Newsletter for March 2024

As the bareroot trees slowly recede into the horizon Bay Laurel Garden Center in Atascadero turns green! It’s an ongoing process with new plants arriving weekly. Early blooming shrubs include Genista (Sweet Broom), Forsythia, Ornamental Quince and Coleonema (Breath of Heaven). We also have some lovely deciduous Magnolias.

The vegetable season is ongoing at Bay Laurel Garden Center. We have some giant artichoke plants. You can plant lettuce, broccoli, celery, herbs and lots more. Search the internet for recipes for Escarole (it’s big in Italy). And we finally succumbed to the tomato devotees and brought in a limited number of 6 packs and some 4″. Strawberries are here in jumbo packs.

For tomatoes beware the cold night temperatures of March – or even possibly April. If you have a greenhouse, you’re safe. Otherwise be prepared to cover them. A couple of solutions are available at Bay Laurel Garden Center. We have sheets of row cover. The other protection is “Kozy Coats”, formerly known as Walls of Water. These water filled reservoirs will protect the plants and can be kept on until the weather warms. Each package contains 3 coats and they can be used for several years.

Perhaps you neglected to plant all the glorious fall bulbs that should be blooming now. We can help at Bay Laurel Garden Center in Atascadero. We have plants of Ranunculus and Italian Anemones. And we have small containers with dwarf daffodils and violas.

This is a great time to fertilize and there are quite a few options. We stock Down to Earth organic fertilizers for fruit trees, citrus, vegetables and more. A popular local product is Black Diamond worm castings. This product will maximize the effects of your fertilizer. Many soils lack sufficient iron, or they require more acidity; we have solutions. Gypsum will help break down heavy clay soils.

A few more early spring inspirations for your landscape. Erysimum ‘Sunstrong Violet’ is available in 3 sizes at Bay Laurel Garden Center. It sports bright violet purple flowers, needs minimum irrigation and blooms when you most need it! Pair it with some dark purple Osteospermum and white Iberis (candy tuft).

Dahlia tubers have been very popular and therefore we have ordered more at Bay Laurel Garden Center. A new offering this year are the cold hardy bulbs of the orchid Bletilla. The pink flowers will bloom for about 6 weeks in spring or early summer and the plants become dormant in winter. Bletilla requires at least part shade and does well as a container plant. We also have some lovely, fragrant lily bulbs. If you’re planting bulbs or tubers in the ground we highly recommend using wire baskets. We have some new very sturdy quart baskets.

The potting of bareroot fruit trees has begun at Bay Laurel Garden Center in Atascadero. If you have trees on order to pick up or wish to buy those still bareroot, hesitate no longer!

Ceanothus, one of the most spectacular native California shrubs is about to burst forth! This drought tolerant shrub has brilliant blue flowers as well as white and light blue. We recommend using Ceanothus as an accent as it can be a bit temperamental, often living only 5 to 7 years.