Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Coastal Winter Garden

Winter is in full swing on the north coast and the cold weather finally managed to wilt back the kiwi leaves on their vines in December. It was a little strange watching the kiwi leaves and drooping cherry leaves stay on for most of the month of December. We have had less rain than usual here, November is the latest the rains hit and there were only a few sessions of rain in November and December. Typically here on the coast we start getting non-stop rain by the beginning of November if not sooner. There were a number of very cold days and frosts during December, colder weather that is usually not felt until January.

The holidays slow everything down as does winter and my garden is no exception. Robins show up in numbers to eat holly berries starting near Thanksgiving. The robins ravaged most of the holly berries on the holly tree but there were still a number of them shining their bright red berries throughout December. We've had to turn on the watering system every two weeks with the lack of rain, although there is moisture from the fog and early morning frosts. Near Christmas we had to break down and hand water a few plants because of the unusually clear skies. Now that the leaves have dropped from the kiwi vines it is probably time to start pruning them back. The fruits on the kiwi vine has been no good ever since the first year we moved in here. It seems awful to waste the fruit but unripe kiwi is pretty unpleasant, not even good to make into jelly unfortunately. Even the raccoons do not seem interested in the kiwi fruit that has fallen on the ground. We're not sure why the fruits only ripened the first year we were here but it's been that way for four years now.

The heathers are doing their best to brighten up the garden and are growing beautifully with golden bronze and yellows highlighting the front yard and blooms of cream and pink decorating the Kramer's Rote heathers we have planted throughout the garden. The naked lady bulb leaves started growing in December and look very healthy, although only a few of the bulbs flowered last year. Some of the earlier blooming heathers need a trim, something to keep me busy during the winter months in the garden. The trellis boxes in the front yard are looking bare and really need to be redone this coming spring. The pink jasmine in the trellis boxes is the only place this vigorous plant is underperforming, and the two passionflower vines left alive from the original four are barely flowering. Driving around our neighborhood we noticed a passionflower vine featuring vibrant red flowers which might be a perfect choice to add to the trellis boxes in spring. If not we will look for some fast growing annual vines or clematis to grow in the boxes and provide some new life to the front yard.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Woodland Plants for Your Garden Part III

Republished from my blog

Ferns are one of the most beautiful plants for the woodland garden. There are many different kinds of ferns, each with its own pattern in leaves and delicate sway in the wind. Ferns are a fantastic addition to your shady garden area and some do well in partial sun. Evergreen color in the garden can be an easy choice to make when it comes to ferns. Some ferns die back in winter but others stay green all year long depending on climate.

Sword Fern
Common Polypody Fern
Hart’s Tongue Fern
Five Fingered Fern
Golden Shield Fern
The King Fern
Japanese Holly Fern
Japanese Painted Fern
Sensitive Fern
Parsley Fern
Maide Fern
Soft Shield Fern
Shaggy Shield Fern
Male Fern
Chilean Hard Fern
Silver Lady Fern

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Woodland Plants for Your Garden Part II

Republished from my blog

There are many wonderful plants you can use to fill out your shady garden areas. Some of my favorite woodland plants from this list include fuchsias and foxgloves. Fuchsias like cool summers, keep your fuchsias shaded in hot weather and watered as needed. Foxgloves are fantastic tucked into a corner next to a house, or in the back of a border. When it comes to heather ask for a shade-tolerant variety for shady areas, there are some specific heathers that tolerate shade well but most heathers require six hours of sunshine a day. Geraniums are not just your old-style grandma plants anymore, and they are workhorses in the garden, pretty much fool-proof other than dieing down during hard frosts but they always come back. Check out the variety of scented geraniums, they have more delicate flowers and wonderful scents. Ivy leafed geraniums are also prettier than the old-standard geraniums. Johnson's Blue is a beautiful blue flowered geranium that produces a big rounded bunch of flowers and dies back during winter here on the coast but comes back every season. If you are planting ivy just know they can be invasive left to their own devices.

Bleeding Heart
Winter aconite
Evergreen Bittersweet
Hellebore (Christmas Rose/Lenten Rose)
Ocean Spray
Rose of Sharon
Iris (Dutch iris and dwarf iris are easiest to work with)
Japanese Maple
Kerria japonica
Evening Primrose

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