President’s Message

President’s Message

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Hello All, Get ready! March and April has had quite the rain events. Rainfall in L.A. and Southern California is fickle to say the least. There has been more than 30 inches at my home in Canoga Park so far in this rainfall season of 2023. Rainfall totals are very different in the areas around L.A. and Ventura Counties. A friend reports that there have been close to 40 inches of precipitation at their home in Topanga. The 2023 season for winter sports will probably be extended into the month of May in the L.A. area. Winter sports in the Sierra’s may be into June. Time will tell.

The short and long views of the rains must be considered and prepared for. The rains are recharging the ground water and reservoirs. In the next six months the growth fostered by the rains will translate into a glorious super bloom of wildflowers. After the rains the growth in the mountains may translate into a severe fire season . This gardener knows that in addition to green growth the rains can foster a formidable number of bugs, pollen, spores and critters. I’m pleased that birds will also take advantage of the insects. I have bird bath, and seed feeders at my home as do some of my clients. Birds show up for a drink and splash, visit the feeders and fly through the trees and bushes to eat bugs.

This is the time to make sure that containers or any habitat for mosquitoes is emptied. A preemptive (organic) spray for fleas, ticks is being conducted at the homes of several of my clients. I’m conducting a preemptive spray for thrips, aphids, spider mites, and assorted fungi. Any product used at a client’s home is approved in advance in writing. This advance approval springs from my six years of being an insurance agent. It called covering your ‘liability exposure’. Critters can be problematic. Green growth translates to an increased number of critters like gophers, rabbits, deer, spiders, etc. and their predators. Gophers tunnel. In addition to gophers being a destructive garden pest their tunnels can destabilize a hillside. This tunneling at a hillside home in Chatsworth caused the pool at the the edge of the hill to shift. Gophers have not been handled for several years. It was necessary to drain this pool, reinforce the hill and hire a pest control service to prevent further problems. Snakes are an issue with an increased food source. Snakes fall into two general categories; venomous and non venomous. Clients and friends that live in hillside locations have been cautioned to be careful. Kids and pets are especially vulnerable to problems with venomous critters. A plan of action for first aid is strongly recommended.

Rabbits and deer are generally considered pests and are not a major concern. Both love roses. Deer can strike with their hooves. Underground cages constructed with galvanized wire prevents gophers from attacking the roots of roses and other plants. Fencing can deter rabbits and deer from having meals in your rose gardens. You understand the problems and joys in your gardens. Prepare now for any contingency and be ready to enjoy a fantastic bloom.

All are welcome to attend the Rose Auction being held by the San Fernando Valley Rose Society on Saturday April 8th. This event is being held at the Wilkinson Senior Center located at 8956 Vanalden Ave in Northridge, Calif. There will be a silent auction and roses available by bid.

Volunteers welcome on April 30th. The City of Los Angeles is having a Day of Service. Our rose society has been asked to assist with the refurbishment of the small rose garden at the West Valley Occupational Center, 6200 Winnetka Ave in Woodland Hills. The hours are 10:00-12:00. The garden is currently in a shambles. However the roses have been neglected and as roses will do are coming into a bloom cycle. It’s another reason to love roses. It was interesting to see blooms rising above the weeds. This is a real sign of hope for a beautiful garden in the future. A friend of mine was the agricultural instructor. The Center has a great interest in restarting the agricultural program. Yours truly has been asked to become the instructor for the WVOC. It’s a position I’m seriously considering. This will be a combined rose society effort shared by the Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Ventura County rose societies.

The rainfall chart below shows totals from 1877-2022. The red line is the average rainfall which is on paper only. The reality of rains in L.A. is a good example of it being predictively unpredictable. I’m interested to see the rainfall totals for 2023.

My best and Happy Gardening,
David L. Bassani

March 22, 2023