By Cynthia Brian
“I feel like a warm, red autumn!” Marilyn Monroe
My favorite part of a November autumn is looking out from my bedroom balcony to the kaleidoscope of colors dotting the landscape in the valley. Trees are cloaked in hues of magenta, sienna, umber, gold, russet, umber, purple, red, pumpkin, and a variety of greens. Wherever I walk or drive, the picturesque autumn foliage of Northern California rivals the forests of the Eastern seaboard. We are indeed fortunate to live in a climate that harks four seasons.
November of this year brings us an election as well as Thanksgiving. Since politics is not my favorite subject, I prefer to focus on what needs to be done in our November garden before turkey day. Autumn is the best time to plant because the soil is still warm and the rains are imminent. To find trees bursting with colorful leaves, visit your local nursery. Japanese Maple, pistache, liquid amber, crape myrtle, and many fruit trees put on quite a spectacular show this time of year. Buy them now and plant them where they will grow, thrive, and enhance your landscape.
Information on Grass Seed and the Rain
When it rained this past week, I ran outside to plant seeds of my hundred year old plus heirloom hollyhock seeds as well as sunflower seeds. The drizzly weather also posed the most auspicious moment to re-seed my lawn with Pearl’s Premium lawn seed and fertilize with an organic cover. My new grass is already sprouting.
Several emails have arrived asking for more information about my experience with Pearl’s Premium. I’m not paid to talk or write about this product (although I probably should be on the payroll because I’m so passionate about this seed). Being a believer in one’s right to have a lawn for enjoyment, I’ve been on a mission to find the grass seed that will remain green while using less water. With my first summer of using Pearl’s Premium behind me, I offer you my personal experimental results.
- 1. Grass remained somewhat green with brown and bare spots where the irrigation missed the mark.
- 2. Pearl’s Premium definitely choked out the majority of weeds.
- 3. I watered twice a week in twelve-minute segments per station using 34% less water over the previous year.
- 4. The lawn was mowed once a week and grass clippings were left on the lawn at least twice per month to add nutrients.
- 5. Although not a lush green in the summer, the grass did not die.
- 6. With just two rainy days, the lawn has emerged as emerald. I still have a lawn!
As noted, I am re-seeding my lawns with the expectation that next spring and summer will have even better results as the instructions on the Pearl’s Premium label do indicate that it can take a year for proper establishment. According to Jackson Madnick, the founder of the company, Pearl’s Premium is not sold at retail establishments here in our area so you will need to purchase online at http://www.PearlsPremium.com. He is currently installing seven acres of his grass in Palm Desert. The seed is drought tolerant. As promised, for all of you Lamorinda lawn lovers, I will continue to update you on my experiences. For now, I am happy with my green!
Cynthia Brian’s November Gardening Guide
- ⎫ TIME to fall back! Set your clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 6th. It’s going to be dark in the mornings to be advantageous for early garden chores pre-work day. Bummer!
- ⎫ HEAL by looking at nature. For over thirty-two years since the journal Science published the study by behavioral scientist Roger Ulrich, we know that just viewing trees and the outdoors enhances wellness and speeds healing.
- ⎫ GATHER guavas that have fallen to make a jam or other guava treat.
- ⎫ SOW these vegetable seeds for a bountiful early winter harvest: lettuce, Asian greens spinach, arugula, chard, chicory, kale, radish, cabbage, beets, and cress.
- ⎫ DONATE to Be the Star You Are!® charity as it ships books to the most devastated areas in Hurricane Matthew’s path in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Go to http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org and click on Operation Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief.
- ⎫ FERTILIZE your lawns with an organic mixture and re-seed during the rains. Cover the grass with mulch or screens to keep the birds from eating the seeds.
- ⎫ SPREAD seeds of hollyhock along fence lines or at the back of your garden as hollyhock can grow to 12 feet or more.
- ⎫ HELP the birds settle in for the upcoming winter by cleaning nesting boxes and providing plenty of seed to their feeders.
- ⎫ DECORATE your waterfall, fountain, or front door with a variety of odd shaped pumpkins and gourds.
- ⎫ COLLECT acorns, leaves, and nuts to add to your festive kitchen or dining room table fall tableau of squash, gourds, and pumpkins.
- ⎫ COLOR your world by planting bushes that boast fall and winter berries including cotoneaster, holly, and pyracantha. (Pyracantha plants have sharp thorns. Plant in low traffic areas. Pyracantha don’t have berries, but pomes.)
- ⎫ MULCH by shredding the raked leaves from the deciduous trees adding grass clippings, dried plants stems, and trimmings all which provide water conservation, better drainage, and nutrients to the soil.
- ⎫ PLANT your spring blooming bulbs now including daffodils, crocus, freesia, ranunculus, hyacinths, Dutch Iris, tulips, and other favorites. You’ll be able to continue planting bulbs through January. Mark the location with plant tags or wooden paint sticks.
- ⎫ BUY trees with fall color at your local nursery or garden center including Crape Myrtle, Pistache, Liquid Amber, and Japanese Maple.
- ⎫ COVER patio furniture and move potted frost tender plants under an overhang or bring indoors.
- ⎫ ENJOY the warmth and the beauty of this annual autumn fashion extravaganza.
- ⎫ CAPTURE the moments with your smartphone to compare your garden to next years show! It’s amazing how much our landscapes change.
- ⎫ VOTE on November 8th. One person does make a difference.
Color me happy!
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at http://www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.