Lettuce Get Together” Join us next Tuesday 2/4 from 5-7pm for (a short notice) ‘Lettuce Get Together’! We’ll begin packaging up our WARM SEASON varieties of seed, most of which have been generously donated by local patrons and organic seed companies. We hope to see you there! For more Information https://www.facebook.com/ChicoSLL
Feb 5 - Davis: Center for Urban Horticulture Conference: Current Issues in Invasive/Emerging Pests and Diseases 9:30 am - 3:30 pm. This fast-paced conference discusses pest and diseases in horticulture. Hear experts speak about specific pests and diseases that have infested or are expected to possibly infest our nurseries and landscapes. At the conference you can sign up to earn a First Detector Certification to become part of a group that helps local agencies identify new infestations. Follow the web address below to see workshop topics, then scroll down to fill out the information requested and register. If you pay by check, please make it out to UC Regents and send to me at the address below. http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=11414
Photo : Late January blooms golden and fragrant on native yellow ribes (Ribes aureum).
Feb 5 - Colusa: Establishment Practices and Benefits of Hedgerows on Farms in the Sacramento Valley 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm. 48th Annual Colusa Farm Show Colusa County Fairgrounds, Stagehands Theater Wednesday, February 5, 2014 | 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. This workshop will focus on the benefits of hedgerows of California native plants in agricultural landscapes, including enhanced populations of game birds, native bees and beneficial insects on farms. We will also discuss establishment and maintenance practices for planting habitat on field crop edges and provide an overview of plant species appropriate for hedgerows in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. 1:30 Welcome and DPR Grant Project Update, Mary Fahey,Project Assistant, UCCE, Yolo County 1:40 Hedgerows and Birds, Karen Velas, Audubon California 1:45 Establishing Hedgerows on Field Edges, Miles DaPrato, Solano Resource Conservation District 2:10 Native Bees and Hedgerows, Jessa Cruz, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation 2:35 Hedgerows and IPM, Rachael Long, UCCE Farm Advisor, Yolo County 2:55 Hedgerow Plant Selection, John Anderson, Hedgerow Farms, Inc. 3:15 Summary and Audience Survey
Feb 5 - Chico: Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society regular Monthly Meeting & Program Paula Shapiro, chapter Horticulture Chair will present “Cuba with a Botanical Slant” 7:30 pm Chico Butte County Library. Based on a tour she took last March, Paula will show us photos of botanical gardens, national parks, the largest wetland preserve in the Caribbean, restoration projects and community gardens. Ecosystems range from urban ocean front to mountainous areas where orchids grow wild. For more information see website at mountlassen.cnps.org
Feb 8 - Redding: Shasta Chapter CNPS Field Trip Lower Brandy Creek Trail Hike. This fieldtrip will follow a beautiful trail up Brandy Creek starting at Kennedy Memorial Drive. We will walk up Brandy Creek for two and one-half miles and back for a total of five miles. This is a fairly easy hike with varying terrain winding between open spaces and canopies of black oak, tanoak, and mixed conifers. We will turn around at the site of an old homestead. Parking pass required. Meet at Redding City Hall in the south parking lot on Parkview Avenue at 9 AM. No dogs, please. For more information, call David Ledger at 355-8542. For more info: http://www.shastacnps.org
Feb 8 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens: BERRY CARE & PRUNING 11 am, Learn to prune and grow different berries; cane berries, blueberries and strawberries. Please call or email to reserve your seat! 8026 Airport Road - Redding, CA. 96002 - 530-365-2256 - Email Us: email@example.com. Hours of Operation: Monday thru Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Photo : Native oak - late winter garb.
Feb 8 – Chico: Magnolia Gift & Garden Pruning Class 11 am, Learn to prune what this time of year with Kurt. For more information: http://magnoliagardening.com/events/. Magnolia Gift & Garden 1367 East Ave Chico, Ca 95926
Feb 9 - Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Family Program: Native Californian Elderberry Flute-Making Workshop 1–3 p.m., 146 Environmental Horticulture. In this free two-hour workshop, people of all ages will learn how to make and play a Native Californian elderberry flute. East Bay Regional Parks docent Antonio Flores will talk about the culture of flute-making and also about the endangered elderberry beetle. All materials will be supplied. Please bring a sharpened pocket knife if you have one. Adults will need to supervise their young children. The event is free; limited free one hour parking is available along Garrod Drive near the Gazebo or in nearby Visitor Parking Lot 55 where parking can be paid by meter or by purchase of an $8 daily pass. For more information and directions, please call (530) 752-4880 or visit http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/calendar.aspx.
Feb 10 – Paradise: Paradise Garden Club: General Monthly Meeting and Program - Public Welcome 12:30 pm, Terry Ashe Recreation Center, Paradise. General Membership Meeting follows program. Plant Sale, Benefit Drawing, Refreshments. For more info: www.paradisegardenclub.org
Feb 12 - Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Walk with Warren: West-end Gardens 12 pm, Gazebo. Join Warren Roberts, the Superintendent Emeritus of the Arboretum and famous storyteller and punster for an always engaging noontime exploration of the UC Davis Arboretum’s west-end gardens. The event is free; limited free one hour parking is available along Garrod Drive near the Gazebo or in nearby Visitor Parking Lot 55 where parking can be paid by meter or by purchase of an $8 daily pass. For more information and directions, please call (530) 752-4880 or visit http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/calendar.aspx.
Feb 14 - FULL MOON (Full Snow Moon)
Feb 14 – Anderson: Anderson Valley Garden Club Monthly Meeting 12 - 1 pm. Anderson City Hall COmmunity Room. Anderson: Anderson Valley Garden Club Monthly Meeting and Program 12 noon, public welcome. Anderson Valley Garden Club meets the 2nd friday of each month at the Anderson City Hall Community Room unless otherwise stated. Meeting begins at noon. For more information call Nancy: 530-365-2014.
Feb 15 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens: Grape Vine Pruning and Care Workshop 11 am, join us for some great information! please call or email to reserve your seat! 8026 Airport Road - Redding, CA. 96002 - 530-365-2256 - Email Us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours of Operation: Monday thru Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Feb 15 - Chico: Chico Permaculture Monthly Meeting 1 - 4pm, Butte County Library, Chico. CPG EDUCATION/WORKSHOPS: Permaculture design concepts: Over the next few winter months we will help members understand the permaculture design process. Bring maps of your property if you have them, even a quick sketch is great! We will spend approx. 45 minutes during each gathering (through March 2014) on this topic. The focus of this month (February) will be on learning about the importance of W-A-S design. Site assessment and analysis will be covered through the lens of how water, access and structures (W-A-S) are interrelated and how they function (or could function) for greatest abundance and land health. For more info:https://www.facebook.com/groups/chicopermacultureguild/
Feb 15 – Chico: Magnolia Gift & Garden Landscaping with Dogs Class 11:30 am, Hosted by Trish. If you have dogs then you may know how tricky it can be to have the yard that you truly desire. Trish will be sharing some tips and ideas on how you can have the best of both worlds-Dogs and a Great Landscape! For more information: http://magnoliagardening.com/events/. Magnolia Gift & Garden 1367 East Ave Chico, Ca 95926
Feb 16 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens: SUCCESSFUL SEED STARTING 11 am, Join Ferne and learn to successfully grow your own vegetable starts by seed. Please call or email to reserve your seat! 8026 Airport Road - Redding, CA. 96002 - 530-365-2256 - Email Us: email@example.com. Hours of Operation: Monday thru Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Feb 16 - Chico: Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society Field Trip: CSU Greenhouse Tour Meet at CSU Health Center parking lot at the corner of Warner St and College Ave at 10am. From there we will walk the short distance to the greenhouses. Tim Devine has collected hundreds of unusual plants from all over the world and has successfully propagated many of them. We will see a number of species from the California deserts as well as plants from aquatic and tropical settings. For more information call Tim at 530-345-8444. For more information see website at mountlassen.cnps.org
Feb 17 - Cottonwood: Cottonwood Garden Club Monthly Meeting 10 am - 12 noon. The meetings are educational and social with a potluck following meetings. Different speakers teach a variety of topics from scarecrow making to attracting birds into your garden. Cottonwood Cummunity Center, 20595 Gas Point Road (behind the little league fields). Call 347-3852 for more information.
Feb 19 - Chico: Chico Horticultural Society Regular Monthly Meeting and Program on Design and Construction of a Pollinator Garden with John Whittlesey of Canyon Creek Nursery & Design 9:30 am meet/coffee, 10 am program. A well-known plantsman and designer of habitat and regionally adapted gardens, John will be to talking to us about the design considerations, construction (including siting) and plant selections for a well-rounded pollinator garden. A thoughtfully considered pollinator garden will provide food, water and shelter for a wide variety of our native pollinators year-round, and at the same time bring life, color and interest for you the gardener to enjoy year-round. Butte County Library - 1st Avenue, Chico. For more info: President, Carol J. at 345-4824 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb 19 - Redding: Shasta Rose Society Monthly Meeting 7 - 8 pm. The meetings are held for the purpose of presenting an educational program by an authority on roses and their cultivation. Meetings are open to the public. City of Redding Corporation Yard, 2055 Viking Way, Building 4, Room 401, Redding, California. For more info: http://www.shastarosesociety.org/Shasta_Rose_Society/Home.html
Feb 20 - Redding: Shasta Chapter CNPS Monthly Meeting and Program by Lawrence Janeway on pursuing rare Carex and more 7 - 9 pm. Chapter business followed by a presentation A man of many botany hats, Lawrence Janeway will give a presentation on his pursuits of rare and undescribed species of Carex, and more. Lawrence is a botanist with Plumas National Forest, Curator of the Chico State Herbarium, and an expert on sedges and clarkias. Meet at 7 PM at the Shasta College Health Science & University Programs building in downtown Redding, 1400 Market Street, Community Room 8220 (clock tower building at the north end of the Market Street Promenade; enter on south side of building). A Board meeting will be held before the regular meeting, at 5:30 PM at Angelo’s Pizza Parlour in the Foundry Square, 1774 California Street, Redding. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. For more info: http://www.shastacnps.org
Photo : Native manzanita in late winter bloom.
Feb 22 - Redding: Shasta Chapter CNPS Field Trip South Fork Mountain Road Hike. This is a seven-mile round-trip fieldtrip along a gravel service road to South Fork Mountain, which has very diverse habitats and plants along the way. There will be a gentle climb of 1200 feet, starting in knobcone pine and traversing through chaparral and canyon live oak, and ending in mixed conifers. Plants along the way include showy phlox, paintbrush, mock orange, deltoid balsamroot, Pacific sedum, Hartweg’s wild ginger, and firecracker flower. It has great views of Whiskeytown Lake and Shasta Bally. Walk participants will be given a plant list. Meet at Redding City Hall in the south parking lot on Parkview Avenue at 9 AM. No dogs, please. For more information, call David Ledger at 355-8542. For more info: http://www.shastacnps.org
Feb 22 – Chico: Cultivating Community North Valley: Seed Saving Series Workshop #2 - Transplanting Cool Season Crops 2:00 - 4:00 P.M. In the Heartseed Greenhouse at the GRUB Cooperative. 1525 Dayton Road Pre-Registration is required at cultivatingcommunitynv.org. Priority is given to Income-Eligible participants. Price for Income-Eligible participants: Free. Income-Ineligible participants may sign up for the waiting list: If there is space, we will contact you within one week of the event. Cost will be $10. Paid day of event at sign-in table. Class size is limited to 25. Address: GRUB Cooperative 1525 Dayton Rd Chico, California 95928
Feb 22 – Redding: McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay: Walk with Horticultural Manager Lisa Endicott 10:30 am. Bring your notebooks and camera! We’ll make our way through the Gardens with frequent stops for discussions about (what else?) plants! Free with Park or Garden admission. Meet at West Garden Entrance. Take N. Market Street, turn on Arboretum Drive. Take the right fork. Parking lot and entrance are on the left.
Feb 22 – Chico: The Plant Barn Nursery & Gifts “Care and culture of Fruit trees” 11 am. Our speaker will be James Shao of L.E. Cooke company. He is an amazing wealth of information. He will discuss pruning-including a year round schedule for pruning. He will also highlight what fruit does well in our area. For more Information: The Plant Barn and Gifts 406 Entler Ave Chico, Ca 95928 530-345-3121/fax 530-345-5354 www.theplantbarn.com
Feb 22 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens: BERRY CARE & PRUNING 11 am, Learn to prune and grow different berries; cane berries, blueberries and strawberries. Please call or email to reserve your seat! 8026 Airport Road - Redding, CA. 96002 - 530-365-2256 - Email Us: email@example.com. Hours of Operation: Monday thru Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Feb 23 - Redding: Shasta Chapter CNPS Plant Propagation Session 10 am - 12 noon. Plant Propagation Session. Join us for our regular two-hour work session starting at 10 AM at the Shasta College greenhouses. The greenhouses are located toward the back of Shasta College, near the livestock barns. We will be potting up newly rooted materials from our December cuttings and seeds. Bring clippers and any other tools you might need. Please call Jay & Terri Thesken at 221-0906 for further information. Shasta College Greenhouse, near the livestock barns. For more info: http://www.shastacnps.org
Feb 23 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens: SUCCESSFUL SEED STARTING 11 am, Join Ferne and learn to successfully grow your own vegetable starts by seed. Please call or email to reserve your seat! 8026 Airport Road - Redding, CA. 96002 - 530-365-2256 - Email Us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours of Operation: Monday thru Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Feb 25 – Chico: Butte Rose Society General Member Meeting and Program When: Meetings are held the last Tuesday of each month starting at 7 pm From: January through May and August through November. Location: Chico Veterans Memorial Hall at 554 Rio Lindo Avenue in Chico, California. Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Butte-Rose-Society/189382585776 Contact us by mail: Butte Rose Society at P.O. Box 8888 in Chico, CA 95927. For more info: http://www.butte-rosesociety.org
Photo : Deciduous magnolias will be in full bloom by the end of the month.
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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 and 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 jewellgarden.com. 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. Weekly essays are also posted on anewscafe.com a regional news source that is simultaneously universal and positively North State.