September Newsletter

Fall is in the air.  The days are becoming shorter with cooler temperatures in the mornings and evenings and hopefully a robust rainy season is ahead. Autumn is the best time for planting in California.  Planting in fall allows the plants to develop a healthy root system over the winter and better prepare them for the next year's long dry season. Take advantage of the good conditions for plant establishment and the optimum time for plant availability. Our nursery is bursting with possibilities for your garden. Check out our latest availability: Inventory.

Penstemons are an exclusively North American genus. These showy perennials are much sought after by western gardeners for their gorgeous floral displays. Most like full sun, demand good drainage and care to not over-water. They are highly attractive to hummingbirds and bumblebees. We regularly carry the popular cultivar of the foothill penstemon 'Margarita BOP'. This fall we have other species for your consideration. Popular with garden designers is a hybrid of the foothill penstemon, 'Catherine de la Mare' with lush foliage and iridescent blue flowers. Similar in size to the foothill penstemon is the azure penstemon with bright blue blossoms emerging from yellow buds. Sticking with the blue-purple theme, how about the Rocky Mountain Penstemon? Considered easier to grow, with neat foliage and 2 foot tall stems of blue-purple blossoms. Parry's penstemon sports thick blue-green leaves with showy spikes of pink flowers and the firecracker penstemon has brilliant red blossoms on tall stems. Heartleaf keckiella, a Penstemon relative, has an interesting open growth habit with clusters of red-orange flowers on the branch tips that are sure to entice hummingbirds. Perhaps the most spectacular of all and the most challenging to cultivate is the royal penstemon with tall spires of lavender-purple blossoms.

We have good availability on natives shrubs right now. Manzanita, coffeeberry, toyon, silk tassel and huckleberries are examples of evergreens we have in stock. Our California lilac selection is extensive now with many choices of low, medium and tall growing varieties. A few we don't have every year are worth mentioning. Ceanothus rigidus 'Snowball' is a tough and handsome shrub and one of the first to bloom in late winter. The white flowers are set against the small leathery toothed leaves. Ceanothus 'Skylark' is one of the last to bloom in late spring or early summer with rich blue flowers atop dark green compact foliage. Most California lilacs are evergreen but there is one we have this season that loses its leaves in the winter. Deer brush grows in many different habitats with a wide distribution from southern Washington to southern California. Flower color varies but ours are grown from seed collected from white flowering shrubs near Lake Sonoma. California lilacs are excellent habitat plants providing food and cover for a wide variety of pollinators and birds.

Lots of deciduous shrubs to choose from too. Flowering currant, in pink and white flowering forms are ready now as are chaparral currants which bloom earlier and tend to be more sun and drought tolerant. Both are excellent early nectar sources for hummingbirds and bumblebees. We have snowberry, a spreading upright shrub with rounded leaves and small urn-shaped flowers that are adored by bees and followed by large eye catching white fruits. We have two cultivars of the upright snowberry, 'Tilden Park' and 'Bartlett Springs'. We have a nice ground cover form called 'San Bruno Mt.' that stays under a foot tall and spreads widely. It has pretty bluish-green foliage, tiny flowers and decorative white fruits. Creeping and spreading nature of both the upright and low forms make them useful for soil stabilization and naturalistic plantings.

Perennial availability is excellent too with native Iris, monkeyflower, sages, coyote mint and California fuchsia. Free flowering non-native sages and late flowering goldenrod and asters are popular with the pollinators and gardeners seeking fall color. Choice specialty items such as woolly blue curls, Lewisia and scarlet coyote mint are in stock as well. We haven't even mentioned trees, ferns and grasses!

This time of year finds our nursery at its fullest, with our best availability. Come by and see what might fit into your fall plantings. We are open 7 days a week, Monday - Friday 9 - 5 Saturday and Sunday 10 - 4. WE WILL BE CLOSED MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH FOR LABOR DAY.

Need Inspiration?

Pacific Horticulture has organized a weekend of talks and tours October 15 and 16, 2016 at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.  Shaping a New Garden in a Challenging Environment, features speakers from around the country including our own Phil Van Soelen.