As the human population increases, the natural
habitat for many creatures decreases. There are many simple
and inexpensive ways to add beauty and interest to your yard,
while providing a safe place for small animals and beneficial
insects to live and raise their young. Much information on creating
wildlife habitats is available on-line, in books and articles,
and on television.
A Habitat is an environment that provides food, water, shelter
and a place to raise young. Some of the reasons to create
a wildlife habitat include supporting local wildlife year
round, especially during winter months; broadening your knowledge
of gardening as well as wildlife, so you can share this knowledge
with others; an opportunity to view wildlife such as hummingbirds,
song birds, butterflies, dragonflies and many other beautiful
and interesting creatures from the privacy and comfort of
your own yard; and increasing the value of your property,
as well as adding beauty and interest to your yard.
You don’t need a lot of room to create a wildlife habitat,
and you don’t need to do it all at once.
Often, it’s fun to add habitat environments a little
bit at a time, and watch the environment evolve. Before you
begin, it’s useful to decide what type of wildlife you
wish to attract. Research the subject to learn what type of
environment is needed for the wildlife you select. Assess
your landscape, decide what you have, what you want to change,
and what you need to add.
A HABITAT FOR BUTTERFLIES
Adult butterflies need nectar producing
plants. The flowers of these plants are usually flat-topped,
brightly colored, with short flower tubes. Some excellent choices
are yarrow, phlox, verbena, lantana, viola, coreopsis, purple
coneflower, asters, buddleija (butterfly bush), milkweed, and
black-eyed Susan. Plants in sunny locations generally produce
more nectar than those receiving less than six-hours of sun.
Butterfly larvae need host plants such as milkweed, buddleija,
mallow, nettle, dill, parsley, fennel, blackberries, cabbage,
blueberries, willow, privet & viburnum.
water needs of a butterfly are fairly simple. All that is
needed is a damp spot so the butterflies can land and drink
from puddle water. A saucer filled with sand and water is
perfect. Or try a birdbath with small gravel or decorative
rock covering the bottom, filled until the water level is
just below the tops of the rocks. Butterflies also need a
place to bask in the sun. A smooth, dark river rock placed
in the center of your water feeder works well. A small space
for shelter is all butterflies need - an old log, peeling
bark, an old fence pots, etc.
A HABITAT FOR HUMMINGBIRDS
Hummingbirds are nectar feeders, but
they also consume insects and spiders for protein.
Hummingbirds receive most of their nectar requirement from flowers.
Some great flowers to attract hummingbirds are agastache, columbine,
abutilon, buddleija, heuchera, salvia liatris (gay feather),
monarda (bee balm), honeysuckle, trumpet creeper, red hot poker,
lantana, bottlebrush and citrus, just to name a few.
If you would like to add a nectar
feeder, here are a few guidelines for the health
and safety of the hummingbirds:
A one-part sugar/four-parts
water mixture seems to be the best. There is no need for
red food coloring.
Place feeders throughout
your yard, not too close to the fence, in order to protect
the tiny birds from predators.
Clean feeders regularly,
especially on warmer days, using warm water. If mold is
present, clean with denture cleaning tablets. Soak overnight
and rinse with water.
Hummingbirds burn a lot of
calories, so feeders with a perch gives them a place t
Hummingbirds get most of their food from
nectar, however they do enjoy an occasional shower from a mister
or fountain. They also like a birdbath with pebbles and water
for drinking and bathing.
need a place to perch, close to their food source. Small trees
and shrubs are usually sufficient. A nesting female will need
cover around her perch and nest while she is away feeding.
Hummingbirds use a variety of nesting materials, including
leaves, lichens, spider webs, and other plant materials. They
usually build their nests on horizontal branches, protected
by over-hanging limbs.
A HABITAT FOR SONGBIRDS AND OTHER BIRDS
Most birds are seed and insect-eaters.
Placing feeders around your yard provides safe places for different
species of birds, prevents over-crowding, and keeps cats and
other predators guessing.
baths are the easiest way to provide water. These, too, can
be placed in a few different locations about your property.
Change the water daily to prevent molds and mosquitoes. Avoid
adding chemicals to the water. Many birds benefit from birdhouses
and nesting boxes. Depending on the types of birds you have
in your area, you can easily provide what they need to raise
A HABITAT FOR TOADS
Kids enjoy making something called a
“toad abode.” To make one, get a medium-size clay
pot and saucer. Put the saucer on the ground and keep it filled
with water. Nearby, put the pot upside-down with an edge resting
on a rock. This makes room for a toad to fit through and hide
inside. If you have a broken pot with a chunk missing at the
rim, you have an abode with an instant doorway - no need
to prop it up.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HABITATS, look up “Habitat”
on your computer search engine or visit the following websites:
GARDENING WITH CHILDREN AND PETS
We all have such a love for gardening -
it’s healthy for the body and soul. Gardening chores help
keep us physically fit. And, your heart can’t help but
smile when that dormant tree pops out new blooms or those seedlings
break through the ground.
There are so many things to consider when planning our gardens
and landscaping. Light requirements, size and shape
of any given plant, color, flowering times
and so on. Another consideration that we may sometimes overlook
unintentionally is what plants may be toxic to our
children and pets.
Pets can sometimes be destructive. Sometimes, they’ll
accidentally get into places and things they shouldn’t.
When dogs are bored, they will chew on most anything. They’ll
graze on grass when they have an upset tummy. Same goes for
cats . . . it’s part of their natural make-up. Horses
always think “the grass is
greener on the other side of the fence”. We
humans sometimes think that, too!
And children - well, they are naturally
curious and often mischievous. Sometimes those pyracantha
berries are irresistible. If a young child has experienced
the joy of picking blackberries, how can they be expected
to differentiate between good berries and poisonous ones?
People who love pets and gardening can have both, with a
little common sense and careful use of child-safe and pet-safe
plants and chemicals.
The first good sense rule is not to plant anything
that’s toxic to people or animals.
Toxicity can relate to the size of the child or animal and
the amount of material consumed. It’s best just to avoid
that which may be harmful. On the flip side, there are many,
many plants that are non-toxic that will enhance our gardens
and keep our children and pets safe as well.
Another issue to consider is chemicals.
Ingredients in herbicides, insecticides and soil amendments
can be toxic. If a product contains toxic chemicals, package
directions are required to say so. We recommend careful reading
of all product labels. Some people think that going organic
is safe, but that’s not always the case. For example,
a great ground cover for your garden beds, is toxic to dogs
and it’s something they find attractive.
And while adding bone meal to your soil
can add beneficial nutrients to your growing areas, dogs
do like bones. Generally they won’t
eat enough to cause a problem unless they get into a bag of
it. But problems with this product have occurred, so consider
your situation carefully before deciding to use certain products
in your garden. Coffee grounds, a good organic fertilizer,
is not good for your pets. Most times, our pets won’t
seek out these poisonous plants, but it is nice to know to
be aware of them.
Many common plants, bulbs, or seeds can be dangerous if ingested
or can cause external reactions. The Sunset
Western Garden Book indicates if a plant is
poisonous in any way.
Again, always read the information on product labels, and
if you have concerns, call the company hot-lines listed on
If you suspect your child or pet may have ingested a poisonous
plant, contact your pediatrician or veterinarian immediately.
Or call Poison Control at the numbers below:
DO NOT CALL THE
We will recommend you call 911 or Poison Control.
For Poison Control, call: (800) 876-4766.
For Animal Poison Control Center, call (888) 426-4435.
For more information, here are some suggested websites:
Heights for Your Garden
Written by George Winter
and Ellen Brammer
If your landscape is feeling
flat and you are ready for a change, you might try giving
your garden a vertical lift. The
possibilities are endless - from a simple, inexpensive
trellis to the all out drama of a vine covered pergola
or a tree-lined alley. With some careful thought you
can reflect your own sense of style to your vertical
Tools for adding vertical dimension include statuary,
pottery, arbors, and lattice trellises. Trees, vines,
and perennials can compliment or even substitute the
structural height. Wrought iron is very popular right
now. There is a wide variety to choose, from the small
and simple obelisk to full size gazebos.
There are many simple ways to “raise” some
interest in your garden. Invert an empty pot and place
another container on top, planted with low growing plants
for filler, and some ground cover that trails down the
sides. These plantings are very eye catching and can
make a great focal point in front of a shrub that is
no longer blooming. Or take the upward route with a
vining Jasmine on a trellis. For some extra pizzazz,
try growing white, and purple blooming clematis up the
same trellis. If you already have a fence, bring the
eye up with a rambling rose.
An arbor can make a shady resting point or it can add
subtle direction to the location you wish to lead the
eye. If the arbor is a focal point, then experiment
with the upright verticals on both sides. Container
gardens can be very effective in this situation because
plants or entire pots can be changed with the seasons.
Or, the arbor can take your eye beyond, leading you
to a beautiful fountain, outdoor room, or any favored
spot in your landscape.
Fountains are an exciting way to bring height to your
garden and a lift to your spirits. The sound of water
should come in actions such as sprays or spills. Either
a quiet trickle or a dramatic splash has a way of making
you feel far away from your daily responsibilities.
Your local garden center should have fountains for any
landscape. Wall fountains, fountainettes, or bird baths
are effective in smaller gardens.
If you have an existing pond it is easy to add vertical
lift with add on visual features. Raise your water garden
to eye level with a bubbling pot or a piece of statuary.
Bubble fountain kits are readily available at your local
garden center and easy to install. Statuary broadens
your choices from playful turtles, to a classic angel,
or a big-bellied Buddha. If your garden space is more
limited, a few water pots of different sizes and shape
will also lift the eye.
No matter what you decide just remember, your garden
is an expression of your artistic side and although
it may be a little work, it should always be a lot of
to Start a New Lawn
1. Preparation is the key for
starting a successful lawn. Don’t just scrape
the ground, break up the compacted soil. If it is a
large area use a tiller. Rototillers can be rented from
your local rental center. Now is a great time to add
gypsum, such as Soilbuster, which will help break up
clay and improve soil drainage. Get roots off to a good
start by spreading Master Nursery brand, Master Start
Fertilizer, then till again, mix an amendment such as
Pay Dirt at this time to ensure proper soil texture
2. There are
many varieties of lawn seed. Decide which kind of
lawn is best for your area conditions.
3. Here at Red Bluff Garden Center we have
four types of bulk lawn seed. Annual Rye is a good
for over seeding dormant (brown) warm-season grasses
for for a green lawn all year. California Green is
very hardy; it is the Old Shasta mix that the feed
stores used to sell. Royal Turf has softer, finer,
blades than California Green, but it won’t hold
up to kids and dogs. Sun and Shade is sturdier and
will take some shade.
4. Rake the soil to begin to level
it out, removing any rocks and debris that you find.
To avoid problems with excess water-runoff, make sure
that any grading you do allows water to flow away
from your house.
5. Finish leveling the soil by using
a roller filled with water. Like tillers, rollers
can be rented from a local rental center. Here at
our nursery, we loan out seeding rollers and water
filled rollers to our customers. Water the soil lightly
6. Following the recommended seeding
rate, spread 1/4 of the seed over the entire lawn
area. Then repeat 3 more times, each time using 1/4
of the seed. However, each of the 4 times you distribute
a load of seed, push the spreader in a different direction,
to encourage even dispersal.
7. Rake lightly, so as to cover the
seed with a thin layer of soil. Master Nursery brand
Paydirt, a multi-purpose soil conditioner, makes a
great top dressing, as it is heavy enough to keep
the seed from blowing away.
8. The seeds must be watered properly,
in order to germinate. Use just a fine spray, as you
don't want to create a flood! The soil should be kept
evenly moist, which means you must water a couple
of times per day. After the grass blades, reach two
to three inches tall, cut water back to once or twice
a day depending on weather. If you know your schedule
won't permit this, now is the time to look into automatic
irrigation systems before starting a new lawn.
Lawn Care Products
GreenLight Crab Grass
Pre and early post-emergent crabgrass
preventer. Kills other broadleaf and grassy weeds.
Master Nursery Broadleaf
DSO Weed Control Spray
Broadleaf DSO Weed Control Spray contains
trimec and will control over 200 broadleaf weeds including
dandelions, spurge, and oxalis. It will not harm blade
grass lawns and starts working overnight.
Monterey Crab &
Pre-emergence herbicide with a 12.7%
active ingredient. Controls such weeds as crabgrass,
foxtails, oxalis, ryegrass and many more. Can be used
on both warm season and cool season turf. After applying
Crab & Spurge Preventer, watering activates activity
in the soil.
Postemergence, selective grass killer
for warm and cool season turf. Contains 48.3% active
ingredient, higher than most other products on the market!
Controls crabgrass, goosegrass, dutgrass, Dallisgrass.
Controls yellow Nutgrass in turf and
ornamentals. Kills the nutlet as well as the top of
weed. May be used on both cool and warm season turfgrass.
Non-staining, economical control of yellow Nutgrass
Postemergence herbicide for control
of bermudagrass, kikuyugrass and broadleaf weeds in
cool season grass. Contains 61.6% active ingredient.
One pint covers up to 32,000 sq. ft. Controls Oxalis,
Clover and other broadleaf weeds.
Weed Whacker Jet Spray
Easy to use aerosol formulation. Controls
spurge, oxalis, dandelion and other broadleaf weeds.
Contains a foam marker to show areas that have been
sprayed. Excellent for spot treatment of problem turf
areas. The easy way to control broadleaf weeds.
A spreader penetrant to be used with
herbicides to make them work better and faster
Use with Grass Getter (formerly Poast®), Nutgrass
'Nihilator and other herbicides for better control
Widely used in herbicidal sprays
Available in Pint
Nursery Master Green™ Lawn Food
A pelleted blend lawn food with ammoniacal
and urea nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium. Produces
a rapid response (usually in 7 days).
Master Nursery Master
Green[tm] Weed & Feed
The same fertilizer as Master Green
Lawn Food. Trimec is added to control 35 broad leaf
weeds. Designed for grass lawns only.
Master Nursery Formula
A mild, organic based, all purpose
fertilizer for year round use.
and Insect Control
Bayer Advanced Season
Long Grub Control
Defends against grubs. Helps turf recover.
Apply anytime spring through summer. Also kills molecrickets
and European cranefly larvae.
Greenlight Lawn and
100% organic. Multi-Insect killer and
Lawn and Garden
Ready to spray. Controls beatles, worms,
fleas, leafminers, thrips, and spidermites.
Mole and vole repellent. Controls moles,
gophers, voles, skunk, and rabbits without killing.
Controls aphids, mealy bugs, mites,
Fungus Control for Lawns
Cures and prevents common lawn disease,
such as brown patch, dollar spot, red thread and rust.
One application protects up to 2 months.
- Though drought tolerant, some
plants require shade.
- Group similar sun or shade plants
Pruning: Research growth habits before pruning.
Mulch (organic or inorganic) to suppress
weeds, retain moisture, moderate soil temperature,
beautify your landscape.
There is no one easy rule
for watering your garden. It depends on many factors,
including the weather; sun exposure; age, size
and variety of plants; and the condition of your
soil. The only way to know for sure your plants
are getting enough water is to look. After you
water, dig down parallel to the roots and ensure
that the soil is moist. Here are some tips to
keep your plants properly hydrated throughout
leave your plants in a hot car or in the hot
sun. If you are not going to be planting immediately,
keep potted plants well watered in a shady area
until you are ready to plant.
* It is best to water once a
day, preferably in the morning, to give leaves
time to dry and help prevent fungus from growing
in the cool night air. If possible, water at
the base of your plants. Overhead sprinkling
can burn leaves and spread disease.
* Water trees less often, but
deeper and longer than your lawn, shrubs and
flower beds. This ensures that deep tree roots
receive moisture and encourages shallow roots
to travel down for hydration, instead of up
into your lawn or flower beds.
* Every plant needs moderate
water until it is well established. Only then
should you adjust your watering depending upon
individual plant requirements.
* Unglazed terra cotta containers
can absorb a plant’s moisture. Roots can
become bound into hard balls that resist water
in any container. It is a good idea to soak
your pots from four to eight hours in a tub
of water if you suspect either of these situations.
* A blanket of mulch on top of the soil will
reduce evaporation and conserve water.
* No matter what watering technique
you use, visualize the size of the entire root
ball in order to determine how much water is
Understanding Drip Irrigation
Low volume drip irrigation is great for saving
water because it controls the amount of moisture
emitted from each head to the base of every
plant. It also saves a lot of time spent on
hand watering. In order to effectively water
using a drip irrigation system, it is important
to know the volume of water your emitters and
sprinklers release. If you have one gallon per
hour head (1gph) emitters and program your stations
for fifteen minutes each, you are giving your
plant about a quart of water each day. Your
plants will not survive a summer this way. You
can increase the water volume by changing to
heads that emit a greater volume, or increase
the time length of your stations, or both. A
two gallon emitter on a one hour station will
allow two gallons of water. Again, if you have
any question, dig down into the roots after
you water to ensure that the soil is moist.
Check your drip irrigation system regularly
to make sure your system is working consistently.
Make it a habit to eyeball your plants and check
the moisture content in the soil on a regular
basis in case heads clog or break. Make sure
all drip systems have a filter so your system
does not clog.
PLANTS THAT LOVE LIVING HERE
NOTE: All of the following plants
are available at Red Bluff Garden Center. Within each
genus, there may be many suitable species. Our
staff is happy to help you with your selection.
Olea Europaea spp.
Blue Oat Grass
Red Hot Poker
of Shade Gardening
If you don’t want to be a slave to your
garden this summer, a shade garden could be the answer. When
the temperature rises and the sun beats down hot and heavy,
there is nothing more refreshing than a cool, moist patch where
Ferns thrive along with Hostas, Impatiens and Astilbe. You can
improve your shade climate and cut back on your work if you
understand the fundamentals of shade gardening. Though light
is an important factor in shade gardening, there are other elements
you should also consider before you begin.
It is important to understand the different
types of shade for successful plant choices.
shade is the brightest shade and supports
the requirements of the most plants. Light shade areas are
the easiest to design and work with. Light shade is the dappled
shade you will find under a tree canopy and allows for 4-6
hours of sunlight, preferably with afternoon shade. Many sun-loving
plants will take light shade in our area. (See Regional Considerations
shade occurs when you have a 4-6 hour interruption
from direct sun. Plants that do well in light shade or part
shade include Astilbe, Fox Glove, and Hydrangea.
Full shade is a garden area that receives
no direct sun. Full shade may be created by a dense, canopy
of trees or by buildings, such as the north side of your house.
that do well in full shade include Foam Flower, Impatiens,
and Japanese aucuba.
Just as soon as you get your microclimates
all figured out, the exposure changes with the seasons. Full
sun in summer changes to medium shade in spring and fall.
Trees grow older and denser, intensifying the shade they provide.
It is important to remain flexible. Plant bulbs that will
bloom in spring before the trees leaf out overhead. Light
summer pruning on maturing shade trees will lighten the garden
In an area as hot as Shasta County
it is essential to understand that if a plant requirement calls
for part shade this means it must
have protection from the scorching afternoon sun.
Even plants that normally take full sun in other areas of California
will need protection from the afternoon sun here.
Plants growing beneath a tree in dappled shade will have to
compete with the roots of the tree for water and nutrients,
so your shade garden might dry out more quickly than in gardens
planted in sunny locations. The shallower rooted the tree,
the more competition, so adjust your watering appropriately.
Organic material should not be dug into the soil at the risk
of harming the tree’s surface roots. Organic material
in the form of mulch that blankets the surface of your garden
will help hold moisture, and will slowly break down to provide
nutrients to your plants. Mulching will also discourage weeds
and give your garden a natural feel, as leaves drop to mulch
the earth in nature as well.
Plants that can hold their own, amongst the tree roots include
Aster,Bergenia, and Redbud.
Red Bluff Garden Center carries a great line of Master
Nursery brand Fertilizers that will provide your shade
garden with the extra nutrients it will need. Master
Nursery Camellia Azalea Gardenia Food 4-8-5 is a premium
food for shade and acid loving plants. Master
Nursery Rose and Flower Food for plants that need alkaline
soil. Our expert nursery staff can help advise you on the
best products to use in your particular situation.
It is a common misconception that all shade plants like acid
soil. It is true that woodland plants growing under conifers
thrive underneath a blanket of decomposing, acidic leaves.
Forests grow in areas of high rainfall which washes away nutrients
that make the soil alkaline. In the western states, where
the average rainfall is less than 30 inches a year, minerals
build near the roots of plants making the soil alkaline. So
plants that evolved in a rainy climate generally prefer acid
soil, and plants that evolved in a dry climate generally prefer
neutral soil. But you do not have to trace the history of
your plants and your soil to understand their soil requirements.
Red Bluff Garden Center carries Rapitest
Soil Test Kits which are a quick and easy way to determine
your soil type. Then check the labels, a plant dictionary,
or consult our excellent staff to understand a plant’s
you buy it. If you don’t want to be a slave to your
garden you could choose all alkaline loving plants for neutral
soils or plant acid loving plants under established conifers.
As long as the plants won’t get too big you can annually
adjust the soil around each plant to its pH needs and have
a combination of both acid and alkaline loving plants. Red Bluff Garden Center carries EB Stone pH
Adjustor Plus which will increase acidity to depth
of 6 inches. Since we live in the west, it is unlikely that
you would need to decrease the acidity of your soil.
Plants that do well in neutral soils include
Here at Red Bluff Garden Center we have a large shade area with a
great variety of beautiful shade loving plants. Our knowledgeable
staff can help you choose the correct plants for your shady
Garden in a Tub
While most people think
of an in-ground pond when they think of water gardens, it is
quite easy and fun to create a beautiful water garden in a container.
Containers for water gardens can be as diverse as one’s
imagination - the only requirement is that the container
holds water. A soup urn, wine barrel, or an old kitchen sink
can make a great container. With the fast growing popularity
of aquatic gardening you can now find a great selection of ceramic
containers with no drainage holes, sealed inside and out, specifically
designed for water gardens. These containers come in a variety
of sizes and gorgeous colors that will make creating your water
garden simple and exciting.
making your decision on what kind of container to use there
are some factors you should consider. A small, one gallon
container will hold one special plant. A ten to twenty gallon
container can support a whole ecosystem. If you would like
to add fish, your container should hold at least ten gallons
of water and be at least twelve inches deep. Some containers
need liners, epoxy, or special sealers to fill holes, or protect
against chemical reactions, such as a leaching of tannic acid.
You may wish to add a spouting ornament, or a small waterfall,
for the relaxing effect of running water. A small submersible
pump which would move 60-90 gallons per hour (GPH) would be
sufficient for this feature. Miniature underwater lights are
also available for use with or without a pump.
Different water plants have different preferences
for planting depth. Research the needs of the plants you are
using. If your water container is deep, you may need shelves
to bring the crowns of the plants to the proper level. Bricks
work well, especially cinderblocks which have hollow cores
that will prevent loss of water volume. You can also use overturned
pots or flat rocks. You may even find floating pots at specialty
Once you have selected and prepared your
container, you should choose the site before you construct
your garden. Because water weighs eight pounds per gallon,
your garden will be hard to move once assembled. Do not put
the container garden directly on a deck. Raise your container
up on pot feet or bricks, creating space under the pot so
condensation and leakage won’t ruin surfaces. Most aquatic
plants need four to six hours of sun each day. Here in the
North Valley, it is best to provide your garden with afternoon
shade to keep the water from getting too warm and your plants
from burning. You may also want to choose a spot where it
will reflect a special area of your garden, such as a blooming
plant, or a special piece of statuary.
The plants you choose for your tub garden
will depend on its size and depth. Large, tall plants can
unbalance a planting both visually and physically. Floating
and submerged plants will do well in a container, while bog
plants may be overly aggressive. Fifty to sixty percent of
the water surface should be covered with plant material. Many
local garden centers are now carrying aquatic plants and it
is easier than ever to find the most popular plants, including
water irises, floating hearts, giant pennywort and horsetail
rush. Water lilies (Nymphaea), both hardy and tropical, are
available in a wide range of color and sizes. Lotus (Nelumbo)
is another popular floater, prized for its beauty, fragrance
and interesting seed pods. It is important to use a soil specifically
formulated for aquatic plants, like Schultz Aquatic Plant
Soil™. Do not use standard potting soil mix meant for
ground-loving plants. If your water supply is treated with
chlorine, let it sit for one to two days before planting,
as the chlorine will evaporate.
Once your water garden is planted, keep an
eye on the water level and replace what has evaporated. Control
algae by physically removing it or use a water clarifier made
for aquatic gardens. Use timed-release fertilizer like Agriform®
Tabs or Osmocote®, following the directions on the package.
Most water plants are evergreen, and will survive the winter
in above freezing temperatures, though they will become dormant
when the cold weather hits. During the winter, keep plants
cleaned up by removing dead leaves, in spring they will begin
to grow again. Spring is the time to divide plants and make
new plantings or share them with friends. There are many books
and web-sites available about water gardening, and you can
also consult your local garden center or aquatic garden specialist
for more information.
Beauty of Peonies
Peonies are hardy perennial
plants which bloom in May and June.
Peonies have been cultivated in gardens since
the time of Pliny the Elder, the Roman naturalist who perished
in the destruction of Pompeii. Peony comes from the word meaning
the god of healing. History records gardeners growing many
varieties in London as long ago as 1580. In 1824, Lemoine,
a French gardener of scholarly reputation, made important
hybrid crosses in peonies. In the US, the single white flowered
peony was exhibited by the New York Horticultural Society
There are two basic types of peonies: herbaceous
and tree peonies. Herbaceous peonies have fleshy clubs of
roots, with leaves and flowers sprouting out from the crowns.
Herbaceous peonies die back to the ground in the fall. They
are derived from the Siberian and European forms. Tree peonies
are actually shrubs which produce flowers and leaves on permanent
woody branches growing up to eight feet tall.
All are extremely long-lived perennial plants
of significant size with spectacular, large flowers which
are great for cutting. Some are wonderfully fragrant, with
a fragrance similar to old-fashioned roses. Flower colors
include white, cream, yellows, coral, pinks, purple, rose,
reds (some very deep) and black. Flowers are singles, semi-doubles
& doubles. Support large flowers with peony rings.
Peonies have a relatively short bloom period
- no one kind blooms for more than one week. To extend the
blooming period, plant early, mid-season and late flowering
cultivars. Peonies can withstand full sun and summer heat,
though light shade will prolong the flowering period in hot
Herbaceous peonies can be planted in early
spring or in fall. Peonies need winter chill for good springtime
bloom. Plant on a northern slope & do not mulch in winter.
Peonies are able to withstand summer heat, but the flowers
dont last well in warm springtime weather.
Choose early blooming varieties, provide some afternoon shade
& adequate water.
Peonies require site preparation, but will
return with outstandingly beautiful flowers for a lifetime.
They need deep, rich soil with good drainage - the roots will
quickly rot in poorly drained soil.
Consider planting peonies in raised beds.
Ideally, the site should be deeply dug (12-20 inches). Work
in lots of well-rotted manure or compost & high-phosphorus
Allow the soil to settle before planting. Give each peony
three feet of space. Peonies prefer slightly alkaline soil
- pH 6.0 to 7.0. Add lime to excessively acid soil.
Peonies do best when planted in Fall for Spring
bloom. Avoid planting in a border facing east, as the flower
buds may be damaged by the early morning sun, if it happens
to shine on them after a frosty night. Borders facing south,
southwest or west are best.
Peonies have fleshy roots suggesting long sweet potatoes joined
together at one end.
Soak roots in water just prior to planting, to give them a
good drink. Set roots carefully as planting too deep prevents
flowering. Plant with rose-colored eyes facing up, two inches
deep in colder climates, one inch deep in warmer regions.
Mulch is helpful in hot regions. Be sure to
allow for depth of mulch when planting.
Fertilize the plants with Master Nursery brand Multi Purpose
Fertilizer (16-16-16), or any multi-purpose fertilizer, after
the flowering period. Peonies are unlikely to bloom the first
year, but should bloom annually after that. They can be left
undisturbed for many years, and will bloom satisfactorily
for 20 years or more.
There is usually no need to divide herbaceous
peonies, except to increase stock. Dig the clumps in early
fall and hose off any soil. Divide into sections using a sharp
knife, making sure each section has three to five eyes. Plant
immediately so plants have time to put down roots before freezing
weather. Herbaceous peonies may take 1-2 years to establish
For cut flowers, cut just as buds begin to
open. Leave at least three leaves on each stem, preserving
leaf growth to nourish the plant for the following year. Remove
less than half the blossoms from any clump. Deadhead to prevent
seed formation. Remove seed pods if they develop.
Peonies can develop the fungal disease botrytis,
especially if weather is cool and humid.
Young buds will blacken and wither, fuzzy brown spots develop
on the flowers and leaves, and the stems wilt and collapse.
Botrytis can be prevented by taking the following measures:
- Provide good air circulation
- Dispose of diseased portions of plant and
fallen leaves immediately
- Cut stems back to soil level in fall
- Spray with copper fungicide in spring, as
new growth emerges
The American Peony Society
publishes the following tips for reasons why peonies do not
Planted too deep. Eyes
should be no more than 2-3 inches below soil surface.
planted without first being divided.
Buds killed by late
frost or waterlogged from constant rain.
Buds killed by disease
or attacked by thrips. Use an appropriate spray.
Roots diseased. Destroy
Use a high-phosphate fertilizer such as 5-10-5.
Ground too dry. Water
Excessive hot weather.
Late-blooming full doubles are especially susceptible.
Planted too close to
trees and shrubs, or crowded by other plants.
Too much shade, making
plants tall and leafy.
Plants undermined by
gophers or moles.
TREES FOR SHASTA COUNTY
Things to Consider When Selecting
What is the ultimate
size tree you would like.
What are the growth
specifications of the trees you are considering?
a. Is the location near foundation,
driveway, sidewalk septic leach fields, etc.?
b. Does the tree have a shallow
or deep root structure?
trees (30 gal or larger) will fill out the fastest.
Trees with the largest
leaves will give the heaviest shade.
Some trees, like maple,
fruitless mulberry and gingko lose all their leaves
at once makingclean up easier.
Moderately growing trees
generally have deeper root systems than fast growing
Will grow to 35 - 70 feet
Liquid Ambar, Sweet Gum
Morus alba Stribling
Sour Gum, Black Tupelo
Sycamore, London Plane
Robinia x ambigua
Purple Robe Locust
Thuja Green Giant
Western Red Cedar Green Giant
Will grow to 20 -
35 feet tall:
Acer tataricum ginnala
x Chitalpa tashkentensis
Chitalpa Pink Dawn
Chilopsis linearis Burgundy
Desert Willow Burgundy
Chinese Fringe Tree
Autumn Purple Ash
Flowering Pear, Aristocrat Flowering Pear
Growing Shade Trees
Acer x freemanii Autumn Fantasy
Autumn Fantasy Maple
Acer x freemanii Jeffers red
Autumn Blaze Maple
Acer rubrum Autumn Flame
Autumn Flame Maple
Acer rubrum October Glory
October Glory Maple
Acer rubrum Red Sunset
Red Sunset Maple
NOTE: Most trees in the Acer family will
grow to 50+ feet tall, with a shallow, aggressive root system.
Growing Shade Trees
Magnolia x soulangeana
Cedar of Lebanon
Sweet Bay, Grecian Laurel
Laurus nobilis Saratoga
Sweet Bay Saratoga
Acer x freemanii
Autumn Blaze Maple
Silver Maple & Cutleaf
Acer tataricum ginnala
Tree of Heaven
White Alder (shallow to medium,
European White Birch (aggressive
Camphor Tree (shallow to medium
Red Gum (aggressive)
Autumn Purple Ash
Modesto Ash (shallow &
Sunburst Honey locust (relatively
Tulip Tree (shallow to medium)
Star Magnolia (shallow to
Morus alba Stribling
Monterey Pine (shallow to
Digger, Gray or Foothill Pine
Fremont Cottonwood (very shallow,
Robinia x ambigua
Purple Robe Locust (aggressive)
Weeping Willow (aggressive)
Wahoo Winged Elm (aggressive)
American Elm (aggressive)
Sawleaf Zelkova (medium, shallow)
Deodar Cedar (medium to deep)
European Hackberry (shallow to medium)
Arizona Cypress (medium to deep)
Silver Dollar (medium to deep, aggressive
Silk Oak (shallow to medium)
Black Walnut (medium to deep)
English Walnut (medium to deep)
Goldenrain Tree (medium to deep)
Sweet Bay (medium to deep)
Sour Gum, Tupelo or Pepperidge
Japanese Black Pine
Chinese Pistache (deep, moderate)
Sycamore, London Plane Tree
Flowering Plum, Purple Leaf Plum
Catalina Cherry (medium to deep)
Douglas Fir (medium to deep)
Japanese Pagoda/Chinese Scholar
American Linden (small to medium)
Port Oxford Cedar
Domestic Apple (moderate to deep)
Melia azedarach Umbraculifera
Sour Gum, Tupelo
Canary Island Pine (med to deep)
Italian Stone Pine (med to deep)
Ponderosa Pine (deep)
Himalayan White Pine
Pomegranate (moderately deep)
Quercus x morehus
Oracle Oak (aggressive)
Interior Live Oak
Coast Redwood (10
deep but considered shallow for size of tree - good for hedges,
During a sweltering August weekend, sixteen good-natured
folks participated in Red Bluff Garden Center first Hands-on Pond
Building Workshop. Led by Brion and Pat Sincaglia of Shadow
Valley Aquatic Plant Nursery, the two-day class covered the
basics of pond building, site location and shape design, setting the
BioFalls, pump and skimmer, creating a waterfall, landscaping, planting
Our enthusiastic students were anxious to begin digging
in the mud, and they got their chance - by the end of Saturday, the
kidney shaped pond was several feet deep, with multi-leveled ledges
around the perimeter for setting plants, and the pond liner was installed.
On Sunday, rocks were laid around the edges, the waterfall was created,
and plants were added. There was an audible sigh of satisfaction from
the crowd when the pump was turned on and water began flowing over
Workshop participants included: Joanne Akman; Mr. and Mrs. John Benkosky;
Ted Bowen; Landon Carvalho; Doug Caskey; Helene Coffman; Tom and Esther
Cox; Deb Devall; Debra De Witt; Gary and Kim Eiler; Bev Fuller; Robert
Miller; Kathy Morrissey; Kerri Smith; Ron and Kathy Stillmunkes; Vicki
and Pat Talladino; and Laura Walker.
We are extremely grateful to all workshop participants for their help.
The new pond is located on the north side of the building, in the
water plant area of the nursery. Please take a look the next time
you are here.
More pond and water garden classes are in the works for Spring 2004.
Watch our website for information or ask for details the next time
you are at the nursery.
- Safe Landscaping
During the hot, dry Redding summers, the danger
of fire and the damage it can wreak become a constant threat. Intelligent
planning and planting can help reduce fire hazard around ones
The plants surrounding a structure
can actually have an influence in determining a buildings
change of survival during a fire. A firescape or fire resistant
landscape is created by selecting plants which are less likely to
burn and locating them wisely. All plants will burn if there is
enough heat, yet there are many plants which are suitable for reducing
Fire-retardant plants are not apt to burst into
flames, and should be planted near buildings. They typically have
fleshy, moist leaves, and the trees and shrubs are usually deciduous.
Fire-retardant plants tend to be fairly dependent for water and
nutrients and demand some maintenance.
Fire-resistant plants will slow and incoming fire
because they are less likely to burn than other plants, and if they
do burn, they dont hold the fire very long. They should be
planted farther out from the structure than the fire-retardant varieties.
Some fire-resistant plants actually survive and re-sprout after
a fire, helping to mitigate erosion problems. As a group, fire-resistant
plants require little maintenance.
Plants with one or more of the following characteristics are better
able than others to resist or even retard fire.
Thin, runny sap
Silver or gray
leaves (unfortunately, native, fragrant
sages do not conform
to this rule, and are highly
Plant trees with their mature size
in mind, locating them so that their foliage will not be within
10 feet of any wall. Keep existing trees pruned and trim any branches
that overhang your roof.
Annual pruning and thinning of trees and shrubs, as well as the
clean up of any plant litter or debris is as important as the specific
plants selected for your landscape. Locate tall shrubs the furthest
from buildings. Supports for vines should be built of masonry, wrought
iron, chain link or oversized lumber to minimize flammability.
Agave - Champion of
Fire Resistant Plants
Agave (Century Plant) is favored for its
fire and drought resistance. Its fleshy blue-green strap-shaped leaves
hold water and can actually help protect your home in the event of a fire.
The sharply pointed leaves have hooked spines along the margins and can
act as a safety guardian, discouraging intruders from crossing its path.
A succulent plant native to dry desert regions, agave is
hardy in the Redding region. It is best to plant agave in
containers, so it can be brought into a protected location during the
Agave flower clusters are large but not colorful, and may not
occur for 10 years or more. The flower stalk can reach 15 - 40 feet tall
bearing yellowing, green flowers. After flowering, the foliage clump dies,
usually leaving behind suckers that make new plants.
Agave grows to be very large and its spines make it formidable
to remove. It is important to be sure you really want a Century Plant
before planting one.
The following is a listing of recommended fire-resistant plants currently
available at Red Bluff Garden Center Nursery.
Cercis occidentalis (Western Redbud)
Citrus spp. (Citrus)
Populus spp. and cvs. (Poplars)
Rhus spp. and cvs. (Sumacs)