We are entering camellia season here in the Napa Valley. You may have noticed the swollen flower buds of these gorgeous glossy evergreen shrubs and trees. Soon we will be showered with a floriferous show put on by Camellia sasanquas followed by Camellia japonicas later in winter. Camellias are widely grown for their stunning cool season blooms, but serve as excellent evergreen screens, informal hedges, at the back of a mixed border or in containers.
The beauty of seeing bulbs pushing their way through the soil and then blooming in the spring garden and containers is almost magical.
From the early blooming crocus and snow drops to the classic yellow daffodils, the rainbow of colors of tulips, the richly scented hyacinths and the multitude of other bulbs, nothing says winter is over and spring has arrived like color swaths of bulbs in bloom.
Why plant in fall you ask?
The days are shorter, and the nights are cool. Planting in fall is the way to rule!
Plants will appreciate the cooler weather and the bright light. It gives them a head start to be big and luscious in the spring.
Cactus and succulents are the ultimate water-wise and drought-tolerant plants for the landscape, with the added bonus of being easy care and low maintenance. Once established, cactus have an amazing ability to go without water for an extended period of time. Succulents can also survive without constant watering.
Here in Northern California we can grow vegetables year round and it’s not too soon to start making plans for your fall and winter gardens. Cool season vegetables are typically those with edible vegetative growth such as leaves, roots and immature flower parts that can tolerate our light frosts.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden is located 2 miles south of Ft Bragg and 7 miles north of the village of Mendocino, straddling 47 acres between Highway 1 and the Pacific. The spectacular beauty of the coastline in Mendocino County itself is a feature of the gardens, as the trails that meander through its’ meadows and woodlands terminate at the sea. The garden is in USDA zone 9B, in fact the same zone as Napa Valley.
This striking plant is native to the southwest corner of Australia, a Mediterranean climate region with hot dry summers and mild winters, much like our own. The foliage is green and strap like forming a clump whose size can vary depending on the cultivar -from A. flavidus which can attain 3 to 4 foot clumps to A. rufus which usually stays under 2 feet .
An unusual event occurred in a recent winter and early spring, one that has been on hiatus for quite some time. That would be the rainy season…days and days when that wet stuff falls out of the sky. Gardeners were elated-and so were the weeds. I don’t know about you, but I was taken by surprise, having become accustomed to a drought induced, less frenzied spring weeding season.