Get to Know Our Local Creeks, Ponds & Waterways!

Just Announced: This spring, The Gardens invites you and your kids to join us for a fun and informative series of FREE classes about our local watershed and preserving our environmental resources. Featuring six expert instructors and our own teaching staff, the series, “Getting to Know Our Local Creeks, Ponds and Waterways,” invites both adults and children to participate, with topics of interest to grown-ups, as well as interactive, hands-on activities specifically designed to engage younger audiences. In addition to classes held at The Gardens, the program also features several local field trips to be enjoyed by all ages.

Adults will learn about the challenges of maintaining our local watershed and how best to manage floods during “El Nino” weather, and kids will investigate where water goes when it rains. The whole family will enjoy discovering the plants and wildlife that live in our nearby creeks and ponds, taking a family hike along the trails of a nature preserve, and learning about warm-weather vegetable gardening and the path our food takes on its journey from field to table. Adults will pick up tips on how to avoid contaminating sensitive water ecosystems with pesticides, while kids can learn how to make garden-friendly pest control potions and bring beneficial bugs to your backyard.

All classes in this series are FREE, but registration is required for all participants.

Check Out the Full Series of Free Classes
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The Roots of Spring Planting

Spring has sprung! For many of us, this is a breath of fresh air. Time to put away the down jackets, release some winter tension and begin enjoying our gardens again. When you get out in the backyard, you might find your garden needs a “fresh face” for the season, and a great way to do that is by putting in some new plants.

Fortunately, all of the major nurseries are bringing in fresh stock. However, too much information and too many choices can make plant shopping overwhelming. Here are some tips to find success with your garden refresh.

Bigger isn’t always better: Don’t fall victim to one of the biggest mistakes shoppers make when purchasing plants in a container. An overly-large specimen may mean it has sat in its container for an extra season (or longer). This can be a major flaw, especially in woody plants. You will be hard pressed to find plants in a plastic container in nature. They’re meant to be growing in the ground, and should only be in pots for a short time.

Get down to the roots: Potted plants often bring with them serious root defects that could derail your planting success. When searching for the right plant, I recommend looking at plants from the bottom up. Don’t focus on the height or number of leaves; pull off the pot and inspect the root system. The roots are the key to a plant’s survival. If you find seriously bound roots (all knotted up together and filling the pot) or stem girdling roots (circling around the base of the plant), put that plant back and grab another.

Root issues likely won’t make a difference for a few seasons, but they can cause serious damage down the road. At that point, it can become both costly and painstaking to deal with the problems. Shop smart, shop early, and continue to enjoy your plants for the totality of their lifespan.

Get more tips on selecting plants for your garden at our Spring Plant Sale on April 9th from 8am-12pm.

Brian Larsen
GHF Garden Manager

Sponsor a tree in the new Camellia Grove!

AdobeStock_96852685With Xmas only a few days away, there’s no time to lose when choosing an extra-special gift for an extra-special person in your life, and we’ve got something truly unique for you this year: Sponsor a tree in our new Camellia Grove, and we’ll plant a Camellia in the garden with a customized tag in honor of someone you love. Surprise your spouse, delight your child or grandchild, or commemorate the spirit of someone who has passed.

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Daffodil Hill Project

3WK8NGUBAD“I wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o’er vales and hills / When all at once I saw a crowd / A host, of golden daffodils” — William Wordsworth
Beautiful enough to inspire poetry, the Daffodil has long been a symbol of prosperity and new beginnings, often signaling the “rebirth” that follows the end of winter. Well, here in the Bay Area, the bite of winter hasn’t quite hit yet, but we’ll be sending some golden warmth your way very soon. We’ve just completed the planting of 5000 Daffodil (Narcissus tazetta) bulbs of three different varieties right in the heart of the garden. The bulbs were graciously donated by Carla Preisler in memory of her husband. We expect the bulbs to bloom sometime during the month of January. So, stop by The Gardens in 2016 – it should be quite a show!