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2018 Fall for Plants Workshop: Program

A garden doesn’t need lots of water, fertilizers or pesticides to be beautiful, interesting, and easy to maintain.  Attend our Fall for Plants Workshop to learn sustainable gardening techniques that will help you achieve satisfying and beautiful results in your own landscape.  And while you're there, be sure to check out the accompanying plant sale with selected winter veggies, culinary herbs, and climate-friendly ornamental plants.

Read on for a rundown of the workshop presentations we'll hold throughout the day. 

Back to main Fall For Plants page.


10:15 am

  • Winter Garden Tips and Tricks.  Janet Miller, UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.  Summer is coming to an end… all those lovely summer vegetables are winding down.  Now what do I do with my garden in the winter?  Janet will cover different ways to care for your garden beds during the winter, and she'll also talk about how ornamental plants can aid and enhance your garden all year long.
  • Designing Your Home Drip System with Confidence.  Lori Palmquist, UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.   Lori Palmquist, an irrigation geek and designer, will show you how to design the best watering solution for your garden using a step-by-step process to ensure that your drip system is a success. Come see how plants, water, and soil all come together in an efficient embrace that not only makes a garden thrive, but promises to preserve our most precious resource well into the future.  Handouts: Irrigation Resources, Drip Layouts, Drip Layout Examples.
  • Reaping the Benefits of Your Winter Garden.  Marisa Neelon, UC Nutrition Team.  Learn about the health benefits of nutrient-rich winter vegetables. Leave with preparation ideas and delicious recipes for several featured seasonal vegetables.  Click here for presentation handouts.
    ~immediately followed by~
    Preserve Today, Relish Tomorrow...ways to enjoy nature's bounty year-round.  Rhonda Beatty-Gallo, UC Master Preservers.  With all of our gardens and local Contra Costa crops, there are several ways to partake of this bounty year-round. Fruit spreads, pickling & fermenting, freezing, drying, and water bath canning are safe and easy methods that we can do at home, with pressure canning being a bit more complicated. Rhonda will briefly describe each of these methods and will cover what equipment you need and what preserved products you can produce.  Click here for presentation handouts.

11:30 am

  • Featured presentation: Time Management in the Garden.  Claire Splan, free-lance garden writer and editor.  Lack of time is the #1 reason people don’t garden more, but there are tips and tricks you can use to make the most of your gardening hours and still leave time for actually enjoying your garden. Claire Splan, author of California Month-by-Month Gardening and California Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, will show you how to use deadlines, task-batching, ultimate time-savers, and a month-by-month approach for more efficient and effective gardening.
  • Mastering Drip Installation – Parts and Processes Explained. Seth Wright, landscape contractor.  Seth Wright, a master of all things drip, will explain how to navigate the vast sea of drip parts.  He'll break down the processes of converting sprinklers to drip and building a drip system from scratch. He'll demonstrate his favorite processes and parts, and you'll be able to see how and why everything fits and works together.  Be careful, he will encourage you to try this at home!

12:45 pm

  • Winter Garden Tips and Tricks.  Janet Miller, UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.  [See above].
  • Designing Your Home Drip System with Confidence.  Lori Palmquist, UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.  [See above].

1:30 pm

  • Featured presentation: Your Beautiful Garden (Without a Lawn).  Alison Fleck, APLD, certified professional landscape designer.  Many people have difficulty imagining a beautiful yard without that lovely green lawn.  Alison will share some of her secrets, stressing non-lawn elements and low to medium-low water need plants that can create a peaceful space with only little to moderate care.  She'll cover some of her favorite "go-to, tough-as-nails" plants, as well as how to weave hardscape elements into the project to complement the plant materials.

About Our Speakers

  • Rhonda Beatty-Gallo:  Rhonda is a Washington State native and has canned her whole life. It is a culture she grew up in, and loves.  She always wants to know what's in the food she's eating, and how to control it.  She also likes to try new methods and adventures in food. Rhonda became a Contra Costa County Master Food Preserver in 1984 and was re-certified in 2016 in Solano County.
  • Alison Fleck, APLD:  Alison has spent most of her professional career in the landscape industry, as a maintenance gardener, wholesale nursery person, greenhouse worker, and landscape designer.  She has studied horticulture and design at the College of Marin, DVC, and Merritt College.  She designs primarily along the 680/24 corridor from Benicia to Danville, Clayton to Orinda and occasionally Piedmont.  She has designed many front yard lawn-to-garden projects, some of which are showcased on the Contra Costa Water District's website.  A couple of examples are here and here.
  • Janet Miller:  As a volunteer with the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County, Janet Miller has been the garden manager of Our Garden since its inception in 2009. With a particular interest in growing edibles, Janet studied the biointensive method of small scale farming under John Jeavons and Carol Cox of Ecology Action in Willits, California. Janet uses the biointensive method both at Our Garden and in her own extensive home garden. She also has a deep interest in plant propagation and heads up the UC Master Gardener propagation efforts for the annual Great Tomato Plant Sale and the fall ornamental and veggie sales. Janet is a frequent speaker at Our Garden and many other places around the county, as well as a contributor to the Bay Area News Group gardening video series.  
  • Marisa Neelon:  Marisa Neelon, M.S., R.D., is a Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences Advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.  
  • Lori Palmquist:  Lori Palmquist is a UC Master Gardener volunteer in the Contra Costa Program and an irrigation designer and consultant who started her landscaping career in San Francisco in 1988. She fell in love with irrigation about 18 years ago as a landscape contractor, and has been playing with water ever since. A self-professed water-efficiency evangelist, she regularly speaks to college landscape architecture and horticulture classes, professional landscape associations, garden clubs, homeowner classes, and basically anybody who will listen.  Lori's true love these days is programming web applications for designing and implementing water-efficient landscapes. Her websites WaterWonk.us and Puddle-Stompers.com will soon house the powerful professional web tools she has developed, as well as online irrigation education.
  • Claire Splan:  Claire Splan, a freelance writer and editor, is the author of California Month-by-Month Gardening and California Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, both published by Cool Springs Press.  In 2006 Claire began her career as a garden author by writing about her growing interest in gardening and environmental issues at her garden blog, "An Alameda Garden" (www.alamedagarden.blogspot.com). A member of the Garden Writers Association, Claire has written for several garden-related websites; given presentations at the UC Botanical Garden, the Los Angeles County Arboretum, the Southern California Spring Garden Show, and numerous garden clubs and other venues; and been interviewed on radio shows such as "GardenLife," "Bob Tanem in the Garden," and "Gardening Today.".
  • Seth Wright:  Seth Wright is a landscape contractor specializing in irrigation efficiency.  Originally from Washington State, he moved to California in 2003.  Seth recognizes how vital it is to protect our precious water resources.  This understanding has inspired his mission to conserve water by implementing irrigation systems that are designed, installed, and maintained to achieve maximum efficiency.