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June 2019 Newsletter

Here we are in June already. Imagine my surprise when I raised the blinds on May 20th to see frost on my neighbor’s roof. I hurried to the kitchen window to look at my thermometer outside. Okay, 37. Not perfect but not 32. Still, I knew the basil and cucumbers were not going to be happy. They did not look so bad at first, but as the next two days were cold and wet the death bell tolled. I am sure a lot of you experienced the same thing. We just managed to get in some more basil and have restocked on the ever-popular lemon cukes and other varieties as well.

Since spring got a late start this year, we are expecting demand for vegetable starts to remain high into June. Some things we are just getting like Okra and Carmen Peppers. Word is we can get some Fresnos and Trinidad Scorpions (in 4-inch) next week. We have some Chinese 5 Color and Thai growing in the greenhouse but they are still tiny. Not sure what we are doing wrong. Someone asked for the Italian Climbing Summer Squash and that it is now available. (See never say you don’t have room when you can trellis a squash.) Did you notice we have a few of the more unusual pumpkins like the tiny white ones, knobby ones, and Cinderellas? Check out the Painted Serpent Cuke. It looks like an Armenian but striped. Some of you have asked for English Cukes. We have some just planted in the greenhouse. Our Jerusalem Artichokes look great. These are sunflowers that produce an edible tuber that you harvest in November. Usually referred to as Sunchokes. It’s not too late to plant. Some years I am too busy until the first of July to get my tomatoes in, and they still did fine.

Although we can disagree on the causes of climate change, the writing is on the wall. The USDA just recently updated its zone map for the United States. It looks like we could be a Zone 9 from a Zone 8. Remember we are talking the USDA zones, not Sunset zones which are different. The USDA are the ones listed on seed packs and plant labels. The other zone map to consider is put out by Sunset. Their zones take into consideration how hot it gets, not just how cold it gets. We are Sunset Zone 7, but I believe we are looking at Sunset Zone 8 and even a few of their Zone 9 plants taking our winters. There is evidence that certain species of plants are moving farther North and to higher elevations. Some are seeking out cooler temperatures for their species while others are now able to over-winter in areas they could not before. I had mentioned before that I moved here in Nov of 1990, and in December of that year, CA experienced a record cold snap. It did not get above freezing for days here and even froze in San Francisco that year. I am a little jaded on what will survive the winter here because of it. Most winters the nursery experiences winter nighttime temps into the low 20’s and high teens at least a few times. I swear this year it never dropped below 27 here. Is this the new norm?

Every year there are new introductions from ever busy plant breeders. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but often, as was the case with roses losing their fragrance in favor of form, some traits are lost. Apparently, one of those traits is how much pollen it produces. Some plants are bred sterile so they produce no seed and will flower longer. If you want to attract pollinators, then this info should be considered. The good old fashioned more original simplest form of the flower is best for pollen production.

Just saw an article that Indiana is afraid of a Sudden Oak Death outbreak on their oaks thanks to some CA grown Rhododendrons that were shipped there and infected with it. Sometimes we take quarantines lightly, but they are important. That is one reason we like to buy most of our plants from North Central CA. Not only are they grown close to our same longitude and latitude, we only have to get the ag inspector to the nursery for a shipment inspection a few times a year.

Check out our selection of long blooming Hydrangeas. Not only do we have the modern varieties of old and new wood blooming Hydrangea macrophylla, but we also have my favorites, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, and Hydrangea paniculata. I think these types do better in our hot, dry summers and can tolerate a bit more sun. Granted you do not have the intense colors with them, but they are worth a spot in your shady garden. Plus we have Hydrangea arborescens, the type with the massive balls of white blossoms that can grow up to 10 ft tall.

Summer color is here. The nursery is filled to the gills. Not I keep saying we have enough, but we just got in 60 more flats of flowers and veggies. We are still waiting on one of the best annuals for our hot area-the annual vinca. Hope to see some soon. Meanwhile, cosmos, begonias, impatiens, zinnias, and marigolds will have to do. This is the month to finish up your planting before the real dog days of summer arrive. Make sure you are watering adequately, wetting the ground past the root zone to keep those roots growing deep for drought and heat tolerance. Mulch heavy to keep moisture in and the ground getting baked by the sun. Fertilize citrus and your camellias, rhodies, and azaleas now that they are done blooming. Keep monitoring for insects. I think they will be bad this year as we did not get cold enough to kill them over winter. Fungus issues are still happening here, too because of the damp weather.

Do you know about First Fridays? Artwalk, food and live music at several businesses in town, in conjunction with the Farmers Market that opens at 5. They are being held the first Friday of the month through October this year. We are again participating June 7 officially from 6-9, but we keep the nursery open, start early and usually call it quits here as it gets dark. This month we are planning on having several artists, music by Rebel Music for People and Wholly Bowl, a Korean food vendor. Then on Saturday, the first MAMA Movie in the Park is happening. These are the 2nd Saturday of the month June-Sept. The first movie is Ralph Breaks the Internet and sponsored by Hardesters Markets and hosted by the Jesus Christ Fellowship. Aaron really knows how to host with the church providing plenty of pre-movie fun for the kids. So come early, picnic or just hang out. The movie starts as soon as it is dark enough.

June Specials

  • Plant of the Month- $1.00 off
  • Sunchokes/Jerusalem Artichokes-20% off
  • All Hydrangeas- 20% off
  • Assorted wine grapes-20% off
  • Buy 5 shrubs and get a 6th free

Plant of the Month

Verbena bonariensis ‘Meteor Shower’

I was excited when I read about this new shorter version of deer resistant Verbena bonariensis. Some of you are familiar with the 5 ft growing version with the purple balls on a very open plant. Meteor Shower has the same heat and drought tolerance but only gets to 2 and a half feet tops. Its upright habit is perfect for the center of containers or in the ground. I think this plant would be equally at home in an English style, rock garden, native garden, mixed container or standalone or among succulents. Plant in full to part sun. This low maintenance plant is sure to attract butterflies. Perfect with Moonshine Yarrow, Guara, Gaillardia and Coreopsis and a short growing ornamental grass or two. We grew them from plugs, and they are starting to bud up now. $1.00 off the 4-inch pots all month.