Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MBBG Fall 2015 Free Classes

Fall is approaching slowly here at the garden.  The nights are cooling down which is a needed break from the hot and humid evenings we had here all summer.  

For sure it was worse heat inland, we realize we have it good, but many of us are outdoors during the day either at work or volunteering at the garden - and this summer we can attest it was about the hottest and most humid we can remember.   

We even shut down one volunteer Friday due to a heat alert.  We can't remember that ever happening!  

This summer's heat also meant that at the garden we had to run our reclaimed water irrigation - normally not a good thing in summer for our native plants -  but even with the thick mulch we apply, our sandy soil was bone dry and our most drought tolerant trees and shrubs were not going to make it without a monthly soaking.  Most of Manhattan Beach is built on what was sand dunes - so when we say sand, we do mean sand! 

With Fall here we are grateful to see the monarchs arriving as well as our teachers to impart their wisdom to our free Fall classes.  Information is below and we hope to see you at the garden! 

Our Teachers

Lisa Ryder-Moore 
Composting is such a critical part of earth-friendly living and gardening and we are so happy to have Lisa Ryder-Moore teaching our class.  She is an expert on composting - the often forgotten part of household sustainability.  A recent worm bin convert told us his bin is set up on a small condo balcony and he is able to compost kitchen scraps and in turn feed his patio plants.  This means less outputs to go into our over-crowded land fills and less inputs because there is no need to buy commercial fertilizers.   

Mike Garcia
Mike Garcia probably knows more about rainwater harvesting than anyone in Southern California.  In his landscaping business Enviroscape LA,  he has been promoting sustainable practices like rainwater diversion and retention, designing and building eco-ponds, rain gardens and swales, and building recirculating water features way before it was on the radar.   As an MBBG Board member, Mike was the perfect person for us to ask if he would share his tips on how we can get ready for El Niño!  

Composting Made Easy 
When:  Saturday, Oct 17 10 – 11am
Who: Lisa Ryder-Moore, City Authorized Instructor

Composting is nature’s way of recycling food and yard waste into a valuable and free organic fertilizer for your garden. Learn simple composting techniques in this one hour workshop. Al levels are welcome – from the novice to the experienced. Residents can purchase a Compost Bin for $35 (a $99 value) or a Worm Bin for $35 (a $129 value).  
Mike Garcia Enviroscape explains
how to divert rainwater from your roof

Preparing for El Niño 
When:  Saturday, Oct 31 10-11am 
Who:  Mike Garcia, Enviroscape

We’re hearing it everywhere: this will be an El Nino year.  That means rain and often a lot of it! 

This class will teach you how to capture some of that rain for use in your garden. You’ll also learn how to protect your landscape from erosion. Come join us for this we-like-rain program!

Our Location: 
1236 N. Peck Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 
Located on the west side of Polliwog Park.  Park on Peck Ave. and look for the covered amphitheater in the center of the garden.
 Free Parking: 
Next to MBBG on Peck Ave. or the adjacent lot at the end of Peck Ave.

Prior Registration:  
If you can, please let us know if you are coming and how many folks are attending, it helps us plan on how many handouts to print, thanks.     Leave a message with Julie at 310-546-1354 (no call back unless requested) or Julie@manhattanbeachbotanicalgarden.org

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earth Day 2011 and the MBBG Seal Approves

The 2011 Earth Day at Polliwog Park was a success and alot of fun. Our MBBG dedicated volunteer crew showed up to help at the main table, the succulent plant sale and teaching classes and they also worked for weeks making sure the garden looked it's best.

In between time spent at the garden weeding, mulching, watering and laying stone on the new paths we get to talk alot, especially about plants. The buzz lately has been how the heavy rains transformed the garden into a botanical paradise proving once again So California does have seasons. I think the floriferous California Lilacs (Ceanothus species) were commented upon the most and we all agreed the various shades of blue were breathtaking. I thought the brilliant yellow of the Flannel Bush (Fremontedendron - now is that not a great name for a plant?) was another spectacular plant for second place. The runners-up could be the annual surprises-forgotten-until-in-bloom-again plants like the dainty Beach Primrose (Camissonia cheiranthifolia) which is now the official flower of Manhattan Beach.

This past week the wildflowers such as California Poppies and Clarkias are out in Mikey's Meadow attracting the bumblebees and going wherever they please and we like that alot too.

Speaking of things we like, what's not to like about South Bay-ites who are planting more water-wise Earth-friendly gardens. We are seeing lawns being removed and replaced with native and drought-tolerant plants - and some amazing garden designs. If your water-wise, wildlife-friendly yard meets the criteria on this sign (pictured above), contact us and we'll give you a free MBBG Seal of Approval sign for your front yard to help you celebrate your achievement.

Lastly, we also like this brand new book:

Reimagining the California Lawn:
Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs

Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien

(Seal of Approval Sign and Photo by Julie Gonella)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nature's New Year Brings Hope and a Hawk

The new year arrived on time in the botanical garden as it always does -- in it's slow and beautiful way. The rains revealed that plants who seemed to be sleeping were actually just waiting for a new beginning. New growth in the garden seems to deliver a hopeful message.

This January's visit of an Immature Red-tailed Hawk is also a good sign. Sometimes the garden is a place of learning, sometimes it's a place to pull weeds, and then sometimes it's just a place to sit and enjoy the accomplishment of doing absolutely nothing but watching nature and listening closely.

Just writing this post, I am thinking the message the garden is telling me lately is that change is a natural process I should expect and embrace. I love that about the garden.

All of us at the MBBG wish you a new year of beauty, wonder and new beginnings and we sincerely hope you get a chance to do nothing in the botanical garden sometime soon.

Pictured above: This stunning photo of an Immature Red-Tailed Hawk was taken by Julie Gonella.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tis the Season to Migrate One and All

This time of year in Southern California many of us make a sort of seasonal migration which often entails an arduous slog through local jungles of traffic on our way out to family, friends or places of procurement.

Then there is the migratory patterns of birds such as the Bar-tailed Godwits who have the longest known non-stop flight of any migrant, flying 11,000 km from Alaska to their New Zealand non-breeding areas. Prior to migration, 55 percent of their bodyweight is stored fat to fuel this uninterrupted journey.

Okay once again it feels like nature has trumped and taught - here are these amazing birds putting forth what seems an annual fantastical effort of airborne grace which require neither fossil fuels nor the latest gps technology or a bank account to arrive on time and in the place they need to be looking quite unstressed. Even the polliwog park paparazzi (ppp) has not fazed them.

Here are a pair of celebrity Widgeon's, a well-known Northern Shoveler, avid birder Dennis giving Mimi tips and a few more shots of the now infamous Cedar Waxwings. Photos by Julie Gonella, ppp.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at Julie's

This year the long-awaited rains arrived the morning of the annual MBBG Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast so we gratefully accepted the venue change from the garden to Julie's cozy house down by the pier.

It was so nice to see everyone together and all agreed this year's presents were super. Thanks to Julie the volunteers now have white t-shirts with a ladybug tag on the front and the MBBG yellow flower logo on the back along with a nifty hose nozzle and seed packets.

I have to mention here that the buffet was exceptional with a mouth-watering frittata ala Charlotte, Julie's cheesy quiche and the papaya balls and yogurt with granola being my favorite.

Besides partying the real purpose of the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast was to let all our MBBG volunteers know just how much they are loved and that without them we would not have a garden. So thanks again to all the garden volunteers - you are incredible. Note: If you did not make the breakfast please make sure to stop by the garden on any Friday and pick up your presents and get properly thanked!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cedar Waxwings for the Holidays

This December, the migratory Cedar Waxwings (bombycilla cedrorum) arrived at the garden just as the Toyon aka Christmas Berry shrub was bursting with red berries. The berries are one of their favorite treats - they aren't dummies.

Local birder extraordinaire and owner of Wildbirds Unlimited, Bob Shanman, says they also eat the unripe berries and get a bit tipsy. We aren't certain if they were intoxicated but did get a shot of them imbibing at the garden's local watering hole. Click on the photo to view larger version. Photo by Julie Gonella.

Want to hang with BIRDS of a feather in the South Bay?

Then don't miss out on Sunday Morning Birds Walks at Polliwog Park with Bob Shanman, details:

Sunday Morning Bird Walks at Polliwog Park
-- > All but the 3rd Sunday morning if each month @ 8am

Meet Bob on the corner of Manhattan Beach Blvd and Redondo Ave. @ 8:00 ---anyone is welcome. Binoculars and walking shoes are recommended.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Say Goodbye to the Chain Link Fence

This past month we tore out the old chainlink fence along the northside of the garden and replaced it with a beautiful split rail design. (See featured photo to the right top of blog). If you haven't been by lately come on over and see what a difference it makes!
Many thanks to Jim Catella for the design and installation, Ann Barklow and Julie Gonella for making it happen, Mike Garcia and his guys from Enviroscape for making the site ready and detailing the area so beautifully and to the guys in MB Parks and Rec for removing the old fence and hauling it away. Well done!
Photo by Julie Gonella