Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Avoiding Rain While Planting Spring Bulbs

Since late October the north coast has been inundated with rainy weather. The rainy season started earlier than usual this year, quite unexpectedly. We just missed managing to finish up the trimming of the hedge, lawns, and heather shrubs when the rains hit, and there have been few days that were clear to do yard work. The few days I did have in December were spent on getting ready for Christmas, Christmas shopping, and wrapping gifts. So when there was a break in the weather on a Saturday when the forecast said it would be pouring out, I grabbed my spring bulbs and ran out into the garden. It took a few hours but I managed to plant the bulbs I had that were late in getting into the garden.

I planted two boxes of giant snowdrops near the shady area of the trellis boxes, then underplanted those with scilla. I am hoping both bulbs naturalize and fill in this shadier area since heathers won't be happy planted there. Next I planted the three boxes of alliums I had, one with round blue flowers, and the other boxes of cone shaped dark pink allium blooms. I planted a mix of the two allium bulbs in the flowerbed behind the drooping cherry tree. I have found a number of plants have difficulty thriving in this flowerbed other than my Johnson's Blue geranium, which is huge in this spot, and the heaths and heathers that happily grow there. We had four to five foot tall purple alliums already established in our Petaluma yard when we moved there, not exactly where we wanted them but they certainly did multiply and thrive. I gave in and decided the alliums were a smaller size and so pretty, I'd go for it and plant some in our garden. The rest of the dark pink alliums were planted near the porch where the clematis is planted and my small foxgloves are planted in the corner nearby. If they do well there they will take the space up with the foxgloves and brighten up the corner a bit.

The dirt was very compacted due to all the rains, so I moved to the back yard to try and plant the three boxes of tulips, a mix of yellow and dark purple flowers. I planted eight tulips on either side of the obelisk so I could see the tulips from the dining room window. I added the box of tiny windflowers bulbs into the barrel with the heathers. Having planted some windflowers in the barrel before they make a nice addition surrounding the base of the heathers and the pink and purple flowers should look pretty when they bloom in spring. My final choice was to take the rest of the tulips and plant them in a pot, placing it on top of our glass table out on the deck. I've always planted tulips in the ground other than species tulips, so this should be a fun experiment to see how well they do in a container instead.

I was pleased to finally get my bulbs in the ground and planted, it has been frustrating waiting on the rain to cease. The rains are far from letting up, storms are moving in this week and no doubt as winter begins the rains will continue to water my garden and my new garden bulbs well. Now to wait until there is another lull so I can trim back the heaths and heathers of their spent blooms from this year.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deer Resistant Plants Part III

Deer in your garden can be a challenge. Deer can decimate a garden when they become frequent hungry visitors. One way to combat this situation is to offer plants that do not appeal to the deer. Often enough a hungry deer will try just about any plant in the garden. This list of plants are known to be rarely eaten by deer, planting plants that are not as appealing to deer may help keep the damage to your garden down. 

Here is part three of deer resistant plants for your garden:


Lavender-Cotton/Santolina - Perennial
Leatherleaf Viburnum - Shrub
Lily of the Valley - Groundcover
Marjoram - Herb
Monkshood - Perennial
Mountain Pieris - Perennial
Pampus Grass - Ornamental Grasses
Poppy - Annual
Pot Marigold - Annual
Purple Rock-Cress
Red Pine - Tree
Rose Campion - Perennial
Rosemary - Perennial
Rue Anemone - Perennial
Russian Cypress - Shrub

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deer_eating_tomato_plant.JPG

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Deer Resistant Plants Part II

Deer in your garden can be a challenge. Deer can decimate a garden when they become frequent hungry visitors. One way to combat this situation is to offer plants that do not appeal to the deer. Often enough a hungry deer will try just about any plant in the garden. This list of plants are known to be rarely eaten by deer, planting plants that are not as appealing to deer may help keep the damage to your garden down.

Here is part two of plants rarely damaged by deer, making these a good choice for your garden:

Common Yarrow – Perennial
Corkscrew Willow – Trees
Creeping Wintergreen – Groundcover
English Holly – Shrub
Fall Mums – Perennial
Forget-Me-Not – Annual and Perennial Versions
Fringed Bleeding Heart – Perennial
Golden Bamboo – Ornamental Grass
Grape Hyacinth – Bulb
Heartleaf Bergenia – Perennial
Heliotrope – Annual
Japanese Maple – Tree
Lamb’s Ear – Perennial
Lantana – Perennial
Lavender – Perennials

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deer_eating_tomato_plant.JPG

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Deer Resistant Plants Part I

Deer in your garden can be a challenge. Deer can decimate a garden when they become frequent hungry visitors. One way to combat this situation is to offer plants that do not appeal to the deer. Often enough a hungry deer will try just about any plant in the garden. This list of plants are known to be rarely eaten by deer, planting plants that are not as appealing to deer may help keep the damage to your garden down.

Here is part one of deer resistant plants for your garden:

Angel’s Trumpet – Annual
Annual Vinca – Annual ground cover
Autumn Crocus – Bulb
Barberry – Shrub
Bearberry – Ground cover
Bleeding Heart – Perennial
Blue Fescue – Ornamental grass
Butterfly Bush – Shrub
Cinnamon Fern – Fern
Foxglove – Biennial
Daffodils – Bulbs
Flowering Tobacco/Nicotiana – Annual
Heaths & Heathers – Shrub
Iris – Perennial bulb
Japanese Painted Fern – Fern

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deer_eating_tomato_plant.JPG

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Crocus Plant Profiles

During the winter months I thought it would be fun to showcase plant profiles of my favorite garden workhorse plants and new plants I'm interested in growing. This week's plant profile is crocus.

Crocus (Crocus vernus) are a welcome sign of early spring, signaling the end of winter. There are some Crocus species that bloom in the fall. Crocus are a wonderful ground cover and perfect bulb placed below taller plants. Crocus are a member of the iris family and a hardy perennial. Crocus grow two to six inches tall, with a width of three to six inches. The cup shaped flowers come in purple, white, yellow, and lavender, some featuring bi-colored blooms. Crocus grow well in drifts, they have a grass like leaf that mixes in well with lawns. When growing crocus in lawns wait until the leaves have died back and nourished the bulb for next season before mowing. Crocus bulbs, or corms, form a new corm on top of the old corm. Small corms (cormels) grow around the base of each corm. Crocus corms produces from one to five blooms from each corm. Crocus naturalize well and can be forced indoors for early bloom during winter. Crocus prefer full sun to partial shade, have good drought tolerance, and like well-drained soil. Dig up and divide Crocus when crowded after the leaves have died back from the corm.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CrocusStpatricks.JPG

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