Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

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

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The 4th of July roses are dressed and ready for a garden party!

The Bishop is Coming!

There is going to be a big garden party at Casa Tenenbaum next week. The bishop from Mrs. Henry's church is coming and she has requested that the garden be spruced up prior to his visit. Actually, things are looking pretty good right now. The pots in front are colorful and healthy, the roses are bursting with blooms, and the cutting garden is full of all kinds of flowers, including alstromeria, gladiolus, love-in-a-mist (Nigella), dahlia and several varieties of poppies.

My Guilty Secret
No one in the family has discovered the little blueberry bush that has been providing me with vitamin C every time I visit the garden. Have you planted blueberries yet? They do very well in our climate and adapt well to the clay soil. There seem to be enough pollinators around to make blueberries happen. The Dirt Gardener, Buzz Bertolero, recommends planting two different varieties for proper pollination.

Shopping for Color
I will stop by the nursery tomorrow before I head to the garden and buy a few more colorful plants to fill in that problem area at the bottom of the garden. The Helichrysum petiolare is the only thing that seems to thrive there. It's curious -- this particular variety of helicrysum is only supposed to get 3 feet tall, but this one must be on steroids. I will also pick up as many bags of bark mulch as my little car will hold. Nothing makes a garden look better than a fresh layer of mulch! Because the garden beds are kept well mulched to prevent weeds from growing, I will only need a cosmetic layer to beautify the areas visible from the deck.

Cleaning Under the Fruit Trees
I'm sure the apple tree will have dropped a load of immature fruit since the last time I visited. It is normal for healthy trees to drop a certain amount of fruit prior to harvest. It's just nature's way of thinning. I keep the little green apples picked up from under the tree to prevent insect pests from moving in and also to prevent Che, the golden retriever, from getting a tummy-ache from eating too many of the fallen apples.

Upward and Onward!
Once I get the garden in shape, I will head up to the deck and make sure that the pots are all free of weeds. I don't know how these darned weeds settle in so quickly in the containers. Henry has insisted that the drip irrigation is adequate to water the pots so I haven't been keeping such a close eye on them lately. Perhaps the weeds do a sneak-attack while my back is turned. One of the reasons I like hand watering so much is because you can perform small tasks such as weeding, removing fallen debris and pinch pruning as you water.

After I have removed all the weeds, I will move the pots and sweep the deck. I'm due to fertilize the container plants soon, but I think I'll put it off until after the garden party. Nobody, except Che, wants to smell the piquant perfume of liquid fish, and it does tend to linger.

This is a lot for an old lady like me to accomplish, but after all, the bishop is coming!

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