I stopped by Sonoma’s local retail nurseries last week to find out what is ready and in stock for your fall garden chores.
Lydia Constantini, over at Sonoma Mission Gardens (SMG) on Arnold Drive, reports that spring blooming bulbs are now on hand. Autumn is the time to plant our beloved daffodils, tulips, narcissus, amaryllis, lilies, ranunculus, and peonies. All of SMG’s bulbs come pre-chilled. Store your bulbs in a cool, dark and dry place if you are going to wait to plant them. It is easiest to put them in the ground when the soil softens after our first good set of autumn rain showers.
Get a jump start on your holiday indoor bouquets and consider forcing paper whites, hyacinths and amaryllis. Put the bulbs in a clear vase with some pretty rocks at the bottom. Do this six weeks prior to your holiday event. Better yet, stagger your forced bulbs by planting them in multiple vases one week apart. You’ll have bounteous bulb blooms throughout the season.
SMG will be launching their bare root pre-sale in early October. You can order roses, fruit trees and berries for winter planting. Check out their list of Dave Wilson Nursery’s unique and unusual trees if you like fruit trees who hail from off the beaten track.
Josie Garcia and Jean Ryan over at Wine Country Garden Center on Broadway are excited about their large selection of fall flowering plants. They are gorgeous. Remember, we are lucky here in Sonoma. We can have flower power color year round. Primroses and ornamental kale will live through the winter. Pansies and violas survive temperatures into the teens. Snap dragons love the cool season and will blossom until our first hard frost. Cyclamen is a perennial. It shines during the winter, dies back in summer and returns again each fall to add sparkle to the winter garden.
Jean Ryan reminds us that fall is a good time to plant shrubs here. The soil is still warm and the plants can take advantage of the winter rains. However, it is not a good time for installing citrus or bougainvillea. For these frost tender plants it is best to wait until spring.
Both nurseries have a good selection of fall and winter veggies. Peas can go in the ground now. Cilantro loves the cooler weather. Fall and winter are excellent seasons to grow your own cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other winter greens.