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Moosa Creek Blog
OCT
1

Time to Plant for Spring Color

Creekside Chat

October begins with summer weather and ends with autumn light. It is a perfect month to plant natives of all kinds, but in particular those that will give you spring color.

Bulbs are beautiful surprises. The purple-blue Douglas Iris is not at all fazed by lack of irrigation. Plant it in clumps or at turning points along a pathway.  Pacific Coast Iris is a paler purple and does well scattered under oaks for a lovely woodland garden.  Yellow Douglas Iris planted with Island Alum Root and Beach Aster is a stunning combination.

Think of California and you think of poppies. Now is the time to scatter seed. Poppies grow best in slightly disturbed soil, so gently rake an area before sowing.

Sunshine Monkeyflower is a burst of bright yellow color for the spring garden; you’ll see its relative, Bush Monkeyflower, along hiking trails with the pink Cleveland Penstemon, stunning red vining Heartleaf Penstemon, or very drought tolerant deep pink Desert Penstemon. An unusual blue-purple flowered penstemon is the low-growing Margarita BOP. Showy Penstemon is a tough and beautiful lavender-flowered plant that easily reseeds to fill in flowerbeds.

Don’t forget the most beautiful spring surprise, the California Lilac. From the dark Celestial Blue to the pure white flower of Big Pod Ceanothus, and from the low-growing Anchor Bay and Carmel Creeper to the tall Frosty Blue, there are lilacs to please everyone. Lilacs do well in full sun along the coast; inland they do better with afternoon sun protection or on an eastern slope. Watch for Argentine ant infestations under the soil around their trunk.

Don’t forget to give your newly planted natives a good long drink when you plant them, and supplement only if the winter is dry. They’ll reward you and the birds and butterflies with a colorful spring.

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