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Your Gardening Calendar - Febuary

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.
Best of Show:
§  Flowers:
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




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