Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Heading Into Winter, Central California Style

We have enjoyed a long, beautiful fall, making it easy to be complacent about the date. But as November becomes December it is time to take care of a few important garden tasks.  Number one on my list is the Big Move. About 30 pots need to be moved to their winter location. Mostly succulents, but also a few orchids and cane begonias, these pots need to be moved under the patio cover, onto the front porch shelves, or, in the case of the begonias, into the house. There they will remain until the weather clears in the spring. The succulents could withstand our few freezing nights, but not if they are soaked from the hoped for typical winter rains. The orchids will stay on the patio and be brought inside for the night only when freezing temperatures are predicted. And the begonias...I have tried leaving them on the patio for the winter and I have tried bringing them inside. I am still not decided on the best approach. This year, they are inside.

The sweet peas are up but just barely. They are still under the berry baskets used to protect them from the marauding sparrows who like to snack on many of the newly sprouting greens they find in the garden. The nearby favas don't seem to be attractive to them so they are left on their own.

Strawberries are still ripening. A few are just the thing for a gardening break.

Rain has started and has helped speed the leaf drop.  Meanwhile, the California Giant zinnias are still pumping out blooms.

Rosa Flawless is still blooming as well and enjoying the first few rains.

Pansies are likewise appreciative of the rain.  The deluge we had last Sunday was such a downpour it overwhelmed the gutters and water poured down into the patio, requiring the emptying of stored crocks and soaking some of the succulents wintering there. Luckily, we don't anticipate low temperatures soon. Before we do, important garden job number two must be addressed. That would be the stringing of patio lights on citrus and installation of stakes to provide support for the sheets to cover them if and when we do get freezing weather. It's time to stop being complacent. 


Gail said...

The light stringing is brilliant! I am going to do this with my Bay Laurel. I won't have to haul it inside unless it goes into the low 20s! gail

Cindy, MCOK said...

I lost some of my succulents to cold weather a few years back and you have me wondering if they were too wet. I can't remember if we had rain or not then. I'll move the patio umbrella to shield them for the wet just in case.

growingagardenindavis said...

Gail...my bay laurel is in a pot and has withstood short temperature dips into the high 20s with no protection. 30s don't seem to phase it at all. But we really only have at most a few hours at night of those low temps and not very often.

Cindy it could well be that is what happened. While some succulents can't take much below 32ยบ at all there are some that, when well hydrated, just burst their cell walls in a freeze.

Carol Michel said...

Yes, don't be complacent about preparing for winter. If we do that here, we pay dearly!