Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photo - Evergreen Pear (Pyrus kawakamii)

This small tree is neither evergreen nor bears any pears.
But it is covered with small white flowers every February
 here in San Diego.  The blooms only last a month and
then the leaves comes in.  In San Diego, Evergreen Pears
can become infected with a virus known as fireblight.
Fireblight is spread by bees and causes the branches to
have a burnt look.  The key to stop the infection
from spreading all over the tree is to remove the infected branches
in the Winter before the blooms and bees arrive.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Monday, January 30, 2012

Photo - Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans)

This drought tolerant perennial blooms in the Spring and Summer.
Pride of Madeira is a large plant (8 to 10 feet wide by 4 to 6 feet tall)
 that is best suited for large open areas and moderate slopes
(under 30 degrees).
Bees are attracted to these flowers.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photo - Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)

After pruning your Mexican Bush Sage in December, this
is what you will have to look forward to in the Spring.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Rancho Bernardo

Photo - Mexican Bush Sage Before and After Pruning

Before Pruning
After pruning, note the new growth coming up.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Gardening Tip - Pruning Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)

      Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) is one of my favorite plants to use as a designer.  It is fast growing, drought tolerant, and a great hummingbird plant.  Mexican Bush Sage is also easy to take care of.  This Salvia only needs to be trimmed twice per year.  Once in July, when you should trim everything above your kneecaps.  I like to call this technique 'Tony Soprano'ing the plant'.  Get it?  Just whack everything off at the knees.  If you trim your plant like this you will be rewarded with lots of blooms in the Fall.
      The other time to prune Mexican Bush Sage is in December.  By the end of the year, Mexican Bush Sage starts to look scraggily.  So now you should trim the the entire plant down to the ground.  By doing this, you remove the old plant stems and allow the sun to hit the base of the plant.  This encourages new growth to burst forth.  See the photos posted above.  Also in December (or January) add 2 cups of Gro-Power Plus to the base of each plant and water it in.  Do this and you will have gorgeous purple blossoms all Spring.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photo - Swane's Golden Italian Cypress

This slow growing shrub holds onto its golden foliage
color though to maturity.  Swane's Golden Itailan Cypress
will top out at 15 to 20 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. 
This shrub is drought tolerant and heat tolerant but it is
also not fire resistant, so care should be used.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Photo - Dolphin Water Fountain

This was my garden at the 2006 San Diego County Fair.
I used the Country Manor Keystone to make a raised bed/
seating wall.  The dolphin water fountain was used at the focal
point of the garden.  This fountain can be purchased at Backyard
X-Scapes and here is their webpage;
Photo by Doug Kalal

Monday, January 23, 2012

Plant Sale at Miramar Wholesale Nursery

Miramar Wholesale Nursery is having a sale on selected items for the next 2 weeks.  Here are some of the details;

        5 Gallon $5.50              5 Gallon $9.50       
  'Tuscan Blue'
  'Single Pink'
  'Single Red'
  'Single White'
  'Petite Pink'
Olea Europea
  'Majestic Beauty'
  'Big Roo Orange'
  'Royal Velvet'
  'Regal Velvet'
  'Bush Pearl'

For nursery hours and store location visit their webpage;


Photo - Canyon Stone Pavers

This is a new product available at RCP Block & Brick.
The design of these pavers allow for them to be laid
just like interlocking pavers yet still look like flagstone.
Canyon Stone Pavers cost about the same at regular pavers,
about $10-$12 per square foot installed.
Here is the webpage for both RCP and the company that makes
Canyon Stone Pavers;
Photo by Doug Kalal

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo - Purple Leaf Plum Tree (Prunus cerasifira)

This lovely Spring bloomer is a tough tree for that
can reach 20 feet tall.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Photo - Fruit Trees, Before and After Pruning

Before Pruning

After Pruning

Gardening Tip - How to Prune Fruit Stone Fruit Trees

Stone fruit trees (apple, nectarine, peach, apricot, plum) are easiest to prune in the winter since all the leaves have dropped and the branch structure of the tree is easy to see.  There are several great pruning handouts available on the web.  My favorite is the one produced by Alan Erb of Kansas State University.  He discusses in great detail how to approach the pruning both old and young fruit trees.  Here is a link to his handout; http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/hort2/c631.pdf .

Basically I sticks to these 4 steps when it comes to pruning my fruit trees (all of which are 3 years old);
1) Remove any branch that exceeds what I can reach on my step stool.  The whole point of the fruit trees is have fruit that I can reach easily.
2) Remove branches that are growing vertically.  The more horizontal the branch, the more fruit it will produce.
3) Remove broken or downward facing branches.  These produce little if any fruit.
4) Remove small, crossing branches (really just twigs) from the middle of the tree.  These produce lots of leaves but little fruit and restrict sun and air flow into the middle of the tree, which an lead to disease in the summer time.

After pruning my fruit trees, I spray them with dormant oil to kill overwintering insects and fungi (which we have a lot of here in San Diego).  Since I am almost out of space, here is a link on using dormant oil;

3 year old peach tree before pruning

Peach tree after pruning

Photos by Doug Kalal

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photo - Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

These tall (and drought tolerant) trees can reach
50' tall and require little care once established.
However, Italian Cypresses can also be quite flammable
and should be used with caution in the
fire zones of Eastern parts of San Diego County.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Photo - Fraser's Photinia (Photinia x fraseri)

This is another drought tolerant shrub that is good
for hedges.  If left untrimmed, Fraser's Photinia
will reach 8 feet tall x 8 feet wide. 
This shrub also flowers in the Spring
and tolerates bad soils.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo - Pink Splendor Coprosma (Coprosma sp. 'Tricolor')

This compact shrub reaches 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
Coprosmas prefer full to part sun on the coast and afternoon shade inland.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recycle Your Empty Pots at Village Nursery for $$$

Hey Blog readers, Village Nurseries is offering a deal this month.  Bring in your empty pots for store credit.  Here are the details from Village:Description: cid:image004.jpg@01CCCAC0.D97BC2C0

Please bring us your old used cans! We will reuse them. Let’s recycle together and keep these cans out of our landfills.  Have too many cans to bring us? Not a problem! We’ll come pick them up! Scheduling can be arranged through our Landscape Center so give us a call for more details.
Village Nurseries

Happy One Year Anniversary to the 2 Minute Gardener!

Today marks the one year anniversary since I started the 2 Minute Gardener blog.  What started as way for lecture guests and clients to access photos online has mushroomed into a really cool way to share ideas on easy gardening.  In one year I have logged 425 posts that have been viewed 60,000 times by readers in 67 counties.  Thank you to all my readers and on we go to year two!

Photo - Orchid Rockrose (Cistus x purpureus)

Here is another drought tolerant shrub that works for
both slopes and flat areas.  Orchid Rockrose blooms
in the Spring and grows to 5' high and 5' wide.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Photo -Variegated Myrtle (Myrtus communis 'Variegata')

This drought tolerant shrub works for full to part sun,
flat areas and moderate slopes. 
Variegated Myrtle can reach 5' wide x 4' tall and has
small white flowers in the Spring.
Photos by Doug Kalal

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Photo - Tree Mallow (Lavatera maritima)

This fast growing shrub is covered with open flowers
that are similar to a hibiscus, but without the white fly issues.
This shrub can reach 8 feet tall and wide.  Tree Mallows look
best if they are trimmed hard (about 30%) in January and August.
Photos by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Ramona

Monday, January 9, 2012

Photo - Dwarf Bottlebrush (Callistemon sp. 'Little John')

This compact shrub gets about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
This drought tolerant plant is great for hot inland areas with poor soil.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Hopseed Bush (Dodonaea viscosa)

Hopseed Bush makes a terrific screening plant
and it also drought tolerant.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Mesa

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photo - Hybrid Tea Rose 'Marilyn Monroe'

This beautiful hybrid tea rose looks great in the garden as
well as the trophy table.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at the Coronado Flower Show

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tough Roses for Your Garden

It's bare root rose season, time to buy new roses for your garden.  Here is the list that I recommend for my clients.  These are the roses that I have found to have a great combination of color and disease resistance.  Enjoy!
1)   Betty Boop - Floribunda
2)   Bronze Star – Hybrid Tea
3)   Crimson Bouquet – Grandiflora
4)   Distant Drums – Shrub
5)   Fabulous! – Floribunda
6)   Fame! – Grandiflora
7)   *Firefighter – Hybrid Tea
8)   Fourth of July – Climber
9)   *French Lace – Floribunda
10) Gemini – Hybrid Tea
11) Gold Medal – Grandiflora
12) *Honey Perfume - Floribunda
13) Iceberg – Floribunda
14) Julia Child – Floribunda
15) Lavaglut – Floribunda
16) Let Freedom Ring – Hybrid Tea
17) Marilyn Monroe – Hybrid Tea
18) Marmalade Skies – Floribunda
19) *Mr. Lincoln – Hybrid Tea (a little mildew prone)
20) *Neptune – Hybrid Tea
21) Nicole – Floribunda
22) Playgirl – Floribunda
23) Playboy – Floribunda
24) Prospero - Shrub
25) Sally Holmes – Shrub
26) *Scentimental – Floribunda
27) Sexy Rexy – Floribunda
28) St. Patrick – Hybrid Tea
29) *Sunsprite – Floribunda
30) Trumpeter - Floribunda

*Very Fragrant

Photo - Floribunda Rose 'Priscilla Burton'

Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Hybrid Tea Rose 'Mr. Lincoln'

This classic red rose is very fragrant.

Photo by Doug Kalal

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Photo - Floribunda Rose 'Honey Bouquet'

This is a fine disease resistant floribunda with large blooms.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Pruned Roses in Containers

Here is what my rose garden looks like after pruning.
Notice that all of my roses are in containers dues to reasons
listed in the previous post.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Gardening Tip - How to Grow Roses in Containers

       San Diego soil tends to be poor for growing roses.  Either the soil is too heavy and drains poorly (a typical clay soil).  Or the soil might be too sandy or have too much decomposed granite to hold the nutrients necessary for growing great roses.  If you want to grow roses and you have poor soil, you have 3 choices for fixing the problem. 
      You can overhaul the soil and give it the good drainage and nutrients needed for roses.  In March I talked about how to fix poor soil so check on those posts for tips on soil.  Your second choice would be to build a raised bed with retaining wall materials.  A raised bed that is at least 12 inches tall will allow you to plant the roses in good quality soil that you bring in.
      The third choice is to use containers for the roses.  Plastic pots like the ones seen in the photos are great for putting together a rose garden in tricky areas like patios or gardens with rock hard soil.  Another advantage to container rose gardening is that you don’t have to bend down so far to prune the rose.  All of my roses are in containers and I win over a hundred ribbons, along with a few trophies a year from my collection.
      For hybrid tea and grandiflora roses I recommend a 21” diameter plastic pot.  A 15” diameter pot will work for the smaller floribunda and miniature roses.  The ones in the photos were purchased at Home Depot.  Never use a ceramic pot unless it has a glazed interior.  The porous surface of ceramic pots will suck water away from the roots.  Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole in the bottom and never put the pot in a saucer that will keep the bottom of the pot constantly wet.  Roses, like humans, like dry feet.
      Use a good potting soil like Super Soil (sold at Home Depot) for the planting mix.  Since roses in containers need more water and nutrients than roses planted in the ground, use a slow release rose food like Ada Perry’s Magic Formula to give the rose a steady diet of good food.  Also, make sure to have a nice wood chip mulch to keep the soil moist.
      One of the advantages of roses in container is that all the water stays close to the rose and does not run off (but it will run out the bottom of the pot).  If you live in the inland areas (east of Highway 805) of San Diego like I do, then soak your container roses 3 times a week in the summer.  I put enough water on my rose to fill the container about 1 inch.  Less water is needed in the coastal regions and during the cooler months.  Always water in the morning so that the rose foliage can dry out by evening.  This will help prevent diseases like rust and powdery mildew.
      Once you have watered your rose, don’t try to move the container without a hand truck.  A 21” diameter pot with wet soil can weigh over a hundred pounds.  It is always best to move the pots around when they are dry.
      One of my favorite aspects to a container rose garden is the fact that I can move the roses around throughout the year depending on what is blooming. This allows for a garden that is always interesting to look at and a little easier to maintain.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Photo - 'Fourth of July' Climbing Rose

This All American Rose Selection is very disease resistant
and a prolific bloomer.  One of the cool things about this rose
is no two blooms are exactly alike.  'Fourth of July' tends to
have more red in its bloom in the early spring with summer blooms
showing more white.

Photos by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Tierrasanta

Gardening Tip - Feeding Roses

          Roses can be pigs.  They just love to be fed.  To get a prize winning pig, you need to feed it the good stuff.  Roses are the same.  To get great roses, you need great food.  The best rose food available in San Diego is Ada Perry’s Magic Formula.  This food is only available at Walter Andersen Nurseries in Point Loma and Poway. 
         Ada Perry’s Magic Formula is made up of blood meal, gypsum, epsom salts, bone meal and other micronutrients.  In others words, it is a terrific stew for making your roses happy. One twenty pound bag will feed about 30 roses.  Each rose gets 2 cups in January and 2 cups in July and always water your roses thoroughly before feeding.

Here is Walter Andersen's info;

Walter Andersen Nurseries

Pt. Loma
3642 Enterprise St
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 224-8271

12755 Danielson Court
Poway, CA 92064
(858) 513-4900

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Photo - Floribunda Rose 'Playgirl'

Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Point Loma

Gardening Tip - How to Prune Roses

January is the best time to give your roses a good pruning.  This winter pruning helps your roses by cleaning and recharging the rose bush.  Pruning your roses forces the rose bush to take a 3 month rest from bloom production, which is important for long term health of the plant.  Here are the steps for pruning Hybrid Tea & Grandiflora roses.

1) Remove everything above 3’ from the bud union (where the rose canes meet the rootstock).  All blooms & stems must be removed so that you can clearly see the rose’s canes.  A rose cane is like a tree branch except that it comes from the base of the rose bush and grows upward, producing rose blooms as it grows. 

2)   Select 3 to 5 of the best canes that are growing away from the center of the rose bush. The newer canes are preferable because they will produce better roses.  The canes that are staying should have good spacing from each other.  Don’t pick crossing canes (remove one of them) or canes in the middle of the bush.  The canes that are staying should be at least the thickness of your thumb.

3)  After you have selected the canes that are staying, remove the other canes at the bud union with either loppers or a small pointed saw.  Also removes any dead or broken canes at the bud union.  If there are less than 3 good canes, just pick the best ones to keep.

4)  After removing the less desirable canes, prune the remaining canes by picking a spot approximately 2’ to 3’ above the bud union.  Cut the rose cane about 1 inch above an outward facing budeye (where an old leaf makes a scar on the cane).  Make sure to cut the cane at an angle.

5)  After pruning the good canes, remove all foliage from the rose bush and make sure to cleanup the fallen leaves on the ground.  This is important for removing the bad over wintering insects and spores that can spoil your rose bush in the spring.

If all that seems a bit overwhelming, just remember that the most important aspect of pruning roses is to clear the center of the rose bush of any stems or canes.  The finished product should look like a vase.  

To see all this in person, come to the San Diego Rose Society's annual rose pruning seminar this Saturday, January 7th at the Balboa Park Rose Garden, 9:30-12noon.  It's free and you can show up at any time.  Rose Society members will be on hand to answer any question you have about roses.

Photo - Hybrid Tea Rose 'St. Patrick'

Photo by Doug Kalal

Photo - Hybrid Tea Rose 'Signature'

Photo by Doug Kalal

Free Rose Pruning Seminar

In honor of the Tournament of Roses Parade yesterday, this week is rose week on the blog.

This Saturday, Janaury 7th, the San Diego Rose Society will be holding their annual Rose Pruning Seminar at the Balboa Park Rose Garden.  The garden is located on Park Blvd accross the street from the Natural History Museum.

The pruning demostration starts at 9:30am and will go until 12 noon.  The demonstration is ongoing and free so you can just show up at any time during those hours.  Bring your gloves and pruning shears so that you can get some hands on practice.

San Diego Rose Society members will also be on hand to answer rose care questions and give you the inside scoop on what roses grow best here in San Diego.

Here is their webpage for more info;