25 JANUARY 2018
  TIME: 11:30AM - 1:30PM
  MEETING PLACE: University Club
Alumni Room
1332 Santa Barbara Street
Santa Barbara, California
  SPEAKER: Bob Santoro, new member.
  TOPIC: Report on Mountain Garden Club of New Hampshire, of which he is a board member.
  Please bring a plant for the plant exchange!


  None scheduled this month, see below for opportunity to volunteer on a beautification project Monday, Jan 29.


PAST MEETING SPEAKER: Cancelled due to Thomas Fire.

As stated in a previous issue of The Compost, Ray Kolbe has undertaken a project in Carpinteria: The Santa Monica Creek Trail Beautification Project. Here is an update on that project.

Bee in flower

The goal and intent of this project is to improve habitat for pollinators, while beautifying this trail. The Thomas Fire had a significant impact in that the conditions precluded work on the trail. Now that we've had a little rain, with more to come, it's time to continue the work on this trail.


The Santa Monica Creek Trail runs from Via Real at the southern end to Foothill at the north. This beautification project (for this year) runs along Santa Monica Creek for approximately 1400 linear feet beginning at Via Real and runs north just past El Carro. It avoids the space adjacent to the creek, running between the trail and the property fences, leaving the space between the trail and the creek as is.

We're referring to this year's effort (now through spring 2018) as Phase I. Phase II will extend the project to the city boundary, which is adjacent to the greenhouses, just past the halfway mark of the trail going north. Following that effort, Phase III will complete the trail work to Foothill Road.

Santa Monica Creek Trail Project area

The primary goal of this project is to plant (predominantly) native species of wildflowers and other plants to improve pollinator habitat. The current trail is largely inhabited with weeds, bare ground, and trees. This trail is regularly used, and has seen the addition of native trees in the last several years, primarily oak and sycamore. Meanwhile, bees and butterflies are becoming endangered due to loss of habitat and other factors. Most of the area within this project will have wildflower seed scattered. Ray has acquired over 8 lbs of seed from S & S Seeds in Carpinteria.

bee in flower

There are three areas that are open and rather large (23 to 32 feet wide and 60 to 80 feet long). These three areas will be specifically planted for the purpose of beautification. These three areas will be referred to as the butterfly garden (which currently has a bench), the bee garden, and the bird garden, going south to north, and are indicated in blue on the photo (bottom to top, meaning the butterfly garden is the bottom blue oval). These specific pollinators will be the focus of the specific gardens, but all three beds will incorporate plants for all pollinators, just in different ratios.

Butterfly and bee

butterfly and bee

These planted beds will be made up of some scattered seed, but mostly seedlings that are either being donated by nurseries (Seaside, Abe, Island View, Toro Canyon & Yes Yes), or commitments from nurseries (Yes Yes Nursery) to grow seedlings from the seed provided by S&S Seeds.

Trail photo

The trail has sufficient tree population, although there are only a few species found there, so the majority of our planting efforts will focus on wildflower seed, especially asclepias and salvia. There are over 30 species of seed and an additional number of shrubs. Some of the shrubs will be planted as seeds, such as toyon, others will be seedlings, such as manzanita, holly leaf cherry, and coffeeberry.

Trail photo Trail photo near bench Work Crew

This year the first section, beginning at Via Real and ending just past the El Carro Lane entrance, will undergo soil improvement, seeding, and plantings of predominantly native species of wildflowers and shrubs. This project is all volunteer and donations. So far, the project has received generous donations from S & S Seeds (native wildflower seeds), the Men’s Garden Club of Santa Barbara (committment for additional seeds), Agromin (compost), Yes Yes Nursery (native plants and seedlings from provided seeds), Abe Nursery (native plants), and Seaside Nursery (native plants). We are working to acquire donations for additional shrubs and plants. Additionally, the Horticultural Committee of the Garden Club has been generous in their donation of time and effort. We have completed about 70% of the soil loosening.


On Monday, January 29, volunteers are needed to continue the soil conditioning effort. We'll be loosening the soil with picks, shovels, and rakes. It's important to break up the soil before applying compost for maximum benefit. This is an opportunity to help beautify the community. Volunteer by attending this event, or by calling:
Ray Kolbe at (805) 705-3429 for more information.

  • When: Monday, January 29, 9am
  • Where: End of El Carro Lane, at Santa Monica Creek trail entrance, Carpinteria
  • What: Soil conditioning
  • Bring: Gloves, shovel, pick, and rake
  • Ray Kolbe will provide some food for participants

The pollinators are in desperate need of our assistance to improve their habitat. Please consider joining us.

butterfly and bee

Submitted by
Ray Kolbe