Magazine article Sunset

What to Do in Northern California

Magazine article Sunset

What to Do in Northern California

Article excerpt

May

Shopping

Buy an orchid There's nothing like a white phalaenopsis or a chocolate-scented oncidium for adding elegance and a hint of the tropics to a lightly shaded patio table in summer. For choices, visit the Carmel Orchid Society's MayFaire Orchid Show and Sale, where you can talk with growers, watch demonstrations by orchid specialists, and buy plants. 9-5 May 3, 10-4 May 4; free; American Tin Cannery, 125 Ocean View Blvd.., Pacific Grove; carmel orchidsociety.org

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Create comfort Buy a portable firepit for evening warmth in the garden. Fill large containers with fragrant perennials for natural aromatherapy; good choices include English lavender, nicotiana, and summer phlox.

Planting

Design a culinary herb bed For fresh herbs all summer, plant seedlings of basil, chervil, chives, Lemon grass, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme in a curving bed. Start cilantro and dill from seed at the back. Toward the front and just off-center, set a wide, low bowl on a paver and plant it with mint seedlings for a cooling accent. The pot and paver will keep the mint's roots from wandering.

Grow flowers for cutting PLants that provide a steady supply of colorful summer bLooms for bouquets include perennials such as alstroemeria, purple or white coneflower, coreopsis, gaillardia, gloriosa daisy, scabiosa, Shasta daisy, statice, and yarrow, as well as annuals such as cosmos, lisianthus, Mexican sunflower, and zinnia. Keep a shapely outdoor vase handy.

Try a new rhododendron Sunset climate zones 7-9, 14-17: To fill an empty space in a shaded area, buy rhododendrons now while they're in peak bloom so you can see what you're getting. Singing Tree Gardens (singtree.com or 707/839-8777) in McKinleyville sells more than 300 varieties, including uncommon fragrant ones, at the nursery or online; many do well in the Bay Area. …

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