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Master gardeners’ ‘gathering’ to kick off spring planting season

By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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With spring just weeks away, it’s time to “Rev up your garden” — the theme of this year’s Gardeners Gathering set for March 3 in Loomis. This is the fifth year for the Placer County Master Gardeners’ community outreach program, which always attracts a sell-out crowd. The slate of speakers includes a couple of returnees. Among the topics are California natives, tree pruning, and butterflies and bees. It also includes TV personality Ahmed Hassan, host of the DIY network’s “Yard Crashers.” “He’s a landscape designer. He’s local,” Gardeners Gathering co-chairwoman Linda Ewing said. “He goes to Home Depots or Lowe’s and walks up to people and asks if they’d like to have their yard redone. He’s very high energy and a nice person.” Hassan’s inclusion came about through a chance meeting. “One of the master gardeners was at a home show and he was there,” Ewing said. “She decided to go up and talk to him and see if he’d be one of the speakers and he agreed. We’re really excited about having him.” Missy Gable, program manager for the California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis, is one of the two repeat speakers. Her topic is “Invite Bees and Butterflies into Your Garden.” “We’ll talk about plant selection and gardening practices you can use to bring particularly bee pollinators into your landscape and keep them as residents there,” she said. “The goal of any gardener should be to have a nectar and pollen resource for both native bees and European honey bees. ... By creating pollen and nectar resources, we can promote healthier bee communities and help support agriculture.” Another returning speaker is Rose Loveall-Sale, owner of Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville. Her topic is Fragrance in the Garden with Herbs. She’ll talk about “plants for all your senses.” Loveall-Sale will identify herbs that bring fragrance to the garden. She’ll point out the ones that everyone thinks about and then talk about herbs that people don’t think about at all for fragrance. “With herbs, a lot of it is the foliage for fragrance, which gives you more bang for the buck in a lot of ways,” she said. Among those are all of the anise hyssop. “It’s a licorice -scented culinary herb but is also a wonderful fragrant herb and tea herb,” she said “People put it into the garden to attract honey bees and pollinators. It’s a great one to include next to your vegetable garden.” Loveall-Sale will also bring herbs for sale. Rounding out the schedule are Lani Houck, Sierra College horticulture instructor, who will cover “California Natives for Backyard Spaces;” and Chuck Ingels, Sacramento County farm adviser, who will discuss “Pruning Ornamental and Fruit Trees” — what to do and how to do it. They’re all dynamic speakers, Ewing said. Food for the gathering is being catered by Panera bakery, with coffee and bagels in the morning, sandwiches and salads for lunch and cookies and coffee in the afternoon There will also be several informational booths. “We have one on composting and someone from the Rose Society,” Ewing said. Another will have information on bees. Ewing, a master gardener who has worked on the event since its inception, is enthusiastic about the program. “I’ve heard speakers on all these subjects,” she said. “I go to a lot of other events as a master gardener. I enjoy it all and I think it is all going to be good. ‘California Natives for the Backyard’ is going to be one of my favorites.” Ewing and fellow Master Gardener Peggy Beltramo have co-chaired the Gardeners Gathering for the past three years. For Ewing, what makes it so special is “just the day of the event, the speakers and the people who are there and everyone is so excited and happy to be there,” she said. “We’ve had lots of positive feedback from people so it makes it worth it.” ----------- Fifth Annual gardeners gathering When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday,?March 3 Where: Historic Blue Goose Fruit Shed, 3550 Taylor Road, Loomis Cost: $25 per person; advance registration required. Information: Purchase tickets with a credit card at http://pcmg.ucanr.org or in person at the UCCE office, 11477 E Ave., DeWitt Center, in North Auburn.