December, Time & the North State Calendar of Gardening Events

It’s officially the rainy (or snowy) time of year in the North State. And despite inconvenience, we are thankful for it. Two or three rounds of seasonal storms have our California oak grasslands greening and wetlands filling. Deciduous blue oaks, sycamores, maples, and alders simultaneously drop their summer biomass and rich, colorful fall turns to winter’s more spare simplicity.

Gardeners are slowly finding time to prepare for winter – top dressing their borders and beds with a good compost or mulch. Oak leaf and grass clipping compost is what’s cooked up in my garden. Mulch helps to insulate your plants from the coming temperature and humidity fluctuations, but also allows the winter rains to slowly leach the nutrients into your soil.

Taking time to pay attention to plant and soil hygiene now will pay-off well in the long run. So, don’t over mulch or mulch too closely to the crowns of your plants in the milder areas of our region. Winter precipitation can also inadvertently spread bacterial and fungal diseases through the soil and between plants. Carefully clean up the dead foliage from roses, peonies, iris, cane fruits and any other plants on which you have ever noticed black spot or mildew. Unless you are sure of how hot your compost gets and stays for a sustained amount of time, I would not compost these garden trimmings, but discard them in the trash.

Leave healthy seed heads for the birds to snack on. Our bird feeders are now cleaned, up and filled for the season. Even the hummingbird feeder is back in action as many of my hummingbird nectar plants have finished blooming, but our overwintering Anna’s Hummingbird is still hungry. Time spent watching a busy feeder from my kitchen window is one of many gifts of the season.

Seasonal gifts and activities fill the calendar of gardening events this time of year.

But time itself is the tricky bit, isn’t it? Time dedicated to yourself, to your garden, to your family and friends. Making time/finding time/taking time, slowing down my own internal time clock long enough to pay attention and be purposeful with time for myself or for someone or something I love, ahhh now this is perhaps the best gift of all this time of year.


Dec 1 – Redding: Wyntour Gardens Wyntour Wonderland Open House 8:30 am – 5 pm. We serve cookies and hot apple cider, and have pretty holiday displays and beautiful living Christmas trees! (You should see the beautiful Vanderwolf Pines!) Most everything in the Gift Shop will be 50% Off, this one day only Wyntour Gardens, 8026 Airport Rd (1 mi. South of the Redding Airport, next to Kents Mkt). 365-2256

Dec 1 – Redding: Shasta Chapter California Native Plant Society Chapter field trip Late Fall Colors 9 am. Join Jay & Terri Thesken on a fieldtrip to see late Fall colors. The location will be determined on the day of the hike, depending on colors. Prepare for a 3- to 5-mile hike. We will meet at 9 AM in the Redding City Hall parking lot, on the back (south) side of the building, next to Parkview Avenue. City Hall is at 777 Cypress Avenue—just west of the Cypress Avenue bridge over the Sacramento River. Heavy rain cancels. Bring lunch. No dogs, please. Call Jay or Terri Thesken for details at 221-0906. More info:

Dec 1 – Redding: McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay: Charlie Rabbit and His Friends 10:30 am. Join us the first Saturday of every month for an interactive program in the Gardens (or Greenhouse when it rains) for children, their siblings, parents and Grandparents. Join Charlie, our adorable jack rabbit puppet, in various gardening activities. Wear your favorite gardening clothes! Presented by Dennis and Sherrill Bambauer. Free with park admission! Meet at the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Office (1135 Arboretum Drive next to Nursery Greenhouse)

Dec 1 – Davis: Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Guided Public Tour: Garden Prep for Winter 2-3:30 pm, Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, Garrod Drive. Are your garden beds ready for winter weather? Find out how Storer gardeners are preparing. For more information, please call (530) 752-4880 or visit

Dec 1 & 2- Chico: Plant Barn Holiday Wreath Workshops: Come make your own holiday tradition at one of our annual wreath workshops in our warm greenhouse with an amazing assortment of gathered greens and botanical treasures. Two classes on Sunday at noon and 2. One class on Saturday at noon. Cost is $28-$3 off if you bring your own 18? wreath form. Call today as we are filling up! 530-345-3121 We will have goodies galore to drink and eat! 406 Entler Avenue Chico, CA 95928 (530) 345-3121

Dec 2 – Chico: Magnolia Gift & Garden 4th Anniversary Customer Appreciation Holiday Open House featuring the Yule Logs 3:30 pm Music at 4 pm. 530-894-5410 1367 East Ave Chico Ca 95926 for more info:

Dec 3 – Northstate Public Radio: I-5 LIVE! Special Edition of In a North State Garden: FOOD RADIO?: 8 pm – 9 pm, KCHO Chico/KFPR Redding (91.7 fm/88.9 fm) FOOD RADIO? Join Jennifer Jewell as she hosts a lively conversation with local food activists about a growing need for a regional public forum on foodshed issues at the heart of the Northstate’s economic, environmental and physical health. Have questions/concerns/comments/stories to share? Call-in and take part! Guests will include Earl Bloor, Publisher of Edible Shasta Butte, Wayne Kessler, Organic Nurseryman and member of Growing Local, and D. Trudi Pratt chiropractor, nutritionist, chapter leader of the Redding Weston A. Price, as well as “Positively Healthy” health columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight and radio show host on KCNR.

Dec 4 – Chico: Chico Grange and 5:30 pm Biochar demonstration and presentation by the Butte College MESA program These Butte College Students have been experimenting making biochar from rice hulls. It is this months Transition Movement .topic (from coal and oil to renewables) taking place on December 4th. Come learn about the latest and greatest farm and garden soil amendment. Valery Navarro and Thor Bailey will follow up the student demonstration and presentation with an overview of local and regional biochar projects in the works. Potluck at 6:00 PM. Follow up Presentation at 6:15 to 7:30. Chico Grange Hall 2775 Old Nord Avenue Chico, CA 95973 Call FREE 530-624-8844 for more information on this event. All are welcome

Dec 5 – Chico: Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society Regular Monthly meeting and Program: Chapter members Rob Schlising, Robert Fischer and Cindy Weiner will present “Marvelous Mountain Wildflowers,” about field trips to 3 different locations along the Butte County boundary having the goal of documenting all seed plants and ferns at the sites. 7:30 pm Butte County Library, Chico. For more information:

Dec 6 – Redding: Shasta Chapter California Native Plant Society Plant Propagation Session 10 am – NOON. oin us for a two-hour weekday work session starting at 10 AM at the Shasta College greenhouses, located at the back of Shasta College, near the livestock barns. We will be propagating cuttings and seeds. Please call Jay or Terri Thesken at 221-0906 for further information.

Dec 6 – 8 – Red Bluff: Red Bluff Garden Club Scholarship Christmas Boutique 9:30 am – 6:30 pm each day at 616 Cedar Street in Red Bluff, former Holiday Market. Wreaths, Arrangements and more; handmade; custom orders. For more information please call 530-526-4578. All profit for high school scholarship.

Dec 8 – Redding: Turtle Bay Exploration Park Holiday Wreath Making Workshop 9 a.m. – noon Floral designer and instructor Darlene Montgomery leads this creative and fun holiday workshop. Each participant will create their own fresh, full-size holiday wreath for the front door or family room. All materials provided. Space is limited to 12 participants, adults and youth ages 16+. Members $35, nonmembers $40. Pre-registration required – Please call 242-3108 to pre-register. Turtle Bay Visitor’s Center – JSS Classroom.

Dec 8 – Chico: Plant Barn Winter SALEABRATION: 10 am to 5 p.m. Food, fun, frivolity and of course random sales. This year we welcome Gale Vineyards back and Rock Ridge Bluegrass band will be playing in the afternoon. Join us for a fun filled day to ring in the holidays. 406 Entler Avenue Chico, CA 95928 (530) 345-3121

Dec 8 – Chico: Friends of The Chico State Herbarium California State University, Chico Wreath Making workshop with native plants and greens, by Adrienne Edwards and Jennifer Jewell 1 – 3 pm. Bring a little native plant cheer into your Holiday Season! Make one or two 10-12 inch wreaths for your home or for gifts! Learn some history about wreaths and the plants they are made from! Wreaths have been created since ancient times to represent the virtues, harvests and cycles of many cultures and religions. The Greeks used oak leaves to symbolize wisdom. Hollies have been used in wreaths since at least the late Middle Ages to symbolize eternity and new life. Did you know that Hollywood was named for the holly-like appearance of our native toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Come create a wreath of fragrant native plant clippings such as white sage (Salvia apiana), incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.), California bay (Umbellularia californica), and other plant clippings and adornments (cones, acorns, oak galls, berries). If you have any plant clippings or decorations you wish to add, we rec- ommend you bring them (including grape vines for a vine-and-wire base)! We will provide a small handout on the history of wreaths through time, and some ethnobotanical information on the native materials as well. These small wreaths are fragrant and beautiful on interior mirrors, garden gates, mantlepieces, and tables. The instructors for this workshop are Jennifer Jewell, garden writer and creator of “In A North State Garden” (, and Adrienne Edwards, Adjunct Faculty at Chico State, botanist, ecologist and arborist. Cost: $20 materials fee to make one 10-12 inch wreath (or pay an extra $10 to make two wreaths during the workshop). Pay in advance or pay at the door. This workshop will meet Saturday, December 8, 2012, from 1:00?3:00 p.m. in Holt Hall room 129 at CSU Chico. The registration fee is $20.00 (or $30.00 to make two wreaths). Please register in advance: class size is limited to 20 participants (class cancelled without at least 8 participants). For more informa- tion about workshop content please contact Adrienne Edwards at or (530) 345- 4406 For more information about workshop registration please contact the Biology office at (530) 898- 5356 or For more information:

Dec 10 – Paradise: Paradise Garden Club Regular Monthly Meeting & Program 11:45 pm. Terry Ashe Recreation Center, 6626 Skyway, Paradise. Join us at 11:45 for Horticulture Display, Plant Sale, Benefit Drawing & Refreshments Program: Begins 1:00 PM Speaker: TBD Topic: TBD General Membership Meeting following program. For more info:

Dec 12 – Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Guided Tour: Walk with Warren through the West End Gardens Noon – 1 pm, Meet at Gazebo. Join Warren Roberts, the Superintendent Emeritus of the Arboretum and famous storyteller and punster for an always engaging noontime exploration of West End gardens. Walks with Warren are held the second Wednesday each month, and take place in various collections of the Arboretum. Check the schedule each month for the meeting place and location of each of these midweek tours. For more information, please call (530) 752-4880 or visit

Dec 15 – Davis: Davis: UC Davis Arboretum Guided Public Tour: Crazy about Conifers 2-3:30 pm, Arboretum Headquarters, La Rue Road. Explore the evergreens in the Arboretum’s Conifer Collection, and learn how they enhance the landscape. For more information, please call (530) 752-4880 or visit

Dec 15 – Chico: Chico Horticultural Society Chapter Annual Holiday Wreath, Centerpiece and Swag Workshop 1:00 – 3 pm at Chico Public Library corner of 1st and Sherman, Chico. Sign up now by emailing – the 25 spots sell out quickly for this in depth and entertaining lesson on handcrafted seasonal decoration using the finest of local greens and materials. Cost per person is $20 including all instruction, materials and light refreshments.

Dec 19 – Redding: Shasta Rose Society Regular monthly meeting & program 7 – 8 pm. City of Redding Corporation Yard, 2055 Viking Way, Building 4, Room 401, Redding, California. The meetings are held for the purpose of presenting an educational program by an authority on roses and their cultivation. Meetings are open to the public. For more info:

Dec 21 – WINTER SOLSTICE – enjoy time slowed down on this the longest night of the year.

Dec 28 – FULL MOON

Dec 29 – Redding: McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay: Walk with Horticultural Manager Lisa Endicott 10:30 am. Bring your notebooks and camera! We’ll make our way through the Gardens with frequent stops for discussions about (what else?) plants! Free with Park or Garden admission. Meet at West Garden Entrance. Take N. Market Street, turn on Arboretum Drive. Take the right fork. Parking lot and entrance are on the left.

Dec 29 – Chico: Butte Rose Society Regular Annual Rose Pruning Demo at Stansbury House Public Welcome! For more info:

Follow a North State Garden on Facebook. I also have some fun on tumblr. Photo:The large lustrous leaves of southern Magnolia make striking winter wreaths and other decorations.

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In a North State Garden is a weekly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California and made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum – Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell – all rights reserved In a North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time. Podcasts of past shows are available here.

Jennifer Jewell
In a North State Garden is a bi-weekly North State Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California and made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum - Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell - all rights reserved In a North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday morning at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time, two times a month.
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