How to Boost Yin Yang Beans

Yin yang beans get their title from their white and black coloring, which looks like the symbol for yang and yin. Also known as calypso or even orca beans, they are an backyard crop that can grow in almost any of the diverse microclimates of the Bay Area. For example, gardeners in warmer areas of San Francisco County can plant yin yang beans most of the year; at cooler Santa Clara County, planting season runs from April. These bush bean plants grow up to two feet high and prefer well-drained soil with complete sun exposure.

Until the soil in a sunny area and work a 2-inch layer of mulch to the soil to increase drainage and provide nutrients. Test the soil and, if needed, add sphagnum peat or ammonium sulfate to lower the pH level, or limestone to raise the pH level to 5.5 to 6.5. Add 1 cup of low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as 5-10-10, per 10 row feet. Keep away from high-nitrogen fertilizer, which results in heavy foliage with minimal or no bean production.

Plant yin beans in rows 2 feet apart when the soil temperature is between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant 2 to 4 inches apart and the beans 1 inch deep. The bean plants should emerge in eight to 16 days and will grow within 75 days.

Water the yin yang beans lightly and keep the soil moist. To prevent fungus stains that are rust-colored, do not enable the leaves to become wet. You can supply around 1/4 inch of water a day to prevent the soil. Insert a layer of mulch to conserve moisture and protect the shallow root system of the plant.

Pull up weeds as they emerge round the bean plants. Be careful to not damage young bean plants.

Allow yin yang beans to dry on the plant, and harvest the beans when most of the leaves have turned yellow. Do not water the bean plants whereas the beans are still drying. Dig the plant up if the weather is moist and transfer it to a location that is sheltered. In dry, sunny weather, the beans should be dried within three to four weeks.

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Landscape Design: A Secret Garden

All of us could use a distinctive place in a backyard where we can unwind, read a novel, like a cup of java or listen to the birds. It can be a escape we discuss with others or use for personal contemplation. No matter the size, place or purpose, the key feature stays the same — it needs to be partially hidden from the external world: a garden.

Among my design mantras is that a garden ought to be experienced, not just detected, and integrating a secluded nook is one approach to attain this. Create a sense of anticipation by winding paths around billowing shrubs to obscure the last destination. Or split a winding path in this manner that people unexpectedly discover a clearing in the forest where a weathered wooden bench or 2 invites them to linger. Smaller gardens can still have this sense of surprise; just tuck a simple chair below a statuesque tree or maybe behind wispy ferns and tall grasses.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Many of these projects are possible to complete in a weekend or not.

Thuilot Associates

1. The Hidden Clearing

there’s something exciting about abruptly coming across an open space in an otherwise densely planted backyard. It is possible to attain this effect no matter how big or small your garden is. Even clearing just a little spot behind a stand of tall grasses can make that sense of intrigue.

While larger spaces can serve as gathering places for toasting marshmallows over a fire, smaller nooks can be a place for sitting and viewing dragonflies dance.

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The clearing has to be discovered, instead of fully visible. Use layers of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses to wrap your secret garden with living walls.

This hidden oasis might be a destination point at the end of a path or a midpoint to be appreciated as part of a longer garden journey.

Oehme, van Sweden Landscape Architecture

The clearing can be a large entertaining space or a secluded spot for 2. Think about the planned function before you tackle any significant construction. Main entertaining areas are best sited near the kitchen, whereas the secret garden is likely to be tucked further away.

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Eliminate a few plants from the interior portion of a heavily planted edge and add a layer of bark mulch or gravel to make an instant nook.

Use repurposed objects to create your own seating. Here the designer put an off cut of ornamental acrylic over sections of pipe. Logs would be another ideal seating choice for a setting.

NatureWorks Landscape Services, Inc..

2. The Secluded Nook

Not all backyard seating areas need to be formal decks, patios or balconies. A secret garden can be nestled into the edge of a border right one of the plants, providing you a front-row seat for viewing butterflies and smelling the roses. Add a lot of plants behind and to each side to make a leafy enclosure. Fragrant plants in such an intimate space could be a beautiful bonus.


Limb up an existing tree (prune the branches) to make a little space beneath its dappled canopy. The tree can be alongside a path or within a backyard border.

Search garage sales and thrift stores for enchanting chairs which can be spruced up with paint.

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3. The Arbor Refuge

An arbor might seem to be an unlikely option for a secret garden, however you can allow it to be even more secluded by shrouding the structure with appealing vines and from planting shrubs and grasses into the side.

Camouflage furniture by selecting finishes and colors that blend in with the surroundings, such as timber tones and soft greens.

MCM Design

Hang a hammock or swing chair from an existing overhead construction. Raised decks frequently have an area underneath that goes rancid.

Island Gardens Company

4. The Hillside Retreat

Substantial changes in altitude are frequently considered a design challenge in gardens, nevertheless they can be used to advantage when you’re designing a secret escape. Tuck a bench against the face of the hillside so it’s going to be seen only when someone is exploring the winding path. The hillside and plantings will conceal the bench when it is seen from above.

Put the bench so that it hugs the hillside safely while allowing sufficient room to pass by easily. A view of a decrease garden or an open vista increases the adventure of discovery.

Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Save the price of furniture by just adding vibrant weatherproof cushions to the top of a retaining wall.

More: Unwind in Your Own Private Garden Escape

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5 Sensational Flowering Vines for Warm Climates

Love them or hate them, no tropical garden is complete without those wild and crazy vines. They move on where they do not belong, require persistent pruning, consume more space than they are ever awarded and will swallow a drop in a week if given the opportunity, but we grow them for one very good reason — the flowers, obviously. Here are a few of the showiest flowering vines you will see from late summer through autumn.

Cape Honeysuckle
(Tecoma capensis)

You will love this sprawling and rambling vine (more of a shrub, really) because of its profusion of vibrant orange flowers and its fine evergreen foliage. As you can tell from the bee at the photo, pollinators love it hummingbirds especially. The flowers that cover the plant in the summer and autumn include a gold orange to a deep and dramatic red-orange, so buy a plant when it is in bloom so you receive the type that works for your landscape.

Cape honeysuckle produces a big and untidy bulk of prolifically blooming stems, but it may be trained to develop trellises if you help it along by tying the rambling stems loosely to their support. Use it as a ground cover big hillsides or to restrain erosion, but be ready to give it plenty of room. It will spread.

Gardeners in colder climates will also be in luck. As long as you are willing to give it an occasional trim, cape honeysuckle works nicely in the container garden and may be kept upright with the help of stakes or permitted to scramble over the pot’s edge.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 9 to 11; find your zone)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 6 to 2 feet
Seasonal interest: the largest flush of blooms is from late summer to fall.
When to plant: Spring through autumn

(Passiflora spp)

They come in all sorts of colours, ranging from the intense scarlet blooms of crimson passionflower (Passiflora miniata) into the pastel lemon passionflower (Passiflora citrinus) and white passionflower (Passiflora ‘Constance Elliott’). Not that passionflowers really need much else to warrant their use, but edible types — like the passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) and giant granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis) — are delicious eaten out of hand, added to ice cream or juiced.

Passionflowers are invaluable host plants for butterflies, particularly the ones that are native to your region. Maypop is native to much of the eastern United States and has the bonus of producing edible fruits, and corky stem passionflower (Passiflora suberosa) is a fantastic selection for most of Florida. Another one to look for is incense passionflower (Passiflora ‘Incense’), that comes packed with a surprisingly strong odor.

They do not need much in the means of care, but passionflowers are ordinarily quite vigorous (some might use the word “weedy”) and might need to be heavily pruned or pulled up from time to time. In other words, if the butterfly caterpillars do not get to them first.

Red passionflower (Passiflora miniata) is among the more dramatic species offered and will occasionally bear fruit.

Where it will grow: Varies by species. Some are hardy to -10 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 6 to 11).
Water requirement: Typical
moderate requirement: Partial to full sun
Mature size: Varies, but maximum reach 6 to 8 feet
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Spring through autumn

Gloriosa Lily
Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildsiana’

This vining lily lookalike has flowers that are every bit as exotic looking as people of the passionflower, but with a twist. To start with of the flowers have twisted petals, and the blooms face down, looking much like comets or flickering flames as they switch from a light yellow to full-blown orange and crimson.

Plant the long and fleshy roots just as you’d bulbs, 2-3 inches beneath the soil surface from spring through the summer. Tropical gardeners and impatient gardeners in colder climates may add container-grown plants into the garden whenever freezes are not a problem.

Plant gloriosa lilies near a support such as a wire trellis or an informal shrub, so the distinctive tendril-like leaf ideas may grab a foothold. Resist the urge to prune errant stems, as doing this will kill back the whole stem into the ground and delay blooming.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 9 to 11)
Water requirement: Typical
moderate requirement: Partial to full sun
Mature size: Rambling blossom 4 to 6 feet long
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Spring though summertime

Caution: All pieces of gloriosa lily are toxic if ingested, and handling the roots can be irritating to some, so plant it out of the reach of children and manage the roots using gloves as a precaution.

Pink Trumpet Vine
(Podranea ricasoliana)

Its cotton-candy-pink and trumpet-shaped blooms resemble those of the associated crossvine and trumpet creeper (that are also good choices too), but that South African native speaks in softer tones and ha finer foliage, which makes it ideal where a bit of subtlety is necessary. Oh, and did I mention it smells amazing?

Plant this one in the base of your tallest trellis, fence or pergola, since it has the potential to grow 20 feet tall when given the space. It’s also drought tolerant once established and requires little care if it is given enough room to roam freely. It might be suitable for containers, as long as you have pruning shears in the ready to keep it at scale.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

This pink trumpet vine is twining along a weapon.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 9 to 11)
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun; will require some color
Mature size: 15 to 20 feet
Seasonal interest: Flowers summer through autumn
When to plant: Spring through autumn where hardy

(Bougainvillea glabra)

Out of each of the vines in this ideabook, bougainvillea is the most frequent; it may be found in gardens everywhere from the shore of Florida to California, where it climbs scalp and stucco mansions. It naturally lends itself to Mediterranean design, with its muscular and winding woody trunks and rosy warm-hued blooms, or maybe it’s just because of its exceptional drought tolerance?

What most people consider that the flowers are actually papery and vibrant adapted leaf-like structures known as bracts that surround the real flowers, which are usually insignificant and white. The second most obvious characteristic is a bit more unpleasant, as the whole plant is generally armed with narrow and piercing thorns — certain to make any burglar’s day a memorable experience if it is planted along a wall.

Bougainvillea may be pruned back hard in spring, or you could remove the lower branches to reveal the twisting and fissured trunk for a piece of living sculpture. Just make certain to look but not touch.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 9 to 11)
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: Up to 40 feet
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Spring through autumn

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Great Garden Combo: 3 Awesome Plants for a Deer-Resistant Screen

Many challenges are faced by gardeners. The need to screen neighboring houses is a common one in urban lots and is typically dealt with a 6-foot-tall weapon or a combination of arborvitae or comparable columnar trees. However, this situation can be a chance to turn into a problem area to a garden highlight. Rather then construct a barricade, include layers of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, then accent them with seasonal color for a gorgeous focal point you may want to look at.

In rural gardens deer could cause substantial harm and try the patience of even the very wildlife-loving gardener. The first strategy is to select plants that are generally considered algae resistant. I also have found that this sort of obstruction planting are able to continue to keep the deer off from some plants which may otherwise be considered caviar. Dense layers appear to require too much effort for the deer to permeate, and they wander elsewhere to hunt for their treats.

The most gorgeous planting combination below will flourish in full sun, average soil and a temperate climate, and consists of deer-resistant plantings. Considering that the hardiness zones are given for each plant, start looking for comparable substitutes if one of these drops out of your range. Just follow these principles to make beauty regardless of the beast.

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The top screens are the ones which don’t appear to be screens at all; this is a perfect example. Layers of deciduous, evergreen and seasonal color make this an eye-catching combination if it’s used to make some privacy, keep deer or simply capture interest as a striking vignette.

This calming monochromatic scheme relies on varying foliage textures and forms for interest. A canopy of golden locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’) leaves rustles in the breeze, towering over dwarf Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans Nana’), while a strong vertical accent provided by fragrant lilies(Lillium ‘African Queen’) fills in the middle plane.

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How to Get the Look

1. Start with the showstopper.

Golden locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’)is once seen, never forgotten; this really is a shrub that will always be on your favorites list.You have only to endure under the golden canopy of foliage that is translucent to feel bathed in sunshine even on a cloudy day.

This fast paced shrub tree is shunned by deer, as a result of the thorns across the branches. It has fragrant white flowers in spring, although they’re slightly hidden by the foliage, and it is remarkably tolerant of poor soils. Maybe its main drawback is that the branches are brittle and can break in strong winds, therefore placing it into a somewhat secure area is recommended.

USDA zones: 4 to 9 (find your zone)
Water condition: Low once recognized
moderate requirement: Full sun for best color
Mature dimension: 30 to 50 feet tall and around 20 feet broad
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained dirt in spring or fall.

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2. Add a lower tier.

Dwarf Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans Nana’) always reminds me of a fat small dumpling. It has a rather loose mounding shape and a soft, feathery texture.

I adore evergreens that alter somehow during the entire year; this one does this nicely, with blue-green summer foliage that takes about a purple throw during winter. Being evergreen, this conifer offers year-round interest.

USDA zones: 5 to 8
Water necessity: Moderate
moderate requirement: Full sun or partial shade (therefore it’s Perfect for planting under a deciduous tree)
Mature dimension: 7 feet tall and around 7 feet broad
When to plant: Spring or fall

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3. Fill in with accents that are interesting.

African Queen lily
(Lillium ‘African Queen’) is your filler here; Oriental lilies are a fragrant garden highlight in mid to late summer. With each bulb supplying multiple blooms over several weeks, you receive a lot of punch to the buck.

‘African Queen’ is one of the tallest cultivars, and its melon-colored trumpet-shaped flowers are really stunning. Grow these massed on your edge for best effect — they will continue to multiply each year.

USDA zones: 3 to 9
Water necessity: Average, but avoid soils that stay moist during winter
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature dimension: 5 to 6 feet tall
When to plant: Plant bulbs in spring, about 6 inches deep and with the pointed side up.

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4. If you prefer, expand the combination. Add color contrast and an extra layer by adding darker foliage for example ‘Grace’ smoke bush, shown here. This can help to fill in between the golden locust shrub and conifer whereas the lily grows and continue to include construction when those blooms have ended.

I have found that deer may nibble smoke bushes somewhat but seldom do significant harm. In this compact planting like this, I would not expect a problem.

Banyon Tree Design Studio

Botanical name: Cotinus x ‘Grace’
Common name: ‘Grace’ smoke bush
USDA zones: 4 to 9
Water necessity: Average
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature dimensions: 10 to 15 tall and broad, but I love to cut it back hard in spring. This prevents flowering, produces larger leaves and keeps it about 8 feet wide and tall.
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained dirt in spring or fall.

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By continuing to include layers of lush and colorful foliage, you can develop the combination to attain the desired degree of screening.

Deer disclaimer: The phrase “Deer will eat anything if hungry enough” is often quoted. Personally, I would rather say “Deer will eat anything if expensive enough.” In any event, the suggestions here are based on my deer battles and those of many references that are highly dependable. Fantastic luck!

More: Things to do in your garden now

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Northeast Gardener's December Checklist

It’s a year’s last month. Most of us have stashed away gloves and tools for the season, and a few can kick off their boots with a toasty fire to warm their tired limbs. While our gardens sleeping beneath a blanket of mulch and snow and do not require attention, there are still plenty of things to think about and do.

For starters, look at the landscape, discovering its basic outlines and contours. Tall or short deciduous trees, shrubs and evergreens comprise vertical walls, critical focal points in the winter garden. With off the leaves deciduous woody plants, the structure becomes more evident, and masses of shrubs or parasite trees accept new character — particularly if they’ve got interesting bark, like the multistemmed redtwig or even yellow dogwood (Cornus spp), or even the Japanese coral bark maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, zones 5 to 8), an outstanding cultivar with odd coloration.

With everything looking gloomy and empty, evergreens become the dominant landscape feature, therefore take inventory — do you have a good mixture of evergreens on your beds and borders?

Paintbox Garden

Enjoy winter evergreens. Vertical evergreens, like the columnar white cedar ‘Emerald’ (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’, zones 3 to 7), are great for mixed borders, as they punctuate space and take up little room. Planted in classes, they draw on the eye and offer a good backdrop to grasses and stonecrops.

Keep in mind that deer love to eat cedar and can easily defoliate plants. If you are in deer country, loosely wrap burlap as high as possible around the tree to protect it. It’s awful, yes — but it is far better than having to change out your cedars, that can be costly.

Paintbox Garden

Nothing beats on boxwood for classic good looks in containers in this time of year, especially by doors, where it can be dressed up with miniature white lights or left au naturel. For best result, mix things up with different-size containers and plants, and be sure they are watered on a regular basis throughout the season. If you are utilizing ceramic pots, it is ideal to keep them on a covered porch therefore freeze-thaw cycles do not harm the containers.

Boxwood (Buxus spp) is also lovely in the winter when planted in groups of varying sizes with all the creeping ground cover bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, zones 2 to 6), that Native Americans telephone kinnikinnick. It’s a dependable evergreen that enjoys acidic soils and full sun.

Paintbox Garden

Bearberry is a good choice for cold-climate areas where winters are harsh, and it seems particularly good planted around the base of white birch (Betula spp).

Its reddish stems contrast brightly with its shiny, rounded leaves, which turn bronze in dormancy. Good cultivars of this underused perennial comprise ‘Massachusetts’ and ‘Emerald Carpet’.

Cut little packages and tie them together with ribbon or twine to decorate preferences, or add them into fresh arrangements for the holiday table.

Paintbox Garden

Take inventory of outside seating. Most terrace furniture gets winterized beneath protective covers or moved into the garage, however the Adirondack-style chair shown this is made of tough postconsumer plastic from recycled milk jugs and will stand up to winter’s worst weather. Since the substance is a composite, the color won’t fade and the seat resists cracking and splitting, unlike its own wooden counterparts.

Furniture that stays in position is a great option, and on gentle days it is good to have the ability to sit outside and soak up the sun. Doesn’t that sound better than dragging a lawn chair from a storage shed?

Paintbox Garden

Keep an eye out for wildlife. This birdhouse makes a great focal point from my kitchen window, and it is practical too. As juncos, cardinals and grosbeaks forage for crabapples and winterberries on my house, they often perch on its roofing or land on the split-rail fence nearby.

Feeders suspended from branches or wrought iron poles set in strategic places can offer many hours of viewing pleasure. Make sure to install your feeder sticks before the ground freezes solid.

It’s true that birds are the blossoms of the winter, bringing color and joy!

Paintbox Garden

Walk around your premises and check trees for fallen limbs or broken branches. Winter storms can wreak havoc and cause widespread harm; get outside with a broom following moist, heavy snow and brush it off shrubs and tiny trees to prevent permanent damage.

Collect branches and add them into a brush pile on your property — somewhere from view, where they can decompose and make a shelter for wildlife.

Light pruning may be done at any time today that plants are dormant. Look for healthier bud tips and snip off dead branches to increase the brush or burn pile.

Paintbox Garden

Note areas that may require stonework. Start getting names of reliable masons or landscape contractors who service your community.

If you are a new home owner, notice slopes and grade changes that may require retaining walls and be prepared to devote some hard-earned cash on hardscaping next calendar year. Be sure to check references and be sure that your contractor is fully insured.

Smaller jobs, like walkways, patios and chair walls, are good to think about in the landscape design process; the stripped-to-the-bones view of your premises at this time of year can make you see where privacy is needed or where to route a stepping stone path through a side yard.

Paintbox Garden

Get outside with a camera and take photos of your backyard. Back indoors, you can brew a pot of tea and examine the images while you thaw.

Keeping photos organized in easy-to-access folders on your computer will help immensely as you plan your next movement. You are able to organize plants by particular areas of the backyard, such as “Front Walk” or “Peony Bed,” or set them by groups, such as foliage or blossoms. It’s good to have a visual record of your own landscape, particularly as you chronicle the growth and development of new areas. I am amazed at the transformation of a lengthy border I installed a few years ago — I’d forgotten how small everything was!

See the way to arrange photos in a flash

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California Gardener's November Checklist

Other than the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven or the sight of a quarterback tossing a football to a receiver at the flat, nothing makes me feel much better about November compared to a persimmon tree completely loaded with glistening orange fruit among foliage turning a matching color.

That is a plant that says a lot about gardening in California, and maybe about California in general. Native to Asia, it’s made itself home from the state. It’s simple to grow. It is quirky — that the fruit of the most typical species is so sterile that you can not eat it until frost or time softens it.

Naturally, this persimmon is also a reminder of distinctive California’s plants and gardening climate are — and also the number of awesome things we can do in the garden this month when much of the nation is moving indoors for an annual hibernation.

If you don’t have space for a persimmon tree, then just purchase some of the veggies and maintain them on the counter for a couple weeks. Or at least browse this homage to the persimmon from Gary Snyder, California’s most haunted modern nature poet.

Glenna Partridge Garden Design

Grow bulbs. Like nearly everything else that has to do with growing bulbs in California, placing them in containers calls for a few twists. You need to compensate for the lack of winter chill required by the majority of bulbs and to the shallower planting thickness in a kettle. Here are a few methods for planting the most popular bulbs — tulips and daffodils — in containers.

Choose terra-cotta or plastic pots that are at least 8 inches in diameter — just as large as 14 inches for larger daffodils.
For an 8-inch kettle, use five or six bulbs. To get a 14-inch pot, use as many as 15 to 20.
Add 3 inches of good soil mix, industrial or your own, preferably including fertilizer, towards the bottom of the pot. Place bulbs on top; the flat sides of tulip bulbs must all point in precisely the exact same direction. For the greatest splash, pack bulbs closely together.
Cover bulbs with sufficient dirt to reach to 2 inches under the pot’s rim. Water thoroughly, then set the pots in a cool, frost-free spot outdoors.
Pile a minimum of two inches of compost on top for security. Keep the soil moist.
When foliage begins to poke through the dirt in late winter or spring (gently scrape back the mulch occasionally to test), remove the mulch carefully along with the transfer pots to a sunny spot.
Water often enough to keep the soil moist until flowering finishes.

Fireside play with. As bold as a piece of sculpture, this steel background adds a sense of theater — along with a measure of safety for nearby plants — into the flame pit. Produced by Koning Eizenberg Architecture of Santa Monica, California, the piece is a 8-by-8 steel sheet attached into a steel framework behind the rectangular concrete fire pit. The steel is oiled to detain rust. Cor-Ten steel, available in sheets like plywood, 3/16 or 1/4 inch thick, is typically used for heavy-duty landscape situations such as this.


Previewing the new and hot (and blue). In a recent seminar of the American Society of Landscape Architects, I had a chance to see what Monrovia nursery believes its hottest new plants. Standouts included ‘Winter Bee’ lavender, ‘Limelight’ rugged hydrangea and ‘Angel Red’ pomegranate.

Most impressive for me was ‘Bountiful Blue’ blueberry. The “blue” from the name doesn’t come in the berries but out of the strong blue cast of the foliage. The blossoms are fairly too: white and small, with a pink blush.

The handsome, compact shrub grows 3 to 4 feet tall. Plant a range of these in rows for an agrarian texture or in masses. Or just plant one or 2 at a shrub border or container.

This blueberry’s most important claim to fame is its ability to thrive and bear a tasty crop past the customary blueberry range (it takes much less winter chill compared to traditional blueberries). A landscape architect told me well ‘Bountiful Blue’ works in her Santa Barbara backyard. That’s a long way, geographically and climatically, from traditional blueberry country — which you understand is Maine if you’ve read Blueberries for Sal for your kids.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Sowing wildflowers and busting myths. Sorry if I am disillusioning anyone, but growing wildflowers in the home isn’t just an issue of scattering seeds, waiting for winter storms, then in spring romping through a meadow of gold poppies, tidy methods and shooting stars. (Do not you love those titles? Were our great-grandparents or whoever did the naming natural-born antiques?)

The fact of California annual wildflowers is that they developed to thrive under very specific conditions of moisture, sun and warmth, and growing most types requires some care. However, the wildflower that is easiest to grow can also be the best known and the most in-your-face gorgeous: the California poppy, either its normal form (shown) or “improved” varieties such as ‘Chiffon’. Other comparatively simple wildflowers include world gilia (Gilia capitata), goldfields (Lastenia glabrata) and ruby chalice clarkia (Clarkia rubicunda).

Mid to late autumn, preferably after the first storms, is the best time to sow California poppy and other wildflowers. (You can also begin with plants in tiny pots offered in early spring.) Select a spot in full sun. You don’t need to cultivate the soil, but eliminate weeds and rake it roughly so seeds have a place to lodge. Cover the dirt with a thin layer of compost and sprinkle it throughly, and stay moist until winter storms do the task for you.

Alder Group, Pool and Landscape Co..

Instead of striving for a meadow effect (which can look kind of shabby-dead after blossom), scatter wildflowers as highlights at a natural-looking landscape, as exhibited here. Combine wildflowers with native shrubs such as ceanothus or with sun-loving perennials such as lavender and salvia. An excellent source of wildflower information in addition to seeds is Larner Seeds of Bolinas, California.

A lesson from minimalism, Arizona style. With just three kinds of stones and plants as a ground cover, this is a striking illustration of what might be called Arizona minimalism (instead of Arizona max, a less sustainable arid-climate approach that utilizes lawns, palm trees and lots of water). Even if you can not grow the totem cactus displayed here, you are able to emulate the keep-it-simple approach.

Fava beans: their humble roots. Half a century before the French Laundry’s menu provided fava beans, the ranchers of the Santa Clara Valley, in which I was growing up, were counting precisely the exact same plant. They called it horse bean, and every drop they planted it into their orchards as a cover crop (“green manure”), which could be plowed back into the floor in spring in order to add nitrogen to the ground.

Growing fava beans nevertheless makes sense. You don’t need an orchard. In a 4- from 10-foot plot, among my neighbors crops favas every fall after she pulls her out berries, has enough beans for some spring meals, then turns over the crops to the ground to enhance the soil to summer plants to come.

The way to grow fava beans. Choose a sunny spot, cultivate the soil and bury seeds 1 inch deep, 4 or 5 inches apart; after seedlings are a few inches tall, thin them to 8 to 10 inches apart. Keep the soil moist winter. Plants grow fast and, as you see here, can grow to be fairly rangy in 3 to 4 feet tall; bet them if you desire a neater appearance.

The New York Botanical Garden

What else can you do in November from the California backyard? Along with the traditional fall chores, such as leaf raking, general cleaning up and up, it is a fantastic time to put in trees trees and all sorts of natives. You are able to plant a new lawn — it is usually much better to go with sod now than seeds. And take advantage of the special planting chances that California offers:

Plant cool-season annuals. Continue to place out seedlings of annual flowers such as calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and violas (shown), and snapdragons. For earlier blooms, begin with plants in 2- or 4-inch pots. Be sure to decide on a spot that gets as much winter sun as possible.

Plant cool-season vegetables. These plants are easy to begin from seeds: beets, peas, carrots, radishes, spinach and Swiss chard. These are usually greatest put out as seedlings: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Watch for snails or their slimy telltale trails; place out bait.

Plant spring-blooming bulbs. In November there’s still time to plant all bulbs: crocuses, daffodils, freesias, hyacinths, tulips and ranunculus. Be sure to chill tulips and hyacinths for four to six weeks in the refrigerator before placing them.

Plant perennials. Fall planting gives perennials a chance to build up strong root systems before blooming next spring and summer. Perennials include lavender, coreopsis, salvia and several others.

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Fantastic Design Plant: Coast Live Oak

This really is the most familiar and cherished California oak — the shrub that cities and high schools are named for. A large live oak is a shrub to treasure, protect and build a landscape around; it’ll dictate the microclimate of your garden, overseeing birds, moths and squirrels as well as what develops under. If you have the space, you can plant your own nursery-grown live oak. It will grow quicker than you think and most likely outlive you — live oaks in the wild live several hundred decades or longer.

Be conscious of possible bamboo maladies. Trees often succumb to soil diseases brought on by summertime watering. And, regrettably, a constant pathogen called sudden oak death is striking live oaks and dispersing throughout the state. Native oaks are so well loved and worthy of protection there are associations, like the California Oak Foundation, devoted to rescue them.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Botanical name: Quercus agrifolia
Common title: Coast live oak
USDA zones: 9 to 11 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Light; present trees usually suffer if watered in summer.
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: Potentially huge with time — around 70 feet tall with an equal spread
Weaknesses and tolerances: Susceptible to oak root fungus; avoid summertime watering. Subject to defoliation by pine moths. Most serious is sudden oak death, a pathogen that has been killing tens of thousands (or millions) of Northern California’s coast live oaks and relevant species for the previous two decades.

Distinguishing traits. About hilltops and valley floors, its dense canopy of foliage and thick trunk make an unmistakable picture of this disappearing agrarian and crazy California.

The evergreen leaves are oval, rigid and spiny. Notice here in this patch of suburban open space that grass does not grow under the tree, and that dropped leaves create a organic mulch — an attractive and healthy position to emulate in a garden setting.

Blasen Landscape Architecture

The best way to utilize it. A live oak is a shade maker, a shrub to build a fort in, to climb in, to hang a swing from. Younger trees, as in this layout by Blasen Landscape Architecture, look perfectly at home in wilder or casual sections of a garden.

Envision Landscape Studio

Because of their size and untidiness (falling leaves, catkins, acorns), live oaks are best at the edge of property, in a somewhat natural section. Do not plant lawn or ground covers beneath present trees that are old; this promotes root diseases. It is also better not even to pave the soil surface. Trees which you plant generally withstand lawn watering better; attempt to avoid summer watering. Mulch, gravel or stones undeneath, as shown here, is healthier and appears more natural.

Sutton Suzuki Architects

Live oak thrives and looks best with other California natives and Mediterranean plants, such as manzanita, ceanothus, lavender and rosemary. Pruning out whole branches can restrain the size somewhat, open up a opinion and neaten up the tree’s form.

Botaniscapes by Tracey

Planting notes. Young trees grow amazingly fast. You can start with nursery plants, available in containers from gallon dimensions to boxes 10 feet square. Pick single-trunk or multiple-trunk shapes. To make a naturalistic grove, plant several trees. Find live oak away from a lawn or other place which gets heavy summertime watering, and plant it in sunlight.

Make sure the drainage is good. Generally there’s no need to amend the planting soil. You’ll need to water the tree frequently, even in the summertime, for its first couple of decades. Provide a sturdy stake. If you live about wildlife, protect young tree trunks from rabbits, deer and other critters.

The main pest is the pine moth caterpillar, which can shred a tree every now and then. If you visit caterpillars falling out of the tree or descending on silk webs, or if you see signs of defoliation, call a professional tree service. Spraying for walnut moths is a major job.

The most fearsome threat to native oaks is sudden oak death, a pathogen that has been murdering Northern California’s coast live oaks and relevant species. (Not all native oaks are vulnerable.) The pathogen’s spores spread during the rainy season, and leaves of affected trees wilt and die; sap exudes from the trunk and branches. If you notice signs of disorder, call a professional arborist.

Las Pilitas Nursery

The best way to develop an oak from an acorn. It is not tough to start an oak tree from an acorn right in the ground. Your enemies will be the typical suspects: birds and squirrels. In fall or winter, start with a wholesome (no insect holes) dropped acorn.

In a sunny place, dig a planting hole 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Refill the hole with the excavated soil and bury the acorn sideways a inch deep. The acorn should sprout through spring. Water the soil and help keep it moist throughout the first summer at least.

To boost your chances of succeeding, plant at least several acorns a foot or two apart. Thin the survivors to leave just two or one. Produce a display of wire mesh to protect the sprouting seedlings from famished monsters.

More manuals to California landscaping

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Breeze Into Coastal Landscapes

Landscaping for the coast provides challenges as well as some unique design opportunities. The arctic winds can be tough on plants and people, however the breeze provides a feeling of anticipation and movement to the landscape and should be thought of as an chance to bring the garden living with flowing grasses and other plants that are loosely textured.

The ocean itself is an excellent source of inspiration to your own landscape. The open vistas and natural beauty appear to ask for broad swathes of blossoms, naturalistic curves and colours that don’t overwhelm the pale colours of sand and sea. Yet the seaside also elicits a childlike sense of drama, so don’t be bashful about playing with warmer colours either in planting or decor. Brighter colors like orange, gold and coral may call to mind glorious sunsets and enliven your outdoor living room.

Permit these eight designer landscapes inspire your very own beachfront getaway.

Debora carl landscape design

When designing for the coast, using elements that reflect the theme of the ocean can help your landscape fit into the surroundings. Within this garden, the flowing carpet of blue succulents echoes the calming ripples of the sea. Bonus: Succulents work well in often-sandy coastal soils and tolerate salt winds easily.

Debora carl landscape design

Pale hardscape colors simply feel right among the sand and sunshine of coastal communities. Not only do milder emitting colours echo the white sands of the beach, but they don’t soak up so much heat from all of the sunshine, so they are more comfortable to walk on.

Lankford Associates Landscape Architects

This curvaceous walkway brings to mind the meandering path of a small river flowing into the bay. The ornamental grasses and chamomile make a natural accompaniment, as they have a sense of flow and motion.

Lankford Associates Landscape Architects

The weathered wood of this Adirondack chair fits in beautifully with the muted tones of this windswept coastal backyard.

The Garden Route Company

Obviously, you should not tone down your own personal style simply because you stay on the coast. For a lot of, the seaside is associated with holidays and happy times as a youngster, so why not integrate this festive spirit into your landscaping? These seats have a feeling of fun, nevertheless their swooping shape nevertheless fits in with all the curved lines of the water’s edge.

Randy Thueme Design Inc. – Landscape Architecture

The craggy boulders here twice as seating and give a nod to the rugged hillside around. Creeping thyme softens the flagstone patio and makes it a very inviting place to take a seat by the fire.

Randy Thueme Design Inc. – Landscape Architecture

As many coastal gardens are designed to reflect the organic lines of the surrounding landscape, this really is a gorgeous example of a modern approach. The olive trees possess a cloudlike appearance that softens the architecture, and the movement of the grasses as they sway in the end brings a lively atmosphere to the home.

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Debora carl landscape design

The vistas on the coast are so majestic that the landscaping should follow suit. Mass plantings are a great way to elevate one species into a true theme. Here, Mexican feather grass has a softly textured appearance and moves with the breeze.

Know more about ornamental grasses

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Above all, your coastal backyard should have a cozy place to collect and enjoy the view. This patio and firepit place is nestled into the landscape for end protection and a harmonious appearance.

See the remainder of this Back Bay retreat

Inform us : What coastal gardening photos many talk to your style? Have you got any suggestions of your own for the coast? Please discuss in the Comments section.

Easy-Care Landscaping With Rocks and Boulders
Adirondack Chairs

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