• December gardening in the Sierra foothills

    by  • December 7, 2011 • Fall, Garden • 6 Comments

    What you and I can do now in the Sierra foothills:

    Christmas shop!
    Christmas trees are at our local Western Sierra Nursery right now and as an added bonus, owner, Mark Holland, will be serving from his cauldron of chili most every day to shoppers buying bulbs, bare root veggies and violas, all of which are in plentiful supply. Be sure to check out the three huge bins of ‘Ugly Plant Sale’ in the back near the evergreen trees.

    Mark Holland serves chili at the Western Sierra Nursery

    Mark Holland serves chili at the Western Sierra Nursery

    Try Deer resistant shrubs

    Camellia sasanqua 'Hana Jiman'

    Camellia sasanqua 'Hana Jiman'

    Do you have deer?  You may want to consider growing camellias and rhododendrons.  Neither seem appealing to deer and some camellias are forming buds right now to bloom in February, even in our chilly foothills.  If you have a Zone 7 or higher garden, try these out.

    My Christmas tee last year!

    My Christmas tee last year!

    My Camellia ‘Yuletide’ bloomed in time for Christmas last year, so we brought it inside to substitute for a Christmas tree.  This year it will bloom later, but I will continue to fertilize it every two weeks with half strength all purpose fertilizer as I have ever since the buds have started to show.

    Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

    Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

    Water!
    These last two months have been very dry and windy, so continue to water any new plants and especially patio pots that dry out so fast. Soon it will be time to fill pots with gravel and pinecones for the winter.

    Sow seeds

    Aren't these seedlings beautiful?

    Aren't these seedlings beautiful?

    Seeds can still be sown, so in these last few sunny days, rake out a garden space and remove weeds that would compete with new seedlings. Wildflowers or any seeds can be sown now before the first winter rains soak them in.  Be sure to step on them as you go, so the birds won’t gobble them up right after you. Don’t mulch these areas as they will need the sunshine to germinate.

    Plant bulbs!

    'Ice Follies' Daffodils

    'Ice Follies' Daffodils

    The one rain in November softened the soil just enough to make bulb planting easier.  Here’s my strategy… I use a shovel to dig a hole about a foot wide and 8 inches deep.  I place 6 or 7 bulbs in the hole, cover with soil and mark with a circle of stones.  I dig my holes along walkways and paths where I know I’ll be walking even in winter.

    Now, what are you doing in the garden?

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    6 Responses to December gardening in the Sierra foothills

    1. December 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Nothing as fun as shopping. I love that nursery! I love your Christmas camellia too.

      • December 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

        Go get some chili, Katie, you’re in the area….and just to let you know they’re keeping the ‘Ugly Plant Sale’ all year…the bareroots are going to be in containers now.

    2. December 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Nothing as fun as shopping. I love that nursery! I love your Christmas camellia too.

    3. December 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      Haha! Dry and windy is an understatement! How did you fare with the windstorm last week? Were you affected much? I was shocked when our humidity dropped down into the 20s, it’s just not normal here along the coast…not in winter! Everything is tinder dry at the moment. I can’t believe I had to water plants in December!

      • December 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        Yes, isn’t this a strange Fall weather-wise, Clare? Usually we have several snows by now and plenty of rain. It’s beautiful and sunny now, so I’ve been spreading pine mulch a friend brought over recently. The birds are still bathing, as well!

    4. December 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      Haha! Dry and windy is an understatement! How did you fare with the windstorm last week? Were you affected much? I was shocked when our humidity dropped down into the 20s, it’s just not normal here along the coast…not in winter! Everything is tinder dry at the moment. I can’t believe I had to water plants in December!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *