- Author: Betty Victor
Have you every wandered through a nursery just to look knowing that you really don’t’ have room for another plant? Hard to do isn’t it? Well that’s what I did last year and saw an unusual plant, so I just had to buy it and bring it home. Upon getting it home, I found I really didn’t know what to do with it, so I put it in a container. The tag said it was Jollas-de-Opar ‘Limon’ which did not help at all. So I went off to the internet to learn more.
Jewels of Opar are sometimes called fame flower, Talinum paniculatum, and is related to Portulaca. A fun fact about this plant is that it is said to be mentioned in the Tarzan books that were written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Books that I have not read. This is a tropical, tender perennial. When we had frost last year, I forgot to cover it like my other frost tender plants; it turned into a black mess. It seems there are questions as to if this is a succulent or a cactus, an agreement has not been reached to date.
Wonder of wonders it came back this year and really grew. The stems are long, pointed almost succulent-like in lime green about 10 inches long. The hot pink star-shaped flowers are small and really not very noticeable, but the best part is once the flowers die, what is left is jewel like seedpods, starting out an amber color fading to cinnamon red hue. They will stay on the plant until late winter-that is if I don’t cut and dry them to see if the pods will stay on the stems.
It is a self-seeding plant so if you want to avoid more of them, dead heading is important. If you do not dead head them and you plant them in your garden you could have more than you want.
- Author: Karen Norton
It’s been fun to enjoy the warm weather so late in October and neglect my September garden chores. September is usually the time when you divide bearded iris that have been planted three or four years and have grown together. Irises have rhizomes or underground stems and propagated by division. You can share your favorite colors with friends or increase your favorite plants and flowers. There are just a few steps to follow.
- First, carefully dig out an entire clump out of the ground using a shovel or spading fork.
- Second, wash the soil off the roots and trim the leaves into a fan shape about 6 inches long. The roots should also be trimmed to about 6" long.
- Third, cut the healthy young outer rhizomes at the intersection points with a knife from the older thick plant. Discard the old rhizome and those without leaves. Make sure each section has at least one bud (eye) preferably several. Each rhizome is a distinct plant with its own leaves and root structure.
Replant the new divisions just below the soil surface in three to five plant groups. Irises grow outward from the fan of leaves, so the fan should face out of the circle to allow for growth. The soil should be kept moist but not too wet until the iris is established.
Let me hurry up and divide my irises and don’t forget to put plant your spring bulbs now!
- Author: Edward Walbolt
This year as summer transitioned to fall, we were blessed with a few days of unusually early fall rain. In some areas of Solano County almost two inches of precipitation fell after only a few days in late September and early October. A benefit of the rain was that Solano’s turf and native grasses were transformed from being burned out, parched, and dangerously flammable to being lush, spring-like, and full of new light green growth hues and vigor. The areas in my turf garden that were worn down quickly filled in with new growth now covering the previously bare patches caused by the late summer’s heat. The timing on the rains could not have come at a better time for a lot of us, most specifically me. My office was recently moved 50 miles farther from home and with the long hours commuting between there and Fairfield I had been neglecting my turf garden. I intended to find some time to water and fertilize my Fescue/Bluegrass blend to prepare for the fall, but I had not gotten around to it before the rains came. Needless to say, I think I can put off my fertilizer regiment until the end of November without worry. Solano County doesn’t often get nature’s showers until November or December so it was a unique nitrogen-rich phenomenon this year that many of our gardens benefitted from.
- Author: Trisha Rose
By 2009 the one remaining lawn is the main lawn with the traditional "need to mow and water" grass from the front door to the sidewalk. We begin planting a little garden next to the house with a row of Erysimum below our living room window. They look very tidy. We add some Euphorbia characias and I find the beautiful yellow blooms against the grey-blue foliage enticing.
During the spring of 2009 I attended a workshop at Solano College given by the Solano County Master Gardeners on the subject of "Propagation". The MG's are friendly and very helpful as they explain some basic how-to's of plant propagation, I'm hooked and submit my application for the Solano Master Gardener's Program 2010 term. As I sit through the series of lectures, I realize there are many options for gardening and soon begin to think seriously about removing the main front lawn and putting in a garden that is more interesting to use, uses much less water and give us a chance to experiment with different plant materials. So it is now 2011 and the rains seem to continue on and on. Finally it is May and our son has relocated nearby. He agrees to remove the sod and we are on our way.
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
Last night I was complaining to the husband about how cold it was in the house. I cranked up the heater, but it just didn't seem to do the trick. I hauled out a down blanket and put it on the bed. It didn't dawn on me until I opened the garage door this morning that Jack Frost had visited Dixon. The evidence was on all the roofs in my court-a light dusting of frost. I know this was a pretty isolated event, as I had queried a few Master Gardener friends from Fairfield. They said they didn't have any frost this morning.
Just a note to all you blog readers, protect your valuable plants or get them indoors. Watching the weather on the evening news might help. I would hate to see you lose that favorite plant due to a sneaky frost.