5 Gardening Favorites
by Heather Roulo
With the return of spring comes the promise of a luxurious garden. Knowledge and planning can make your outdoor garden a pleasure rather than a chore. The right reference books will step you through preparing your garden for success.
Whether you have many questions or a few, these books will inspire you with new ideas and lead you to select plants that will thrive in your garden’s conditions. Avoid the pitfalls of planting the familiar and branch out into the ecstatic. These five books will change your garden for the better.
1. The New Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide by The Editors of Sunset
This book is an indispensable resource for beginning and knowledgeable gardeners. Providing steps to setting up a garden, plant, and maintain, this perpetual favorite’s newest edition is the perfect resource for your gardening questions. Check out details on specific plants or skim for general ideas for your zone. It contains excellent pictures and maps to show where plants will grow best. This classic is in its 9th edition, and it’s still going strong. Some reviews claim the organization of this edition made it difficult to navigate, so you may want to keep your eyes open for an earlier edition.
2. Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs by Michael A. Dirr
Considered by many to be an essential garden book, and used in university landscape architecture classes, this book explores the breadth and scope of trees and shrubs. It combines two previously published titles… continue reading in the Spring 2018 magazine.
Ruth Bancroft Garden is a tranquil garden in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Walnut Creek. Nestled behind a fence line, it’s an oasis full of succulents. The garden is a place where you can view exotic and endangered plant life year around, meditate in nature, or view local artist sculptures at one of the many annual events they host each year. Most residents of Contra Costa County have never heard of Ruth Bancroft Garden or what she accomplished with her collection of exotic succulents. Bancroft is not just a street tying Concord, Walnut Creek, and Pleasant Hill together. It’s a landmark dedicated to a great woman who was fascinated by succulents.
Ruth had a passion for plants even as a child living in Berkeley. She explored the undeveloped hills of Berkeley, examining wildflowers and digging up small plants to replant in her own yard. Her early garden included a collection of irises, which she received from Sydney B. Mitchell, the founder of the American Iris Association, and Carl Salbach, an iris breeder.
Graduating from UC Berkeley with a teaching degree, she taught at a school in Merced for a few years before meeting her husband, Philip Bancroft, Jr. and moving to the family farm in Walnut Creek. Her plant enthusiasm only flourished when surrounded by the 400-acre walnut and pear farm, but she was most fascinated with water-conserving plants and collected hundreds of potted succulents, all kept in greenhouses. When Ruth was given approximately 3.5 acres of the farm to plant a new garden, she enlisted the help of Lester Hawkins, co-founder of Western Hills Nursery, to help create the pathways and beds where she transplanted her potted succulent species collection which counted…READ MORE. Get your copy today!
I was not always a gardener. I’d lived in dorms, apartments, and rented a house without ever noticing the plants around me. Once I owned my own house, I became excited at the possibilities for the sad, weed-riddled plots circling my yard. I wanted my kids outdoors, riding bicycles and playing tag. A neighbor kindly took me under her wing, perhaps inspired by the view of my yard through her front window, and opened my eyes to the many annuals, perennials, herbs, and evergreens. I found every plant interesting and soon brought home dozens of plants with every kind of foliage and flower.
Since then, my landscaping has calmed down. I’ve learned to arrange the same plants in groupings so they’re more noticeable and easier to maintain, and to appreciate the strength of a good shrub instead of spending money on perennials that flower for a week and do nothing the rest of the year. My gardening fever has calmed, but the joy of seeing new life never ends.
This spring, we welcome you to enter the garden with us. Whether you have a green thumb or prefer to admire plant life from the path, we’ve got you covered. In this issue, you’ll find tips on making things with the herbs you grow and on attracting birds to your garden. Celebrate the refreshing beauty of our local Ruth Bancroft Garden and Philadelphia’s Bartram’s Garden. Get your copy today!
SCRAP, San Francisco
By Emerian Rich
SCRAP is an awesome place for crafters, teachers, and makers. Essentially an art and crafts thrift store, this nonprofit is a great place to both donate and shop.
Calling themselves “a source for the resourceful”, SCRAP is a creative re-use center, material depot, and workshop space founded in 1973. Breathing new life into old objects, SCRAP reduces waste by diverting over 200 tons of materials heading to landfill every year. For those looking for a learning opportunity, SCRAP offers classes and workshops. Some are regular drop-in events, while others require registration beforehand.
Located at 801 Toland Street, San Francisco, this is a creators dream. Supplies are inexpensive and range from fabric and home decorating items to paper, craft supplies, crayons, and books. Educators will love…continue reading in the Winter issue for 2017.
Post-Partum Congestive Heart Failure
by Emerian Rich
For most women, pregnancy is a joyous, healthy time. For others, it can be nine months of discomfort and anxiety. Don’t worry, if you are one of those women who haven’t had it easy. I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.
The doctors had told us we wouldn’t be able to conceive. We had tried for years, but it just wasn’t happening. When I found out I was pregnant, I was overjoyed. The baby was a gift I’d longed for. I had the normal baby-momma fears. Something would go wrong with the baby. I would die and my husband would have to raise our child alone. The baby would die, and I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
As the pregnancy progressed, issues started to crop up like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, anemia‒the list was depressing. With each diagnosis, my worries increased. As we neared the due date… continue reading the Winter 2017.
By Leslie Light
Rodeo, California was not my first choice to live in. It’s a small town on the north-western edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. It isn’t tony, or upscale, or even hipster. What it is, however, is easy. Easy to get to and out of. Easy to stay in and make a quiet home. We’ve been here five years and will probably stay five more.
Rodeo is bisected by the I-80 freeway. The built up part of town can be divided into three areas: Old, Mid-Century, and New. Most of the Rodeo town limits is open space where cows graze, and there is rumored to be an old military installation somewhere. Regardless of where you are, you can see a field of grass.
In the “old” part of town are cute three and four bedroom houses built before WWII. Sitting porches with views of rose bushes are the primary look and feel. Many have back decks have a view of San Pablo Bay. Most of the Mid-Century houses were built for…continue reading in the Winter issue for 2017.
Prince Goofball…and the search for cozy
by Tim Reynolds
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a prince who was trés un-cozy and mucho unhappy.
The internet had not yet been invented, and he was forced to meet his princesses the old fashioned way—by placing an ad in the local door-to-door-delivered free Pennysaver paper.
His Royal Self didn’t fancy piña coladas or getting caught in the rain, so he turned to his Royal Minister of Public Relations, which, in a kingdom of one, was the frowning face in every mirror. Between the two of him, he penned the perfect, shallow, no-fail, courtship decree.
“Ladies, when was the last time you received a rose and a poem? Why sit at home when the last of the romantics is 27, a University grad, cartoonist, writer, dance demon, Billy Joel junky, Mozart maniac, 5’9”, 140 lbs. and questing for a princess, 19-30, slim, pretty… continue reading in Winter 2017 issue.
Believe in Your Worth
by Angela Estes
If you’re reading this article, you probably don’t come from a long line of money. You’re not an heir to a fortune. Your ancestors were beholden to others for a living. Wage earners. If we think about the word ‘worthy’, you literally come from a long line of people whose financial ‘worth’ came from a bartered paycheck. Money is not a judge of your worthiness, yet it is human nature to mistake the two. Not always to our detriment.
Recently I listened to Bill Murray describe Gilda Radner’s capability of always getting a job. He credited her affluent upbringing and said it gave her a confidence that she would always have money. She didn’t question her worthiness, and she always got the job.
It’s not your worthiness that is the issue, but your confidence IN your worthiness.
Acknowledge things you don’t know about money. For example, debt is bad, right? We’ve all got that friend who has credit card debt to the tune of double digit thousands. Seems pretty bad, except there is good debt and bad debt. A good debt is… continue reading in the Winter 2017 issue.
Iceland: The Land of Ice and Fire
by Kay Tracy
The land of Fire and Ice, Iceland (pronounced more ‘Iss-land’ by the locals) is an island nation in the north Atlantic, easily reachable by air from either coast of the US and a handy way point for flights further east to Europe.
With exciting scenery, occasional volcanic activity, and a chance to see the Northern lights, this is a country of vibrant culture, creative people, and unusual sights.
The entire population of Iceland is about 380,000 people, and the language is Icelandic, though many can speak English. It is polite to try to learn at least a few words, such as Ja’ for yes. Nei means no, Takk Fyrir or Takk is thank you. Speak English, and you might find someone… continue reading in the Winter 2017 issue.