Maintenance Information

If you are searching for particular maintenance information, please see the blogs for the months that correspond to the time frame that you are searching. Also check the labels of the blogs (at the base of the blog page) for blog subjects that might be helpful.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Early Wildflowers of the Redwood Forest

Trilliums or Wake Robins (white 3 petaled flower), Slink Pods (delicate white-purple flower with spotted leaves) and Redwood Sorrel (shamrock leafed) grace the cold hollows of the Redwood forest this month along with some stupendous ferns!
It is a big year for trilliums which are allusive most years but are having a big bloom with all the rain. You have to go out early in the wildflower season to see these as they bloom in winter not spring.
We saw these out at Samuel P. Taylor Park or Camp Taylor in Marin last weekend while walking along the rushing Papermill Creek. Not too many mushrooms or newts yet but the unusual flowers i.e. Slink Pods made up for that!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Spring Wildflowers

Milk Maids are the first
wildflowers of the year
blooming in winter months.
Hounds Tongue just came
out with tall stalks from
tongue shaped leaves at the
It is always so exciting to see the Milk Maids blooming in the hills. This means that many beautiful wildflowers will soon start to appear. With the green grass the colorful blooms decorate our forest and foothills making spring a celebration of new growth. Poetic- huh!
It all just makes me want to go for a hike and see what flowers I can find. Along with the wildflowers this year came a new baby faun up at Mom's in Marin. The deer roam freely and enjoy eating what we plant there but don't bother the wildflowers and can't keep up with the grass!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time to plant summer bulbs

I was out at the nurseries this week checking out stock and getting some plants to fill in gaps in my garden. I was happy to see the summer flowering bulbs for sale and now is a good time to get those in.

Lilies, Gladiolas, Tuberous Begonias, Dahlias and Peony are available in tuber form and can go into pots with annuals or perennials or into loamy soil.

This year I made a small plateau in the garden with sand, potting soil and garden soil about 6" high so that the bulbs could drain quickly and have some nice loose, fertile earth to root into.

The tuberous begonias I plant in pots in the shade and they last for quite awhile that way.

Add some slow release fertilizer to the planting areas and remember to stake the tall flowers as they tend to fall over.

Most of these are good cut flowers and the Lilies smell good (remove the anthers as the red pollen dust falls off onto your tablecloth!). My goal is to have flowering bulbs blooming all year and I am almost there!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Garden Jewels

Tiny bulbs make shining jewels in the gloomy winter cold. Pictured are golden crocus, a miniature daffodil and super dwarf iris. All under 4" tall! So small they are easily hidden by fallen leaves.

Post-winter pruning

I have been out doing the big winter pruning this last weekend. Quite a job- as you can see! I clipped down the perennials to about 12" or less off the ground, pruned roses, pulled weeds, shaped shrubs and low trees and cleaned up old leaves below plants.
The purpose of all this hard work is to prepare for the spring growth. The plants will rejuvinate and bloom more heavily. Removing the leaf litter gets rid of fungus spores, insect and snail eggs in the debris and allows me to see any sprouting weeds to be pulled and maybe a tiny bulb blooming. The winter pruning also keeps the garden from getting too overgrown, which it was, and keeps the plants full rather than scraggly and leggy.
Weeding is definitely the most tedious job of gardening. I do not use pre-emergent herbicides because of my bulbs and pond so must get down low and pull them out. Doing so after the heavy rain made the job somewhat easier.
I do get some weeds in the cracks of the pavers which I hit with a shot of round-up, staying well away from the pond, this gets done several times in the spring usually.
The cats have enjoyed hanging out with me during this process and finding out what is below the old growth. They now have much more room to play. I enjoy seeing the edges of the pond again and the new look.
I don't always get to such a heavy clean-up but it really helps the garden when I do. All I have left to do is the fruit trees and climbers on the arbors. Remember to spray your deciduous fruit trees with dormant oil spray right before the flower buds begin to open.
Now for a little rest sitting doing landscape plans!

Pre-winter pruning

This is how the pond area looked last spring/summer. The next blog entry shows post pruning with notes.