- Author: Trisha Rose
Such a peculiar winter, although the calendar says it's winter alot of
color remains in my garden. The Limonium perezii, aka statice or sea
lavender continues to push out new color spikes which will dry
beautifully for indoor arrangements. The various Tropaeolum spp., aka
nasturtiums are blooming wildly. They seed so vigorously I have given
dozens of seeds to many of my neighbors this year. I never tire of
their sunny yellow and orange . A ruby red Chrysanthemum carinatum,
or summer chrysanthemum is re-blooming after a short break during the
fall. My favorite bush rose with an antique apricot bloom continues as
long as I remember to deadhead the spent flowers. A late summer
cosmos started from seed brings cheer to my front seating area. This
Cosmos sulphureous, a yellow dwarf, was sprinkled over the soil in
late July and finally popped it's blooms in October. Additionally the
coreopsis, calendula, canna, and yarrow are still putting on a show.
With so little rain I have continued to hand water about once a week.
The color from my garden has been so welcome during our many overcast
days, but I think it's time for a rest. Best wishes to all.
- Author: Mary B. Gabbard
With Christmas just a short 10 days away, many of us are still adding the final touches to our home. The way things are going this year; a wreath on the front door may be the extent of my holiday flair. Yes, I wish I had time to do more, but don’t despair, I have the privilege of living next store to an amazingly talented individual. She has taken Christmas decorations to a new level, with what I call a form of garden art. Every year her front yard is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. Her strands of hand-painted lights have been transformed into beautiful flowers, each with their own stamen. She does have the standard reindeer or two, the typical Christmas tree, but these pale in comparison to the rest of the show. I can’t wait for her to put on the final touches this weekend, strands of hand painted butterflies (made from the bottoms of plastic one gallon milk containers-these are incredible) woven in-between the strands of flowers. Her front yard is the most unique display of garden art transformed into holiday spirit, really quite a site to see! Of course, I asked if she could move on to my front yard to add to my lonely wreath…we’ll see what happens.
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
We are gearing up for our annual Wreath Workshop. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the workshop, I will tell you more. Every first Saturday of December, the Master Gardeners (MGs) hold a workshop where the public pays to come in and make fresh wreaths out of materials gathered from the garden.
Every year, we try to think outside the box and find a new plant or pod that will dry nicely to adorn the wreaths made at the workshop. Just last year, we discovered that Sedum 'Autumn Joy' works well as a decoration. We cut the flowers with a bit of stem and then dry them. There is a small team of MGs who will spray paint the decorations. It turned out the sedum were stunning in the metallic colors and a big hit at the workshop.
The flowers and materials vary every year. This year it looks like we will have an abundance of hydrangea flowers, but are very low on the agapanthus inflorescences. These agapanthus inflorescences look like fireworks that have burst, especially after we spray them red or gold.
Besides using plant materials, the MGs gather other items like feathers, shells, dried fruit, interesting twigs or bark to add to the plethora of natural materials used for the wreath decorations. If you know of something interesting and good to use, let us know!
This year the Wreath Workshop will be held on December 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Buck Mansion in Vacaville. The cost of the workshop is $45.00 and entitles the participant to create one wreath. The fee covers the metal wreath frame, paddle wire, bow, greens, natural decorations, and refreshments-made by the Master Gardeners. For more information contact me at 707-784-1321 or email@example.com.
- Author: Marime Burton
It’s finally the time of year for Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) to show its stuff! Throughout fall and winter Cape honeysuckle produces clusters of brilliant red-orange to scarlet tubular flowers, each about 2 in long. Its year-round evergreen nature is always nice in the background but that red-orange really lights up darkening fall and winter gardens.
The sprawling, vivid green shrub is fast growing and can become 15 feet tall in a hurry. The 5-7 diamond-shaped leaflets are toothed and about 2 in long. The flowers add vivid color to fall and winter gardens. Pruned to maintain as a shrub, it can reach 10 ft. or more in height and half in width. If left to scramble, Cape honeysuckle can cover 25 ft. or more.
Regular pruning, hard if necessary, will keep it healthy and looking good. It can also be trained as a vine, thriving in zones 9-11. It likes it warm and appreciates full sun for much of the year, along with regular water. It’s moderately drought tolerant once established.
A native of South Africa, Cape Honeysuckle can sprawl and run rampant without at least some care. Branches that touch the ground, for example may root there, so gardener beware. They’re easy enough to remove.
Full sun is best, but light shade is tolerated. ?Cape honeysuckle is hardy to USDA Zones 9 - 11 and 26º. ? Propagation can be achieved with softwood cuttings at any time of year and by seeds.
October is when I first see them in my yard and for the past week I’ve enjoyed their debut. I‘m on my way out now to see how many new blossoms have arrived since I last looked!
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
Thank you for joining the Master Gardeners (MGs) as they share with you their knowledge and experiences of gardening in Solano County.
If you aren’t familiar with our program, let me fill you in. The MGs are residents of Solano County. They are a diverse group of people who have been trained in horticulture for the purpose of volunteering their time to share that knowledge with you, the home gardener.
Each weekday, this blog will cover a new topic, something of interest to the writer or an interesting tidbit he or she has discovered in his or her home gardens or in other parts of our county.
We are excited about sharing this blog with you and hope you enjoy reading about everything Under the Solano Sun.