Help the bees, butterflies and birds by growing the plants they love most. One secret to a successful pollinator garden is to plant a diverse variety of floral food that blooms throughout the year. More diverse plant offerings, (10+ varieties, both natives and non-natives) will encourage your pollinators to linger longer and make them more likely to return. Did you know California has over 1,600 native bee species? Now is great time to plant so many of their favorite forage and nectar plants!
“Lively, Exciting and Attractive“ – we think vivacious plants are just as fun to hang out with as vivacious people (maybe more 😉). Verbascums, Violas and their friends the Alstromerias are three we always make a spot, to hang with, in our gardens. Both tall and small, their bright multicolored blossoms, unusually textured fuzzy foliage, or just plain beauteousness, always have customers asking “what’s that” and your neighbors will too. These vivacious lovelies are also easy to grow, are excellent cut flowers and make the birds, bees and butterflies happy too.
Hardy and reliable, handsome and romantic, adaptable and easy-to-grow, Snapdragons, Columbines, Carnations and Geums are some of our “tried-and-trues” and “new classic” favorite early spring bloomers that always get priority status in our gardens and we think should in yours too. Cheerful early bloomers, they herald spring and provide instant fullness to your garden as they smother themselves in blossoms that you can enjoy in place or bring inside for all make excellent cut flowers. The bees and the butterflies also love them as much as we do. All are happiest in rich, well-drained soil with a little added compost for maximum bloominess.
While it’s shaping up to be another dry year out here in the West, which may have many pondering about what to plant to lessen the water and beat the heat, one thing you don’t have to worry about is color and having a waterwise garden full of any and every shade that suits your fancy. Thanks to CA native plants, and all those from our "cuzin" climates in S. Africa, Australia, S. America, and throughout the Mediterranean, there are multitudes of waterwise plants that not only cross the rainbow’s color spectrum but are also low maintenance, eye catching and unusual (attributes we love around here). Big bold reds, electric pinks, yowza yellows, gentle greens, bright blues and vivid violets – ranging from the petite to the humongous – there’s no need to sacrifice anything, except of course the water. Here are some of our biggest brightest waterwise favorites, just for you.
Clarkias and veggies aren’t your typical Annie’s combo, but as the saying goes, get’em while they’re hot! Now’s the time to start planting them, both for best bloom and harvest, and for a nourishing feast for your eyes and your tummy.
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.