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On Gardening: Arranging for drop by including plants

Throughout the late summer and early slide, we can continue to discover interesting colors in our gardens. Today’s column consists of illustrations of such late bloomers, which continue on to increase the landscape while appreciating the season’s early rains.

Winter season-blooming vegetation are readily available for the Bay Area weather, but the tumble and winter months often direct our interest to the foliage plants. We love the hues, distinctive forms, and satisfying fragrances of our flowering plants, and depend on the constructions, textures, and hues of our trees and shrubs. Foliage provides the basis — and typically the background — of the landscape.

Including vegetation

Today’s column focuses on preparing for the tumble period when we prioritize going and incorporating vegetation to the backyard. This priority demonstrates the plants’ typical progress cycle, which directs electrical power to root development in the course of the slide and wintertime and prepares for leaf and blossom generation all through the early spring.

There are exceptions to this cycle, as with many aspects of plant cultivation, but a massive percentage of common yard crops observe this seasonal process.

Gardeners are well-encouraged also to adhere to this course of action by putting in crops in anticipation of the onset of our rainy time. As we mentioned in a modern column, our rainy period begins traditionally on Nov. 5, with a gradual increase in rain possibilities in the course of the preceding months.

Last weekend’s light rain was a welcome precursor to our wet period.

Right here are recommendations for including plants to the back garden.

We recently encouraged “gardening by strolling around” to establish spots that have to have improvement. This procedure really should involve creating a record of locations that could be enhanced by the addition of new plants. These spots could possibly be current gaps in the landscape or gaps that you create by eliminating trousers that are underneath-doing or that you no for a longer period take pleasure in.

A existing project

My very own ideas contain taking away a quite significant cluster of Huge Rockfoil (Bergenia cordifolia Apple Blossom’). This plant is also termed Pigsqueak because of the sounds manufactured by rubbing a leaf amongst the thumb and finger. This appealing groundcover plant grows effectively in two spots of my back garden and spreads slowly and gradually. My concentrate on cluster has formulated to fill an region of about eight ft by eighteen ft.

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I will uproot all of the Pigsqueak to share with a gardening friend and the Santa Cruz Plant Exchange.

This will no cost the partly shaded space less than a massive Mock Orange shrub (Pittosporum tobira). This location is effectively suited for relocating the bulbs of an additional plant called Blood Lily or Cape Tulip (Haemanthus coccineus). This South African succulent plant has been propagating by itself for a handful of yrs and would reward from far more area. We will discover how several bulbs have created and relocate them about two ft aside.

At this time, the Blood Lily is at the finish of its bloom season and will establish its striking display screen of large leaves by the early spring. It prefers to grow in position, so going the bulbs might interrupt its cycle, but yield long-phrase rewards.

Thematic plant selection

The moment you have identified places that want new crops, adopt a system for plant choice. As we have encouraged in preceding columns, attaining vegetation to employ a thematic program can aid the plant selection procedure. That process can be discouraging when deciding upon from the large and at any time-growing array of solutions at the local back garden center, plant catalogs, and the World-wide-web.

This approach could undertake any of the quite a few available themes, relying on the gardener’s personalized choices. Themes could be dependent on plant genus, blossom colour, native origin, bloom period of time, or nostalgia. The position is to have a notion for the progress of a certain yard bed.

Agenda your system to install new vegetation in advance of the rainy period, to welcome character to support the plants’ root development.

Mulching the yard

This time is also a great time to consider mulching your garden beds.

Anna Burke outlined six explanations to mulch your yard now to protect it in the course of the winter months.

  • Lengthens your expanding time.
  • Retains moisture in the soil.
  • Controls drop and spring weeds.
  • Stabilizes soil temperature.
  • Shields roots from heaves
  • Boosts organic and natural make any difference.
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This posting was posted on the Dave’s Back garden web-site (

There are a number of means to mulch a back garden. The most straightforward approach, shallow mulching, installs a one layer of brown mulch (e.g., fallen leaves or wooden chips) of 4-to-six inches. A improved strategy, deep sheet mulching, takes advantage of alternating levels of brown mulch and inexperienced mulch (e.g., freshly clipped grass) on a layer of paper (newspaper or cardboard), achieving a overall depth of up to two ft or extra.

There has been some discussion about which includes a paper layer below organic and natural mulch. Some study concludes that these a layer smothers weeds (as supposed) and also smothers the soil, cutting down the carbon dioxide and oxygen concentrations reduced than ideal, possibly affecting soil microorganisms. Other analysis acknowledges the reduction but concludes that it is not wonderful more than enough to damage soil microorganisms or plant roots.

This discussion is included in Jeff Gilman’s useful posting, “What is Sheet Mulching and How Do You Do It?). His report, published just lately by Wonderful Gardening magazine, is out there on the net at

Progress your gardening know-how

The Cactus and Succulent Modern society of The usa will current the webinar, “A glimpse of the Normal Natural beauty of Chiapas,” at 10 a.m. Oct. 1. The presenters, Julia Etter and Martin Kirsten, will offer a sightseeing tour of Agaves and Crassulaceae in the Mexican point out of Chiapas. These are well-known succulent vegetation for Monterey Bay space gardens. To see far more details and sign-up for this no cost celebration, browse to

High-quality Gardening magazine (a single of my favorites) has posted a collection of recorded webinars on gardening topics. Chosen subjects that relate to today’s column and other the latest columns include things like New Vegetation That Ought to have Your Interest, Underrated Spring-Blooming Bulbs, and Generating a Back garden Vignette. Test them out by traveling to the web-site,

Delight in your backyard!

Tom Karwin is past president of Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and the Monterey Bay Iris Society, a Life time Member of the Monterey Bay Location Cactus & Succulent Culture, and a Life time UC Grasp Gardener.  

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