By Carolee James, Master Gardener
Saturday, March 18th (9-5) and Sunday March 19th (9-4), rain or shine, is the Home and Garden Show. Businesses from around the county will display their wares and entice the show goers with a wide array of products and supplies to enhance their homes and gardens. Many will offer drawings for services and merchandise.
The Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County will host a booth containing literature on a vast variety of subjects for the home gardener. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. Each day we´ll award an owl box and a bat house. Drawings for the houses will take place each day at 3:00 p.m. The name of the winner of a large garden container filled with all sorts of garden goodies will be drawn on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Visitors can also choose to guess the number of poppy seeds in a jar to win a small garden basket which also will be awarded at 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Winners of these drawings need not be present to win. Packets of California poppy seeds will be available to everyone while supplies last.
Each day there will be six demonstrations by Master Gardeners. We start off each day at 10:00 a.m. with Master Gardener Ulysses Verceles. One of the most annoying problems about gardening in the foothills is contending with gophers. Either you over- plant in hopes that gophers will leave one or two for you, or you plant only those plants that gophers don´t like. One is expensive and the other isn´t much fun for a gardener. So Ulysses will demonstrate how to make an effective basket surrounding your plants that will keep gophers at bay.
At 11:00 a.m., Ulysses will demonstrate how to fashion bark, pruned tree branches, small limbs and other natural materials into interesting and useful garden enhancements to showcase your plants. From water connection covers to plant stakes, arbors, trellises and fences it´s all doable using garden waste that you would normally think of burning.
Following Ulysses at 12:00 p.m on Saturday will be yours truly, putting together a living garden Easter basket. When completed, it will be given to one of the children in the audience. I started doing these baskets about 18 years ago for my first grandson and then later for both of my grandsons. By creating a living basket, the boys learned to care for the plants, and in some years actually planted them in their mom´s garden. It was also a way to provide an Easter basket with something they wanted and the kind of ‘goodies´ they liked best. At the H&G show, only children are allowed to win the Easter basket; for those not getting the basket there will be a consolation Easter bag.
Next up in the line of demonstrations at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday is Master Gardener Vera Strader. If you love watching hummingbirds in your garden, then you will definitely not want to miss Vera´s wonderful demonstration and talk. Vera will introduce you to the many hybrid flowers that grow in this area that the hummers just love. She will also have special handouts listing these plants, so you won´t have to remember all the plant names! Vera has several types of hummingbird feeders that she´ll exhibit as well as discuss how to prepare the nectar and the proper care of the feeders. Vera´s garden is planted to attract not only hummingbirds, but also bees and butterflies. In fact, her garden has been certified as a natural habitat garden because it contains food, water and cover for small wildlife. [Note: On Sunday Vera will do her demonstration at 12:00 p.m. followed at 1:00 p.m. by my Easter basket presentation].
Now we wouldn´t be Master Gardeners if we didn´t have a demonstration on composting—not only do we have one, but two! At 2:00 p.m. Master Gardener Erin O´Hare will demonstrate vermicomposting. If you have a small garden without a lot of waste or just don´t want to haul those kitchen scraps out to a compost pile, then you´ll want to watch and listen to this demonstration. Vermicomposting is the practice of using worms to create a rich garden amendment just by feeding them all your kitchen scraps. And the best part is that the worm bins can be kept on your back porch, easy to monitor and feed. Erin will have her worm bins for you to see and information on how to get started.
The last demonstration of the day at 3:00 p.m. will be Master Gardener Becky Miller-Cripps showing the more conventional way to make compost by using garden and kitchen waste. Becky is also the Master Gardener Coordinator for the Tuolumne County UC Extension Office. Whether you just ‘pile it up´ and ‘let it do its thing´ or you layer it in bins, the waste material will end up making a fantastic amendment for your garden. Compost adds nutrients, helps water retention and best of all it helps to loosen the clay soils we garden in.
If you forget this lineup, don´t worry. There will be a listing displayed in the Master Gardener booth. Stop by, ask a question, watch a demonstration, sign-up for the drawings, and pick up some information. The Master Gardeners will enjoy meeting you!
See you at the Home and Garden Show!
Carolee makes living baskets for all occasions. A living herb basket is lovely for a hostess gift and a living flower basket says thank you so nicely.