An Alameda Garden: December 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last-Minute Gift Idea for Gardeners: Early-Bird Ticket to the SF Flower & Garden Show!

If you're looking for an easy-to-purchase, totally affordable gift for a Bay Area gardener, may I suggest getting him or her a ticket to the 2015 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, running March 18 to March 22. You can get a one-day pass to the show for the early-bird price of $17.50 (regular price: $22.00). Tickets are available online or at many Bay Area nurseries.

I'm even more excited than usual about the SF Flower & Garden Show next year because I'll be speaking at the show. On March 19th I'll be doing a garden-to-table seminar about citrus with my friend, chef and culinary instructor Jennifer Altman. We'll talk about growing citrus in your home garden, preserving the fruit, and using preserved citrus in recipes. Buy your tickets now and come see us!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chatting with Farmer Fred

I had the opportunity to talk with Farmer Fred Hoffman this morning, not once but twice! First on his "Garden Show" on KFBK and then again on "Get Growing with Farmer Fred" on KSTE. We talked first about my new book, California Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year, and on the second show we talked about California Fruit & Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Eat the Best Edibles for California Garden.

Here's the link for the podcast of the first show. My segment starts around 22:40.

And here's the link for the podcast of the second show. My segment  here starts around 20:45.

Thanks, Fred! It was a fun chat!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Here Are the Winners of the Gardener's Supply Company Giveaway!

Hope you had fun checking out the website for Gardener's Supply Company. The lucky winners--yes, there are actually 5 winners for this giveaway!--who will each receive a set of the LED pinecone lights are: Anonymous (commenter #3), Jennifer57, bluebird23, kansas_krystal, and Katrina. I'll contact each of the winners via email to arrange for shipment of the prize.

If you're still Christmas shopping, you can get free shipping on orders over $50 at Gardener's Supply Company if you place your order by midnight tomorrow night. They have lots of items that make great last-minute gifts for gardeners and garden-lovers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Goodreads Members: Enter to Win a Free Copy of California Month-by-Month Gardening

If you're a member of Goodreads, you can enter now to win a free copy of my new book, California Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year! You have until December 29th to enter. Two copies will be given away. Don't wait--enter now!

While you're at it, you can follow my Goodreads Author page to keep up on any events I'll be speaking at or radio shows I'll be on. (Hint: The first radio show is coming up this weekend!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Welcoming a New Affiliate Sponsor and a Giveaway! Deadline Extended!

One of the cool things about having a garden blog is the opportunity to join the affiliate networks of some of the garden-related businesses that I really like. High on that list of companies is Gardener's Supply Company, a mail-order business that specializes in items for the garden as well as garden-y goodies for indoors.

I could go crazy ordering from GSC's wide range of merchandise. Want to know what's on my Christmas wish list? How about any of these canning supplies? Or a mason bee house? In another month I'm going to be wishing I had some of these great seed-starting accessories. And I'm definitely in need of a new pair of gardening gloves--the problem would be choosing which kind to get!

Click on any of the GSC ads in the sidebar at the right and have fun shopping for the garden-lovers in your life, as well as for yourself! And just to get you in the mood, GSC is giving you a chance to win a set of beautiful LED mercury-glass pinecone lights for your holiday decorations--or anytime decoration! The string of 10 lights is powered by 3 AAA batteries and casts a beautiful golden glow. The lights are intended for indoor use, but I used them* on a small tree on my front porch where it will be sheltered from the rain (and I sealed the battery pack in plastic for extra protection).

To enter the drawing, just go to the Gardener's Supply Company website and choose one item that would be on your Christmas wish list. Then come back here and leave a comment saying what you'd wish for--and don't forget to leave your email address! On noon (PDT) of Monday, December 15th, I'll randomly select one commenter who'll receive a free set of the pinecone lights (value: $29.95) from Gardener's Supply Company.

Update: I'm extending the deadline one more day! You have until Tuesday, December 16th at noon (PDT) to enter. Don't wait! 


Good luck!

* Gardener's Supply Company provided me with a free set of the pinecone lights as part of this promotion.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Welcome, December!

To celebrate the release of my new book, California Month-by-Month Gardening, and the long-awaited rains we're experiencing this week, I thought I'd post something from the book. Here's the introductory essay for the month of December:

 Close the year, but not the garden.

The advice you will most often hear at this time of year is about how to close the garden, implying that it's out of business or at least on hiatus. It's important, of course, to ready a garden for winter, cleaning and clearing out the dead or faded plants, covering furniture, turning off irrigation systems as the rains take over the job of watering.

But in much of California, winter never gets harsh enough to really shut down a garden. Instead the garden downshifts into neutral in December, like an engine that never turns off but idles quietly through the short days and long nights. Manzanitas and other natives burst into bloom, evergreens maintain their composure, and succulents soldier on, all cheered on by cool-season annuals in hot shades. Even in areas blanketed by snow, while the outdoor garden rests, the indoor garden moves to the fore as bulbs are forced into bloom and tender plants take up their winter residence indoors.

Gardens are not meant to be merely blue-sky endeavors. Enjoying the garden year-round should be our goal. To do that, we have to keep the gate open and the path clear so that the garden can beckon us in at every moment. Even on days that are too cold to linger outside, the garden can comfort and delight us from a window, reminding us that even on the shortest of days the rewards of a garden stretch out long before us.

So tear the last page off the calendar and make your final entries in your garden journal. Remember the sweetest-smelling blossoms, the most successful harvests, the most eye-catching plants. Note the new bed you planted that now flourishes below your window and the bare-root tree you planted last winter, now taller than you and bare of leaves once again. Take a picture to mark your progress. Then close the book on the year and take up your daydreams for next year's garden. But leave the garden open, always waiting for your footstep and the next plunge of your fingers into the soil.

 --from California Month-by-Month Gardening by Claire Splan

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