Gardening Events & More May 2011

I’m paring down my events list, so I hope you enjoy the weather and some of the highlights that I want to share with you.

As always, I want to remind you to shop local, and get the freshest produce around by heading out to the local Farmer’s Markets in Santa Clarita:

Sundays 8:00am – noon
College of The Canyons Parking Lot
Don’t forget to visit my friend Sarah from Worldwide Exotics

There is also another great Farmer’s Market:
Thursdays in Old Town Newhall from 3-7pm

April 30 & May 1, 2011 (noon – 4pm each day) - This weekend is Rose Days at Otto & Sons – I went last year and it was awesome! They have great speakers, roses on sale, and… it is a beautiful drive our to Fillmore on a lovely weekend day! Take a look at my last years blog post.

May 1, 2011 - The Memorial Garden Tour is this Sunday. You can pick up a program at Green Thumb and any number of other locations around tour… The Community Gardens of Santa Clarita is a stop on the tour as is our Council President’s house!

Next weekend--- Worldwide Exotics is having their plant sale... I'll update this once I chat with them... misplaced my email invite.

May 9, 2011 at 5 pm - Opening Day at the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita. Come celebrate with us as we have our official opening! Refreshments, dignitaries… the works!

May 14, 2011 10 am The Harmonious Home Team in action! Elaine Giftos Wright and I will be speaking at the High Desert Garden Club on Feng Shui in the Garden. The meeting is at the Acton Library.

Descanso Gardens:
They have so much going on so here is a link to the May Calendar. Personal fav highlights:
May 7, & 28, 2011 – Iris Walk & Talk at 11 am – I LOVE Iris!
May 14, 2011 – Clematis Walk & Talk at 11 am & Cali Native Plant uses at 1pm
Don’t forget to check out the dates of Lili Singer’s Garden Chats!

LA Arboretum
Another place that has so much to do here is a link to their events. Here are some of my choices for the month:

May 7 & 8, 2011 – Mother’s Day Geranium Show (hint hint children of gardeners…) 9am – 4pm each day.

May 14 – 15, 2011 – Epiphyllum Show & Sale – Epiphyllum are in the cactus family and native to Central America – the name means upon the leaf because the flower grows there. Here is a link to some more detailed info about them.
May 28 – 29, 2011 – Santa Anita Bonsai Show & Sale

I hope you find a few things to do this month, enjoy!

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Wordless Wednesday - What Are The Shrubs Up To?

Rhaphiolepis 'Majestic Beauty' a nice small tree

Photinia in full bloom

Rhaphiolepis makes a great hedge or screen - very utilitarian!

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Tips For Your Vegetable Garden

The weather is warming up and things are looking beautiful around town, so I thought that I’d share a few vegetable growing tips with you that will help you make the most out of your garden this year.

If you have a vegetable garden you should know that your annual Crops should be rotated in a four-year cycle. The same plants should not be in the same bed year after year because they are susceptible to diseases if planted in the same spot year after year. If you have you vegetables in containers it is wise to recycle the soil as well. You can use the old potting soil either for other plants, dump it into your flowerbeds or call it yard waste. Here are the vegetable families and their make up.

Alliums – onion, garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks
Brassicas – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale
Crucifers – turnips, radishes, rutabaga, collards
Cucurbits – cucumber, squash, melons, pumpkin
Legumes – peas & beans
Mescluns – arugula, swess chard, chickory, endive, escarole, radiccio
Solanaceae – tomato, peppers, eggplant

Continually planting small amounts of short season vegetables through the season so they mature bit by bit will prevent large harvest all at once. You can also accomplish the same thing by planting an assortment of tomatoes that mature at different times. Check out my post on extending your tomato harvest. You can plant a second crop of (cool weather) tomatoes* in August and have tomatoes through February/March if there is no hard freeze.

Potatoes inhibit the growth of tomatoes and squash, beans inhibit the growth of onions and broccoli inhibits the growth of dill so think about plant placement carefully. The more of your landscape you use for edibles, the easier it becomes to keep them separated! Hint, hint…

Great vegetables for containers:
Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, carrots, chard, lettuce, beans, peas and don’t forget herbs.. most of them are stars in a container! During the winter I had a beautiful container filled with red sails lettuce, green romaine, and some pretty little pansies – darling & delicious!

There are also many vegetables that are also ornamental such as Endive, French green beans, kale, red cabbage, ruby chard, runner beans, and sweet peas. I love mixing them in with my ornamentals and harvesting as I weed!

Don’t forget to plant some perennial vegetable, they can add structure to your garden and will be there for a few years. Artichokes, Asparagus, and Rhubarb, all of which do not need to be rotated. (Rhubarb leaves are poisonous so ... they are not animal friendly)

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Wordless Wednesday - Yellow & Purple

I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille

Freesia & Tulip

Tulip & Freesia

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How To Care For Wisteria

Wisteria is a beautiful deciduous twining vine with beautiful fluffy lavender, pink or white cascading blossoms that can add to a pergola or arbor. Wisteria is quite vigorous and may grow 10 feet in one year so they could easily overwhelm the structures and plants around it. That means that if you want one, you must give it sturdy support and maintain it. You Wisteria needs at least six hours of sunlight each day to bloom and you should prune it after blooming no later than mid-summer. If you prune after that time you will likely trim off their bud as they set in the fall for the following spring season. Cut the sides shoots that come from the main stem back to six inches. If you have a non-blooming plant you should prune it after it has fully leafed out. We’ll try to deal with a non-bloomer below.

Planting a new wisteria is best done in the spring or fall and they should be spaced 10’ – 15’ apart (so that you don’t create a maintenance nightmare for yourself). Make sure that you are providing it with a full sun (or partial shade in our hot inland areas of Southern California) site with good drainage and adequate (regular) water. If your soil is in poor condition make sure to add compost to the soil that you remove while digging your hole. Your hole should be no deeper than the container you are taking the wisteria from, but 2-3 times wider. Gently remove your wisteria from it’s container and place it into the hole, fill the hole half way with your amended soil, and water it and let the soil settle. Once it has drained, fill the rest of the hole, water again and make sure that the soil has no air pockets in it. If your soil is good (who’s is?) you don’t need to add amendments.

I am asked fairly often, “Why is my wisteria not blooming?” so I ‘m going to give you a quick run down on some of the reasons that might happen and what you can do about it. Often a non-blooming plant is getting too much nitrogen, nitrogen promotes growth but not bloom, and usually the plant is too close to or in a lawn. The lawn loves that nitrogen rich fertilizer but the wisteria will spend more time growing and less time producing blooms. When the wisteria has lots of nitrogen it is not stressed so it has no reason to produce blossoms to produce seed and reproduce. Feed your wisteria with a fertilizer that has a higher middle number (phosphorus) keep that lawn fertilizer away from it and hopefully it won’t be too long before it starts to bloom. You can also let it get a little dried out, which will slow down its growth and stress it a little, it’s reaction will likely be to take care if itself by trying to reproduce (flowers, yay!)

Additional care tips – make sure to add a nice 2-3” layer of mulch under your wisteria each spring, this will help control weeds and retain moisture. You can remove the shoots that come up from the base of the plant any time that they appear. The more you keep up on your wisteria the happier you will be.

To learn more about my designs please visit my website.


Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday Marlon



Plum Blossoms

Check out Marlon's blog and his amazing teas and tea brewing vessels - Chan Teas

For more about my designs please visit my website


Four Life Skills I Learned In The Garden

Recently I spoke to a group of amazing entrepreneurial women; I was asked to speak about my business and myself. As I began writing I realized that although I am used to speaking to people about gardening, plants, and design. I wasn’t sure how to share for business people. Then it came to me, the garden has taught me many lessons that I use every day in my business. So I shared four skills that I drew from the garden, I decided to share them with you too.

Vision – without a clear vision of the outcome of your garden, you will create a hodge podge of things that may or may not look good together. Spending some time brainstorming your garden, your business, and your life will go a long way to helping you create the garden or business or life that is best suited for you.

Planning – if you don’t plan a garden it has no rhythm, no flow, no beauty, and no peace. If you don’t plan at least SOME of your life you will feel ungrounded and you too will have no flow and probably very little peace. If you don’t plan life, life will plan you.

Companions – Plants have certain companions that they do well with. California Natives are best planted in communities because they improve the soil and each other. Tomato plants and basil are great combinations for both planting and for cooking and there is a whole list of plants that are best planted underneath oak trees. I think that it is as important to find your perfect companions in life, and for your business. Those that compliment you, support you, and help you improve your soil! I am so lucky to have my Mastermind Group and the Harmonious Home Team they support my business and share many parts of my life with me so my extra, added bonus is that they are both my colleagues and my friends.

Flexibility – plants and especially weeds know how to be flexible… and often the weeds are the most successful plant in a garden! They mimic the plants around them and they fool even the most experienced gardener into letting them stay put. Be flexible in your life and your business, sway with the breeze without compromising your values and you will become a fixture in your own life’s garden.

Using vision, planning, companions and flexibility in your life will certainly make you a more successful gardener, and I think those same skills can help you translate all your dreams into reality.

A little business/life advice from my soil (or should I say soul?)

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Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday Luanne!

Love this orange bulb, comes back every year... very cheery

Iris 'Nada'

Pink Jasmine

Happy day after your birthday Lu!

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What To Do In Your Southern California Garden In April

April started out with a real bang! These hot days make me realize that it's time to start doing some real planning and sprucing in our gardens. Here is the link to last year's April Reminders - I updated a few things to make the dates right, but please don't go to Whole Foods to see Tami & I... that was from 2010!

click on the link to read what to do in your garden.

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