Here in Sacramento the weather gods usually bless us with a temporary period of mild warmth in the early months of Fall and this is definitely the ideal time for new plantings. Better by far than Spring’s heady rush to ‘get stuff in the ground’, I’ve found that planting in fall brings the most benefit from winter’s rain and dormancy. The plants are nice and established by the time the drying valley heat arrives.
Yes, now is my favorite time to add new plants, especially natives. I get a little giddy this time of year, the time of the first rains.
Gotta get planting! Gotta hit the plant sales!
Just a few weekends ago saw the first fall plant sale of The Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. It was being held at the Shepherd Garden & Arts Center in McKinley Park. I grabbed the chance and the kids, and headed over to check it out.
There was alot going on in a small space, with natives enthusiasts and novices alike peppering the experienced staff with questions and request. There was too much to look at and with my three boys underfoot I knew my time was limited. I handed the camera to the kids so they could help me make a ‘record’ of the plants I liked while I tried to make impossible choices.
Salvia, bush lupin, penstemon, oh my!
In the end I couldn’t pick just one and spent next week’s babysitting money before I even earned it. Hmming and Hahing between a white sage and a salvia, finally I was advised by a Cornflower Farms employee to “just go with the scent”.
Ahhh, the delicious heady fragrance of Salvia!
Ultimately the aroma of Salvia “Pozo Blue’ (leucophylla x clevelandii )won out over ‘Allen Chickering’. But, just barely.
By the way, when reviewing these pics later at home I got a real kick out of the photos my kids took at the sale. Very Pecker-esque. They somehow capture the vibe of native plant nerd-scene very well!
- It’s not just the shopping for plants that’s fun but also the actual planting of them that can bring some excitement ,and a kind of race-against-time thrill when the first rain of the season is predicted in the forecast.
- Trying to beat last week’s early ‘winter’ storm, the boys and I frantically began to do the footwork for planting. Many days of collective digging (the perfect job for busy boys) brought us several new and improved garden beds, ready for seeds and starts!
- And even more exciting for us…we finally got to use these weird futuristic seed packs that were unloaded upon us at this year’s State Fair.
- Real quick, here’s the backstory: As the kids were sampling free yoghurt at the fair this summer, one of the Dannon employees came up to me and asked me would I like some seeds for chives? Sure I said.
- She pulls out a box of silver packets, which looked like mini-robot condom packets or something. “Wow, that’s alot of seeds… lucky us!” I said bewilderingly, as Dannon-girl dumped a generous handful into my bag.
- “Well,” she said, “you looked like the type”.
- The type to do what?? Plant chives? Well,…alright!
And so with the rain clouds threatening,we finally got them in the ground. I also got in carrots, chamomile and pea seeds too but the rain ended up being heavier than I imagined and in some places too much soil washed away. More bed-tending to do….
But the on the plus side, the rainfall made for great digging conditions , and the warm sunshine led to lots of weeding and soil-amending this weekend. And this of course brought with it another dose of planting-fever.
Luckily this fever corresponded nicely the Green Acres Fall Festival on Saturday. With free food, live music and face-painting for the kids it was a sweet little festival for families, and a genius way to entice plant-a-holics like me to shop!
As I perused the aisles of gorgeous eye-candy annuals, I passed my camera to my son and asked him to take some pictures, “for the blog”.
Once again, I was really impressed with the mood and images my boy managed to capture. The color, the abundance, the bright autumn sky. He certainly has a great point-of-view and it’s fun to see it bloom (as it were!).
So please enjoy the the following pictures, all courtesy of Maceo Della Ripa.
Great job Maceo! And thank you Green Acres, what a refreshing way to ‘stimulate the economy ‘ and get us all digging in the earth again. Speaking of which, I gotta fly. Fall planting time is here! There’s work to do!