A few sheets of paper and a garden book or two can help you create a year-round garden design. Begin by drawing a rough draft of an area. Next, pencil in existing perennial plants, structures, lawns, and walkways. Everything else is fair game. Color code the garden design to include sun and wind exposure, access to water, mature plant height, and color to create a workable garden design. This will also help select the best plants for each spot. Also, water use can be significantly reduced by planting varieties with similar water needs together. Put taller plants against a fence, medium-height plants in front of those, and then shorter plants closest to walkways. This makes full use of available soil without blocking anyone's view.
Garden books, online resources, and your local Master Gardeners can help you select plants that will provide flowers, food, and greenery for each season. As one season's plants wind down, the next season will be coming in, providing year-round food and color. Containers, vertical gardens, and raised beds offer extra growing space and extend the growing season.
Edibles and Ornamentals
Morgan Hill weather makes it possible to grow edible and ornamental plants year-round. Cool season greens and cruciferous vegetables prefer our winter and spring. Potato plants offer greenery in the landscape from spring to summer, and potatoes in the fall. Perennial edibles, such as asparagus, fruit trees, bramble fruits, grapes, kiwi, and rhubarb are excellent anchor points in a landscape. Ornamental plants can provide many different shades of green, along with other colors.
Planting it Forward — For Others
In honor of Lily Hardy Hammond's 1916 book, In the Garden of Delight planting it forward also means adding plants that can be gifted to others. Succulents are durable in drought-prone Morgan Hill and they nearly propagate themselves. Cosmos and marigolds go to seed easily. Those and other seeds can be collected and planted as gifts to family and neighbors. They also make welcome gifts to individuals in hospitals and retirement homes. Melon and squash seeds can be started in small pots and gifted to neighbors and local charities.
Learn when to plant edibles for year-round food for your family in Morgan Hill. For more information and classes, check our events page or call 408-282-3105 between 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
by UC Master Gardener Kate Russell
This article first appeared in the August 17 issue of the Morgan Hill Life./h2>/h2>/h2>