by Charlene Burgi
The weatherman says the temperature is going to rise this weekend. Keep an eye open for wilting plants and remember it isn’t just your plants that need hydration if you are working outside.
We are in the middle of fire season. Many fire departments are asking you to remove juniper and other high pyrophytic plants from your gardens if you are living on the edge of open space. In some cases, fiber mulch, also known as gorilla hair, is added to the list of items to be removed. Many of you live in areas that deer inhabit so your choices are further limited. If you can relate to this and don’t know what to do, let me offer a few suggestions.
First, we are entering into prime time to plant gardens. Autumn is ideal. The evapotranspiration rate is on the wane, the days are shorter, plants are getting ready to go dormant, and the winter rains will support the new plants so you won’t need to water. Native plants such as Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) will provide color, use a minimal amount of water once established, and are not palatable to deer. Add some Cistus crispus (Rock rose) for spring color, and scatter Myrica Californica (Pacific Wax Myrtle) or Mahonia repens (Creeping Mahonia) for texture. Dress the soil with 3 inches of wood chips or organic material (not the shredded stuff) and you will be amazed at the outcome. The plants will give you color, are resistant to deer, and meet the approval of fire departments. If working with natives appeals to you, the Native Plant Society is having their annual sale at Marin Art and Garden Center on the same day we are teaching the Bay-Friendly Garden class on “From the Ground Up.” The class held on Sept. 26th will be out in time to take advantage of the sale.
And speaking of classes, MCSTOPPP is hosting a class that can relate to all of us in some way: “Ants, Rats and Raccoons: Managing Pests without Poisons.” The class will be held at the Marin County Office of Education on Sept. 17th.