Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2012
Regional Report

Plant Thyme

Thyme is a low growing perennial herb that does well in places where other plants might whither. Thyme planted between flagstones in walkways will release a lovely fragrance when trod upon. Should it become too tall, simply cut it back to the ground and let it grow again. Thyme is well suited to dry climates and is great to use in cooking. Not only that but it will crowd out any unwanted weeds.

Grow Vegetables Vertically

If you have a problem with too little space in your garden, take advantage of fences to grow things like cucumbers, squash, and melons. The developing fruits may require some support but you can use plastic netting or recycled nylon stockings to make hammocks for them. Just make sure that the plants are well supported and secured to the fence.

Propagate Hydrangeas

Ground layering is a great way to propagate hydrangeas. Simply lay a living branch that is still attached to the plant on the ground and cover with a layer of compost. Before you bury the stem make a notch on the underside with your clippers and make sure at least one leaf node is buried. Hold the stem in place with a heavy stone. Once you begin to see new growth cut the stem from the plant, dig up the offspring and transplant to a desired location. Something for nothing is always my favorite thing about gardening!

Protect Hoses

A garden hose is your summer garden's best friend. Buy the best quality you can afford and protect it by keeping it coiled in a shady location and free from kinks. Hoses have a "memory" and if stored with kinks, it will be almost impossible to restore the problem area without a hose repair kit.

Prune Spring Blooming Shrubs

Prune spring blooming shrubs such as azalea, pieris, and weigela after they have finished blooming. Tip prune to keep plants bushy and compact; remove dead, diseased, or injured wood; and open the center to allow sunlight and air to penetrate the interior. If the shrubs are old, remove about 1/4 of the old growth to encourage new. After pruning and when you begin to see new growth, feed with a balanced fertilizer such as 14-14-14.

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