- Author: Kathy Low
If you read my July post on stunting sunflowers, you know I tend not to follow convention. But as I said then, the joy of gardening is in the hands of the individual. So this post on re-purposing a tree stump should not surprise you.
My driveway used to be lined with 50 plus year old Monterrey pine trees. But the past few years I’ve had to have several of them removed because they’ve been killed by tree borers. For the most recent pine tree I had cut down, I decided not to have the tree service remove the stump for budget reasons. Instead I had them just cut the stump down to about waist high. My idea at the time was to use the stump as a huge plant stand for one of my enormous planters. That idea quickly fell apart because my huge planter was just too heavy for me to lift onto the tree stump.
So I thought why not just plant something directly on top of the stump. To keep the soil confined to the top of the stump, I purchased some cheap plastic lawn edging, cut it the size of the stump, and fastened it together into a circle. I laid it on top of the stump and filled it with potting soil. I planted succulents around the edges, but I wanted a deeper soil depth to plant some marigolds. So I cut and fastened a smaller circle of lawn edging and centered it on top of the already poured potting soil. I filled the smaller circle with soil and planted the flowers. And since I had another potted flower plant I haven’t decided where to plant yet, I plopped it into the center of the second circle for the time being. So in the interim until I get around to having the stump removed, I have an additional planting area for annual flowers.
- Author: Kathy Thomas-Rico
I tend to forget what colors to expect in my backyard when summer blooms come along. By the time summer arrives, I have forgotten what we planted the previous autumn. This year’s blooms have arrived, and they are overwhelmingly … orange.
Orange is one of those colors: either you love it or hate it. I know one Master Gardener who shuns orange-colored blossoms altogether. Some green thumbs may seek out nothing but orange (or rust or peach or tangerine) blooms or even foliage (New Zealand flax, coral bells, for instance) for their yards. I’ve managed to gather a crazy quilt of orange bloomers, and, you know what? I like ‘em!
I put in a lion’s tail mainly because I love the type of flowers it puts on, aptly named (they look like a lion’s tail!) whacky whorls of true orange. Bees and hummingbirds LOVE this plant, and the bright orange blooms light up the area around the tall perennial.
Two daylilies I’ve put in have turned out to be stunningly orange. One is a darker, almost rust colored single bloomer; the other is a ruffled double bloom, in true, bright orange.
Our agastache that draws hordes of hummingbirds is commonly known as sunset hyssop. It is a sherbet-toned bloomer that glows orangish-pink. And the California fuchsia, which will continue to bloom deep into the heat of summer, is a fire-engine reddish-orange, and, boy, do the hummingbirds love it, too.
Perhaps the most orange of all is the Calibrachoa ‘Dreamsicle’. This one I planted just a month ago, solely because of its color. It shares a pot with a stately purple bloomer (Angelonia angustifolia ‘Serena’), and the color combination draws my eye every time I step outside.
Maybe I should map out my plantings by color. But I have to say the surprises summer brings are much more fun.
- Author: Betty Victor
A trip to Sutter Creek and Jackson in the gold country found us driving into Plymouth.
Plymouth is a very small town about 2 ½ hours from Fairfield, yet they have a James Beard Award winning restaurant and the Amador Flower Farm, which was our destination.
After traveling down a two lane very windy road, passing several winery’s nestled in the rolling hills; we arrived at the flower farm.
The Amador Flower Farm is known for its daylilies. They have over 1000 daylilies in pots in colors of yellow burgundy, peach, pink and combination of these colors. You can also order the most popular ones on line, you will have 900 to choose from. Some of the daylilies are single flowers some are double, some are fragrant.
This flower farm is made up of 4 acres of landscape. You can walk the trails that wind through and stop for a picnic lunch under the oak trees. Unfortunately, it rained the day we were there so walking any of the 4 acres was out. They have a lake surrounded by green rolling hills, planted boarders of daylilies that you can see from the parking lot, so that helped. If you go be sure to look at the signs all over to watch for rattlesnakes on the pathways.
They do have a fairly large nursery where you can find other plants, flowers, shrubs and vegetables, but their main thing is the daylilies. If you go and get caught in the rain, like we did, they also have a gift shop to check out.
Here is the web site for you to take a look to see what they do offer. www.amadorflowerfarm.com
- Author: Marian I Chmieleski
Spring is such a happy time with flowers bursting out all around that I always want to get into the act and replant the large terra cotta pot for my front porch. However, last week as I looked under the laundry room sink and saw the long-abandoned Easter baskets from my daughters' youth, I had a new idea. Why not use those baskets as my planters?
Because my locally-owned nursery seems to be closed, I headed down to a local big-box hardware store with a garden department. I knew I wanted to line the baskets with something that would let water drain, but keep the soil in. My idea was to get sphagnum moss, but I found something even more interesting: a coco fiber liner intended for hanging planters. With that in my basket I headed for the bloom aisles.
Recalling all the beautiful planters I've seen in Sunset Magazine, I wanted something a little taller for the center of each basket with smaller flowers around it. There were lots of good candidates: primroses (Primula), cyclamen, French marigolds (Tagetes patula), pansies (Viola wittrockiana), ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus) and Kalanchoes (Kalanchoe Calandiva)--but you could use anything that suits your fancy. Just be sure to choose flowers that have similar requirements in terms of water and light. I happened to choose a couple of the Kalanchoes and lots of pansies, and ended up with 4" pots of Kalanchoe because that's all they had, but you only need buy the 6-pack size. They will fill in beautifully in no time at all.
The coco liner was easy to tear into pieces to fit each basket. Then the plants went in. I added some compost from my backyard pile to a commercial potting mix and filled in around the plants. The finished baskets are so cute on my front porch. With quite a few pansies leftover I saw some very small baskets at the craft store for only 99 cents. Who could resist? So you'll see by the pictures, I now have porch baskets and table baskets and am eager for guests to arrive to enjoy my festive decor. Happy spring!
- Author: Betty Victor
The wreath workshop is just days away. Master Gardeners have been busy gathering redwood, rosemary, lavender, Nadine and so much more greenery for people that attend to make a wreath of their own design.
Starting in late October-early November the Master Gardeners have been busy cutting drying, and spraying decorations for you to choose from to add to your wreath. We have agapanthus heads, hydrangea flowers, statice, lavender, pine cones, and so much more (feathers, grass flowers). In addition, participants are welcome to bring any items they have from home that they would like to add to their wreath. There are assorted colors of ribbon that can be made into bows to complement your wreath .
Food did I mention food? Yes there will be food and drinks for you to snack on, as you make your wreath. Complements of the Master Gardeners.
This event is held on the first Saturday of December at the Buck Mansion in Vacaville. Seating is limited to 40. If you have not registered on line this year to attend, it could be to late. Here is the link http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=9007 Make sure you mark your 2013 calendar in late October or early November to watch for the announcement for 2013 so you don’t miss this fun event next year.