Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
February, 2011
Regional Report

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Che inspects my work closely and is an excellent gardening companion.

Puttering in the Earth

I pulled some weeds and put out a few cell packs of annual color in the containers and garden beds yesterday. The sun was out, and it was good to spend a day with my hands in the soil. I really must try to wear gloves when I'm digging around in the earth, but after the long winter of too much rain, the rich odor of soil was just too much to resist. Besides, the little weedlings give up so easily to my bare fingers.

Snapdragons and little marguerites went into the raised bed below the pine trees on the hill. Sweet peas replaced the struggling petunias in the large containers out front. I planted them there not only to make a beautiful display for spring, but also because if they are high off the ground perhaps the bunnies won't be able to get to them. Sweet peas seem to be a favorite of the cottontail rabbits.

I also planted a euphorbia and an oxalis in the problem bed at the bottom of the garden. I hope they do well there. Oxalis -- after all, how much tougher can you get? That soil is still compacted even though I have amended with manure, compost, and mulch for the past 3 years. I worked the soil with the Garden Weasel to loosen the compaction a bit. I like that tool -- it makes quick work of cultivating.

Bulbs and Perennials
The bearded iris are making an appearance all throughout the garden. Little swords of green are poking up through the soil. The aquilegia along the shady side of the garden are also on their way up, as are the hellebores. The cymbidium at the top of the hill which was planted in the ground for a television segment years ago is covered with spikes and ready to burst into bloom. The ones in containers on the deck aren't showing a thing yet. I see daffodils, lilies, and hyacinths poking up here and there. I'm glad the voracious gophers from last year didn't eat them all.

The roses that I transplanted last fall from containers into the ground are all doing well. There is one little fellow that is almost invisible now that it has been pruned. I have to remember not to step on it with my big feet until some foliage appears later this month.

Fruit Trees
The apple tree has been sprayed with horticultural oil and fertilized with fruit tree spikes. I am looking forward to a bumper crop this fall. The Meyer lemon is covered with fruit, which is a bit of a mystery because I didn't see that many blooms. I fertilized with a citrus-specific fertilizer a couple of months ago, but the leaves are still too yellow-green for my liking. I think I'll wait a few weeks and then hit it again.

After a few hours of contented puttering I took a break with Che, the golden retriever. He approved of all my hard work and brought me a pine cone as a reward. I'm not sure if I was supposed to eat it or throw it...

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