Magazine article Sunset

Your CHECKLIST

Magazine article Sunset

Your CHECKLIST

Article excerpt

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

"Find your favorite nook in the garden and make it your own. "

MIKE IRVINE, SENIOR GARDEN EDITOR

PLANT

Add ornamental grasses, such as blue fescue, feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acuiiflora), or pink muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) to a sunny area in your garden. They grow through summer and produce attractive seed heads in fall.

Plant peonies for long-living, deer-resistant perennial flowers. Buy in 5-gallon pots for a faster bloom time. Give them regular water and a little low-nitrogen fertilizer before and after blossoms appear.

Intersperse pepper seedlings into flower beds of coreopsis, gailtardia, and marigolds for a tasty treat come summer. Look for small, sweet varieties like mini bells or baby bells that are more prolific than large bell pepper types. Or grow from seed: Renee's Garden offers orange 'Yummy Belles' or red and yellow 'Baby Belle' (renees garden, com).

In warmer areas, set tomato seedlings late this month, while cold-winter zones should wait until at least mid-May. Choose a spot with 6-plus hours of sun, dig a hole a few inches deeper than the pot, and pinch off the lowest leaves on the transplantburying this section will encourage roots to emerge from the stem and make for a healthier plant. Space 3 feet apart, water regularly until established, and add a cage now-it's easier than wrestling one over a large, unruly teenager later.

MAINTAIN

Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as deutzia, spirea, viburnum, and weigela after blooming. …

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