Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bare Root Season, Camellias, & Rosie Temptations

Winter months are usually slow in the Victory Garden - not so this year! My gardening New Year's resolution for 2012 is to fill in the naked spots in my garden, using gardening time table specific to Southern California. (I have discovered my time tables have been off in some cases, specifically when I pruned my roses.) Over the course of the year, I will be following Pat Welsh's Southern California Gardening: A Month by Month Guide. I adore Pat Welsh; her advice is excellent and her approach is green. Be on the look out for book reviews of both the gardening guide and memoirs!

See the tiny stick in the back? That's my new Mission Fig!
January is the start of bare root season, so now is the time to get bare root deciduous fruit trees and roses in the ground. Hubby and I went to our local Walter Anderson Nursery and picked up another Mission Fig. We placed it on the north wall of the garden in the number six vegetable bed, just to the right of the plumeria. It should receive plenty of sun in that location and extra warmth from the cinder block fence. 

Camellia japonica ready for planting
Now is also the time to plant camellias and azaleas. I chose to plant two camellias in the semi-shade of the eastern side of the garden near the garage. I choose two camellia japonica, one is a brilliant red bloom variety called Bob Hope and the other is Carter's sunburst, a variegated pink with both light and dark striations. They are very small right now, but I hope they grow and bloom profusely. Camellias bloom from fall to early spring and are a wonderful source of color and flowers in the winter months.

My roses are coming back nicely but earlier than expected after their pruning. I still am fighting orange rust thanks to my neighbor's infested roses being upwind of mine. Perhaps I can offer to prune his roses for him? I originally did not plan to plant any bare root roses this year, but I am sorely tempted to do so since I've seen some of the new offerings with gorgeous variations of color. I want to plant a Ketchup & Mustard and a Koko-Loco. (Please click here for images.) I have room for one more in my rose bed, but I may have to sacrifice space in my sweet pea bed for the second.

I have added a number of cool season annual flowers for added color and have planted some extra lettuces to augment our salads. Hubby is trying out artichokes in the empty spaces of the mini-orchard on the east side of the house. Artichokes are supposed to grow profusely and become tall, but right now they look half eaten by pests. We continue to harvest tangerines, savoy cabbage, and radishes. I am at a loss on how to serve the radishes. My recipe round-up will take a hiatus this month as I perfect a cabbage recipe and figure out what to do with radishes. Please let me know if you have any suggestions!

Colossus White with Blotch Pansy
Angel Tiger Eye Viola
Anna Apple blooms - I hope I have more fruit this year!
Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them. - AA Milne

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