The best part of Sonoma County winter awaits spring in the garden

Welcome to our gardening adventure. Let’s grow it together!

It may seem too early to think about spring as winter sets in. Yet one of the joys of this season, whether you like to get your hands dirty, whether you’re an aspiring gardener or a new gardener with sweet dreams about the beautiful landscape you’ll have in the summer, is preparing for this that spring has in store for you and awakens in us.

Before the rains come (hopefully, but thankful for what we’ve already had), there’s still time to plant some spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, which are a wonderful representation of friendship and new beginnings. They are like little rays of sunshine and hope when the flowers burst forth in spring. They are also not very intrusive and animals do not like their flavor. A small note is that when they bloom and you want to create a beautiful bouquet with a mixture of daffodils and other beauties, they create a slimy substance that will affect the other flowers in their outfit. If you change the water almost every day, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Once the weather encourages us to spend more time indoors, planning your garden is a fun way to pass the time. What type of garden would you like to create? A vegetable garden, ornamental, wildflower, native, a mix of the two or all of the above? Many plants from different garden types complement and support each other.

You might think, “I’m not a gardener! Start small and grow your little patch of land, whether in the ground or on a terrace in pots. You might be surprised how much your gardening experience can boost your self-confidence. There’s a funny saying that goes, “If you haven’t killed a plant, you’re not a real gardener. So don’t be discouraged or fearful if you imagine plants that will die no matter what you do. I’ve spoken with so many people who never imagined going beyond the plastic flower stage to nurturing a living plant and seeing their eyes sparkle with happiness as they share how they now experience plants differently and how gardening gives such hope to the world.

Let your creative side come out and play. It can be a big help in deciding what you want. Here are five main considerations when creating your garden plan:

1.We tend to notice color first in the garden, but remembering that flower colors can and often will fade, it is good to consider foliage color to keep complexity and interest. When the flowers are in bloom, you want to have an overall vibrant color palette. A good place to start is to look up color wheels in a book or online. They are a great tool for finding balance in your color scheme. Do you enjoy a wild and crazy color palette or a calm and serene palette? The primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) are strong colors that could be a bit overwhelming using only those three colors and often surprisingly unexciting. A touch of red can create an impact, but an entire garden in red can be very intense. The secondary colors (orange, green, and purple), which sit between the primary colors on the wheel, accentuate each other perfectly. Also, for a strong color combination, you can choose colors with the same undertone and tints in the blue range, which are very soothing. And choosing what is directly on the color wheel results in a balanced combination. Think of the blue of lavender or ceanothus (California lilac) and the beautiful complement of California poppies. When someone visits your garden, they might not know why they feel so serene or excited, but YOU do.

2.The shape, shape and texture of leaves and flowers all create impact. Round-shaped plants and flowers, such as roses and hydrangeas, will not complement each other or look very exciting together, not to mention that one plant likes sun and the other shade.

3.Size of plants with their foliage and flowers. If all the plants in one location are similar in size, they can cancel each other out and lose their drama and interest. For a dramatic effect, place the tallest plants in the back, the medium-sized plants next, then the greenhouses in front and along the aisles.

4. Location can mean a plant’s demise or health. For example, roses like humidity and lavender does not. Also remember to group the plants according to their need for shade, partial shade or sun.

5. Soil composition should be considered when determining the location of each plant. Hydrangeas love acidic soil and lavender, native to hot, dry Mediterranean climates, will thank you for providing it with alkaline soil.

If you’re new to gardening, this can all seem a bit overwhelming, but think about it in terms of one step at a time and how things will look over a long period of time. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed with the results of all your efforts.

Five tasks of December:

1. Plant California natives and hearty trees and shrubs

2. Protect frost-sensitive plants such as citrus and a variety of succulents.

3.Continue to shred and compost deciduous leaves.

4. Sow wildflower seeds.

5. Spray roses and fruit trees with a horticultural oil after their leaves have dropped to help control fungus and insects.

About Maria Hunter

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