February in the Southern California Garden
Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for February. Remember that gardening depends on the weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary somewhat from year to year.
You can download this calendar at: http://www.slideshare.net/cvadheim/february-in-the-southern-california-garden
Best of Show:
o Tree/shrub: Arctostaphylos spp, *Berberis (Mahonia) spp , *Ceanothus cyanus , Cleome isomeris, Dendromecon spp., *Garrya elliptica, Rhus integrifolia & ovata, Ribes aureum;
o Smaller shrubs: *Calliandra californica, Encelia californica, * Viguiera laciniata;
o Annuals/perennials/bulbs: Early-blooming onions (Allium), Dichelostemma capitatum, Diplacus spp, Erysimum species, Eschscholzia californica, Iris douglasiana, Layia platyglossa, Linanthus dianthiflorus
§ Fruits/berries: Heteromeles arbutifolia ; citrus fruits are particularly showy
§ Foliage: new foliage of many colors on shrubs, perennials; ‘Sunset’ and other manzanitas have red-orange new foliage
§ Remember to take pictures of key vistas in your garden every month or so; these will help you understand your garden –and its seasons - better. It’s also fun to go back and see how the garden changes through the years.
§ Start a ‘Bloom Calendar’ for key flowering plants in your garden. With climate change, this is more important than ever.
§ Renew your bog garden/pond garden
§ Remove unwanted seedlings (Salvias; Encelia; etc.) and annuals growing in pathways (spray with vinegar)
§ Check hardscape, slopes, trees after heavy rains
§ From seed: good time to start native shrubs/perennials and warm-season grasses in containers; start traditional summer veggies in nursery containers – protect from frost
§ Divide: rushes, cattails, other ‘rain garden’ and pond plants;
Planting: major planting month
§ Excellent month for planting most native plants, especially perennials/sub-shrubs and bunch grasses
§ Plant annual wildflower seeds in prepared areas for late spring color; you can serial sow Gilas & Clarkias every 2 weeks for flowers into summer (with summer watering)
§ Plant to fill in bare spaces, or replace plants that have not done well form previous plantings
§ Water-in all new plants; then water again a week later if needed
§ Check soil moisture during prolonged dry periods (3 or more weeks) or windy periods; irrigate as needed to supplement
§ Check seedlings daily in warm weather; water as needed
§ Prune to thin:
§ Clematis spp.
§ Constancea/Eriphyllum nevinii
§ Lepechina spp. – now or after flowering
§ Coppice (severe prune) to rejuvenate old plants
§ Baccharis spp.
§ * Myrica californica
§ * Carpenteria californica
§ * Rhamnus spp.
§ Rhus spp.
Weeds/Diseases/Pests: major weeding month
§ Weedy cool-season grasses are becoming a menace
§ Spring weeds: California burclover, filarees, many other cool season weeds are perfect size for removing now while ground is moist.
§ Enjoy native CA greens in salads, cooked as greens or in stews or soups
§ Enjoy a cup of herb tea from you selection of teas dried last fall; your Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathaceae) may have leaves for fresh
§ Continue to enjoy citrus fruits; find some new recipes to use them – or give them away
Enjoying the garden:
§ Look for early-blooming bulbs – they are enchanting
§ Enjoy the early-blooming wildflowers, including CA Poppy; take the time to really photograph them (you may have a hidden talent)
§ Watch for early season pollinators, including native bees
§ Take a class on some new aspect of gardening
§ Volunteer at a local Preserve/garden or native plant nursery – a fun way to learn, socialize, give back