The month of May was a busy one. It’s wonderful to see so many gardeners getting outside planting their vegetables, trees, shrubs and flowers. We’ve experienced a few shortages in the areas of soils and bedding plants, but all in all we can’t complain. We had to sell many of our fruit trees before being totally rooted, warning everyone to delay planting them. Just arrived: the blackberry ‘Babycakes’ and the raspberry ‘Raspberry Shortcake’. Both are great for container planting.
A favorite perennial this year is the hardy geranium ‘Rozanne’. She sports bright blue flowers and sprawls a bit – can reach 15 to 18 inches wide. ‘Rozanne’ has a long bloom time, requiring regular water and could do with a little afternoon shade in the North County. Add some contrasting perennials like the yellow yarrow ‘Moonshine’ or some white Shasta daisies.
We’ve been a little short on jumbo packs of petunias, but there are many exciting new varieties in 4″ plants. ‘Goodnight Kisses’ is an excellent example. ‘Night Sky’ has been extremely popular for the last couple of years. We’ve been able to obtain this in hanging baskets as well. These showy petunias are great container plants. Later in the season those pesky bud worms will appear. Be sure to attack them with one of our safe insecticides, “Captain Jack” or “Take Down”.
Here’s a great beginning for some homemade pesto sauce – giant Basil. We have some nice one gallon plants. Herbs have been somewhat scarce this year but coming next week is French tarragon, which seems to be very popular. Also cilantro, chives, and mint. In the vegetable department, we still have a good supply of tomatoes and we are expecting quite a few peppers – they’ve also been in short supply. Don’t forget to add lots of good amendments to your soil – we have the local Vermi-compost in several sizes now in eco-friendly boxes. And Dr. Earth vegetable fertilizer should keep your plants in optimum condition.
Native California plants are always in demand. Right now we have several Salvias: ‘Winifred Gilman’ is here in 5 gallon containers. ‘Celestial Blue’ has the brightest flowers of the Clevelandii varieties. And in 4″ pots you will find the very drought tolerant Salvia apiana compacta, white sage. The spectacular poppy, Matilija, is in bloom right now so of course it’s in great demand – we’re hoping a supply will arrive soon!
House plants have been trending lately. At the moment we have a gorgeous Chinese evergreen – Aglaonema. There’s also a new Dracaena with very attractive, bright striping. Both of these plants are easy care, requiring only minimum light. Ferns can be problematic, always dropping fronds, but the variety ‘Kimberly Queen’ is a great improvement barely shedding at all.
Looking for a dwarf shrub with lots of interest? Check out the Abelia ‘Kaleidoscope’. The leaves are bright shades of yellow early in the season and progress to dark red orange in fall. White flowers appear in summer. The plant grows 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall. Use it as a border, accent or container plant.
Shown here are jumbo packs of the colorful shade plant Hypoestes. These charming little annuals are great for containers and can also be used as house plants in high light. To keep the plant from going to seed, be sure to remove the flower stems as they emerge. More shade plants due to arrive are the lovely tuberous begonias and lamium, both perennials.