Spring is officially just 10 days away and if you’re like us, the itch to plant and try new things is growing! For those with smaller gardens, finding space for new plants can be a challenge. But lucky for you, our guest blogger and curious plantsman, Earl has a clever method of layering vertically and working with specific plant types to maximize your plants per petite plot.
Having beautiful flowers growing outside in your garden is only part of the fun. Equally enjoyable is cutting a vaseful to admire inside on your kitchen table, or bringing a bouquet to a friend or neighbor to brighten their day. Some of our favorite bouquet besties are Scabiosas, Centaureas and Nicotianas, not because they have a single large flower that might be the center of attention in your bouquet, but because they produce a grand chorus of back-up singers that add the harmony, volume and depth that makes the entire flower show better. They’re all super bloomiferous so you can harvest a lot and won’t even notice they’re gone. They’re long lasting in vases and they come in a variety of colors to mix and match with everyone else in the vase. No wonder why we love’em!
Ah the cottage garden style – rooted in England, yet transplanted around the world, and beloved for its informality, and hence freedom it offers gardeners to test, explore, and mix-and-match, colors, forms and textures like few other styles. Allowing for mixes of annuals, perennials and even edibles, the cottage style offers a plethora of plant possibilities. Yet there’s one rule that helps prevent all this planting freedom from becoming, dare we say, a mess, and that’s paying attention to height. Just like in those class photos, tall folks in the back, then the mid-heights, then the shorties in the front, so everyone’s flowery face gets seen and admired. Some of our favorite tall folk cottage style classics include Hollyhocks, Delphiniums, Foxgloves, Lupines and Verbascums. They come in the brightest of bright blues purples and yellows, to the softest of peaches and pinks, and growing to 6' or higher, may steal the show, even from your garden’s back row.
Spring is in the air but it hasn’t sprung yet! It’s still February and groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning there is still plenty of time to take care of some essential “winter gardening.” Cleaning, mulching, pruning, replanting, there are lots of things you can do now that will help ensure your garden looks its best for spring and summer. Our guest blogger, Earl Nickel, the Curious Plantsman walks you through the winter gardening essentials in this month’s blog, Tips for a Healthy Garden.
Even though we’re still having frosty mornings here, we can tell that spring is not far away because some of our most “Favey Fave” annual California native wildflowers are rapidly leafing out, and a few “over achievers” are already starting to bloom! While this dainty collection of wildflowers may lack in stature – with most blossoms being 1-2” - it makes up for it tenfold in floriferousness, long bloominess and friendliness to the bees and butterflies. And those combos! Any way you mix and match these yellows, blue/purples and creamy whites, they are gorgeous together in a bed. Did we mention they readily self-sow for freebies in the future!
“Purpleicious” – not a color, but rather the state of being used to describe many a garden bed that is simply made more beautiful as a result of incorporating purple into its color palette. Living somewhere between red and blue, purple is one of our favorite garden colors because it looks fantastic mixed with almost any other color in in the garden. High drama abounds when you pair purple with yellows and oranges. Subtle romance emerges when purple mingles in with softer pinks, peaches and blues or stately elegance radiates when mixed with whites and soft foliage greens. Whether your garden is cottage classic, Mediterranean, rock or full xeriscape, and whether you’re in need of full sun or shade, groundcovers or shrubs, there’s a perfect purple plant for you.
Happy New Year! To get your gardens growing in 2022 we thought we'd begin with a focus on California Native perennial shrubs – so useful as anchor plants in the garden and so environmentally important for all the birds, bees and little critters. While it is still a bit too cold and thus too early for many annuals, now is still a great time to get those native perennials in the ground. To explain more about why this is and highlight some great options, we've invited back one of our favorite and most knowledgeable local nurserymen, Earl Nickel of Grand Lake Ace Hardware in Oakland, to guest BLOG about why native perennial shrubs make such good garden choices. See what's on Earl's shortlist and why when you - READ HIS BLOG POST HERE.
Whether you live here or just want to add a bit of color from the Golden State to your corner of the world, we have you covered! Here at Annie's, we take great pride in our home state and cultivate over 250 species of California natives right here in Richmond, CA for gardens near and far. Versatile enough for any garden setting from dry to high color country style. Give them a try and we are sure that our faves will be your faves soon too!
HAIRY GREEN FLOWERS! No Joke! This unusual Aloe native to Yemen produces numerous 3' tall multi-branching flower spikes topped with pyramidal clusters of WOOLY, sea-green blooms! Forms a 2' tall and 3-4' wide rosette of smooth, bright green leaves with toothed edges and a light powdering of blue-green – though some plants may have stripes or a mottling on the leaves. Makes a beautiful container specimen with the added bonus of bringing the fluffy flowers closer to eye-level. Blooms in Summer attracting bees and hummers. Provide excellent drainage for a happy plant.