Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Calochortus: Mariposa Lilies and Their Relatives, by Mary E. Gerritsen and Ron Parsons (Timber Press, 2007; $29.95) covers wild varieties of the family Calochortus, which grow in abundance here in the Bay area. It also gives information on cultivation and propagation of each individual variety. For the amateur botanist, this book should be part of the reference library. For the home gardener, it's a great pictorial of easy-to-grow bulb flowers. Frilled petals, drooping fairy caps, tulip-shaped flowers, brilliant colors, and strong stems will make the Calochortus family a new favorite.
Clever Gardening Technique
Make Your Own Seed Tape
You can create your own seed tape by tearing newspaper (black and white only, please) into 4-inch-wide strips. Make a thin paste by mixing 1/4 cup of flour into 1 cup of water. Dab the paste onto the newspaper strips, then place one or two seeds that you have saved from your garden directly onto the paste daubs. Fold the newspaper in half lengthwise to hold the seeds in place; the seedlings will easily push through the thin layer of paper when it's time to plant. Label and date the variety directly on the newspaper with a Sharpie, allow the paste to dry, roll and store until next year. Seed tape can be stored in glass jars if completely dry, or in paper bags. Next season, simply lay the prepared seed tape on the surface of planting beds, dust with a light covering of soil, water it, and stand back!