» Archive for April, 2014

New Rose Lineup

Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Jenny Watts
    • Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and other cool season crops should be planted this month for delicious spring harvests.
    • Plant potatoes! St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day to plant potatoes, so the season is upon us now.
    • Peach and plum trees are still available as bare-root trees, but only for a short while longer. Start your orchard now!
    • Asparagus will provide you with delicious, low-priced spears for years to come if you plant them now from dormant crowns.
    • Plant sweet peas for bouquets of delightful, fragrant flowers.

New Rose Lineup

Each spring brings bright new rose varieties for the rose enthusiasts to add to the garden. This year there are some real beauties to tempt you with their colors and fragrances.

‘Coretta Scott King’™ is a graceful beauty named to honor author, activist and human rights leader, the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Her long, pointed buds spiral open to reveal creamy white blooms blushed with tropical tones of coral-orange. Excellent disease-resistant foliage compliments the long pointed buds that open to 4-inch flowers in clusters on this upright grandiflora rose.

From Weeks Roses’ Fragrant Rose Collection we have ‘Sugar Moon’™, an elegant, pure white hybrid tea rose. Intensely sweet citrus blossom and rose fragrance, dark glossy green foliage with very good disease resistance, and large flowers on long cutting stems make this a perfect addition for a cutting garden.

The bright red, white and burgundy flowers of ‘Rock & Roll’™ will add some spice to your rose garden. Its creamy buds open to reveal wild stripes of burgundy, red and white and the strong rose and fruit fragrance will set you back on your heels. With deep glossy green leaves and very good disease resistance, this is a rose you will enjoy for years to come.

The heavy, old-rose fragrance of ‘Melody Parfumée’™ reminds you of a French perfume. Its deep plum colored buds unfurl to richly purple blossoms softening to lavender chiffon. This exceptional rose also boasts dark green, disease-resistant foliage, and clusters of flowers on this grandiflora rose.

A new novelty rose is called ‘Bull’s Eye.’ The white buds of this shrub rose open to reveal a cranberry eye surrounding the yellow stamens in the middle. The 2½ to 3″ flowers have a moderate spicy fragrance and the plants have excellent black spot resistance.

A most unusual new rose is ‘Koko Loko’™. This sweet florabunda rose opens with milky chocolate-colored buds to a creamy, latte-like color and then matures to a soft lavender blossom. This small plant will give you lots of excellent cut flowers.

Of course every rose garden also needs some of the tried and true champions. ‘Mister Lincoln’ is a dark red rose with fragrance, disease-resistance and beauty. ‘Peace’ is a soft yellow to pink rose that has set the standard with its large, full flowers.

‘Tiffany’ is a pure pink rose with a heavy fragrance and beautiful cutting flowers. And ‘Chicago Peace’ has very large, double flowers in a gaudy blend of phlox pink and canary yellow. These heritage roses will add sparkle and charm to any rose garden.

So make room in your garden for some of these beauties, and look forward to the show!

Time for a Little Planning

Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Jenny Watts
    • Fragrant daphne is an early-blooming shrub that will delight you with its strongly scented blooms each spring. Plant it in well-drained soil.
    • Prune Hydrangeas now by removing old flower heads down to the first new leaves. Don’t prune stems which have no old flowers, and they will bloom first this summer.
    • Apple trees are still available as bare-root trees, but only for a short while longer. Start your orchard now!
    • Forsythia, with its bright yellow flowers, is one of the first shrubs to bloom in the spring. Plant one in a sunny spot where you can enjoy its cheery flowers.
    • Last chance for asparagus roots this year. Prepare a fertile bed for these long-lived vegetables.

Time to Plan the Garden

With the drought crippling some of the main agricultural areas of California, the state that produces a third of the country’s fruits and vegetables, this may be the year to plant your own vegetable garden. Mendocino County has a fairly good water supply with recent rains, and with food prices on the rise, now is a the time to get started.

Start with a plan, whether a simple one or a complex diagram, so that you’ll be ready to begin planting when the weather permits. You need to decide what you are going to plant and when you are going to plant it.

Vegetables can be divided into warm season crops and cool season crops. Cool season crops include broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, onions, beets and potatoes. Some warm season crops are tomatoes and peppers, squash, cucumbers, melons, corn and beans.

Cool season vegetables can be planted directly into the garden in March. These hardy plants can stand the frosts that continue through March and April.

Warm season vegetables can be planted in the garden beginning in May. The average date of the last frost in Willits is May 12th, and sometimes there are killing frosts through the month of May. So you need to be prepared to protect young transplants and seedlings until summer arrives.

You can also plant some of the cool season vegetables for a fall crop, but these must be set out in August in order to fruit before the very cold weather arrives in mid-November. Part of your garden plan should leave room for these fall vegetables. In our climate, if you wait until the summer crops come out before you plant the fall crops, it will be too late.

First decide which vegetables your family eats and have some idea of how much. Do you eat one head of lettuce a week or three? Then determine how much produce you want to can, freeze, dry, or store. Successive plantings of certain crops, such as beans, will give a longer harvest period and increase your yield.

Try not to plant vegetables from the same family (peas and beans or squash and pumpkin) in exactly the same location in the garden more often than once in three years. Rotation prevents the buildup of insects and diseases. Use your previous years’ plans as guides for rotating crops.

A good vegetable garden must have at least 6 hours of full sun each day. Eight to 10 hours a day is ideal. No amount of fertilizer, water, or care can replace needed sunshine.

An area that gets less sun can successfully grow beets, chard, carrots, radishes, cabbage, spinach and lettuce.

Once you have a plan laid out, visit your local nursery to choose seeds from the seed racks and you will be ready to plant. You will also find transplants there in season and plenty of help for new gardeners. Happy gardening!

Ornamental Crabapple Trees

Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Jenny Watts
    • Last call for bare root fruit trees. This is the most economical way to plant an orchard, so choose your trees now.
    • Lily of the valley is a sweet, shade-loving perennial that can be planted now from “pips” available at the nursery.
    • Mouth-watering strawberries should be planted now for delicious berries this summer. Plant them in a sunny, well-drained bed.
    • Summer flower bulbs can be planted now. Choose from gladiolus, dahlias, begonias, lilies and more.
    • Broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and peas grow best in the spring and don’t mind a little frost. Set out plants now and grow your own!

Ornamental Crabapple Trees

Crabapples are some of our most ornamental flowering trees. They offer striking spring bloom, healthy leaves and colorful fruit that hang on the tree through the fall and winter months. They are small-to-medium-sized trees that are easy to grow in this area.

Just as the leaves start to emerge, the colorful flowers of crabapple trees burst out in clouds of fragrant white, pink or red blossoms, hiding the small leaves beneath. As the season progresses, the fruits develop and take on color. By fall they dangle from the branches like red, orange or yellow baubles. On some varieties, the fruits persist into winter and are attractive to birds. Beautiful golden leaves brighten the fall landscape with some varieties.

In the spring, crabapples are in their glory. ‘Snowdrift’ has red buds which open to single white flowers that bloom over a long period. It has a rounded crown that is very symmetrical and bright green, glossy leaves. Small orange fruit hang on the tree into the fall.

‘Floribunda’ is pink in bud, opening to a profusion of pale pink flowers, followed by small yellow-red fruit. This spreading, irregularly shaped tree has a fine winter silhouette. It is an old variety which has proven over the years to be one of the best.

‘Radiant’ has red buds which open to deep pink flowers. The new foliage is purplish red, turning more green in summer. Bright red 1/2-inch fruit adorn the tree in the fall. The broad, rounded tree reaches 20 feet tall and wide.

‘Hopa’ has large, fragrant, rosy red single flowers, with a white star shape in the center. They are followed by colorful, orange-red fruit. The tree is upright, broadening with age, and has dense, dark green foliage that turns yellow in the fall.

‘Bechtel Klehm’ has large, very double fragrant pink flowers that almost resemble small roses against the soft green, disease-resistant foliage. This round-headed tree blooms later than the other varieties and produces few fruit. In fall, the golden leaves light up the landscape.

‘Prairifire’ is one of the best red leafed crabapples, and makes an impressive statement in the landscape. The long-lasting bright red flowers are followed by dark red 1/2-inch fruit. It has attractive reddish bark and excellent disease-resistance.

Most crabapple trees range from 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. Prune them when young only to build a good framework; annual pruning is not necessary. Fruit ranges in size from 1/2 to 1 inch on most ornamental varieties. Some, like ‘Hopa’, bear fruit which is good for crabapple jelly. All crabapples can be used as pollenizers for fruiting apple trees.

Crabapples make fine lawn trees and are very showy planted in rows along driveways or walks. Plant primroses, spring bulbs and shade-loving summer bedding plants underneath for color throughout the season.