Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
If your fruit trees didn't produce fruit even though they flowered this spring, you may not have any pollinators in your neighborhood. Pesticides kill not only the bad bugs, but the good guys as well. To ensure a successful crop of fruit or vegetables next year, import Orchard Mason bees through the Knox Cellars Native Pollinators Web site. Sold in the dormant state, these harmless bees will pollinate your garden for many years once established.
Favorite or New Plant
I can't think of another annual plant as colorful and easy to grow as cosmos. They come in several colors including orange, burgundy, and white, but pink is my favorite. I love their fern-like foliage and the way the flowers are held high on the erect stems. Cosmos make excellent cut flowers and add a casual look as a background plant or part of a border.
Plant them in spring after the soil has warmed to the touch. I don't thin my cosmos, because I like the way they look massed together. They require full sun, moderate water, and a rich garden soil amended with chicken manure. When the plants begin producing flowers, dead head frequently to keep them looking tidy.