Search This Blog

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Calendar for Growing Flowers in Coastal Southern California


The first step in having color in your garden is planning well ahead. This month plan for the mums that will make your garden a joy next October. Divide clumps now and make some cuttings too. If you are limited on space, put a few divisions or cuttings in 4" plastic pots and bring them along for the next six weeks then tuck them in. Keep tops pinched back till first week in August. The rewards are so great that I like to put a very small handful of all purpose organic fertilizer in each hole and also use a small spade and work up the soil for each plant and add some R.S.A. Plants can be obtained at nurseries or aske friends for divisions.

If you have fading foxgloves, you could pull them out and put the mums in. Speaking of foxglove, they are so worthwhile for tall colorful spikes, and have bloomed for almost two months. First, the tall cneter spike, which when faded is cut back, then, six or more small spikes all grouped. Spikes are hard to come by in the garden where most of the forms are rounded, so next fall do buy some foxgloves. Put it on your calendar for October. They take full sun on the coast. Colors white, purple, cream and pinkish. After the early spring bloom of the last few months, actually the best time in our gardens, there are literally garbage cans full of throwaway material. Consider putting this on the compost heap. Even if you have no time to turn a heap, it will eventually become compost.

Delphenium gets cut back when new growth appears at the base.

Early sweet peas are almost gone, you might have a few seeds before throwing them out. When you plant them next September pinch them once when six inches high. You will be happy about what a nice full bush that makes.

Early in June you could buy pony packs of many late summer annuals, put them in a good mix, half garden soil, half potting mix, in 4" plastic pots, then when all these bare spaces occur from pulling calendula, sweet peas, etc. your late summer things will be ready to pop up and flower. This is a great money saver. The nursery does it for you at about ten times the costs. If you plan ahead this way, you save money and make the garden show more color.

Iris should be divided in July if they have become too crowded, but if you have too many you might dig some now and throw away or give away and tuck summer annuals into the empty spaces.

Dwarf Dahlias can be bought in 4" pots in bloom so you can see the color. Tucked in now, they will give months of bloom in summer, and then die down to rise in full glory for years to come. Use systemic granules when you plant them, and every six weeks thereafter, while in bloom. Let the leaves die completely before cutting back.

Zinnias provide some summer color, they want good air circulation or get mildew.

Roses can be cut with long stems now.

Margurites should be kept groomed and thinned and they will bloom all year. Make some cuttings now. Many of the best summer bloomers are perrenials. Statice, lily of Nile, daylilies, roses and others. Plan on getting some in next fall, and your garden will have summer color. Gloriosa daisy could still be planted from 4" pots and give a lot of summer color for years to come. Protect from snails. Select roses now, when you see the colors, but buy in January, bareroot. Botanic gardens usually have them labeled.

In mid-June your fuchsias should be in full bloom. They are fairly expensive at this time but do go to a nursery and get the names of some you like and plan a basket for next year. Red ones are blooming now, in full sun, along the coast. Other colors give six months of color, tucked in semi shade in the garden, and trained as trees or bushes. Much easier than watering baskets all the time. Train them high, remember they look best from below, hence the popularity of fuchsia baskets. Learn to make fuchsia trees from basket types.

I suggest you get your social calendar and make an appointment with yourself on the above suggested dates and go out and do these things.

Keep fertilizing!

~Florence Sullivan