Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Calendula

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Nov 6, 2015 5:35:37 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Calendula

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Calendula officinalis, sometimes referred to as Pot Marigold, is a cool-season annual which bears vibrant orange or yellow flowers atop bright green foliage. It's relatively compact at one to two feet high and wide, but is known to free-seed around the garden and pop up unexpectedly. Calendula is a plant with a rich history, having been used as an ingredient in food, medicine and cosmetics for centuries. 

Calendula officinalis, a cool-season annual
Our favorite thing to do with this lovely Marigold-doppelganger is to plant them en masse in a sunny border. Or as a fun container "thriller" paired with Violas and Creeping Wire Vine. Or planted in your cool-season veggie garden to attract beneficial insects. The possibilities are endless for this cheerful, long-blooming, fuss-free, infinitely useful plant!

It's Sarah's pick-of-the-week because:
"Its brilliant orange blossoms never need to be deadheaded and it blooms fall through spring."
Did you know it's not too late to plant delicious winter vegetables such as Kale, Lettuce and Onions? 
Veggie Calendar

 

Topics: What Can I Plant This Season?, Winter, Flowers, Fall Flowers, Beneficial Insects, Container Ideas

Pest SOS: 12 Most Common Summer Pests Part 3

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 31, 2015 6:09:51 PM

Pest SOS: Top 12 Summer Pests faced by Sacramento Gardeners
Part Three

Pest SOS: Part One  &  Pest SOS: Part Two 

Don't see what ails ye? Find more garden solutions in our blog:

Stink Bugs

Stink_bug_credit-765795-editedDescription: Approximately half-inch-long grayish brown shield-shaped bugs.

Damage: Stink bugs have sucking mouth parts which they use to feed on fruit, leaving indentations or discolored spots behind. 

Common Hosts: A large variety of fruits and vegetables. 

Prevention

  • Eliminate weeds- Stink bugs overwinter on weeds, so eliminating weeds in your landscape will eliminate their main food source in the winter and keep populations down. 

Control: Planting a variety of flowers which bloom during all seasons to help attract natural predators such as green lacewings, assassin bugs and damsel bugs. Chemical controls are generally not very effective against Stink Bugs. 


 

Whitefly

Description: Extremely small (~1mm) white flying insects. Whitefly_credit-849077-edited

Damage: Whiteflies have sucking mouth parts which they use to suck the juices out of a plant's foliage. Damage appears as many small pale-colored dots on the foliage known as 'stippling'. Occasionally leaves will look crisp or dried up, and may fall off completely. They also leave behind a sticky excrement which can cause sooty mold on the leaves.

Common Hosts: Almost all plants are susceptible, some species prefer specific hosts. They breed almost year-round in California. 

Prevention

  • Attract Benficials- Planting a variety of flowers which bloom at all times during the year will attract natural enemies of whiteflies, such as Ladybugs and Green Lacewings. 
  • Reflective Mulch- Whiteflies can become confused when plants are mulched with a reflective material. 

Control: Insecticidal soaps and Neem oil can be an effective method of smothering the insects to keep populations down, however it is difficult to completely eradicate whiteflies by this method alone. Sticky traps placed near the affected area can also help reduce populations, be sure to replace them often. 


 

Yellowjackets

Yellowjacket_credit-936077-editedDescription: Medium-sized flying insects with segmented torsos and yellow and black stripes. They are distinguished from bees by their aggressive behavior and hairless bodies. 

Damage: Yellowjackets, as well as many other species of social wasps, can be considered both a beneficial insect and a pest. If aggravated, they can sting people or animals. 

Common Hosts: In early summer, they usually seek out sources of protein and feed on other insects, making them beneficial. In the late summer, they are attracted to sugar and can become a nuisance by feeding on dropped fruit, picnics, pet food and trash cans.

Prevention

  • Sanitation- If you see a nest beginning to form, eliminate it with chemical sprays as soon as possible before it gets too large. Also clean up dropped fruit, seal trash cans to eliminate their food sources. 

Control: Pheremone-based traps are the most effective method against yellowjacket infestations. Be sure to replace the lure, and empty the traps frequently. Chemical sprays applied to the nests can be effective, but take caution to wear protective gear, as agitated wasps are particularly aggressive. 


 

Budworm

Description: Small (1mm-1cm) caterpillars, can be variable in color ranging from green to brown. Budworm_credit-999059-edited

Damage: Small holes in flower buds, occasionally tiny black excrement that resembles poppy seeds is present. 

Common Hosts: Geraniums, petunias and many agricultural crops such as tobacco and cotton. 

Prevention

  • Attract Beneficials- Natural predators of budworms include big-eyed bugs and several egg parasites are good methods of control. To keep them in your garden, practice IPM. 
  • Hand-picking- Budworms can be hard to control by chemical methods because they tend to hide inside the flower buds and be difficult to reach. 

Control: Bacillus thuringiensis or B.T. is a natural bacteria which is toxic to all types of caterpillars. Unfortunately, the caterpillars must consume it in order to perish, so the damage will continue for awhile after treatment. 

Want to learn more about seasonally relevant garden topics? 
Subscribe to E-Newsletter

Topics: Pest Prevention, Beneficial Insects

Pest SOS: 12 Most Common Summer Pests Part 2

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 23, 2015 1:08:14 PM

Pest SOS: Top 12 Summer Pests faced by Sacramento Gardeners

Part Two

If you are battling pests in your garden this summer, check out part one of our Pest SOS series here.

Earwigs

Description: Approximately half inch dark brown/black bugs with a segmented torso and pinchers.Earwig_credit-927705-edited-999039-edited

Damage: Earwigs have chewing mouth parts which can cause irregular holes from feeding on soft new growth, seedlings and fruit. They also feed on other small, soft-bodied insects such as aphids, and can be considered a beneficial insect. 

Common Hosts: corn, berries, stone fruits, flowers, and the seedlings of all types of plants. 

Prevention:

  • Sanitation- Earwigs tend to congregate in cool, moist places during the day and come out to feed at night. Avoid creating a pleasant environment for them by cleaning up dropped fruit, eliminating debris piles and using a drip system rather than spray irrigation to eliminate excess moisture. 
  • Traps- Create a trap for earwigs using a rolled-up newspaper, placed low to the ground near the plants which are being damaged. In the morning, dump the earwigs which have congregated in the newspaper into a bucket of soapy water. 

Control: Baits such as Sluggo Plus are an effective method of control. Begin surrounding the host plants with bait as soon as the fruit begins to ripen, or just as the seedlings sprout. Reapply often for best results. 

 


 

Harlequin Bugs

Description: Harlequin bugs are a type of stink bug with a shield-shaped black body and red markings. 

Harlequin_credit-070357-editedDamage: All types of stink bugs have sucking mouth parts which they use to bite off plant tissue and suck out the juices, leaving discolored blotches behind. 

Common Hosts: All plants. They are especially fond of plants in the mustard family when other food sources are unavailable. 

Prevention: Eliminate Weeds. All stink bugs feed on weeds in the winter. Eliminating weeds as a food source will help keep populations down. 

Control: Stink bugs are hard to control, as most pesticides are not very effective against them. Most pest control programs recommend attracting natural predators to your garden, such as green lacewings, damsel bugs, assasin bugs, spiders and minute pirate bugs to name a few.

For more information on attracting beneficials to the garden...

Attracting Beneficials

 

 


 

Leafminer

Leafminer_credit-157112-edited

Description: Leafminer larvae are small yellowish maggots, the adults are striped black and yellow flies which resemble syrphid flies. 

Damage: Adults lay their eggs on the leaves, where they burrow under the surface and chew tunnels through the leaf tissue. The damage is usually superficial and rarely fatal to the plant. 

Common Hosts: Almost all plants, including many varieties of vegetables and flowers. 

Leafminer_damage_credit-202656-edited

 

 


Prevention

  • Cultural care- Keeping your plants healthy will prevent them from becoming stressed and exuding chemicals which attract opportunistic pests. Prune off any leaves which show leafminer damage to prevent them from spreading. 
  • Attracting Beneficials- Leafminers can usually be controlled by their natural predators, so planting a variety of flowers which bloom during all seasons to attract beneficial insects can be an effective method of prevention.

Control: Spraying plants with an organic spinosad-based insecticide such as Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew is usually enough to deter them, and it is safe to use on edibles. 


 

Voles

Vole_credit-508197-editedDescription: Brown fuzzy rodents that resemble small rats. They breed profusely and populations will fluctuate cyclically, sometimes skyrocketing when conditions are favorable. 

Damage: Chewing on leaves and roots of herbaceous plants and the bark of trees. They can even 'girdle' a tree by chewing around the entire circumference of the trunk and preventing the flow of water and nutrients, killing the tree. 

Common Hosts: Grasses, herbaceous plants, woody plants, bulbs and tubers. 

 

 

Prevention:

  • Sanitation- By removing dense overgrown groundcovers, you eliminate some of their coverage forcing them out into the open where they are more exposed to predators.
  • Exclusion- Using chicken wire or metal fencing to keep them out of landscaped areas. They can still burrow in occasionally, but the fencing will help keep some out. Metal barriers are also a good way of protecting the lower trunk of trees or the roots of young plants. 

Control: Repellents such as Mole Max, when combined with the above methods of prevention, can be very effective. Burrow fumigants are usually not effective, as voles tend to create shallow tunnels with many entrances exposed to air. 

 

Topics: Pest Prevention, Beneficial Insects

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Gomphrena 'Pink Zazzle'

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 16, 2015 9:42:05 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Gomphrena 'Pink Zazzle' 

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Gomphrena 'Pink Zazzle' is a relatively recent introduction to the world of horticulture, and it has already made quite an impression. That's because this sun-loving, drought tolerant perennial flourishes in the scorching Sacramento valley summers. Even its flowers hold up in 100°F heat, because what appears to be the 'flower' is actually flower bracts. The true flowers are the small yellow star-shaped flowers nestled within these bracts, punctuating it with bursts of color as it slowly unfurls from the center. 

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It forms a low mound of fuzzy, bright green foliage about 8-16 inches high and wide. Its tidy growth habit makes it perfectly suited for container culture, where it looks stunning paired with "fillers" such as Nemesia and "spillers" such as Bacopa. Butterflies and hummingbirds will find it hard to resist those stunning blooms, making it a truly valuable plant to have in your garden. 'Pink Zazzle' loves the heat but hates the cold, so it's a perennial grown as an annual in our area. If protected from frost, it will likely return to dazzle you with another long-lasting show of flowers next year. 

It's Jack's pick-of-the-week because:

"The flowers last forever, and when they start to fade to light pink on the edges, it gives a really cool transitional color effect."

 More water-wise pollinator attracting container ideas...

Drought Tolerant Plants

Appealing to Pollinators

 

Topics: Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, What Can I Plant This Season?, Flowers, Flowers in the Heat, Flowers for Hot Weather, Low Water Plants, Beneficial Insects, Container Ideas, Summer Flowers, Drought Tolerant

Pest SOS: 12 Most Common Summer Pests Part 1

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 10, 2015 5:01:00 PM

Pest SOS: Top 12 Summer Pests faced by Sacramento Gardeners

Part One

In the summer, pests are prevalent. That's because plant stress, abundant food and favorable breeding conditions give pests the advantage over the plants in your garden. The best method of treatment is prevention. In this series you'll learn the 12 most common summer pests in gardens of the Sacramento area, and all of the information you need to combat them effectively.

To find out how to solve pest problems naturally, read Intro to IPM.

Intro to IPM

 

Leaffooted Bug

Leaffooted_bug_nymph-183562-edited-330750-editedDescription: Young insects are approximately half an inch long with a black head, antennae and legs and a reddish body. Adults are about one inch long with a grey-brown color and flared hind legs. 

Damage: Leaffooted Bugs have piercing and sucking mouth parts which they use to suck the juice out of leaves, shoots and fruits, leaving discolored indentations where they've fed. The damage inflicted is mostly cosmetic, it usually does not render the fruit inedible. 

Common Hosts: Tomatoes & Pomegranates

 

 

Prevention

Leaffooted_bug-436362-edited
  • Eliminate Weeds- Adult Leaffooted Bugs feed on weeds when their preferred host plants are not in season. 
  • Clean up Debris- Adults overwinter under bark, in woodpiles, dried fruit droppings etc. Keeping these areas cleaned up will help reduce populations. 
  • Attract Beneficial Insects- Planting a variety of flowers in your garden which bloom at all times of year will attract Predatory Wasps and Tachinid Flies- a Leaffooted Bugs natural enemies. 

Control:  Affected plants can be sprayed with pyrethrin-based insecticides which are safe to use on edibles such as Bonide® Eight

 


 

Aphids

Description: Very small soft-bodied insects which can be green, yellow, red, brown, white or black. The young look like small versions of the adults, but adults will occasionally have wings. 

Damage: Aphids have sucking mouth parts which they use to rob the plant of its juices. An individual Aphid does not cause noticeable damage, but they are extremely prolific and when there is an infestation they can cause significant stress to the plant. They also release a sticky excrement which can be a nuisance. 

Common Hosts: Almost every plant, they are especially fond of soft, flush new growth. aphids1

Prevention

  • Use Organics- Organic fertilizers promote slow, sustainable growth as opposed to synthetics which can cause plants to push a lot of rapid growth.
  • Attract Beneficials- Planting a variety of flowers to attract beneficial insects helps keep Aphid populations down by restoring the balance between the pest and it's natural enemies.
  • Control Ants- Ants and Aphids are often found together because Ants feed on the sticky excrement from the Aphids. If you don't take the time to attack both pests at once, they will likely return. 

Control: The trick to controlling Aphids is to be persistent. They reproduce asexually, so populations get very high very quickly. On annuals or perennials usually spraying them off with water is enough to keep them at bay. Otherwise, using Neem Oil or Insecticidal Soap is usually enough to deter them. The Neem Oil should not be applied when temperatures exceed 90° F, and both of these control methods require that the insect come in contact with them in order for it to be effective. If you are treating a large tree which cannot be sprayed, consider using a systemic drench such as Bayer® Tree & Shrub.


 

Ants

Description: Small to medium sized crawling insects with a segmented torso. Can be red, brown or black. 

Damage: Ants do no direct harm to plants, but they can protect Aphids and Scale from predators in order to consume their sugary excrement. They can also infest dropped fruit and become a nuisance. 

Common Hosts: They will nest in any soil type, especially dry areas. ants_with_aphids-1-934484-edited

Prevention

  • Sanitation- Cleaning up dropped fruit can help keep populations down. 
  • Exclusion- Sealing small cracks to your home with caulk can keep ants from getting in. 
  • Control Aphids- Where there are Ants their are usually Aphids and vice versa. See above on tips to control Aphids.
 

Control: It is impossible to completely eradicate Ant populations, but you can keep them out of your home and living areas if you are diligent in baiting and trapping them. Terro® Liquid Ant Baits are an effective bait, place them near trails and replace them often for best results.

 


 

Thrips

Description: Extremely small insects with long bodies, practically invisible to the eye. 

Damage: Thrips have sucking mouth parts which they use to suck the juices out of plants and leave tiny dots known as 'stippling' behind. They also can be identified because they leave behind black specks of excrement. They are rarely fatal to the plant, but the damage can be unsightly and they can spread plant diseases. Not all Thrips are plant-feeders, some are predatory and feed on other Thrips, so they can be considered a beneficial insect. 

Common Hosts: Almost every plant is susceptible, especially herbaceous plants and soft new growth. thrip_damage-1-999111-edited

 

Prevention

  • Attracting Beneficial Insects- Provide a variety of flowers which bloom throughout the year. Natural enemies of thrips include Green Lacewing, Minute Pirate Bug and even Predatory Thrips will all keep Plant-eating Thrip populations down. 
  • Use Organics- Thrips are most attracted to the lush new growth that is rapidly pushed by synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers will keep plants healthy and give them the nutrients they need without pushing a lot of tender, susceptible growth. 

Control: Thrips can be very difficult to control due to the fact that by the time you notice the damage they are usually gone. However, if caught early, spinosad can be a very effective treatment. Try applying Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew, making sure to completely cover the foliage and the underside of the leaves too. 

 

 

 For more information on current garden topics and trends...

Subscribe to E-Newsletter

 

 

 

Topics: Pest Prevention, Beneficial Insects

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Echibeckia 'Summerina'

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 3, 2015 2:58:26 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Echibeckia 'Summerina'

Echibeckia-659318-edited

Echibeckia is an intergenetic cross between Rudbeckia (Gloriosa Daisy) and Echinacea (Coneflower). Intergentic hybrids are between two plants that are closely related enough to reproduce naturally, but their offspring is usually sterile, so you don't worry about it reseeding. The benefit of crossing these two heat-loving, water-wise, summer-blooming rock star perennials is to get the appearance of Gloriosa Daisy with the hardiness of a Coneflower.

MichelleEchibeckia-722790-edited

Echibeckia has the appearance of a Gloriosa daisy with large flowers in shades of yellow, orange, gold and brown but with extra large blossoms, thanks to it's Coneflower counterpart. It forms a sturdy upright clump of slightly-fuzzy green foliage (disliked by deer) and boasts and extra-long summer through fall bloom season.

Reaching about 2-3 feet high and wide, this full sun perennial will thrive in the heat and it's water-wise too!

It's Michelle's pick-of-the-week because:

"This is one of my favorite new perennials because of it's hardiness and long bloom season. It also is a great source of pollen and nectar for pollinators!"

 

 

 

 

 

  Drought Tolerant Plants


To learn more about water-wise deer resistant plants, check out these 7 Incredible Water-Wise Deer-Resistant Plants for Sacramento.

 

Topics: What Can I Plant This Season?, Fall Flowers, Flowers for Hot Weather, Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Summer Flowers, Drought Tolerant

Tomato Troubleshooting

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 30, 2015 6:14:00 PM

stupiche_tomato-resized-600So you've planted your crop and they've grown up big and strong...what could possibly go wrong?

As every experienced farmer knows, growing veggies is not always easy. There are plenty of pests and diseases that can plague your poor plants and minimize your harvest.

Never fear, Green Acres Nursery & Supply is here to walk you through some common problems and give you the tools and the know-how to fix them. 

Expert Help Available:  
Not sure what troubles your tomatoes? Just take a picture and/or sample into your nearest Green Acres Nursery & Supply Garden Solutions department, and we'd be happy to help you.

 




Problem:
 Blossoms falling off and not producing fruit. There are several reasons flowers will drop:

  • Insufficient Pollination: If the flowers are not visited by pollinating insects, they may fail to produce fruit.
    • Solution: Planting flowers around your vegetables can help attract beneficial insects to your garden. You can also hand-pollinate them gently with a small paintbrush.
  • Inconsistent Temperatures: When temperatures reach extremes, it can cause stress to the plant and make pollination difficult.
    • Solution: Mulching can help ease this stress, and will help conserve moisture in the soil. Creating windbreaks around your tomato garden can also help regulate temperatures. 
  • Improper Nutrition: When tomatoes are fertilized with high nitrogen fertilizers, they will push a lot of leafy growth and will not put energy into producing fruit.
    • Solution: Be sure to fertilize your veggie garden with an organic food specifically formulated for them, such as E.B. Stone Tomato & Vegetable Food.
  • Infestations & Fungi: If your tomato is suffering from pests, it will likely be too stressed to produce a good yield.
    • Solution: Bring a sample and/or picture into your nearest Green Acres tomato-hornworm1-406835-editedfor help identifying and eliminating pest problems. 

Problem: Tomato horn worms (pictured) are chewing the leaves of your plant.

Solution: B.T. is a bacteria-derived pesticide which kills the worms, and is safe to use on edibles even up to the day of harvest. 

Problem: Tomatoes crack leaving unattractive scarring on the fruit

Solution: Cracking fruit is usually the result of inconsistent watering. To fix this, mulch around the tomato plant, leaving 4-6" around the base of the plant, open for air circulation, and consider installing a drip system which will regulate water levels.

Problem: Brown, mushy spots on the bottom of tomatoes known as Blossom End Rot. Blossom End Rot can be caused by two main things: calcium deficiency and uneven watering. 

Solution: Mulching around your tomatoes will help keep the soil evenly moist.

Solution: Bonide Rot-Stop® is a great tool for helping combat calcium deficiency of tomatoes, peppers and melons.*

*It is always a good idea to test the soil first before adding amendments.

 

Want to learn more about growing tomatoes?

Tomato Tips

 

Topics: Edibles, Beneficial Insects, Tomatoes, Sacramento Gardening

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Coneflower 'Double Scoop Cranberry'

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 25, 2015 3:42:00 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Coneflower 'Double Scoop Cranberry'

ConeflowerCranberry-1-494516-edited

Coneflower or Echinacea is a classic garden staple for a multitude of reasons. It's easy to grow, tolerant of a wide variety of soils, blooms profusely summer through fall, and thrives in our hot, dry summers. Because of it's amazing versatility, it has been hybridized into many fantastic colors and cultivars, one of the most dramatic being the 'Double Scoop' series. Tantalizing in their color descriptions: Cranberry, Orangeberry, Bubblegum, and Raspberry, this series has some of the largest flower-size of all the Echinacea family.  

MatthewConeflower-529739-edited

Reaching about two feet tall and wide with a sturdy, well-branched form, this lovely perennial also makes a great container "thriller". It's deer resistant and drought tolerant when established. Plus, it makes a great addition to the cut-flower garden that will come back reliably every year. 

It is Matthew's pick-of-the-week because:

"The vibrant color that radiates from these blooms attract beneficial insects to the garden."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click for more tips & tricks on attracting beneficial insects to your garden!

Appealing to Pollinators

Topics: Waterwise, What Can I Plant This Season?, Flowers, Flowers for Hot Weather, Low Water Plants, Beneficial Insects, Sacramento Gardening, Summer Flowers, Drought Tolerant

How to Create a Pollinator Paradise

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 19, 2015 5:36:15 PM

Bees_On_Poppy_0925-692619-editedWhat is a pollinator?

Any insect or animal which moves pollen from one flower to the next. This includes bats, bees, butterflies, small mammals, moths, birds, flies, and beetles. Flowers are designed to attract pollinators with their bright colors and enticing fragrance, and in return the pollinators feed on the flowers nectar and pollen. 

Pollinators are essential to the survival of many species of plants and animals, including people. Approximately one-third of the food we eat is delivered by pollinators. Recently, populations of many of our favorite pollinators are in decline, partially due to loss of habitat and food.

In honor of National Pollinator Week, here are a few things you can do to make your garden a welcoming environment for all types of pollinators.

  • Plant many different flowers that bloom all year long
Because there's such a diverse mix of creatures which pollinate flowers, the best way to make your garden a welcoming place is to plant a wide variety of flowers,that bloom all throughout the year. Different species are attracted to different flower types, and having a wide selection of flowers which bloom during each season will ensure that they don't go hungry. 
  • Plant a variety of color
Different types of pollinators are more attracted to different colors. It is easier to draw passing pollinators into your garden if you plant your pollinator-attracting perennials in a patch of 3-5, and plant big groups of similar colors together.
Bees are drawn to yellow, blue and purple. 
Fun fact: bees see in a spectrum of light that's invisible to us- ultraviolet. Many flowers have ultraviolet markings on them called "nectar guides" which draw bees directly to the pollen and nectar of a flower. 
Butterflies prefer flat-topped "cluster" type flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink and blue.
Hummingbirds enjoy tube or funnel shaped flowers in shades of orange, red, violet and pink.
  • Entice with fragrance
Scent is another thing that draws pollinators to flowers, so seek fragrant flowers when planning your pollinator garden. Herbs like lavender, sage, basil and oregano contain many fragrant oils, so their flowers contain nectar which is especially delicious. 
  • Know your natives

When planning your pollinator paradise, consider catering to the local species. There are approximately 1,500 species of bees and 200 species of butterflies that are native to California. Native pollinators are most attracted to the plants with which they co-evolved. Native plants are also well adapted to our climate, making them a sustainable choice, which will be easier to maintain in the long run. 

Our Favorite Natives

  • Provide a place to nest and rest
Many species of bees are solitary, meaning they overwinter and nest in soil, sand or dead wood as opposed to hives. Large screening shrubs make a great shelter for all sorts of pollinators, and some of them, such as wild lilac and toyon are good sources of pollen and nectar too.
  • Set up a bath for birds, bees and other pollinators
Keeping a birdbath is a great way to attract an assortment of beautiful songbirds to your garden, and it's especially appreciated in low-water years. However, you should also find a spot in your pollinator garden for a bee & butterfly bath! Take a shallow tray, line with pebbles, and keep it filled with fresh water. This provides water for smaller pollinators, especially butterflies who get many of their essential minerals from drinking muddy water (an act known as puddling).
  • Learn to control pests naturally

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a way of controlling pests in your garden with less impact on the environment. Many pollinators also feed on insects such as aphids, that's why maintaining the balance of beneficials and pests in the garden is important. 

Intro to IPM

Topics: California Native Plants, Flowers, Beneficial Insects

Let's Talk Lavender

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 5, 2015 10:59:00 AM

Lavender is one of the most versatile perennials you can grow. It does well in full sun or partial shade, stays green in the winter, blooms spring through fall, is drought tolerant, attracts beneficial insects and thrives in the heat. It also has numerous household uses, from aromatherapy to cocktail infusions. Be careful which varieties you harvest to eat- only Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula x intermedia are edible. 

Lavender_bush-286207-editedCare & Maintenance

  • 4-6 hours of direct sun per day
  • Well-draining soil
  • Low water
  • The essential oils that make lavender so fragrant are mostly concentrated in the leaves. If you want your lavender to have a very strong scent, fertilize sparingly using only organic fertilizers
  • Lavenders will repeat bloom when they are deadheaded, simply shear off the old dried stalks before new ones start to appear
  • Prune to shape in winter to keep them from getting woody in the center

At Green Acres Nursery & Supply, we regularly carry a wide variety of lavandula*. French, Spanish and English are the most common types, with many varieties within those subsections.

 

French Lavender (Lavandula dentataCharacterized by gray-green foliage and serrated leaf margins, french lavender grows about 3' tall by 5' wide and bears tall stalks bearing plump pale purple blossoms. It's fragrance is not as strong as that of the English or Spanish varieties, so it is best used in the landscape. 

'Goodwin Creek'- Most common hybrid of french lavender, dense growth habit and silvery toothed foliage bearing tall stalks topped with elongated violet-blue flower whorls.

Per-Lavandula_Anouk_01-521483-edited

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)  One of the more common varieties, it's appearance is distinct from other lavenders, forming a low mound 1-3' tall by 2-3' wide. It's flowers are held close to the foliage, more compressed than most lavender and topped with flag-like petals. Reseeds profusely, deadhead to prevent it from popping up in unexpected places. 

'Otto Quast'- Dwarf variety of the already compact Spanish lavender. Can be kept as small at 1' tall by 2' wide.

'Silver Anouk'- A variety with striking silvery foliage which contrasts nicely with deep purple flowers.

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) English lavender is the most strongly scented variety available. It tends to form a neat, symmetrical mound of silver-green foliage with tall, elegant stalks bearing slender purple flowers. This variety performs well in the landscape, but it is also great for cooking and aromatherapy. 

'Hidcote'- A compact variety usually only reaching 2' tall by 2' wide. A mound of green foliage is topped with short stalks bearing deep violet-blue flowers. 

'Munstead'- usually only reaching 1-2' tall by 2' wide, bearing medium stalks of bright purple flowers. 

'Thumbelina Leigh'- The tiniest of the English lavenders, reaching only 6" tall by 1' wide. Short stalks bearing compact deep violet flowers. 

lavender_bee-681876-editedHybrid Lavenders (Lavandula x intermedia) Varieties of lavender bred for hardiness and tolerance of humidity. Usually characterized by their branching stems and interrupted flower spikes.

'Dutch'- Forms a mound of gray foliage reaching 3' tall by 2 1/2' wide. Stems branch to narrow, deep violet-blue flower spikes.

'Fred Boutin'- dense silvery gray foliage forms a mound 3-4' tall and wide topped with short spikes bearing violet flowers.

'Grosso'- Compact growth habit to about 3' tall by wide bearing stalks topped with deep violet-blue flower spikes. Grown commercially for its intense fragrance. Great for drying.

'Provence'- To 2' tall by 3' wide, forms a symmetrical mound of silvery-green foliage topped with stalks of light purple flower spikes. Makes a great informal hedge. 

 Now, What to Plant with Your Lavender

Salvia and lavender go together like peanut butter and jelly. Try adding penstemon, coreopsis, and poppies with lavender to bring a variety of color and pollinators to your garden. For a tidier look, you can plant compact lavender with some African daisies, euphorbias, and shrubs like barberry, Indian hawthorn, and 'Golf Ball' pittosporum.

Plant your lavender and join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

Want to learn more about plants that thrive in dry heat?

Drought Tolerant Plants

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Topics: Fragrant Plants, Edibles, Flowers in the Heat, Beneficial Insects, Drought Tolerant

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