December is the height of the gardening season in California, yet looking back over what I have posted this month there is little on what I am doing in my garden. I’ve written about what’s blooming and fruiting at Rancho, disease attacks walnut trees, visit to Station Fire burn area of the San Gabriel Mountains, the unfortunate incident of the plant slayer’s attack in my garden, guacamole, and one, just one, post on December 2nd of what’s going on in the garden. So here are some of the things that have kept me busy in the garden.
Garden Chores around the Yard
- Prune toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Remove stems crowding the paths.
- Weed petty spurge, chickweed, dandelions, swinecress.
- Pinch back new Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii).
- Cut back canes of Mexican sage.
- Sow seeds in garden: Clarkias (Clarkia purpurea, C. amoena, C. amoena ‘Rancho Lavender’, C. bottae), globe gilia (Gilia capitata), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), leafy stem coreopsis (Coreopsis calliopsidea), arroyo lupine (Lupinus succulentus).
Front Yard Work
- Lawn abatement – remove a bit from front lawn near sidewalk to put in more flowering perennials.
- Remove spider plant from base of deodar (following removal from avocado tree in September).
- Plant flowery things for spring: Monkeyflowers (Mimulus), De La Mina verbena (Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’), Margarita BOP penstemon (Penstemon heterophylla ‘Margarita BOP’), Island Pink yarrow (Achillea millefolium ‘Island Pink’).
Back Yard Work
- Sow seeds in pots: Clarkia amoena, C. amoena ‘Rancho Lavender’, C. purpurea, C. bottae.
- Make cutting: monkeyflowers (Mimulus).
- Plant in pots: monkeyflowers (Mimulus), De La Mina verbena (Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’), prickly poppy (Argemone munita).
- Remove deck, rake area and lay mulch.
- Veggie garden:
Cutting from Soquel Orange monkeyflower; noticed aphids so washed cuttings in dilute soapy water and rinsed; placed in pot with potting soil of garden soil/compost/perlite; covered pot with Trader Joe cookie carton to keep cuttings hydrated.
Plant new bibb lettuce and sugar peas.
Harvest swiss chard, cilantro, parsley, chives, sage, spinach, arugula, Meyer’s lemons, mexicali avocados, remaining lettuce and green tomatoes left over from the summer.
Pretty Fruits and Flowers
- Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) berries
- Roger’s Red grape (Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’) foliage
- Lester Rowntree Manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Lester Rowntree’) flowers
- Prune hard Baccharis ‘Twin Peaks #2’
- Relandscape backyard
- Continue sowing wildflower seeds
- Irrigate annuals for long bloom period
- Finish planting perennials
- Relax and enjoy the garden