Container Gardening 101!

Here at our urban nursery, we’re tight on space and we don’t always have the luxury of planting everything in the ground. If we’ve offered it for sale, then we’ve tried it in a container – from small trees to the tiniest rock garden treasures. And if we’ve learned one thing (OK – more than one thing, but that’s why you should watch the video) – it is this: SIZE MATTERS. As in, the size of your container is of essential importance. Those chubby, juicy roots are going to need space to spread out and if hindered, will lead to less than thrilling results. If you’ve been disappointed by how your containers have performed in the past then tune in – we’re going to give you some of our tried and true tips for how to do it right!

Can’t Go Wrong Plant Combinations

One of the #1 things people ask for when they come into the nursery is help choosing pretty plant combinations. They see our demonstrations gardens all a’bloom and want to know how they can make that same magic happen in their home gardens. Well, the secret is pretty simple – choose compatible plants that grow and bloom at the same time! So many of these wonderful CA natives and Mediterranean annuals self-sow, which means you’ll enjoy repeat performances next Spring and beyond!

Plants in order of appearance:

Phacelia minor
Ixia hybrid ‘Buttercup’
Lupinus regalis ‘Thomas Church’
Aquilegia yabeana
Agrostemma githago ‘Ocean Pearls’
Nemophila menziesii “Baby Blue Eyes”
Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’
Eschscholzia californica ‘Alba’
Layia platyglossa “Tidy Tips”
Camissonia bistorta “Sunflakes”
Layia gaillardiodes
Rosa ‘Cornelia’ 
Myosotis palustris “Perennial Forget-Me-Not”
Papaver hybridum ‘Orange Chiffon’
Delphinium belladonna ‘Bellamosum’ or Delphinium elatum
Centaurea cyanea “Blue Diadem”
Eschscholzia californica ‘Apricot Chiffon’
Eschscholzia californica ‘Rose Chiffon’
Geum coccineum ‘Totally Tangerine’
Heuchera x micrantha ‘Melting Fire’

Read more about our favorite combos on our BLOG! 


November: Cutting Back and Cleaning Up

We followed Annie around with a camera last Fall to see what she does to prepare for those stunning gardens you see here at the nursery each Spring. In this first installment in a series of four, Annie will walk you through what she does each month to prepare for that bodacious Spring flower explosion we all dream about!


Lupinus arboreus ‘Yellow’ “Tree Lupine”
Cosmos ‘Apricot’
Dahlia coccinea ‘Mixed Colors’
Verbascum species ‘Cotswold King’
Scabiosa caucasica ‘Fama Blue’
Geranium pyrenaicum ‘Bill Wallis’
Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’
Adenophera potaninii

Fall blooming perennials
Plectranthus ecklonii
Pericallis papyracea

December: Planting Perennials

If you garden in temperate climes like ours, from now until December you can – no wait – you NEED to plant biennials, perennials and even some hardy annuals in order to have a spectacular and bloomiferous garden come Spring!



Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’
Lathyrus odoratus “Sweet Peas”
Campanula persicifolia ‘Telham Beauty’
Scabiosa caucasica ‘Fama Blue’
Campanula medium “Canterbury Bells”
Aquilegia “Columbines”

February: Planting Hardy Annuals

Here in coastal California, we plant hardy annuals in January and February for a fabulous bloom-a-thon come April. Your garden will be in full and spectacular bloom just when everybody is rushing out to the garden centers!


Nemophila menziesii “Baby Blue Eyes”
Papaver setigerum
Malcolmia maritima “Virginia Stock”
Sidalcea hendersonii
Eschscholzia caespitosa “Tufted Poppy”

May: The Finale!

Months in the making, all the steps we put in the previous videos paid off, with a grand explosion of our favorite Spring bloomers. Nuff said – just watch!



Papaver setigerum (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March)
Eschscholzia caespitosa “Tufted Poppy” (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March)
Nemophila menziesii “Baby Blue Eyes” (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March).
Layia glandulosa (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March).
Nemophila menziesii ‘Snow White’ (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March).
Phacelia viscida (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March).
Papaver rhoeas ‘Bridal Silk’ (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March).
Omphalodes linifolia “Venus’ Navelwort’ (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March)
Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March)
Layia platyglossa “Tidy Tips” (hardy annual, plant Oct.-March).

30 Responses to “VIDEO”

  1. Nancy Fuller October 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    LOVE that Cineraria…. I grew it this past spring and it was gorgeous! Just cut it down last weekend and it’s already growing back. Hope to one day make it up to Richmond and visit the gardens & SHOP!! 🙂 Nancy

  2. Darla Miller October 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Great tips! I LOVED the plant you highlighted before the Cineraria (the one from South Africa) – but I didn’t catch the name! Could you let me know what it’s called – would love to try it in my garden!
    Thanks 🙂 Darla

    • Megan October 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      Hi Darla! The plant you’re loving is Plectranthus ecklonii 🙂

      • Darla Miller October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

        Thank you for the name and link Megan! It is incredible!

  3. jean suan October 5, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    What is the name of the plant that has reverse colors of cineraria? It was mentioned after the Plectranthus.
    Loved the video. Makes me feel normal wacking away at my plants!

  4. Liz May 7, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    I was wondering how to encourage the plants to self-sow while still dead-heading to encourage bloom. You suggest removing the poppy pods after the petals fall, for example. Should I put the pods directly into the ground? Or save them for later? Please advise. I’m really enjoying all the plants I’ve gotten from you – every day a new flower is coming out – so exciting!!

    • anniesannuals May 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Hi Liz: with the poppies, you can deadhead to prolong the season and keep the bloom going as Annie demonstrates in the video. There will come a time, though, when the plant will be almost spent and just a few blooms remain with no buds in sight. Leave those pods to mature on the plant. They will dry out and become brown (and you should be able to hear the seeds rattling around inside). At the very top of the poppy pod, there is a little “crown.” When the pods ripen, little “windows” will open in the crown and you will be able to shake the seeds out into your hand or a paper bag. You can save the seeds and sow them in the Fall, or just let them fall where they may. Good luck!

      • christine heinrich-salwasser June 23, 2012 at 9:06 am #

        I have so many of your beautiful poppies growing in my garden; however, this year with the papaver somniferum, I found that they seem to have bl;ack spots on the bottom leaves..some of which turn to brown; I have removed all of those leaves as I walk around to keep them clean; I wold love to send you some of the pictures that I have shared on my facebook; I have had so many compliments…i think because we have had so much rain, it tends to affect the poppy in some way…can you advise ?? I know that this particular type of poppy is very fragile and I have had to stake it up very carefully…

      • anniesannuals July 11, 2012 at 11:18 am #

        Hi Christine: As the Breadseed Poppies (Papavers) grow tall and do their thing, their bottom leaves do tend to dry out and look a little untidy. you can do what you did, which is to clean them up a bit by snipping off the dead leaves. Or you can plant understory plants next year to hide their untidy ankles. The black spots on the leaves are caused by the latex that excretes from the plant; it’s totally normal. Giving them a sheltered spot out of the wind is key in preventing them from falling over.

      • Leanne Haney July 4, 2012 at 11:39 am #

        Do you cut back everything the way you suggested for the poppies?

      • anniesannuals July 11, 2012 at 10:59 am #

        Hi Leanne: It depends which poppies. You can deadhead California Poppies (Eschscholzias) and cut them back when they’re done blooming in areas where they persist as perennials. But the giant poppies (Papavers) not so much. As annuals, they bloom and do their thing and then set seed for next year’s generations. Once they set seed, they die and should just be removed. Good luck!

  5. Patsy Ludlum October 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Do you have any recommendations for ridding flower beds of small snails?

    • anniesannuals October 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      We use Sluggo – a non-toxic iron phosphate based snail bait that is safe to use around pets and kids. You can usually find it at an independent garden center. We also sell it online.

      • Mark Cooley June 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

        I have used decollate snails. This is no quick fix. I used it on a HORRIBLE snail problem in Glendora, CA. One year after introducing decollates there was a noticeable reduction in brown garden snails. After 2 years there were very few bad snails; and 3 years later and beyond there were NO snails. I moved to the coast and tried the same thing with an equally horrible snail problem. The success has not been quite as pronounced, but it has been significant. There are still some snails, cut very few.

  6. Linda Wulf October 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    When you’re cleaning up after flowering, how do you know when to cut to the ground and when to pull the plant right out of the ground?

  7. Lisa N March 1, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Since you already have videos posted on the site, could you tape and post the speakers you have also? I live in the middle of the country so coming in for the speakers isn’t practical but I would love to hear and see the talks. The talk next week on berries would would be a great first talk to post.
    Thanks. Love the plants and info.

  8. Daniel Rivera April 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Very well done. Enjoyed the videos very much. Thank you for your effort. I am retired now and enjoying the garden transformation of my Back yard. If you except pictures I would like to share what I have done. Many people have told me that I should open it up to garden tours. Dan Rivera Union City Park & Recreation Commission.

  9. Sheldon Rettmann October 31, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    I like the tips and will tell my wife. thanks Sheldon
    ps. found you in Garden Gate mag

  10. Mary Rosenfeld February 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    I’m from Massachusetts, but spent a summer in Petaluma, where it got very brown – rather a shocking change from the exuberant spring flowers I saw all around me at Point Reyes in the spring! Are you able to continue your gardening season into the summer at all? Do some of those spring bloomers make it across the season? I’m curious, too, because I didn’t see you had a video for the summer… (Really enjoyed the videos, by the way!) Thanks for the info!

  11. tina cecil May 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Totally enjoyed all the tutorials. Made some notes & will put your advice to work.
    thank you

  12. Sandra Goodrich April 21, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    I love Annie;s laugh and smile. Her flowers mean the world to her.The videos have given me some good ideas as to how and where to plant. I have been harvesting strawberries almost every day.

  13. June Emmert August 8, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    I love your garden name and your flowers and especially you, a charming young woman, so refreshing to take a tour with you. I am a lady, ageless, and still gardening. Keep making the viideos, very inspiring. June Emmert.

  14. Nancesca Schroff February 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    I got no connection to the video. Too bad. I have a gift certificate, and would like to use it with good guidance from your knowlegeable staff. Please advise.


    • anniesannuals March 21, 2017 at 9:56 am #

      hi nancesca – you can try viewing the video HERE. hopefully that will work!

  15. Carrie November 25, 2017 at 11:57 pm #

    Annie!! Love love love love your videos (and of course your nursery too 💛✨). Please will you do some summer & fall garden videos? Many more! You are absolutely a joy and so very inspiring. Thank you!!!


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