The garden expansion installation is finished, now it is time to hope for rain and watch our new plants grow and prosper. In Spring 2020, the garden partners (Yolo County Master Gardeners, Winters Joint Unified School District, and Yolo County Library) agreed to extend the existing teaching garden boundary east to the sidewalk along Railroad Avenue, into the adjacent area that had been full of weeds for a number of years.
We had up to 25 volunteers work for a total of 550 hours over the last 8 months. We partnered with Putah Creek Council for two planting days. We worked around days when the air quality from wildfires was unhealthy and worked out doors where we masked and kept our distance.
Volunteers completed the removal of the old non-functioning irrigation system and several small trees and shrubs. Pat Riley provided his tree removal expertise and equipment. Following the planting we installed irrigation and mulched the site. We also scattered wildflower seeds in the front area to provide some spring color.
We had input on landscape, irrigation, and hardscape design from Heather Nichols, Patricia Carpenter, Jean Witzman, and Sue Fitz. The design plan complements the existing garden, with low-water-use and wildlife-friendly plants, anchored with small trees and large shrubs. New additions include some California desert plants as well as a variety of succulents, some from the gardens of Pat Thompson and Charlotte Kimball (thanks gals).
A generous $1,000 grant from the Yolo County Resource Conservation District (YCRCD) covered the planting and irrigation costs. Winters Friends of the Library (WFoL) committed to provide an annual budget of $750 for long-term support of the garden. We had generous gifts from WFoL for benches and from the Rotary Club for purchasing our plant identification stakes. Diane Cary and Robert Armstrong along with an assist from Joan Brenchley and Stephanie Myers created a bat information sign that
hangs next to our bat rocket box.
From the very beginning we had a cheerleader in John Donlevy as we were on his jogging route every Saturday when he would stop and offer his and the City’s support. The City maintenance crew (Eric Lucero, Terry Vendor, Adrian Balderas, and Sal Del Toro) was essential to our success and provided the heavy lifting in relocating the fence, earth moving, delivering compost, removing old valve boxes and installing a new valve box and irrigation timer. They also helped us dig the decomposed granite pathway and provided a compactor (with a tutorial) and have provided numerous hours troubleshooting our irrigation system.
The expansion area more than doubles the original teaching garden planted in April 2019. It is a natural fit and will create more space for outdoor library activities as well as provide a more pleasing view for the public and a nicer street view for the library.
And our new benches have arrived and been assembled!