LA MESA BEAUTIFUL CULTIVATES HARMONY WITH NATURE IN EAST COUNTY

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Upcoming spring events April 10 and May 19 reap harvest of community opportunities

By Elisabeth Handley

March 18, 2019 (La Mesa) -- Spring heralds all things new, so what better time to plan a new garden or landscape renovation? La Mesa Beautiful’s spring events are the perfect venues to get ideas, talk to experts and have a lot of fun in the process.

“There are many beautiful ways to bring color, softness and a variety of textures to your garden with climate-friendly, water-wise, low-maintenance landscape strategies,” says Linda Morse, master gardener and president of La Mesa Beautiful.

Established in 1974, La Mesa Beautiful hosts events and other public programs throughout the year to involve the community in preserving and enhancing the area’s beauty, including Spirit Awards honoring beautiful, well-maintained, climate-appropriate residential and business landscapes.

Morse, along with club vice president JoAnne Cando, recognized a need in the community for a garden club and started an offshoot this year called the Shrub Club. Held quarterly at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Shrub Club offers dynamic meetings which include speakers on relevant gardening topics, make-and-take workshops and a share table to swap clippings and gently used garden items.

“At our first meeting in January, we had a great turn out,” Morse says. “People came from all over East County to take advantage of the plants for sale, our vintage garden items and advice from master gardeners.” The next Shrub Club event is coming up April 10, featuring a guest speaker from the San Diego Seed Co. which specializes in indigenous, San Diego-area seeds which thrive in the San Diego region.

The organization continually works to grow a gardening community. Recognizing the need for young people to continue its goal of sustainability, La Mesa Beautiful introduces the importance of arboriculture to elementary school children by supporting Arbor Week activities in local schools and donating scholarships to students seeking to further their education in horticulture. The organization also created and maintains a Demonstration Garden in Wakarusa Park (adjacent to Grossmont Hospital) displaying imaginative ways to combine herbs beautifully in a landscape.

Funding for these wide-ranging community projects comes through the club’s Annual Plant Sale, to be held this year on Sunday, May 19 at 10:00 am in MacArthur Park. La Mesa Beautiful will have for sale colorful, sun-loving plants that are beautiful and water-wise. Believing that East County landscapes can be so much more than cactus and rocks, they will be promoting easy care choices in combinations that provide color, texture and nectar for pollinators, and working with local nurseries to provide the heathiest plants that are adapted to this climate.

In addition to plants, this sale will also feature a Vintage Garden Shed with charming, gently used items like old gates, vintage planters, buckets and patio furniture. These items make whimsical yard décor, or can be repurposed as containers for plants.

“We’re shaking it up a bit this year, teaming up with the Foothills Art Association to host ‘Art in the Garden,’” says Morse. “We plan to have art on display, strolling musicians, food trucks and more on hand for a really enjoyable event.”

A recently-retired firefighter, Morse understands on a profound level the importance of landscaping, clear space and being water-wise in East County, and is working to shift the gardening paradigm. She recommends converting often unused lawn areas and thirsty plants into useful areas for vegetables, fruit trees or simply a place to sit and enjoy the view.

“We recently ripped out our lawn and three thirsty liquid amber trees and put in a sitting area to drink our coffee every morning,” she says. “We now have a very colorful yard which attracts butterflies and pollinators. It’s more interesting to look at and be in. I’m very passionate about getting this going in our community.”

For more information on La Mesa’s Beautiful’s programs and events, visit their newly-renovated website, www.lamesabeautiful.org.