Volume 13, Issue 5 - November 2023
Editor’s Note: Welcome to the November issue of 2023. It is chock full of a wide array of articles and updates. It makes me truly appreciate all I continue learning as a UC Master Gardener. We have so many resources available – attending webinars and garden talks, working in four different CoCoMG gardens, and watching YouTube and Vimeo videos. Thank you to all our contributors and the hard work you put into strengthening our organization.
In this issue, David George returns to interview Bill Miller. Many of you know Bill from Ask A Master Gardener Booths. He’s also a member of the Executive Committee. Bill shares his background, as well as great advice for new members.
It is such a pleasure to introduce our newest member Of the UC Master Gardener Bisso Lane crew. Diana Garcia–Colmenarez is our new Administrative Assistant. Diana is also a San José State University graduate student in the Environmental Studies Department. I had the great privilege of chatting with her, and I write about her below.
In an article by Laura Brainin–Rodriguez, newer UC Master Gardeners who volunteer with Ask A Master Gardener booths share their backgrounds and perspectives. Also, we learn more about the recently held EBMUD Landscape Advisory Committee meeting at the Richmond Library highlighting the Richmond Low Water Demonstration Garden. The interest in the Garden from so many partners is fantastic.
Karen Maggio shares an update on the Family Harvest Demonstration Garden in Pittsburg, CA. The landscape plan, developed by the UC Master Gardener Team, and project priorities recently took shape during several weeks of team meetings. Steve Carter shows his enthusiasm for Growing Gardeners in an article about the four successful beginning gardening courses held this year. And Gail Burt thanks all the CoCoMGs who contributed to the Speakers Bureau’s outstanding year.
Lisa Bramblet writes about all the changes at the Riverside Demonstration Garden, including a new Bee Hotel. Hospitality Committee Co-Coordinators Muriel Wilson and Virginia Saifer share details on the upcoming 2023 Annual Members Recognition Potluck Dinner. Pam Austin reviews the new Ladibug document camera that you can check out.
First, Laura Brainin-Rodriguez chats with project leads about their contributions, how they sustain their engagement with CoCoMGs, and what is most meaningful for them.
Simone Adair, Editor
The Latest Dirt - Nov 2023
Article and Photos by Simone Adair
East Bay Municipal Utility District recently held a Landscape Advisory Committee meeting at the Richmond Public Library highlighting the Richmond Low Water Demonstration Garden. Kristin Bowman and Jolene Bertetto, Water Conservation Program Managers, brought together members of the public, as well as UC Master Gardeners, staff of The Gardens at Heather Farm, Contra Costa Water employees, City of Richmond parks staff, local landscape architects, and landscape contractors to discuss demonstration gardens and placemaking principles.
By Laura Brainin–Rodriguez
I became a member of the Executive Leadership Team in July 2023, after being a Co-Lead for the Ask a Master Gardener Project since 2018. I’m now partly responsible for the whole organization rather than a single project. I get a sense of the breadth and scope of what we do for the residents of Contra Costa County by attending Executive Committee meetings.
For this article, I received input on what makes UC Master Gardeners so unique from leads of 11 of the 18 projects and those CoCoMGs leading incubation/larval projects. I also contacted the Finance Chairs since what they do serves the entire organization in a way that makes the rest of our work possible.
by David George
Bill Miller has been a leader all his life. He inspires other UC Master Gardener volunteers with his caring attitude and soft-spoken approach to whatever roles he attempts in the program. His thoughtfulness and dedication are visibly demonstrated as an essential contributor to the Executive Leadership Team. I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill the other day to learn more about his background, his current interests, and his advice on how to be an effective volunteer and a happy one.
By Simone Adair
Please join me in welcoming our new Contra Costa County UC Master Gardener Administrative Assistant, Diana Garcia–Colmenarez. Diana is also a San José State University graduate student in the Environmental Studies Department, focusing on Fire Ecology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
By Laura Brainin-Rodriguez
Ask a Master Gardener wrapped up another stellar season, reaching 8127 people in the 2022–2023 fiscal year. The AAMG season runs from April–October, straddling two fiscal years. While we don’t yet have our numbers for calendar 2023, from April–September 2023, we have already reached 6921 contacts before we add our October numbers.
By Karen Maggio
The John Muir Land Trust staff (operators of the Family Harvest Farm) and apprentices got their first look at the draft plans for the UC Master Gardener–operated demonstration garden in Pittsburg, CA, on August 30th. The UC Master Gardener team presented both a professionally done full plan as well as a first–phase plan.
By Steve Carter
The Growing Gardeners Team has recently concluded a successful 5th season of presenting the popular Vegetable Gardening for Beginners course to a host of budding members of our gardening community. This year, we had four courses and registered 224 students! A testament to the popularity of this course, openings for each were often filed within minutes after registration opened.
By Gail Burt
A time to reflect and give thanks…
As we wrap up another season, I want to thank all the UC Master Gardener volunteers who generously contributed their time and knowledge to help the Speakers Bureau deliver on our mission to distribute home horticulture and pest management information.
Article and photos by Marilyn Saarni, Resilient Regenerative Firescaping Certified (Rescape, 2020)
Little lessons learned digging in the dirt. I’ve now converted about 75% of my garden to firewise landscaping. Along the way, I’ve been learning (through painful encounters) about unwise plant choices and maintenance details that require PPE (personal protection equipment—that phrase often characterizes the onset of COVID). I’m passing on some of these lessons here, hoping to save others from stabs, infections and frustration. And it saves you some money, too, as you can avoid adding these plants to your garden but then pay big bucks to remove them.
! SAVE THE DATE!
2023 ANNUAL MEMBERS RECOGNITION POTLUCK DINNER
TO ALL MASTER GARDENERS OF CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
We’re getting ready to honor our efforts and wonderful members
for all of 2023’s efforts, so mark this date on your calendar!
DATE: Monday, December 11, 2023
TIME: 6-9:00 PM
PLACE: Pleasant Hill Community Center
320 Civic Drive
Pleasant Hill, CA94523
By Pam Austin
You know the song. But in this case the Ladibug can’t fly home. School Gardens Lead Pam Austin has recently acquired the Lumens Ladibug, an extremely versatile document camera. It is also portable and wireless. This document camera can capture real-time 3D objects and display the project onto a screen or monitor. It is available to borrow, and Pam will provide training.