This year has been a huge time of growth for us at Garden Apothecary - both in the Shop, Corner Garden, Farm and in developing our apprenticeship program. Something that is important to us, is our giveback to our community here in Half Moon Bay, CA. We employ girls from the HMB HS AG department, educating these students in everything farming, plant retail sales and gardening. We find it important to work with these girls year-round, offering them opportunities to learn hands-on and with a variety of other growers in California.
You'll hear me talk about this program quite a bit in the coming months, but for now, here are some pics from our last meeting, where we learned about caring for roses and other perennials - specifically, dead-heading and pruning.
First off - meet Carla! Carla has been professionally caring for and designing gardens in the Bay Area for over 25 years - with roses being her specialty. Carla allowed us to tour her garden in it's most woolly season (Fall) in order for the AG Girls to learn about how to use the proper tools for this time of year, and to dead-head plants. Our biggest lesson was learning that this is not the time of year to do a hard pruning, even if the garden is looking more wild than we would like.
Here we see Jessica, Jane and Magdalena (one of our Shopkeepers) dead-heading roses and penstemon with our t-600 pruners. Dead-heading allows unsightly foliage and stems to be clipped off and composted - and it gives a signal to the plant to either regenerate more foliage or flowers (depending on the season).
Carla's garden is filled with flowers, although they mostly put on a colorful display in the Spring (think of every romantic, rose-filled garden pic you've ever seen x10). We purposely picked this time of year in order to experience the garden when it needs our help the most - giving the girls a chance to see what it looks like when the plants are perfectly healthy, but just not showy. We often get customers who come to the Corner Garden, asking how "to help" their plants - when really, it's just a matter of doing some light clean up and dead-heading, then leaving the plants alone until they decide to flower again.
I was most thrilled with this gardening demo because Carla and I have the same nature philosophy. We often see gardening the same way - working with nature, not against it. Over the years of our friendship, we have called each other to gripe about horrible clients, climate change and the impact on plants, and general trials and tribulations in our own gardens. I feel really proud and grateful to be able to work with Carla and demonstrate this type of gardening to our AG Girls, so they can become great gardeners, and confidant communicators in this industry.