Thursday, March 28, 2013

Early bloomers for Northern California.

Part of being a good land steward is to avoid the use of any pesticide and instead rely on natural methods of pest control.  I haven't used any insecticides in my garden, it doesn't mean I have no pests but I am able to keep them under control with various methods.  Healthy plants that are more resistant to pests are made by healthy soil so I keep the soil fertile with the addition of homemade compost, I also inter-plant edibles with flowers that attract beneficial insects, a plus is that the garden looks so pretty with all those early flowers.  Most insects, good and bad, overwinter only to reemerge in the spring.  To provide nectar for the hungry pest predators I have added many early blooming plants. Some were bought, some reseed themselves, some are perennials.

In my post on beneficials I mentioned few plants that bloom in mid spring, but the ones mentioned below have been blooming for few weeks already.

Just to name few plants blooming in my garden now: Borage, Borago officinalis, a self seeding edible annual, Biokovo Cranesbill, Geranium x cartabrigienses "Biokovo", a spreading groundcover that loves shade and blooms profusely, Juniper's beard, Centranthus ruber, another self seeding perennial plant, and Sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima, which I bought since I don't have a greenhouse to propagate it.

Cerinthe major purpurascens, or Blue honeywort
I bought Blue hoenywort this year because it is beautiful and it a self seeding plant.  It belongs with Borage to the Boraginaceae family, both plants are loved by bees, which are already showing up in my garden.

Rue graveolens interplanted with mustard
Above are few perennial plants that will soon bloom and look so pretty together.  Anche l'occhio vuole la sua parte, even the eyes wants its part, we have to satisfy our sense of aesthetics, we say in Italian.

Mustard giant red, or Brassica juncea, flowers are delicious to tiny predator wasps
Last year I planted red giant mustard, soon to discover that its flavor is too strong for me.  I fell in love with the plant color however, and this year I used it as an accent in my veggie garden, and left the plants flower for the tiny predator wasp, who seems to like this type of flowers.  The color combination is stunning.

Mexican daisy, Erigeron karvinskianus, such a pretty and prolific bloomer.
Mexican daisy can self sow vigorously but it is easily controlled and is such a pretty and easy plant to have in the garden.  The plant above found its way in between the wood slabs of a tree planter.  I keep cutting it back every year and it comes back better than before.

Tanacetum parthenium, or Feverfew
Feverfew is one of those super plants to have in the garden, not only for the beneficials but as the name implies for its medicinal value, looking at it makes me happy.

Happy Spring!

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