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A calendar of monthly garden tasks for native plant gardeners in Western Los Angeles county.

A calendar of monthly garden tasks for native plant gardeners in Western Los Angeles county.

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  • 1. March in the Southern California Garden Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for March. Remember that the gardening depends on weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year. Best of Show:  Flowers: tree/shrub: Bacharis salicifolia, Ceanothus griseum, * Cercis occidentalis, Cleome isomeris, Dendromecon harfordii & rigida, * Fremontodendron species, * Garrya (other than elliptica), * Hyptis emoryi, Lavatera assurgentiflora, Malacothamnus clementinus, Prunus ilicifolia, Rhus integrifolia & ovata, * Calliandra californica; smaller shrubs: Camissonia spp, Diplacus spp, Encelia californica & farinosa, Gambelia (Galvezia) speciosa, Lepechinia fragrans, Lupinus (bush species), Salvia leucophylla, * Verbena lilacina, Rhus trilobata; Annuals/perennials/bulbs: Bloomeria crocea, Dichelostemma capitatum, Erysimum species, Eschscholzia californica, Gilia capitate, Iris douglasiana, *Heuchera spp, Lasthenia species, Lupinus (annual), Mimulus guttatus, Sisyrinchium bellum, Stachys spp.  Fruits/berries: citrus fruits: tangerines, oranges, lemons  Foliage: shrubs with white/silver foliage (Bush lupines; Constancea nevinii; Encelia farinosa; Salva leucophylla) Planning:  Start to think about your gardening priorities for the next gardening year. Consider your many options. Hardscape/General:  Check hardscape, slopes, trees after heavy rains  Repair paths; flood damage if any  Check hoses, drip lines – repair if need; warm weather comes quickly!  Get the veggie garden ready for warm season crops; fertilize Propagation:  From seed: good time to start native shrubs/perennials in nursery containers; start traditional summer veggies in nursery containers – protect from frost Planting:  Last month to safely plant most native plants  Last planting of annual wildflower seeds for late spring/summer bloom: Clarkias, Globe Gilia, Phacelias, Annual Sunflower, Madia  Replace plants that didn’t make it from earlier plantings  Veggies: plant in ground (from seed or starts) beans, squash, carrots, beets, potatoes Watering:  Check soil moisture during prolonged dry periods (3 or more weeks) or windy periods; irrigate as needed  Check seedlings daily in warm weather
  • 2. Pruning:  Tip-prune (pinch) to promote fullness: most perennials and sub-shrubs that are actively growing now (Gambelia; Salvias; Epilobium; many others)  Mow (if desired) cool-season sod-forming grasses, sedges  Divide/replant Wetland species (Equisetum, Tules, Cattails, Rushes/sedges Weeds/Diseases/Pests: major weeding month  Weedy grasses will take over if you let them  Warm-season weeds will start to poke their heads up; this is a good time to weed, as the ground is still soft  Beware of slugs and snails – take action if needed  Watch for signs of sucking insects (aphids & others) on new growth; blast off with water if needed. Edibles/Crafts:  Press wildflowers – or just photograph them – and make note cards or bookmarks with them  Enjoy native CA greens in salads, cooked as greens or in stews or soups  Take a native crafts or cooking class Enjoying the garden: Major enjoying month  Plant a tree for CA Arbor Day;  Visit a native plant garden/botanic garden – see how the designers use native plants in interesting ways  Spend as much time as possible just enjoying being out in your garden – this month begins the enchantment! 3/2/2014