In the Garden

9 Feb

The sun is shining and the birds are singing! Even though much of the country is still blanketed under snow and ice (brrrrr!), we’re pretty lucky here in USDA zone 10 to be able to  garden year-round (not that we’re gloating or anything).

mannequin bed

Each year, Annie completely replants our demonstration gardens to keep things fresh and exciting. It’s dramatic to see everything ripped out and a new garden taking shape from scratch, but new designs and combinations provide inspiration for both us and our visitors!

planting

Back in November, she turned over the soil, took out the spent annuals and cut the perennials down to the ground. She ditched the ugly plants, the unruly plants and anything that didn’t fit with the new planting scheme taking shape in her head. This made room for lots of new babies. The goal – and challenge! – is to have everything bloom at the same time for our Big, FAB Spring Party on April 9 and 10.

baby plants

November is also when she planted biennials like Digitalis and some varieties of Verbascums and Campanulas, along with perennials like Alonsoa meridionalis, Delphiniums and Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green.’ Of course, all of these plants can go in the ground right now for May or June bloom!

baby plants1

Right now, if you were to drop into the nursery, you would find her still planting a few perennials, as well as slower growing annuals like Orlaya grandiflora, Agrostemma githago, Omphalodes linifolia and Cynoglossum amabile. It’s also a good time to put in foliage plants like Heucheras, Rumex and grasses. We planted a few Sweet Peas in November and will plant some again soon, so we’ll have a succession of frilly, fragrant blooms from April to June – longer with deadheading!

planting

Very soon, the faster blooming annuals like Poppies and California native “Baby Blue Eyes” and Eschscholzias (Cal Poppies) will go in the ground – but remember – we’re shooting for early April bloom. So you can definitely plant them right now or anytime really until the end of March or beginning or April for later bloom.

Don’t forget to protect your little babies from slugs and snails! We use Sluggo, a non-toxic iron-phosphate based bait that is safe for pets and kids. Snails are ravenous and they’ll chow down on those delicious little CA natives until they are but stubs in the ground. You won’t be very happy if that happens – and neither will the plants.

lunaria_rosemary_verey

Even though the goal is to have everything bloom-at-the-same-time, sometimes the weather doesn’t get the memo. A cold and rainy Winter will slow everything down, while sunny weather in December and January can result in a massive bloom-a-thon in March. So we aim for the middle and hope for the best. And it usually works out pretty well!

spring is coming!

3 Responses to “In the Garden”

  1. chuck b. February 12, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    I’m fascinated by the Omphalodes linifolia. Is that new?

    I just came up from my own garden, which is starting to change dramatically as we transition into spring. Time to find that Annie’s gift certificate I got for Christmas and get my butt over there ASAP.

  2. anniesannuals February 12, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    We’ve grown the Omphalodes for a long time but it often gets overlooked for some of the flashier annuals. It’s adorable and self-sows very nicely to create a frothy appearance. http://www.flickr.com/photos/anniesannuals/4559365504/ Bonus: killer common name: “Venus’ Navelwort!”

  3. fred Hoffman February 12, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    Zone 10? Zone 10?? Since when is any part of Nor Cal in Zone 10? I thought you’d been snorting the daphnes a little too much! Then I took a look at a superduper sized USDA Zone map. And sure enough, there is this little band of poinsettia red bordering three sides of San Francisco Bay, about a mile wide. Not that anyone would confuse Richmond with Santa Barbara, but it must be nice to have THAT in common! Congratulations. Grow an avocado for me. Thanks.

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