Ventura County Garden Club: Water Wise Gardening at Hansen

vialis 40mg arial, try sans-serif;”>By Sheryl Hamlin

order arial,sans-serif;”>The Ventura County Garden Club walked through the ever changing plantings at the Hansen Agricultural Center. The Master Gardeners who volunteer at the Hansen have been focusing on water wise gardening examples.

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Our tour guide stressed that “water wise” does not mean overwatering. They experienced losses in areas with thrice weekly watering, so replanted and cut the water substantially. Some of the areas replanted involved weeks of research. There are now twenty themed garden areas and/or sub-gardens including a veggie group where the plants are protected in cages from wild critters who eat veggies. There is a propagation group and a house garden group, the latter for the garden around the beautiful home of the Faulkner family.

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The tree demo area has plums, peaches, apricots, apples and jujubes. The Rose garden is 10 years old. There is also a rock garden, a container garden, a kitchen garden and a butterfly friendly garden.

We were told to trim the milkweed to the ground, unless it is the thin leaved variety, because the monarchs like the thick leaved variety but it stunts the growth of their eggs. At best is native milkweed which is available from seed.

Groundcovers used were “snow in summer” and “silver dichondra”, both with beautiful silver grey leaves.

The charming children’s playhouse is an original piece from the Faulkner family.

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Labels are everywhere, but are not intrusive, because education is a major part of the UC Master Gardener Program. The public can join a mailing list to be apprised of upcoming events and lectures across the county. The program has a waiting list, but information is available on the website.

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Olwyn Kingery, landscape designer and soon to be landscape architect, presented ideas about landscaping in the second part of the meeting held in one of the cool barns on the property, where members enjoyed pumpkin themed desserts.

Ideas she stressed were as follows:

  • Drainage patterns.
  • Replacing lawns with pathways, low ground cover, stepping stones and even decomposed granite.
  • Limit plant palate and match the colors or the house.
  • Decomposed granite (DG) and hardwood floors don’t mix because a shoe can carry the tiny rocks onto the floors.
  • Replacing lawn with dymondia and wooly thyme can use the same sprinkler patterns.
  • Rebates for removing lawn are gone.
  • Consider growth rate in buying plants. A plant with a fast growth rate may be bought smaller.
  • Succulents fry in west sun because of water in the leaves
  • Don’t buy milkweed unless it is the thin leaved variety. The Mexican or East coast milkweed is anathema to the monarchs.
  • Use plants to feed birds instead of bird feeders.

Hint: diatomeceous earth kills ants and fleas. Sprinkle areas. Years ago, silica used to be in diets.

Free gardening tips are a huge benefit of belonging to the Ventura County Garden Club. The next meeting is on November 4, 2015 at the Carpinteria Orchid Farm Tour. The lab manager, John Ernest, will be presenting Gallup and Stribling orchids. The lecture starts at 11:00 am. Please call 818-645-4626 or visit here:  http://venturacountygardenclub.com. The club will be arranging carpools for this event.

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For more information about the author, visit sheryhamlin.com

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