Hughson Arboretum Tour

On April 6, the Ceres Garden Club arranged a tour of the Hughson Arboretum and Gardens lead by Dale Pollard, Professor Environmental Horticulture, Modesto Junior College and Hughson Arboretum Board member.

What had been a walnut orchard and a dream for a lovely place filled with native and historic trees and shrubs, became the reality of benefactor Margaret Sturtevant.  The first few acres on family land were planted at the corner of Whitmore Ave and Euclid Road, Hughson, California in 1994.  More plantings were done in 1998, and in 2007 an additional five acres were planted in native trees and plants.

Unique in that the Arboretum boasts to plant, maintain, and make available for public viewing, native trees and plant species, trees of historic value, and other types of plants that will promote education and appreciation of a natural environment.  The concept is to provide a place for preservation of native species and to allow the public to have access to a place of peace for quiet contemplation.  Creating a natural setting without concrete walkways, mowstrips or manicured topiary is the reality of the dream of its founder.

Very unique are the historical trees.  George Washington Tulip Poplar, first planted at Mount Vernon in 1798; Harriet Beecher Stowe Golden Rain; President Madison Montpelier Red Maple; Trail of Tears Redbud; American Elm Survivor Tree, from the Oklahoma City bombing; George Washington Carver Green Ash; and Susan B Anthony Sycamore. It literally took an act of Congress to allow for the moving of a giant Redwood tree slab from Humboldt County Giant Redwood forest, which is on display.

Looking to the future and thinking of the generations who may never see the natural condition of our rich valley, the Hughson Arboretum on only 9 acres is a magical spot where time stands still.  Yet nothing is still in the Arboretum.  The breeze, bees, and blooms beckon to a space where nature is in perfect harmony.

For more information on the Hughson Arboretum and Gardens, and on how to participate with the Arboretum go to: or email:  Mail: P O Box 1345, Hughson, CA 95326



Learning Lecture at the general meeting, 3rd Thursday monthly except July & August, was presented by Ann Shivel, Violet Grower Enthusiast in the month of April, 2017.  Ann has been a grower for over 20 years after moving to a home in Ceres with a bay window.  The window is perfect for growing the ever-blooming, lightly sweet fragranced African Violets.  Collecting violets of a rainbow of colors with unique ruffles and markings, Ann is delighted to share her passion for growing African Violets.


Blooming year round, growing African Violets indoors is quite easy.  Native to Tanzania, Kenya and other areas of East African, Violets thrive in the right soil medium with the correct nutrients and light exposure.

African Violets grow best in soil that is slightly acidic, loose and well draining for free root growth.  Commercial African Violet soil is great, or make your own using equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.  African Violets like their rootball to be snug and secure. Choosing the right pot results in blooms, otherwise, in a pot too large the violet will not bloom.  A good rule is to put the plant in a pot that is 1/3 the size of the leafy plant.  Serious growers, like Ann, recommend using terra cotta over plastic to allow for good air flow.  Using a fertilizer formulated specifically for African Violets insures large healthy leaves and continuous lovely blooms.

African Violets thrive best when the soil feels dry to the touch.  Over watering or under watering will prevent the plant from blooming.  Use room temperature water rather than cold water, otherwise you could chill the roots.  You’ll know if the roots were chilled when the leaves and/or blooms start to curl.  Do not allow water to sit on the leaves, this will result in rings or spots.  If water does get on the leaves or flower, gently dry the area with an absorbent towel.

Providing lots of bright but indirect light will insure continuous bloom.  African Violets will not flower if they so not get enough sun.  However, they will scorch easily in direct sunlight, so their placement is very important.  In winter the plants do best near a window that faces south or west.  In summer, it is better for the plants to be near a window that faces north or east.  If only direct sunlight is available, use a lightweight curtain for filtered light, or move your plants further away from the window and the direct light.

Requiring lots of nutrients for continual flowers year round, it is best to use specific fertilizers that have the correct balance of nutrients. The best fertilizer is balanced 20-20-20; meaning equal ratio of nitrogen to phosphorous and potassium.

The best temperature range for African Violets is between 60-75 degrees, making for the perfect house plant. Keep them out of drafts, which will damage the plant.  They like humidity and without it, they may produce buds which do not open.

Easy to propagate, the African Violet has become an American favorite indoor plant.  A leaf cutting with stem dangling in water or split and inserted into damp soil will bring favorable results with new plants.  It is recommended to re-pot your African Violet yearly with fresh new soil in a fresh new pot.  HAPPY BLOOMING!

Recognition for Beautification

Recognition Recreation Dept (2)

Left: Cambria Pollinger, Asst Dir and Traci Farris (center) of the City of Ceres Recreation Department, present Ceres Garden Club President, Berni Hendrix (right) with Certificates of Recognition for contribution to the beautification of the Ceres Community Center.

The Ceres Garden Club was honored and recognized for achievement in the beautification of the Ceres Community Center at the dedication of the Art Movement in the Community Center building on Monday, March 27, 2017.  Certificate of Recognition signed by Ceres Mayor, Chris Vierra, and presented by Recreation Department Director, Traci Farris, and Assistant Director, Cambria Pollinger, was presented to Ceres Garden Club President, Berni Hendrix.  Certificate of Recognition was also presented for contributing to the beautification of the Ceres Community Center from California State Senator, Anthony Cannella at the presentation ceremony.  Beautification by the Ceres Garden Club includes many areas in and around the Community Center that is expressed in the form of art in plants and plantings.

Plantings include areas outside the west entrance in the courtyard, in ground cover and flowering plants in both the ground and in colorful pots.  Outside the east main entrance are very large pots planted in colorful contrasting succulents.  To the north of the parking lot, under the Blue Star Memorial Marker, which was donated by the Ceres Garden Club, are flowering plants in red, white and blue.  Inside the building, the atrium under the stairs was planted and is maintained by the Ceres Garden Club, along with the potted plants both upstairs and downstairs. All of the plants and plantings at the Ceres Community Center that were made by the Ceres Garden Club are maintained by volunteer Club members.

Dedicated to assisting in the beautification of the community, the Club has also participated in contributing to Arbor Day plantings (annually); delinquently worked for the success of the C.I.R.C.L.E. tree planting of 80 red maples (Oct 2016); installed the Presidential Pathway in Smyrna Park (July 2010); and will be replacing roses in Whitmore Park for Arbor Day 2017.

All plants and trees which are paid for by the Ceres Garden Club are gifted to the City of Ceres for beautification and for the enjoyment of residents.  The City of Ceres Parks Department takes responsibility for the care and maintenance of all plants, roses, and trees that are on City property.

The Ceres Garden Club is very honored to serve the community, and is grateful to have received this recognition.

Rock Painting

Craft-time Prior to Monthly Meeting


Karen Thomas (center), Craft Chairman, instructs Cydney Frontera (left) and Ann Shivel.

Ceres Garden Club monthly meetings now include morning Craft Time during the social Coffee Time starting at 9:30 a.m. on the third Thursday monthly in the Ceres Community Center.  Business Meeting starts at 11:00 a.m. followed by the Learning Lecture with featured guest speaker at 11:30 a.m.

Rock Painting is the current world-wide phenomena with designs of intricate henna style, flowers, garden sayings, gnome home, fairy houses, and any and everything in between.  Vivid acrylic paints are either brushed or penciled onto the rock surface, and the finish design is set with a coat of clear shellac.  Placed in the garden, on a desk or table top for an eye-catching decoration,  no matter what the design or purpose, a painted rock brings up feelings of peace and tranquility from the pleasure gleaned through creativity.

Karen Thomas, Craft Chairman, instructed in another fun hands-on learning experience. Providing the rocks, paint, brushes, and everything needed for the craft experience, members and guests paid for the cost of materials used, with a donation going towards the Scholarship fund, also.

Rock Painting will be featured again at the April General Meeting.  Everyone is invited to participate in the fun craft.  If you do not want to keep your painted rock, you are welcome to donate it to be offered to the public in our booth at the Ceres Street Faire.  Fee for donated painted rocks will be paid by the Ceres Garden Club.





Dudleya hendrixii

Jimi Hendrix is famous for his many songs, including “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” but now he’ll also be remembered for an entirely different reason: a botanist has named a newly discovered species of rare, flowery succulent, after him.  The discovery was made by Mark Dodero, a graduate student at San Diego State University.  The idea for the name took root after Dodero realized he was listening to Hendrix’s song “Voodoo Child” at the very moment he found the pinkish plant. Hendrix died in 1970 at the age of 27.

The plant, named Dudleya hendrixii, is found only in a sliver of Baja California, in an area called the Colonet Peninsula, known as Punta Colenet in Spanish.  D.hendrixii is thin and stalky, and typically grows to be about 1 foot tall.  The plant has succulent leaves and flowers that are hot pink and white.  D hendrixii is a summer deciduous, meaning it dies in the summer and regrows in the fall.

Though a new addition to the science world, it already needs the help of scientist and conservationists.  Because of its habitat, which is only a couple of miles, it is threatened by grazing, farmers, off-road traffic and housing. Punta Colonet may soon be home to a major shipping port, which would further imperil the area’s fragile environment.

D.hendrixii is hardly the only species name inspired by music.  For instance, the damselfly Umma gumma is named for the 1969 Pink Floyd double album “Ummagumma,” which is British slang for sex.  In addition, the tarantula Aphonopelma johnnycashi is named for the singer and songwriter Johnny Cash, because the spider’s dark coloring reminded researchers of Cash’s head-t0-toe black attire.

Science has identified some 2 million species of plants, animals and microbes on Earth, but scientists estimated there are millions more left to discover, and new species are constantly discovered and described.

Re-written from report in Live Science

Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest


Judging, left to right, Tammy Lucich, Roxanne Campbell, Alex Borges, Barbara Hawkins, Laura Bravinder, Ann Shivel, Pat Askew, Judy Sylvester, and Julie Campbell.

309 posters were submitted by students from the Ceres After-School Program.  Representing the entire Ceres School District, students from grades 1 thru 5 are eligible to enter the national contest.

Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl are official icons protected by law, and the poster contest is a partnership between the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and the US Forest Service.  The poster contest is open to all children between grades 1 thru 5, and must be entered trough a local sponsoring garden club who is affiliated with the National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Posters are judged by the local garden club, with 1 poster representing the best from each of the 5 grades being submitted to the California Garden Clubs, Inc (CGCI) for judging. Garden clubs from around the entire state submit their 5 best posters which are judged with 1 from each grade being chosen.  Those chosen are then judged and the best is submitted to the Region of the National Garden Clubs, Inc for judging against the best from every state in the US. Posters that compete for the California Garden Clubs, Inc Prize are not returned to the participants.  Posters that compete for the National Grand Prize become property of the US Forest Service.

The Poster Rules are very specific.

  • Eligibility: Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Prize: 1st Place – $25 and Certificates for each grade level
  • Deadline: local garden clubs must submit poster entries to the state Chairman by January 10, 2017.  The state Chairman must submit the five winning posters from the state to the National Garden Clubs, Inc. Regional Garden Club Chairman by February 1, 2017.
  • All posters must be sponsored by a local garden club.
  • There is no limit as to the number of posters a single student may enter.
  • Posters must feature Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl and must NOT feature both together.
  • Posters may include just the head of Woodsy or Smokey.
  • Smokey Bear posters must include Smokey’s Wildfire prevention message: ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WILDFIRES.
  • Woodsy Owl posters must include Woodsy’s conservation message: LEND A HAND CARE FOR THE LAND.
  • Posters should encourage children to take a personal role in preventing wildfires or conserving resources.
  • Each entry must be 11 x 17 inches in size.
  • Materials that can be used include: crayons, markers, poster paints, water colors, etc. Do not use anything that will transfer to other posters, like chalk.
  • No 3-dimensional posters, computer scanned, or electronically generated images will be accepted.
  • Since Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl are official icons protected by law, the colors of their clothing must be accurate.  Check the colors at:
  • Check spelling.  A poster with ANY spelling errors will be disqualified.
  • Posters may include artwork pasted on to a second piece of paper.  They must be flat.  3D posters are NOT allowed.
  • The following information is to be written on the back lower-right corner of each poster or written on a piece of paper and then pasted in place.  Dark markers should NOT be used, they may show through.  *Artist’s name and school grade. *Name of the sponsoring local garden club. *Name, address, phone number of the school, and the teacher’s name.


Garbage to Garden

COMPOST, by Nathan Gorth, Supervisor, Jennings Road Compost Facility


Nathan Gorth, Supervisor, Jennings Road Compost Facility

The December Learning Lecture was presented by Nathan Gorth, Supervisor, Jennings Road Compost Facility, City of Modesto.  Explaining that most cities in the county participate through their local garbage pick-up service to recycle the green clippings, paper, and organic waste, in partnership with the Jennings Road Compost Facility.  The waste is chopped, watered, stirred and turned regularly for 6 months up to a year, rendering safe, ready for the garden organic compost.

The facility receives approximately 350 tons of residential-community yard (grass, brush, leaves & tree trimmings), paper and food waste each day.  The mixed material is chopped into small chips and placed into huge rows.  Water from deep agriculture wells is used to keep the heaps moistened, and huge equipment turns the compost to keep it well aerated.  The internal temperatures range from 132 – 150 degrees which kills weed seeds and harmful bacteria.  After 6-9 months, the finished product is screened to particles of less than 3/8 of an inch, and is ready for application.

Compost is an organic soil conditioner created by decomposing organic matter under controlled conditions.  Compost improves water-holding capacity of soil, improves soil structure, porosity, and bulk density to create a better plant root environment.  Compost is used as a soil amendment, turf topdressing, mulch, erosion control and growing media component.  Compost improves and stabilized the soil pH.  It reduces or can eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.  Compost increases moisture infiltration and permeability of heavy soils to reduce erosion and water runoff.  It also improves the water-holding capacity to reduce water loss and leaching in sandy soils, which are prominent in the Ceres area.  By supplying beneficial micro-organisms to the soil, compost helps to remedy soils contaminated by hazardous waste, and  will remove solids, oil, grease, and heavy metals found in storm water runoff.

Safe to use in the garden, the compost should be mixed in equal parts with natural soil, and or sand.  Direct planting in concentrated compost may burn roots and kill tender plants.

Explaining the California Recycling Requirements which requires 50% of solid waste which would go into landfills to be diverted into renewable resource, the California goal is to have 75% of the solid waste generated be reduced, recycled or composted by the year 2020.

The local program to encourage backyard composting which is offered in workshops at the Modesto Junior College, includes not only instruction on compost techniques, but offers discount on the purchase of compost bins.  Ceres residents are encouraged to contact the City of Ceres at 538-5792 ( to inquire about backyard composting programs.

The Ceres Garden Club was VERY delighted to learn that as a non-profit, the compost is available for gardening projects FREE of charge.  As Mr Gorth explained, the compost is donated to schools for their youth gardens, and to other youth programs and community benefiting programs and non-profit groups for gardening uses.

The finished compost sells at the Jennings Road facility for: 1 cubic foot bag ($3.25), by the yard (1-3 yards @ $15.75/yrd) or (4-39 yards @ $8.25/yrd).  Over 40 yards is available for $6.33/yrd or $11.00/ton.  Wood chips/mulch is available at $10.00/yard.


  • bones
  • butter
  • cat litter
  • cat/dog feces
  • cheese
  • chicken
  • diapers
  • diseased plants
  • fish
  • greasy foods
  • invasive weeds
  • lard/meat
  • milk products/sour cream
  • oils
  • peanut butter/oil
  • salad dressing
  • unchopped woody waste
  • vegetable oil


This state-of-the-art compost facility meets the Organic Materials Review Institute , OMRI, for use in production of organic food and fiber; and is a member of the U.S. Composting Council.

us-composting-council                               omri