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March Newsletter

Welcome to Garden View's second newsletter. We received a tremendous amount of positive response to our first newsletter. We are happy that so many of you found our newsletter informative and  inspiring. We are going to be working on constantly improving the content to better serve you. One of the first changes is that we are going to make the gardening tips so that  the first items are more maintenance oriented on what needs to be done this month such as what and when to prune particular plants or what insects to be on the lookout for this month. The ending parts will be mostly what to plant this month and information for hobbyists. This should make quick reading for Professional Property Managers, Homeowner Associations and Homeowners whom want to stay on top of what their Gardeners should be doing this month.
We encourage you to forward this newsletter to friends and associates that may find it interesting or useful.
Mark Meahl (President Garden View Inc.)

Altadena Backyard
The rough concept was developed by the owner Hope Goldberg and Landscape Architect Mark Goldschmidt. Richard Riedel was the Garden View Designer / Project manager and worked closely with Mark Meahl and Hope Goldberg to design details, layout, new ideas, plant choices, engineering etc. There is a lot of detail on this project. The Fireplace was designed to fit around an antique heirloom fireplace screen, it also has a BBQ attached. The Fireplace is oriented so that you can enjoy the fireplace and still enjoy the view of the pool, gardens and city lights. The Precast concrete above the fountain / spa was custom built by Classical Building Arts and though not apparent it was a difficult engineering feat. The vine on the arbor is a Chardonnay grape.

March Gardening Tips

Spring has arrived, even though it will most likely rain this month and snow may dust the mountains. So much is in bloom, or is soon to be. Continue to plant just about anything - from seeds to citrus -and there's no shortage of chores, from weeding to fertilizing.

Most plants do their growing in spring, so fertilizing now - especially if it's the only time you do - can make a huge difference. The kind of fertilizer used isn't that important. As one experienced nurseryman put it, "Most fertilizers work, but they don't work sitting in the garage." However, make sure you need to fertilize - many garden soils already have more than enough fertilizer.

Dead heading is removing the spent or dead flowers from the plant. In simple terms most plants produce flowers to produce seeds to reproduce. If the flower is removed before the seed has been dropped from the plant the plant will usually keep trying to reproduce. This in turn means the plant will probably produce more flowers for a longer period of time.
Many annuals (plants that live for one season only) will die if they are not deadheaded. But if they are deadheaded they will continue to produce flowers for an extended time.

Garden View Maintenance crews due this on a weekly basis.

Breaking off the flower where the stem meets the stalk is the way to successfully deadhead Long-stem flowers, such as this daylily, that grows in a succession of blooms on a single stalk. Pull down gently on the spent flower until it cleanly snaps off. Breaking off faded daylilies will add to the plant's appearance if not the overall flower productivity. Other flowers to break off include iris, Gladiola, and Kangaroo Paw.

Click Here to read what to prune now and other gardening tips!

Water-Wise Tips
Protect our resources and your water bill

water levels Sprinkler lay out is very important. Distribution Uniformity (DU) of the water is critical. Distribution Uniformity (DU) is a measure of how evenly water is applied across a specified area being watered from the same valve during irrigation. For example, if one inch of water is applied in one part of the same valved area and only half an inch is applied in another part of the same valved area that is poor DU. DU is expressed as a percentage between 0 and 100%, although it is virtually impossible to attain 100% in practice. DUs of less than 70% are considered poor, DUs of 70 - 90% are good, and DUs greater than 90% are excellent. We have seen DUs as low as 20%.

Course DU In short, bad DU means that you are probably watering part of your yard (on a particular valve) too much and another part too little. Most people will turn up the timer or water long enough to keep the area with little water green and lush, so that means you are overwatering the other area too much. With a 20% DU that means 5 times more water than was needed was applied.

Garden View Irrigation crews measure DU before turning the irrigation system over to our clients. Garden View Maintenance crews measure DU in early stages of a new maintenance contract. Sometimes relatively inexpensive adjustments or changes to the irrigation system will result in significant water savings.

In the Dirt
with Julie Meahl Julie Meahl

● March 20th is the first day of spring.  It's time to "spring into the dirt" and enrich your soil.  Go out and grab your rakes and shovels, dust them off, and start cultivating.  All you need to do is: lift up existing soil, add compost and all purpose fertilizer, turn it over, and level it out.

 ● This would be a good time to plant azaleas and camellias.  Our nursery still has them in bloom, so choosing them now means no surprises next year.  When planting azaleas, use 50% peat moss mixed with 25% compost, and 25% native soil.  Camellias need 25% peat moss, 25% compost, mixed with with 50% native soil. 

  Also in full bloom right now is our Cooke's purple wisteria.  This particular vine has large fragrant blooms in spring and a second bloom of smaller spikes in summer.  If you like wisteria but don't have anything to support it with, we have them in tree form as well.  These semi-weeping trees can grow 8-12 feet tall, and their white flowers are exceptional.  Come in and check them out!

Tip: If old wisteria fails to bloom, withhold all nitrogen fertilizers for an entire growing season.  If that fails to produce bloom the next year, you can try pruning roots in spring, by cutting vertically with spade into plants root zone (be gentle).

● March 15th is the Sierra Madre Wisteria Festival.  This is the only day of the year you can come into the homeowner's property and view the largest vine in the world.  I'm fortunate to call the vine my neighbor, and can attest to the thousands of anxious viewers every year. The busses transporting viewers up to the vine wake me up in the morning.

  Imagine everyone walking through the property, bedazzled by the mass of gorgeous purple flowers, forgetting to watch their step.  To prevent an accident, the swimming pool is bordered with a sampling of Garden View plants so no one accidentally falls in!

  The streets in town are closed off for vendors to sell their arts + crafts.  Every few blocks there is live music and of course restaurants riddle the streets.  It's a great day to stroll around.  The hours for viewing the vine are 9:00 - 4:00.

● Let's not forget that March 17th is St. Patrick's Day.  I highly suggest the St. Patrick rose.  The luck of the Irish may have finally brought a super slow-opening yellow-gold and green hybrid tea rose.  This saintly yellow can pick up a touch of gold in cool weather, but he'll be wearin' the green when the temperature turns up.  The fragrance is slight.

   Wow! I'm exhausted.  We have cultivated, planted, walked, strolled, shopped, danced, sang, and ate. [& Hopefully not gone swimming]

Now you're in the dirt!
(Julie Meahl is the Retail Manager and Vice President of Garden View, Inc.)

Blake's Landscape Maintenance Blog
Blake It's getting a little warmer and is probably about time to give up your hopes for any more rainfall.  That's right the Governator has already officially declared emergency drought status this year!  That means it would probably not be a bad idea to get a head start on irrigation checks and improvements.  That dude will seriously $#%@ you up if you mess with him.  Fortunately I spent a couple of days last week at the LA convention center taking 5 seminars and listening to about 15 speakers on water management.  In fact, I am currently working of fulfilling all of the requirements to be a CLCA certified water manager. 
There are tons of things you can do to improve your irrigation system's efficiency and stay on Arnie's good side.  First step, just turn the system on and take a look at what's going on out there.  Do you see geysers a few feet high? Are sprinklers pointed directly at concrete?  Are there large puddles or streams flowing anywhere?  Use common sense and look for indicators that a simple repair or adjustment is in order.
The number one enemy of irrigation efficiency is something called runoff.  This occurs when water is applied beyond or faster than the soil's saturation rate.  This sounds complicated but there is an easy solution.  Just turn on your system and let 'er rip until you start to see signs of this saturation, i.e., puddling and water streaming off the irrigated landscape area.  Just shave about a minute off of what it took to get you there and you have your maximum run time for that valve.  If you feel that the area needs more water set up another start time on that valve about an hour later so that you can maximize the water you are applying.  Keep in mind that soil types, slopes and types of sprinklers are all variables that will create dramatic differences in your results so it is important to perform this procedure for each valve.
Another hot tip; go to bewaterwise.com.  They have a bunch of valuable information as well as rebate opportunities for water efficient products.
Oh!  One last thing, if you are a Garden View client, hands off!!!  We have it under control.  BUT we do live in an imperfect world with imperfect irrigation systems.  If you notice a problem with your system or have concerns about its efficiency send me an email and we can discuss what we need to do to get it up to par.  Neither of us need Arnold giving us a hard time.

(Blake Meahl is the Operations Manager for Garden View's Maintenance Division.)

If you have any suggestions on articles you would like to see in our newsletter or suggestions for improvement please let us know.
-Tyler Meahl (Technical Manager and Special Projects Coordinator for Garden View Inc.)
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Garden View, Inc. | 114 E Railroad Ave. | Monrovia | CA | 91016