Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2007
Regional Report

Groom Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Remove the spent flowers from daffodils, dutch iris, hyacinths, and crocuses. Continue watering and fertilizing the foliage until it begins to turn yellow, usually around mid-April. At that time, withhold water completely. If the bulbs are planted in a bed with annuals, bundle up or braid the foliage into tidy bunches, low to the ground. The foliage will nourish the blossoms for next year.

Fertilize Roses

Provide roses with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer around the drip line. Add a tablespoon of chelated iron to each rose for strong canes. Dibble the mixture into the top few inches of soil, and water it in.

Disguise Chain-Link Fences

Sometimes a chain-link fence is the only answer to keeping kids and pets inside the yard. Fences can be disguised and beautified with annual flowering vines, such as morning glory or canary bird vine. Plant seeds in rich, well-drained soil near the base of the fence at the recommended distance.

Plant Sunflowers

Sunflowers (Helianthus) are annual flowering plants that require rich soil, full sun, and regular watering. Sunflowers bloom in late summer or early fall and grow in all zones. Direct seed where you intend them to grow because they don't transplant well. Plant seeds 12 inches apart to get the largest heads. If planted closely together, you will get smaller flowers.

Plant Coleus in Shady Areas

Coleus is a perennial that's grown as a garden annual for its brilliant and varied foliage color. Plants stay more compact if the flower spikes are kept pinched back. Native to the tropics, these plants require partial shade, ample water, and a rich, fast-draining soil.

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