Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Gardening on Hard Surfaces
Gardening on Pavement, Tables and Hard Surfaces, by George Schenk (Timber Press, 2006; $19.95), came to me through the Timber Press catalog. I was intrigued by the title, and when it arrived in the mail, I was even more impressed by the stunning photographs of what can be accomplished with very little soil. This publication gives hope to all would-be gardeners who don't have a plot of earth in which to dig. What it basically says is that you can garden anywhere. Rooftops, driveways, and concrete backyards can now be easily transformed into a thriving, colorful oasis, thanks to George Schenk.
Favorite or New Plant
Beautiful and hardy, indoors or out, the mother fern (Asplenium bulbiferum) is one of my favorite plants. It is very forgiving and will tolerate several hours of full sun, if planted near the coast. The mother fern carries small plantlets on its long fronds, hence the name. I haven't had much luck rooting the pups, but perhaps I'll try leaving them attached to the parent plant next time.
Related to the bird's nest and hart's-tongue ferns, the mother fern requires ample water throughout the summer. It will let you know, with no uncertainty, when it is thirsty. Unlike other varieties of fern, the Asplenium family requires a winter rest period. Water sparingly during the dark months, and apply no fertilizer until the days begin to grow longer.