Wordless Wednesday - What's in the Garden?

Geranium maderense in bloom

A little Sage, some Iris & Thor the Mighty Yorkie

Ahhhh Lilac Blossoms

For More information on my designs: www.thegrassisalwaysgreener.net


Wildflower Season...what's going on in SoCal

It's Wildflower Season around Southern California, and this looks to be an amazing weekend for flower watching! Along with the aforementioned Rose Days this weekend there is plenty of other natural beauty all around.

California Poppies are a highlight right now, and this weekend the Poppy Festival will be happening in Lancaster City Park. The Antelope Valley will be celebrating these beauties with music, food, and fun. All in the midst of a blanket of brilliant orange. Here is the link to learn more - California Poppy Festival.

A trip out to Joshua Tree or Mojave will also give you an amazing treat with oceans of yellow and purple and beautiful cactus flowers in bloom. March begins the show, but there are still some beauties waiting for you now.

If pets are more your speed, Santa Clarita Valley Pet & Family Expo is where you want to be May 1st & 2nd at the College of the Canyons. Green Nursery's own Tank the Bulldog will be there to greet you. Lots of vendors, Pets are welcome - there is free micro chipping and rabies vaccines. Valencia Acura is the official sponsor, so it's certainly a Valencia Event. If you bring a dog bed, new or used blanket you will get a free raffle ticket. PetExpoUSA.net

Enjoy the spring time, there's lots going on!

For more about my designs: thegrassisalwaysgreener.net


What are you doing this weekend? Rose Days at Otto & Sons

18th Annual Rose Days
Saturday and Sunday April 24-25, 2010 from 9AM - 5 PM

Southern California's Largest Collection of Garden Roses
Special Rose Days Pricing
900+ varieties of roses.

Free Seminars! Gates open at 9AM each day, seminars start at noon. Guest speakers from Weeks Roses, Jackson Perkins, Star Roses, and David Austin Roses plus owner Scott Klittich (Rose Lover and Owner of Otto & Sons) speaks each day.

I love these roses, I ALWAYS find that special rose that I need for a project here at Otto & Sons!

They combine beautifully with all kinds of plants.

For more information and seminar listings: Otto & Sons

I hope to see you there!

You can also find me at: therassisalwaysgreener.net


Wordless Wednesday - Santa Clarita & Fillmore

Iris 'Nada' blooms in the shade

Amazing Red Flax & Foliage of Geranium maderense

Low Chill White Lilacs

For information on my designs www.thegrassisalwaysgreener.net


How to Care for Ceanothus (California Lilac)

Ceanothus or California Lilac is a beautiful shrub that is native to California, it ranges from low ground cover varieties to tall shrubs. You can find a Ceanothus for just about any spot in your garden, provided you don’t over water it.

Here is a quick run down of what to do during the year for your Ceanothus.

During the month of March you can feed your plant a little bit, normally I don’t suggest feeding natives but I’ve read that a little bit of bonemeal around the base of your plant is a good idea at this time of the year. Now is also a good time to mulch. Some compost can do wonders. If any of your Ceanothus are summer blooming varieties, you can prune them in early March. Don’t prune your spring bloomers, or you won’t have any blooms!

When June rolls around it is time to prune the spring bloomers. Make sure that they are finished blooming and give them a bit of a haircut.

Container grown Ceanothus can be planted at any time of the year, but new cutting grown plants do best in November when the soil is still a little warm. In general if you can plant your Ceanothus during the winter instead of the summer, they will do much better. But… they are a hardy plant and as mentioned before, feel free to plant them when you will.

Ceanothus plants prefer little water and inland they are happiest with a little shade. That said, there are many examples of Ceanothus growing around the Santa Clarita Valley in full sun, blooming up a storm. They are often said to be short-lived (5-10 years), but I think that is often due to the fact that people over water them. They need to be planted in well-draining soil, and they don’t like regular garden water. If you want to have a successful native garden, think about only planting natives and cutting your water down considerably. Lawn and natives really don’t mix. An exception to this rule is Carmel Creeper, Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis ‘Yankee Point’ which will take more water than most and can also tolerate more of a clay soil than other varieties. But remember it still doesn’t like a lot of fuss and it doesn’t like fertilizer much.

Plant a few in the less irrigated portions of your landscape, and you will be very pleased with their beauty and versatility.


Wordless Wednesday - Unusual Blooms


South African Blood Lily

Lion's Tail

Happy Birthday Marlon!!!!

For more information: www.thegrassisalwaysgreener.net


How To Grow Tomatoes

Today I had the pleasure of attending Tomatomania at one of my favorite nurseries, Otto & Sons in Fillmore, California. The day started out with Yoga, so I was in an excellent frame of mind. The vibe of the day was made better by the beautiful drive to Fillmore.

Once I was there I spent some time picking through the hundreds of choices of tomatoes. I bought some for me, some for clients, and some for friends. Some new varieties that I will be trying this year are Violet Jaspey Ortziu (guess why I picked that one?) and Cuore De Toro (Bull’s Heart). The Bull’s Heart is an oxheart tomato, which is bigger than a salad, but smaller than a Beefsteak and very meaty. Can’t wait to see how they turn out. Along with the new, I had to have two of my favorites Brandywine and Sungold.

While I was at Tomatomania, I was lucky enough to listen to Scott Daigre (founder of Tomatomania and owner of the fabulous but no longer in business Hortus Nursery) give a little talk about tomatoes. Here is some information that everyone could use to grow better tomatoes.

Tomatoes need 6 – 8 hours of sun; they don’t need 14 hours of hot sun to bake their roots. Keeping this in mind, you might find a whole new area of your yard that will be good for growing tomatoes. I know that I will. I think that I have been baking my tomatoes! I bet that this year I will have a bumper crop.

Amend, amend, amend! If you want fabulous tomatoes make sure that you add a lot of organic matter into your soil. Most of Cali has either clay (and alkaline) soil or decomposed granite (sandy) and both of them should be amended with plenty of organic matter.

Dig deep, plant deep - if you have a tall tomato seedling, the further you bury it in the ground the more of it can root and give you a great base for your plants.

Fertilizing - Use an organic, balanced fertilizer at planting, fertilize again five wks later (at bloom) and then again five weeks later for beefsteak varieties – or any variety that take a long time to mature. Foliar feeding is good for your tomato plants, once in a while during their development (second and/or third time) especially for container plants. The foliar feeding also allows you to rinse off your tomato leaves. In our heat and dirt, your maters will be happy.

Water- Every time you water you should soak the plant, not the soil around it. Try one cup when it is a seedling, and increase the amount of water as it grows. Don’t increase the frequency of water… just the amount. Let your plant dry out before watering again. In the ground try watering every 2-5 days. The best way to water is deeply & infrequently.

As fruit sets your plant begins not to look as good as it did when it was actively growing in size and producing leaves, it starts to yellows a little. Don't worry this is natural and don’t think that this is the time to water it more… it’s NOT! You can easily over water at this point. Don't add extra because it looks yellow! You will dilute the flavor of the tomato and could do worse.

Support tomatoes! There are many types of tomato support, pick the one that you like and use it. You will be very unhappy at harvest time if you don’t support your tomatoes from the start.

Pinching – It’s a personal decision. If you pinch the little shoots that look like a sucker you get a single leader, which is easier to support on the spirals and you will get less but bigger tomatoes. If you don’t pinch you need to use a more cage like support but you will get more tomatoes (which won’t be as big as if you pinched).

Growing in Containers -Size matters! Bigger is better. Don’t plant a tomato in an 8” pot and expect it to bear fruit. Buy pots that don’t retain heat. If you already have black pots, cover them (in burlap or an old sheet) to keep roots cool. Use a mixture of potting soil & planting mix. Not straight potting soil, it doesn’t have enough nutrients. Water for the plant not the pot. Fertilize every 10 days. You will have to water more frequently, so check your soil and water when the plants need it. Tomatoes develop 10-14 days earlier if planted in a pot. Planting in a pot is great on the coast because it add heat & therefore flexibility in where you can plant your tomatoes. The smaller fruited variety plants do better in pots.

A Few Tips:

When see lots of flowers shake the stakes & pollen will fly, pollinating the flowers. You will have more fruit set.

Pick the fruit when it's ripe. Not by color. Pick when they are a little soft. Play with your food! Touch them to see if they are ripe. Let them stay on the vines as long as you can, especially cherry tomatoes. A tomato tastes best two days before it's ready for the compost pile.

To prevent pests be sure to rotate crops or replace soil on containers. And by rotating crops I mean rotate crops by family and tomatoes are in the same family as peppers and eggplants so they have the same pests.

For more information: www.thegrassisalwaysgreener.net

Basket of tomatoes above is from my client & friend, Bernice Hall.


Wordless Wednesday - Blooming SCV

African Daisies

Sweet Pea Shrub


For more information: www.thegrassisalwaysgreener.net


Correction - Repurpose Your Patio Event

I just got the flyer from our Whole Foods Event on April 10th and... it is from Noon - 3pm. I updated the blog post from yesterday but just to be sure - here's the info:

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Time: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: Whole Foods Valencia
24130 Valencia Blvd.
Valencia, Ca. 91355

Bring your old terracotta pottery, saucers, broken bowls etc. for some Creative Green Design Fun. You can also bring buttons, beads, shells, and stones for decor.

Local Designers Tami Smight (interior) and Julie Molinare (Landscape) will help you re-purpose your old items into beautiful new decor items. Whole Foods will supply soil, plants, candles, and decorating tools for your Green Masterpiece! RSVP required.
Send an email to: rsvp@thegrassisalwaysgreener.net with your name & code WFB410

This event is part of a larger Earth Day Event that begins at 9 am. There will be E-waste collection throughout the event & a portion of the proceeds of the collection will be donated to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. (No RSVP require for e-waste collection)

Earth Month 2010 - Your choices make a difference!

For More info: www.thegrassisalwaysgreener.net


What to do in your Southern California Garden in April

Spring is in the air, the birds and butterflies are appearing and it’s starting to be very enjoyable outdoors. Here is a list of garden chores that you should take care of this month.

It is a great month to plant your annuals to start creating summer color

April is the time to start plant fall-blooming bulbs such as Aconitum
Amaryllis, Begonia, Lycoris Spider Lily (not supposed to bloom here, but mine do)
and Trycirtis.

You can buy bulbs at a nursery or online – here are two online suggestions.

Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
McClure Zimmerman Bulbs

It’s time to feed and water blooming and growing cacti and succulents.

Your peach trees should be sprayed for peach leaf curl, peach leaf blight, and canker.

If you didn’t do it last month, time to feed houseplants that are growing or blooming.

You can prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines while they are blooming or just after they finish. The beautiful Hardenbergia (Lilac Vine) is almost done blooming, so soon will be a perfect time to prune them.

If you did not go to Tomatomania at Tapia Farms last weekend, put Tomatomania in Fillmore (Otto & Sons) on your calendar (April 1-3) It’s getting warm so this month you can transplant warm-season vegetable seedlings, when you plant your fabulous new tomato plants.

Plan to attend the Earth Day Celebration at Whole Foods Valencia on April 10, 2010 from noon to 3:00 pm – Tami Smight and I will be outside with some fun demos for you. We’ll help you recycle your old pottery, vases, and more into new decorative, green accessories for your home.

Happy Gardening!

For more information: www.thegrassisalwaysgreener.net

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