Annie's Awesome Newsletter Archive

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Make Way for Spring Bling! Watch our Spring Slideshow!

Rain, glorious rain! After five years of prolonged drought here in California, the heavens have finally opened and water is falling from the sky! The Sierra snowpack is the largest it's been in 22 years and Northern California reservoirs are full to bursting. We gardeners can finally breathe a sigh of sweet relief (even though we're firm believers that home gardeners are not the problem when it comes to water conservation). So what are we doing, now that buds are breaking and birds are singing? PLANTING, PLANTING, PLANTING for a bloomiferous Spring garden – and taking advantage of Mother Nature's generous watering schedule!

In honor of this momentous time of year - so full of promise and potential! - we've put together an inspirational and uplifting SPRING SLIDESHOW to get you all in the gardening mood! Check out our luscious plant combos and favorite color mash-ups for the new season!

Make Room for Shrooms! Learn how to grow delicious mushrooms in your own home garden with Theresa Halula, Sat. February 11 at 11 am!

Join us for a fun and TOTALLY FREE Mushroom Workshop with horticulturist, permaculture designer and mushroom maven Theresa Halula on Saturday, February 11 at 11 am!

Come discover the fascinating world of fungi - and the important role mushrooms play in our environment! At this hands-on workshop, you'll learn how to grow easily recognizable mushrooms in the home garden using methods that are fool-proof even for the novice. Best of all, you don't have to worry about their edibility!

As a wonderful bonus, Theresa will provide the materials you'll need to grow mushrooms on cardboard that can be transplanted into your own garden in a wood-chip bed or onto wood logs. So come on down and bring your questions! She's got answers plus an easy-to-follow handout explaining how to keep your mushrooms going strong once you take them home!

Oh, Sweet Pea! Won't You Dance with Me?
We're planting our favorite old-fashioned, FRAGRANT Sweet Peas right now - and you should, too!

Few flowers dance so charmingly through the garden like old-fashioned Sweet Peas!

Twirling, shimmying and somersaulting amid neighbors and up trellises – our sweetest Sweet Peas are ESSENTIAL to our Spring gardens – providing eye-lifting verticality, a rainbow of long-lasting cheer and perhaps most importantly – that beguiling, instantly recognizable fragrance we all know and love!

Visitors to our nursery in April and May are always astonished at how exuberant and floriferous our Sweet Pea displays are – and want to know how we do it. Lucky for them (and you!) – it couldn't be easier! Just follow our five easy steps for Sweet Pea Success – starting with the easiest and best thing you can do: PLANT NOW!

In Pursuit of Delicious Fruit!
All your Fruit Tree Questions Answered with Phil Pursel of Dave Wilson Nursery, Sat. Jan. 28 at 11 am!

No matter what size garden you have,
there's room for at least one fruit tree!

January is the perfect time for us Bay Area gardeners to plant bare-root fruit trees and we are always so happy to welcome back our dedicated and beloved FRUIT TREE GENIUS, Phil Pursel of Dave Wilson Nursery on Jan. 28 at 11 am! Whether you have an established backyard orchard, or are planting your first fruit tree, Phil's extensive knowledge, passion and practical advice will get you fired up about growing your own delicious fruit!

Not sure what fruit trees are best suited to your growing zone? Wondering what you should do to make sure your existing trees are in tip-top shape for maximum yield? Phil's got you covered. You'll walk away with everything you need to know about selecting, planting, pruning, protecting your tree and more. Bring your questions!

Hardy Annuals are EASY!

We're planting our hardy annuals right now. With their lust for life, these frost-tolerant toughies pooh-pooh our cool, wet Winter weather, sending their roots far and wide and building momentum for a spectacular bloom-at-the-same-time garden extravaganza come April. They're some of the showiest bloomers in all of the gardening world – blooming their hearts out all Spring long if you plant them when they're young and deadhead faded blooms once they start blooming.

And the best part? Our open-pollinated plants are never treated with growth regulators and self-sow for successive generations of FREE PLANTS! Woo-hoo! Get them in the ground no later than mid-February and you'll be rewarded with a glorious garden and armloads of cut flowers, just when all your neighbors are heading to the garden centers!

Bare-Root Bulb Bonanza!!

And now for something completely different!

What we have here, friends, is an opportunity to try some of our wild and wonderful Mediterranean climate garden bulbs as easy-to-plant-now bare-root bulbs.

Normally, we would pot these babies up (one bulb per pot), let them hang out in the nursery and grow big, fat roots and then offer them to you as 4" plants come Spring. But this year, instead of waiting, you can plant these bulbs now and let them directly root into your garden and containers – no muss, no fuss! Plus, you'll cover more ground with 3 to 10 bare-root bulbs per bag (depending on variety) at a super value AND most of them will multiply to provide you with more and more beautiful blooms each successive year!


Undemanding garden jewels for the garden or container!

Undemanding and forgiving, succulents are those stalwart, stand-by-me plants that don't judge us for our gardening faux pas, inexperience or neglect. They won't wilt if you disremember to water them, or faint if you forget to fertilize. In fact, generosity is another of their virtues – and most will help you populate those bare spots in the garden by readily dropping little pups or plantlets that can be easily transplanted or shared.

Perfection in containers or for draping over the edge of a bed, you can even grow many of them as houseplants in a sunny window. Maximum happiness with minimum effort! Just be sure to give succulents loose, fast-draining soil and protect from scorching sun in the Summer and freezing temperatures in the Winter. Enjoy!

A Taste of the Wild - Forage the Bay!
Learn how to forage like a pro with Author
Margit Roos-Collins on Saturday, October 29 at 11 am!

Learn about edible weeds and other sustainable plants of the SF Bay Area!

Join us on Saturday, October 29 at 11 am for an exploration of local sustainable foraging with Margit Roos-Collins, author of The Flavors of Home; A Guide to Wild, Edible Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Bay Area is an extraordinary place to experience wild foods, with a diversity of habitats and open spaces positively filled with forageables! Margit will give us examples of some of the most common, nutritious, and often delicious wild edible plants that can be found in local abundance, as well as what's in season right now. Learn how to get started, as well as plants to avoid.

Heck Yeah Hellebores! Loyal Friends Forever (and ever)

Hardy Hellebores ain't afraid ...

Tough, tenacious and hardy down to USDA zone 5, Hellebores are luminescent ladies of the shade, whose nodding beautiful blooms light up the Winter and early Spring garden like no other lover! And now is the PERFECT time to plant them!

Evergreen here by the Bay (and in all temperate climes), these long-lived and reliable garden compadres won't up and die on you after a couple of years. Perhaps best of all, they're DEER, DROUGHT and CLAY resistant. Happy in shade – even dry shade – most garden pests don't bug 'em (just bait for snails when young).


Plant 'em now for outrageous, long-lasting bloom next Spring and beyond!

Salvia 'Amistad'
NEW! Sumptuous rich purple blossoms in midnight-hued calyxes appear Spring thru Fall on this fast-grower. Reaches 6' its first year, bloomin' all the while! Evergreen in frost-free zones, part shade in hot areas. An epic bee, butterfly and hummingbird magnet!

Fuchsia ‘Mrs. McDowell’
A super bloomy, old-fashioned heirloom Fuchsia, this clone originates from a very old shrub found growing in my dear friend, Mrs. McDowell’s Berkeley Hills garden. Blooming happily almost year-round, you’ll get loads of 2" pendulous flowers on a 4' x 3' shrublet.