It is the eve of December. The first frosts arrived on the valley floor only recently, but multiple hard frosts that will knock our tender plants down is in the forecast for the coming week. The air is crisp, the deciduous trees and shrubs are on the last run of their circle through the seasons – turning their autumnal colors, closing down their systems and pulling their energies into the deepest parts of themselves. Dried, fallen although many still colorful leaves drift across sidewalks and gardens. The garden looks sleepy and settled in the low light of early winter. We have come full circle through another year of life. While not perhaps a perfect or perfectly smooth circle by any means, there are things perhaps we wish we had done, there are things we wish we had done better, sooner, or with more strength - and yet here we are, once again all the way back around.
The garden is also coming full circle. Dried oak leaves and grass clippings which are both readily available now fill out my compost bins, bringing to mind recycling and reincarnation - which together with compost form the garden’s conceptual trinity for me: pragmatics, aesthetics and spiritual mystery and peace. A cozy layer of this mix insulates soil and root systems from the coming temperature and humidity fluctuations, and allows the winter rains to slow-release their nutrients down. If you have been able to get a feeding of 0-10-10 fertilizer onto the soil before topdressing with this mulch - all the better for edibles or ornamentals.
If you can work the soil, December and January are still ideal for the planting of new perennials, shrubs and trees – and bare root season for ornamental and fruit trees as well as perennial berry canes and veg will be getting fully underway by January.
In the seasonal edible garden, now is a good time to direct seed bok choy, broccoli, kale/collards, lettuce, onion sets, peas, radish and spinach. It’s also a good time to direct some annual flowers for next spring and summer’s color, these include: California poppy, larkspur, cornflower and scabiosa.
As you continue to cut back perennials and edibles that have run their course, remember that diligent attention to plant and soil hygiene now will pay-off well in the long run – winter precipitation can also inadvertently spread bacterial and fungal diseases from diseased plants. Carefully clean up the dead and fallen leaves from roses, peonies, iris, cane fruits and any other plants on which you have ever notices black spot, mildew or other issues. Do not compost diseased leaves or woody materials, discard it with your household trash.
When pruning, try to leave seed heads, healthy foliage, and winter blooms for the birds and insects to snack on and nest with - weather permitting. You will be as thankful as them. The frolicking of birds, bees and butterflies in the winter garden are some of the many gifts of the season.
Watch the weather forecast closely now and be prepared with frost cloth to cover tender plants.
The days may be short, they may even be cold and gray, but the gifts of the seasons come full circle in our gardens - keeping us mindful and helping to ground us as we ring out of this circled season and work to herald in the coming one. 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!
Nav 30 - Dec 1 - Butte County: Holiday Cheer and Charm Out on the Farm - Sierra Oro Farm Trail Holiday Weekend 11 am - 5 pm daily. Holiday shopping is fun out on the farm! With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, guests from near and far are invited to enjoy the grande finale Sierra Oro Farm Trail adventure of 2013 scheduled for Saturday, November 30 & Sunday, December 1. Timed to coincide with the “Small Business Saturday” nationwide effort and the local “Ag Tourism 1st Sundays” program launched earlier this year, participating farms and wineries will be FREE from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and no ticket is required for this special “Holiday Cheer & Charm Out on the Farm” weekend. More than 30 wineries and small farms participating. For more information see website at http://www.sierraoro.org/holiday-cheer
Dec 4 - Chico: Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society regular Monthly Meeting & Program by Dr. Kristina Schierenbeck, “Evolutionary History of California’s Unique Plant Landscapes” 7:30 pm Chico Butte County Library. Kristina has been a professor of botany for 20 years and member of CNPS for 33 years. Prior to her academic life she worked for the US Forest Service and in environmental consulting. She is a fifth generation Californian and has spent her child- and adulthood roaming California and marveling at its many geological and biotic riches. She will be presenting for us on how Detailed examination of the evolution of ancient, recent, native, and migrating plants and animals on the landscape, and in total, sheds light on the major and minor evolutionary events that shaped California. This presentation will interpret the evolutionary history of plant and animal life in California in a geological context, along with describing the regional patterns that emerged. Life history (dispersal, reproduction) and ecology (habitat specialization, competition, predation, migration, availability and connectedness of habitat) play important roles. The evolutionary history provides a context for conservation throughout the biogeographic provinces that roughly define California, as well as being a wonderful story of natural history. For more information see website at mountlassen.cnps.org
Dec 5 - Chico: Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society FIELD TRIP: Trees of Bidwell Mansion and CSU, Chico Arboretum 10 AM. Trees of CSU Chico & Bidwell Mansion. Meet in front of Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park. Leaders: Gerry Ingco, phone (530)893-5123 & Wes Dempsey, phone (530) 342-2239.
Dec 7 – 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)
Dec 7 – Redding: McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay: Wreath Making Workshop 9 am - 12 noon. Floral designer and instructor Darlene Montgomery leads this creative and fun holiday workshop. Each participant will create their own fresh, full-size holiday wreath for the front door or family room. All materials provided. Space is limited to 15 participants (adults and youths 16 or older). Pre-registration required, call 242-3108 to pre-register. Members $35, nonmembers $40
Dec 7 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens: Wyntour Wonderland and Open House Enjoy delicious goodies while you stroll through our annual holiday displays! Please note all of our classes are free, Please Call or Email to reserve you 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.
Dec 7 - Chico: Friends of the Chico State Herbarium WORKSHOP - Native Plant Wreaths and Greens for Holiday Beauty and Cheer 1 - 4 pm. Meet in 129 Holt Hall, CSU, Chico. Did you know that many of our native sages can remain fragrant for years after drying? Learn more about sages and other native species while you create a holiday wreath. We will provide all materials, including a wide range of native plant clippings such as white sage (Salvia apiana), incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.), and California bay (Umbellularia californica). You’ll be able to embellish your wreaths with native acorns, oak galls, seeds and berries. We will share botanical and ethnobotanical information on many native plant materials suitable for wreaths. All mate-rials and tools will be provided, but we encourage you to bring plant clippings you wish to include in your wreath, including any you need us to identify. The 12 – 15” wreaths you will create are fragrant and beautiful on interior mirrors, garden gates, mantelpieces, and tables. Come create a native plant wreath that you can use for years to come while learning more about our native California plants! This workshop will meet Saturday, December 7, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in Holt Hall, Room 129, on the CSU Chico campus. The registration fee is $35.00 (or $45 to make two wreaths). For workshop registration please contact the Biology office at (530) 898-5356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dec 7 - Chico: Chico Horticultural Society Holiday “Greens” Workshop Saturday 9:50 am to 12 noon. Chico Grange Hall 2775 Old Nord Avenue. Come and learn from our floral experts how to make a centerpiece, an over the door swag, or a wreath. All materials will be provided: Fresh greens, flowers, berries, cones, wreath forms, ribbons, candle, etc. Please bring in your own gloves and pruners. Also, any special ornaments or centerpiece holders that you might like to use. Cost is 15.00 for making one wreath, swag or table arrangement. Call or email today to reserve your place! Start a fun tradition and invite your family or friends. call: Avis at 343-6738 or Carol at 345-4824 Carol or email: email@example.com. Reservations with checks should be mailed to: Chico Horticultural Society PO Box 1873 Chico, CA 95927-1875. Last day for reservations is Wednesday, December 3, 2013.
Dec 7 - Los Molinas: 4th Annual Buy/Sell/Trade Holiday Fair Features Locally Grown & Crafted Gifts 11 - 4. John and Lana Kitchel welcome all to their 4th Annual Buy/Sell/Trade Holiday Fair on Saturday, December 7th, 2013 from 11 am – 4 pm at the Kitchel Family Organics farm. Vendors from Redding to Paradise will be showcasing their home grown or home crafted goods. Several local artisans will be debuting their ingenious creations: J&J Garden Enhancements, Fudgin’ Around Confections, Whisper of the Goddess, and The Rock Show, a new Paradise store featuring rainbow obsidian, ‘60’s books and LPs, and vintage clothing. Fair offerings include organic, heirloom-variety walnuts, an abundance of local fruit, vegetables, plants, honey, sun dried fruit, homemade jellies and sauces, pesto, olives, pickles, salsa, herbs, spices, baked goods and chocolates. Hundreds of handcrafted items include creative clothing creations for all ages, birdhouses, garden art, cutting boards, wall hangings, repurposed china hurricane lamps, jewelry, soaps, linens, tile coasters, stationary sets – and, of course, homemade Christmas ornaments, decorations and stockings. The indoor/outdoor event will be held rain or shine. Delicious, homemade refreshments will be available. Please bring a gift (food, clothing, blanket, toy…) for the homeless in Red Bluff. Kitchel Family Organics’ farm is located at 25255 3rd Ave. in Los Molinos. From Hwy 99E, turn east onto 3rd Avenue about 3 miles north of downtown Los Molinos. 5th house on your right, big red barn, plenty of parking. Vendors interested in reserving a table for a nominal $15 fee and those seeking more information should contact Lana at 384-1966 or visit www.kitchelfamilyorganics.com
Dec 7 & 8 – Chico: Plant Barn and Gifts WORKSHOP: Wreath Making Classes Wreath making classes. Saturday 11 and 1:30. Sunday 11 and 1:30. Long standing tradition at The Plant Barn. We bring the greens, you bring your friends. Make a beautiful evergreen wreath, enjoy yourself and we provide instructions and all materials…and we clean up the mess!!! The Plant Barn 406 Entler Chico CA 95928 345-3121. www.the plantbarn.com
Dec 11 - Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Walk with Warren: Winter wonders of the west side 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.
Dec 14 – Chico: Plant Barn and Gifts ANNUAL SALE-A-BRATION random sales, music, great food and more! The Plant Barn 406 Entler Chico CA 95928 345-3121. www.the plantbarn.com
Dec 15 - Redding: Shasta Chapter CNPS PLANT PROPAGATION SESSION 10 am meet. Two-hour work session starting at 10 AM at the Shasta College greenhouses. The greenhouses are located at the back of Shasta College, near the livestock barns. We will be weeding, potting up, and propagating cuttings and seeds. Any propagative material or California native plants you may want to donate are always appreciated! Please call Jay & Terri Thesken at 221-0906 for further information. For more info: http://www.shastacnps.org
Dec 17 - FULL MOON
Dec 21 - Winter Solstice
Dec 21 - Chico: Chico Permaculture Guild Monthly meeting 1 - 4 pm, Butte County Library Chico. What’s Happening this Month: CPG EDUCATION/WORKSHOPS: 1. Permaculture design concepts -Over the next few months we will help members understand mapping (using Google Earth and more), assessment/analysis (water, access, structures etc.) and the different types of design overlays (sectors, zones, etc.). We will spend approx. 45 minutes during each gathering (through March 2014) on this topic. 2. PermaBlitz at W. Lindo Gardens… yes, we’re still trying to make this happen.NEWS/UPDATES:1. Edible Forest Garden workshop Stephanie and Brian attended in Reno, NV with Eric Toensmeier. WHAT TO BRING:1. Please bring a small dish to share as well as your own dishes, utensils and cup for the POTLUCK –beverages will be provided. There are limited dishes available in the library so please remember to bring your own if you can.2. If you have anything in SURPLUS (vegetables, eggs, fruit, seed, plant starts etc.) please bring it along and we’ll ‘Share the Surplus’ after the Potluck. EARTH CARE - PEOPLE CARE - FAIR SHARE For more information: https://www.facebook.com/groups/chicopermacultureguild/events/
Dec 28 – 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.
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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.