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Sharing the Knowledge – Gardening in the Mother Lode

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For the past few years Tuolumne County Master Gardeners have been writing this column as a way of sharing the knowledge of how to garden in the Mother Lode. “Sharing the Knowledge—Gardening in the Mother Lode” is the title of a new book that Master Gardeners are now able to make available to the public. The book is a compilation of articles Master Gardeners have written for this column over the past two and one half years. The informative essays are organized by gardening subject matter and edited only to delete dated material.

When the Master Gardeners were first asked to write a weekly column, we were excited at the opportunity to bring good gardening practices to all Mother Lode gardeners. Yet we experienced some hesitation, thinking that we would run out of topics to cover. Once the writers were assembled and began to discuss various subjects for future articles, we soon realized that we had more than enough ideas for topics. We could write several years of articles before we would exhaust the “inspiration” bank.

The initial group of writers had many years of experience in the unique challenges of gardening in the Mother Lode. Their Master Gardener training provided information about how to deal with both below-ground and above-ground critters as well as plant diseases and what plants succeed in our summer´s heat. New Master Gardeners that became writers for the column brought insights from their previous gardening experiences on how to transition to gardening in our foothills.

The Master Gardeners also asked local experts to write guest columns about subject matter relevant to all members of the community. Columns on native plants, mushrooms, weeds, and composting were among favored articles that these experts contributed.

This 262-page book of gardening information covers a broad range of topics and contains a wealth of information. It´s a ‘must have´ for every Mother Lode gardener and is chock full of useful and instructive information on native plants, oak trees, water, soils, garden design, bugs (both good and bad), weeds, flowers, shrubs, trees and much more. In addition to the informative articles, local artist Kristie Wilde illustrates every chapter with beautiful pen and ink drawings. Kristie was the 2003 Master Gardener Columbia College scholarship recipient and we´re very proud to showcase her wonderful botanical drawings.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to support the Master Gardener demonstration garden at Cassina High School. The demonstration garden is a joint project of Master Gardeners and Sonora Union High School District Cassina High School. The garden is home to Master Gardener compost demonstrations and pruning demonstrations for roses, grape and berry vines, and fruit trees. Current projects in the planning and installation stages are a rock garden and a native plant garden. In the spring, public sessions will be scheduled to demonstrate building and planting in raised planter beds. Other on-going gardening demonstrations will begin in the spring of next year.

“Sharing the Knowledge—Gardening in the Mother Lode will be available at Columbia Nursery on Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th in conjunction with the Nursery´s Holiday Open House. The Master Gardener writers will be on hand to sign your newly purchased books, priced at $20.00 each.

There will also be other book signings in December. Please check this column in the next two weeks to learn the dates, times and places of those.

For those of you astute gardeners, who already ordered the book, please stop by one of the book signings to pick up your order. After December 1st, you may pick them up at the Master Gardener UCCE office at 52 North Washington Street in Sonora. Please call 533-5696 to make arrangements to pick up your order.

Carolee James was the senior editor of the book, ‘Sharing the Knowledge – Gardening in the Mother Lode´. She greatly appreciated the assistance of Marlys Bell, Joan Bergsund, Becky Miller-Cripps and Pat and Sandy Vierra of Sierra Instant Printing.