has been almost two weeks since it last rained. Subtle signs that
this may be a dry year are apparent. Deciduous trees are beginning to
leaf out under sunny, clear skies and my mom's Iceberg roses have
already begun to display bountiful blooms.
Spring appears to be in the air in Laguna, or is it? Winter storms
could be lurking up north, poised to wreak havoc with the impatient
gardener who is already planning and planting for the summer. Still,
take advantage of the warmer temperatures and fertilize everything
shrubs, trees, perennials and the cool season lawns. Adding extra
nutrients will enhance the beauty of your plants.
Of course, the planting of tomatoes and herbs needn't be hurried;
the skies could become cloudy and chilly nights are still the rule.
After all, the days still belong to February. If you plant too early,
your plants may be lost to the cold. Be a little patient and your
crops will arrive just a little later. Of course, there is always the
rush to see who has the first home-grown tomato.
The azaleas and camellias were particularly lovely this winter and
are now reaching their peak flowering period. Old camellia flowers
should be raked up and destroyed to prevent flower blight next
season. Once all of the blooms are spent, fertilize both plants with
a complete fertilizer for acid loving plants. Finally, mulch the
shade beds with azalea mix, peat moss or leaf mold.
About the only problem a gardener may face are those plants that
you intended to plant, but you've been too busy golfing or playing
tennis. If you still have berries and bare root roses in plastic
bags, they must be planted now! This also applies to Maui onions,
artichokes and the remaining spring bulbs sitting in the garage.
Check with your local nursery person if you have forgotten what you
were supposed to do with them.
Time heals all wounds, even perhaps injuries, insults and slights
almost everything, except for being unkind, untruthful or
unneighborly. Be good to yourselves, your neighbors and your gardens
(not necessarily in that order).
And Mike, patience buddy! See you next time.
* STEVE KAWARATANI is the owner of Landscapes by Laguna Nursery,
1278 Glenneyre St. in Laguna Beach. He is married to local artist,
Catharine Cooper, and has three cats. He can be reached at (949)
497-2438 or e-mail to landscapes@ ln.coxatwork.com.