Drove around Pacific House, El Dorado County, CA, which was a emigrant wagon road, Pony Express, Lincoln Highway, and Highway 50 landmark. Apparently many well known folks stayed here, including Mark Twain. Not much going on these days. We are facing east, and just a little further ahead the Lincoln Highway leaves Peavine Ridge Road, and connect into the present day Hwy. 50. Hwy. 50 is just out of the picture on right. Peavine ridge road continues down into the American River Canyon. It was part of The Johnson Cutoff of The California Trail.
Here we see the construction of The Lincoln Highway, near Clarksville. The pavement was poured 10" thick, and convicts from Folsom Prison were used in it's construction. Follow this link for a picture you can zoom in on.
Here we see a highway crew pouring concrete for The Lincoln Highway in Shingle Springs. This spot looks real familiar. I think it's Durock Road right about where the pipe manufacturing plant would be, in that field.
At first we thought this place reconditioned old propellers for use as engines on airplanes. Turns out, they are reconditioned to be used as frost protection in vineyards. The photo was taken in St. Helena, CA, wine country. They're mounted on tall supports, over the vineyards. When frost arrives, they're turned on, moving the air and preventing damage to the emerging grapes shoots in spring.
The view from The Lincoln Park golf course. Years ago it was a cemetery for the less "well off" of the city. When they dug up, and moved all the burials in SF to Colma back in the 19th century, they evidently forgot this one. Nice view.
On Linclon Avenue, Auburn Ca. That's a mural on the wall straight ahead. I like how it blends in with the landscape.
When you reach the top of Prospectors Road, Garden Valley, this this is the view. Prospectors Road was used before Marshall Rd was built.
Not so hidden behind a fence in Isletown sits, what appears to be, the smokestack from the old paddle-wheeler, "Delta King". How it ended up here, is a mystery.
What happened to Arbor Day? I remember it being something the nursery trade joined in on. Checking today I see it’s been taken over by Calfire (our state fire agency). When you look up more information we’re directed to the National Arbor Day Foundation, out of Nebraska. Following the link, “View the California State Report”, we’re taken to a 2014 dated news release.
Depending on which state you live in, the day is celebrated at different times. Here in California the date is March 7, Luther Burbank’s birthday. Luther Burbank was California’s most famous horticulturalist, being responsible for developing hundreds of different types of fruiting plants, as well as ornamentals, think Shasta Daisy.
While Earth Day on April 22 is popular, it’s more of a broad area of interest celebration. Arbor Day, however, was made for the nursery trade. It’s a day when we are suppose to plant a tree! If there are any California nursery trade organizations left, and I don’t know if there are, why not take this up? If there are no trade organizations willing too, why not take it up on our own?
The message of planting a tree for the future is exactly the type of activity we need to encourage. Non-denominational, above politics, and something anyone can do. Live in an apartment? Plant a tree in a container, inside our out! Trees can be fruiting, ornamental, helpful for wildlife, or any other reason for planting a tree. I remember some nursery group trying a “Plant Something” campaign. I never liked that because it’s so open ended. Plant what? Here we have an opportunity to plant a very specific item, a tree.
The nursery trade always seems to be wondering how best to promote itself. Here we have a specific date, on which to do a specific thing, that will make a positive influence on the person planting it, the neighborhood, and the world. Why not promote this? If the trade won’t do it, I’m going to do it. How about you? Something as simple as letting people know in advance of this special date, how your store can help, and giving them the encouragement to “get it done”. You could even map out where these new trees are being planted, with pictures of the people planting the tree. Next year let’s check in and see how the tree is doing. Post more photos of that tree planted last year, and the new one they are planting.
A horticultural tradition is born!
The news that LE Cooke Nursery is closing is a sign of just how depressed the independent retail nursery market is. According to the statement they released, their customer count has, over the last 10 years, fallen from about 1700 to about 500, and still declining. This leaves one bare root supplier for California, Dave Wilson Nursery.
As LE Cooke mentions, the worrisome part of this for those of us who love to garden and grow things is, “other wholesale nurseries selling canned fruit trees seem to be purchasing solely on price and not the best varieties for homeowners, but rather commercial farmer varieties with quality geared for shipping and storage to the markets, not best flavor that we seek.” Yes, the box stores and their suppliers are partly responsible for the dumbing down of the gardening public. They don’t care if the varieties they sell are the best for your area, just how quickly they can sell through them. People who have never gardened, or are interested in gardening will find success eludes them and eventually give up. This is not good for the long term outlook of bringing in new gardeners, and customers.
Are bare root fruits and berries a dead category? Will people only buy in cans? I’m concerned that the planting of fruit trees in one’s backyard may be slowing down. Why plant, when mobility and job changes causes one to move more frequently? Why invest in the small orchard when you’ll just have to leave it all eventually?
Those of us who still make a living in the independent garden center trade now have to find new suppliers, and in many cases there are no new suppliers. As more, and more large growers jump on the box store train, the remaining ones will close. There are simply not enough of us smaller stores to keep them afloat. This is not a death knell for small garden shops, but it does mean we have to continue being nimble, and quickly responsive to the ever changing garden center scene.
It’s certainly interesting, and a bit sad to see the predictions we made 10 years ago coming to fruition. Major suppliers heading to the box stores, small garden shops continuing to close, and most important, a public that will never know there was something better, and much more special, than that chain store garden shop.
This article, which appeared in today's Sacramento Bee, say's, "the Farm-to-Fork boast is all wrong for a town that yearns to be Silicon Valley East...It’s time to step away from the world-class provincialism that has long constrained Sacramento. Let go of the images of our agricultural past, lest our economic future be limited to farm-to-forklift jobs."
The article describes how Silicon Valley, "which once laid claim to being the world’s canning and dried-fruit packing capital, shrugged off its rich agricultural heritage. Along with neighboring San Mateo County, it embraced a new moniker: Silicon Valley."
Why do we want so badly to shrug off our rich agricultural heritage? We want the overcrowding, and sky high housing costs of Silicon Valley here?
I find it weird that a population that seems to thrive on the "idea" of local farming, and locally sourced food, would want to emulate Silicon Valley, a once wondrous farmland turned into sprawl. I have no desire to see our region turned into Silicon Valley East, though it's headed in that direction. Where shall we grow our food if all the best agricultural land is paved over? Sacramento needs to get over wanting to be "somewhere else" (Silicon Valley this time), and figure out how to be itself, in all its agricultural glory.
I have often wondered what the ramifications of perpetual artificial light might be. Seems many of our nighttime pollinators are getting thrown off track. BBC News say's, "...the researchers found that plants exposed to artificial light at night showed a 13% reduction in the number of fruits produced. So despite the activity of day time pollinators artificial light at night reduces fruiting."
According to this article in The Telegraph, Monty Don, an English horticulturist and TV host say's we shouldn't waste our time trying to convince Millennials into the garden. According to Don, "I think we put far too much interest in trying to get ten to 20 year olds interested in gardening. I think you should do everything you can to try and get them interested up to the age of 10.”
I agree. No one pushed me into horticulture, or the garden. My interest developed on it's own without any encouragement from the trade. As Don say's, "When you’re 15 whatever your parents tell you you should do, you’re not going to do it. Any self respecting 15-year-old [will rebel] and so they should."
"I think much better to make sure they have access to it up to the age of 10 and of course don’t take it away at that point, and just let them come.”
The marketing attempts from most of the trade organizations geared towards millennials fall on deaf ears. Millennials will migrate to the garden on their own, if they choose. Likely it will be the realization that in the garden the hope for our future rests. Not with new technology, new media, or slick ad campaigns, but in the garden where one can make a difference that is real and dynamic. Horticulture is the future, and millennials will realize that when they do.