Flowerbulbs are coming soon!

It’s one of the best times of the year- flowerbulbs are almost here! We’re expecting them to arrive the first week of September, which is right around the corner!

Bright yellow daffodils , vibrant tulips, fragrant hyacinth will sprout forth effortlessly next spring if you take a moment to put them in now. It’s easy to set up a springtime show with bulbs, especially when planted beneath cool season flowers like pansies, poppies, stock and snapdragons. The shoots will grow right up through the plants in spring, creating a fabulous double-decker effect – wow!

Let’s go over the basics:

Daffodils (narcissus) are abundant and reliable, the classic reminder that spring has arrived. The brightly colored flowers are most often yellow, but you also see them in different combinations of orange, white and even pink. The shorter ones are often fragrant.

Tulips come in so many different styles, heights and colors- fringed, lily-flowered, giant mammoth just to name a few. Some bloom earlier, some later, so you can extend the bloom time by choosing some of each.

Freesia have a sweet citrusy scent. Plant them among other bulbs or perennials; the flowers bloom their way up the gracefully lilting stems for weeks. Great cutflower.

Bearded Iris have evergreen leaves, and many of the newer varieties will bloom for most of the year. Gorgeous, seemingly delicate flowers are quite large, sporting a noticeable ‘beard’ on the lower petals.

Hyacinth are suited to a fair amount of shade. Full and colorful clusters of bloom are compact, upright and potently fragrant. Great for pots or in borders.

Crocus, usually the first to bloom (in late winter/early spring), look like delicate cups of color sitting right atop the soil. Stunning when planted in clumps or drifts.

Dutch Iris have been a staple at the florist for many years. Make a statement with a large number of bulbs planted ‘shoulder to shoulder’ in a large hole, or mix some into the perennial garden.

We’re also getting the more unusual stuff, like ranunculus, anemone and sparaxis. The earlier you buy, the better the selection, so come by soon to check ’em out…..

 

 

 

 

Want a Butterfly Garden?

It’s butterfly season, and we get lots of ’em

Everyone loves butterflies. Kind of like puppies, kittens or baby chicks- when you see them, it makes you go ‘awww.’

These are the ballerinas of the insect world, showing grace with every movement, fluttering and floating effortlessly about. Here in Sonoma County we are visited by many different types, and you can encourage them to visit your garden by planting certain flowers.

a butterfly’s dream

Young larvae will need food plants, while adults will go  for nectar. A shallow dish or other regular water source is also part of the plan, as they drink water just like the rest of us. Understand that pesticides are a no-no if you want  these beauties to keep coming around.

Although, ideally, a thriving butterfly garden is somewhat overgrown (in order to sustain a working habitat), you can successfully encourage them to visit your tidy flower beds, as long as there are plenty of worthy blooms to check out. Here are a few candidates:

These are a few of the plants that will be eaten by caterpillars, or larvae, who will turn into glorious adults:

Dicentra, or Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts- a lilting perennial that blooms in late winter early spring.

Nasturtium- a soft looking, low growing rambler with edible flowers

linaria ‘flamenco’

Linaria (toadflax)- sweet mini snapdragons

Sunflowers- we all know what those are!

Penstemon- soft spires of tubular bells; bloom continuously

Hollyhock- tall towers of open-faced flowers; love the sun

Foxglove- lush leaves and large bell-shaped flowers

Here’s a few selections that will provide plentiful nectar to mature butterflies:

stunning delphinium

Delphinium- fat, long cones of many long-lasting flowers. Showy!

Lavender- pleasantly pungent leaves and blooms. Low water, too

Honeysuckle- sweet-smelling vine for full sun or part shade

Lilac- clusters of late winter/spring flowers. Great cut flower

Coneflower (echinachea)- strong-stemmed daisies form prominent cones as they become spent

Sweet Pea- These potently fragrant vines bloom through the cool season

Butterfly Bush (buddleja)- honey-scented conical flower clusters

butterfly bush

Lantana- round clusters of bright flowers. Can be a groundcover or an upright shrub

Flowering Maple- tropical looking, pendulous flowers that resemble hibiscus

Dianthus- sweetly scented, plentiful flowers

A lot of these plants are attractive to other pollinators, and hummingbirds, as well as being drought resistant, deer tolerant. A good many are suitable for cutting bouquets, so you can enjoy the flowers as much as your butterflies do. We stock all these plants and many more, and we’ll gladly help you design your garden and decide just what you need.

 

 

 

Fragrant Gardenias

It’s the best time for gardenias- the flowers are loving this weather….

I’ve always thought of the gardenia as the southern belle in my garden, loving the warm nights and summer heat so prevalent in the south. Visions of a flower-filled courtyard in the moonlight, a heady fragrance in the evening air. A lovely lady wearing one in her hair. A gentlemen’s boutonniere.

These glossy evergreen shrubs are happy to grow here in our climate. A few things about gardenias worth mention:

-Get the grafted ones. They were originally developed for nematode resistance in the southern states, but it was discovered that grafted plants will utilize nutrients more efficiently, making them greener, more floriferous and vigorous.

– Food. Give them acid fertilizer regularly and you will be rewarded with many more flowers. Liquid food every 2 weeks, or granular monthly is best during the growing season (March – October).

– Plant them with acidic Planting Mix. It has great drainage, right out of the bag. Use it straight in containers, or mixed 50/50 with your native soil in the ground. While you’re at it, throw in your first dose of fertilizer.

-Flowers are most prolific when the nights are warm, so pick a nice warm spot. I like to put them near a walkway or window to best enjoy the wonderful fragrance. And yes, I bring the flowers inside- how could you not?

We like to stock these plants most of the year, but now is the best time to see them in bloom. Once you smell those flowers….come on by to see what I mean. Our staff is ready to tell you more if you have any questions.