Wildflowers succeed best when planted soon after the November rains start. If you’re trying to “tame” a vacant lot by naturalizing it with wildflowers, this is the right time in Pacific Coast gardens. Watch them after the winter rains as they spring up almost overnight and grow into an infinite variety of charming forms and colors. Mixtures give the gayest effects. Most western seed stores have wildflower seeds in bulk lots at low prices.
Fresh Fruit can be readily available even in small gardens. Use dual purpose plants which possess beauty as well as fruit. Grapevines are fine for arbors and walls. Dwarf fruit trees look well against a fence and offer a rich harvest of fruit. Gooseberries make unusual hedges.
Trim those ‘Mums. Clean up the beds now that the flowers are finished. Cut back the plants to about 12 inches from the ground and burn the trimmings. This reduces the danger of potential diseases next year-and the next.
Spring Bulbs. Dutch hyacinths (the graceful Roman type are not so stiff and tailored) and early tulips are best where perfect symmetry and a “formal look” are needed. They are valuable also in window boxes and pots. The later tulips are much taller and less stiff.
Scilla Hispanica (Campanulata) Alba is a fine bulb for edging, as well as for naturalizing among the shrubs. It blooms at the same time as the later tulips. Between the bulb groupings add plenty of Vinca minor alba, white violas and patches of white candytuft.
When setting out your trees or shrubs dig a large hole, at least 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. To the soil you have dug out add 20 per cent humus material and mix it in well. There are many sources of humus such as well-rotted manure, rotted leaves, redwood bark, Canadian peatmoss and other materials combined with peatmoss.
After mixing the humus with the soil, fill the bottom of the hole with enough of the mixed material so that, when you set the plant in, it will be at the proper planting depth for that particular species. In planting balled and burlapped plants set them so the top of the ball is about an inch under the ground surface, unless they are grafts. On the latter, such as citrus plants, keep the bud union even with the ground or a little under. There are also lots of fast spreading ground cover to have.
Wild Tulips. The botanical or wild tulips are ideal for rock gardens and, what’s more, the bulbs form colonies that thrive for years. Here are the best for Western gardens: Tulipa clusiana – a very early blooming species, 18 inches tall, with white inner petals and red outer. This species has been known for over three centuries. Tulipa kaufmanniana – a creamy white flower with a sulphur-tinged center, shaped like a water lily. Ten inches tall. It is also called the “water lily” tulip because its handsome, big lily-like flowers open wide. Tulipa eichleri – a small bright red flower, 12 inches tall, well adapted to rock gardens.
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