Rose Picks

It will be spring in a few days. The roses are green, leafy, budding, and will open soon. Armando and his crew are getting the rose field ready to open at the end of the month.

Every year we get asked the same questions: what is your favorite rose? What is the best rose? What is the most fragrant rose? What is the most disease resistant rose?  I decided to ask some opinions and compile a list.

I asked Hilton Sumida (owner of La Sumida Nursery) Armando Herrera (our rose grower) Dan Bifano (well known Santa Barbara Rosarian) and Judi Smith (horticulturist) to pick their favorites on last years rose list.  I also obtained great information from Rose Society websites, particularly the local Santa Barbara and Ventura chapters.

Some of our favorites may not be available this year. There have been difficulties in the wholesale rose industry. Long time supplier Jackson Perkins filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Other companies are trying to fill in the gap but bare-root roses were still in limited supply this year.

We did not receive some of my favorites this year. I will particularly miss Pillow Fight, which I like much better than Iceberg, and Radiant Perfume, which is a fragrant strong-stemmed yellow. We were also unable to obtain another all time favorite Ingrid Bergman that I was hoping to add to my cutting garden. Also missing is the white Pope John Paul that both Dan and Judi have on their lists. Hopefully we will have these roses next year.

It was a lot of fun to look at the lists and see what the majority of us agreed on. In alphabetical order are: Aroma Therapy, Bewitched, Cinco de Mayo, Distant Drum, Falling in Love, Climbing Flutterbye, Fame, Ingrid Bergman, Julia Child, Lasting Love, Marilyn Monroe, Neptune,  Pope John Paul,  Pat Austin, Sunset Celebration, Spellbound, Yves Piaget, and White Licorice.

We all seem to agree that Julia Child is one of the all time best, cleanest landscape roses, and that Fame last longest as a cut flower.

We hope to see you when the rose field opens. I can’t wait to see some of the new roses in bloom.

What are your top rose picks for Santa Barbara? Send me an email  at nursery@lasumida.com  to include your list.

 

Little Bits

Sometimes it seems like there is not a lot blooming in August.

This Stephanotis (Madagascar Jasmine) is an exception. In this picture it is growing through the Dwarf Princess flower on the trellis. The pot it is in was placed in bright shade where we keep our limited collection of begonias and other tropicals. The top is reaching for full sun in a western exposure. It seems like it has been blooming all summer.

When my sister moved to Oregon two years ago she dug up this loved Stephanotis put it in a 15 gallon pot and brought it over. I wondered if it would live. It not only lived but thrived and has given us fragrance and pleasure. It’s nice for her to see when she visits Santa Barbara as well.
We had a very interesting visitor in the nursery last weekend.
He was traveling in California from Florida and said he had looked all over the country for a Thevetia thevetioides. Luckily we were able to send a truck over to San Marcos Growers to pick one up for him to send home.
This gave us time to chat and I discovered he has a nursery in Florida, is owner of Butterfly world, and president of the Passiflora Society. I have just started exploring his website http://butterflyworld.com. If you are interested in plants growing plants for hummingbirds and butterflies it is a great site to visit.

Speaking of butterflies we have our first crop of La Sumida grown, pesticide free, Asclepias (Milkweed) available for sale. Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly. They lay their eggs on the plants and the young caterpillars eat the leaves. We brought some up front to the register area. On Saturday we had our first cocoon turn into a butterfly. We are anxiously waiting for more”new arrivals”. (Photos attached)
In September cool season bedding plants and vegetables will begin arriving in the nursery. Many years I feel too burned out after the summer garden to do much in the way of fall planting but I am determined that this year will be different.
Take care, D.
 

Judi’s Blog

So now we are head long into summer. The rush of spring planting is over. Our thoughts now turn to keeping our gardens watered and disease and bug free while we wait for our vegetables to ripen and enjoy the fruits of our labor. I have already harvested some of my potatoes, zukes and tomatoes.
While I know that vacation and summertime activities are priority and dominating our lives right now, we don’t want to forget our initial excitement and investment into our vegetable adventure. Planting time is not over. Lettuce can be planted every two weeks. Beans can also make a second appearance in the garden. Squash, cucumbers and chard can still be planted to last longer into the end of summer when your first early plantings have pooped out. And don’t forget that peppers are perennials. They will actually do even better next year as a more mature plants. So think ahead and plant now for next season’s early start.

Most of all, now is the time to start planning for your “Fall” or as I like to call them, your “Late Season” (Cool Season) tomatoes. If planted before the end of September, many varieties of determinate and short season tomatoes will give you fruit into December depending on the weather.

Good varieties to try are: Early Girl, Siberian, First Lady, San Francisco Fog, Glacier, Siletz, Jetsetter, Stupice, Legend, Subarctic, Manitoba, Sun Cherry, Oregon Spring, Sun-gold Cherry,Peasant, and Taxi.

P.S. If you are having problems with your garden, bring samples into us at the nursery. We are here to help you learn. Farmers face different challenges year to year and so does the home gardener. There are good years and bad years. Weather, rodents, bugs and disease are always a challenge. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Learn and grow! Judi

D’s Blog

Our busy spring season is over and we have time to get back to blogging. What a strange year it’s been. We have experienced fires, extreme weather fluctuations and a struggling economy. With all this craziness I am glad to report that people are still purchasing plants.

The biggest trend we saw at La Sumida this year was the huge increase in edibles.
Everybody is putting in vegetable gardens this year. They are also planting for the future with fruit tree and berries. Edible sales were so high, wholesale vegetable growers had trouble keeping up with the demand.
Speaking of weird weather can you believe the rain yesterday? I sure don’t recall too much June rain in my lifetime.
The big news at La Sumida is a wedding. many of you may know Armando. He grows our beautiful roses. He drives our delivery truck as well. If you see him tell him congratulations.
That’s all for now… Judi and I promise to be more diligent bloggers for the rest of the year.
Take care, D

Judi’s Blog

Well it seems obvious where the trend is going this summer in the gardening world.  It’s all about VEGETABLES.  Everyone wants to supplement their grocery budget by growing as many fresh veggies as their garden space will allow.  Call it a Victory Garden or Recession Garden, I have never seen or experienced such a surge towards folks wanting to grow their own food and to be more self-sufficient.  We all need to feel like we can take care of ourselves.  Maybe it is a bit of a control issue.  We all need to eat.  Who wants to feel like we are dependant on others for the most basic need of feeding ourselves?  Whatever the reason, we are happy to see and help anyone who wants to learn.

La Sumida has one of the largest selections of vegetables in town.  But try to understand and don’t worry if the vegetable that you want to buy is not in stock when you come into the nursery.  We get new deliveries every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  We will usually have everything that the growers have available for the week, out and displayed by Saturday morning. And please realize that not all the vegetables are available all the time. The growers may run out but will quickly reseed and have more ready as soon as possible.  Most of them were caught a little off guard by the unusually high demand this year.  They are trying very hard to get the product out to the nurseries.  The supply is not keeping up with the demand.

When I order certain veggies on the list they send me every week, there is no way to know for sure if I will actually get them.  But I will always try to keep getting whatever I possibly can. Especially with the tomatoes.  We carry 108 different varieties, but not all at the same time.  Don’t panic!  There is plenty of time to put all the vegetables in.  And we will continue to carry most everything right thru August.  And don’t forget seeds are always a great alternative.  We have a wonderful selection. And remember, a vegetable garden does not have to be put in all in one day.

Sometimes it is a good idea to stagger your planting or even put in a late crop.

So be patient and enjoy the experience of gardening.

Judi

 

D’s Blog

March heralds the arrival of spring. Days grow longer and soil temperature warms. Now is the time to think about feeding, pruning and planning your summer color. 

Planting: March is the transition between cool season and warm season plants.  http://www.lasumida.com/tips/plantinglists/warmseason.html

Summer color: Annuals: Petunias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Dianthus, etc.

Perennials: Foxglove, Cleome, Delphinium, Nemesia, Salvia, Etc. Etc. Etc.

Summer vegetables and herbs are now arriving. See March planting list for more information. www.lasumida.com/tips/plantinglists/edible_03.html 

Lawns may be started from sod or seed. Don’t forget soil amendments and fertilizers to assure best performance. Prepare flower and vegetable beds.

Plant summer blooming bulbs:Tuberous Begonias- plant w/acid planting mix or peat moss indented side up (round bottom side down).

Fuchsias:Pinch back for compact growth. Flowers are produced on new wood. Feed with acid food.

Prune: Prune back dead and old growth on shrubs, vines, and perennials. New growth will be quick to fill in. Shrubs – may be cut back by 1/3. Prune Camellias after they bloom. Grasses/Cannas cut just above the ground.

I hope these tips help get you in the spring gardening mood. D

 

Judi’s Blog

Yea!! Finally we got some much needed rain.  So far, at this writing, we really haven’t had a heavy soaking that would constitute a “deep” watering.  Just steady, light showers that seem to be enough to allow the weeds to germinate and grow like crazy.  So be aware, you might have to supplement with an additional soak to your trees and shrubs if we don’t get some more “real” rain.  Don’t forget, it was 80 degrees just a week ago and the ground was very dry and alot of plants were showing stress from lack of water.  You can dig into the soil, outside the drip zone, to check and see just how deep the rain was able to penetrate around your trees.  Remember, strong roots go deep.
 
If you sprayed your fruit trees or roses with the “dormant” spray within three days of this storm, you should do it again once things have had a chance to dry out.  Try to spray a couple of times before the fruit tree buds open or the foliage leafs out on the roses.  You want to make sure that you get good coverage to get any fungal spores.  So that means spray the head of the tree or bush, the trunk, and the ground around it.
 
If we do get a substantial amount of rain, you want to be careful about working your soil while it is still wet.  A healthy soil needs airspace in it.  You can damage and destroy its structure by digging or walking in your garden and compressing and compacting the dirt.  Very, very bad for your soil.  Wait a few days and give it a little time to dry out a bit.  Weeding and cultivating should be just as easy and much better for your garden, by waiting a week or so.
 
And don’t forget, you still have plenty of time to put in a winter vegetable garden.  The cool weather crops like, brocoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, chard, spinich and so many different varieties of lettuce.   Also root crops, carrots, beets, onions and potatoes.  Have you ever had a homegrown potato?  Melts in your mouth-no butter or salt needed.  I lived in Idaho for ten years, where I discovered that the potatoes in most stores are already a year old!  Try growing your own.  Fresh makes all the difference and its an easy and fun crop for the kids.  You can keep planting most of the cool season veggies on into March.
 
And for all you aspiring vegetable gardeners, we will have a Free, Organic Vegetable Growing Clinic.  It will be on February 7, 2009 at 10:00 A.M., in our greenhouse.   The class will be taught by Oscar Carmona, an experienced grower and supplier of vegetable starts to our community.  Be sure to bring something to take notes on and come early as there will be no admintance after the first 100 chairs are filled and the class has started.
 
See you there,
 Judi

P.S.
Please, don’t anyone ask me for tomatoes before March.  It’s just wrong to make plants perform before there time and expect them to be healthy and produce well, just because we want to extend our already long season.

D’s Blog

Rose Pruning

In Santa Barbara rose pruning season is generally between Christmas and Superbowl. Roses are a deciduous shrub.  In our mild climate, we don’t often receive the cold required for real winter dormancy, so it’s especially important to clean them up for a good healthy start in the New Year. Pruning actually breaks dormancy.

 

We prune roses for health, shape, growth control, and to encourage new canes.

 

·      Remove any dead, diseased or damaged wood.

·      Check for sucker growth. Suckers are canes from below the bud union.

·      Leave 3, 5 or more, young strong canes. Remove week spindly canes . Remove old gray ones. Best blooms come from new growth. Remove crossing canes, and canes that rub against each other.

·      Cut back desired canes into an open vase shape. All pruning cuts should be made ¼ inch above and angled away from an outward facing bud.

·       Light pruning is removal of about 1/3 of the height. Hard pruning is about ½. Your pruned rose will probably be 2 to 4 feet tall.

·      Saw off any dead wood at the base of the rose if necessary.

·      Lightly brush old peeling bark on crown with a brush to stimulate new canes,

·      Remove all foliage. Clean up all debris. Apply dormant spray to plant and soil.

·      Fertilize in March after foliage grows.

General guidelines:

Hybrid Teas: 3-5+ canes in a vase shape open in the center

Floribundas: 5-7 canes in a vase shape open in the center. Sometimes not pruned as hard as hybrid teas.

Shrub and groundcover: Usually have more “twiggy” growth habits.

Prune the same as a floribunda, leaving more lateral branches.

Climbers: need little pruning for the first few years. Prune to shape.

Leave laterals 2-3 , as this is where climbers bloom. Yes, you do need to strip all the leaves.

 

Don’t worry. Our roses will recover from any mistakes we may make.

 

D’s Blog

Frost Tips

 

In the Santa Barbara area we have many microclimates. Some of these are susceptible to frost damage in cold winters. If you live in the bottom of a canyon you know how chilly it can get.

 Do not fertilize permanent landscape plants except for lawn, cool season annuals, and vegetables after October 1. This allows plants to harden off. Tender new growth is more susceptible to frost damage.

 Keep your plants well watered. Damp soil retains more heat than dry soil. Mulch to trap soil heat and protect roots.

 If frost is in the forecast, there are precautions you can take. Group tender container plants under eaves, against the house, under covered patios or large trees. They may be covered with sheets, blankets or products like row cover and insulation cloth. If you use plastic, make sure you stake it up, so it does not touch plants. You can string large bulb Christmas lights to keep plants warm.

 Many plants don’t mind cold weather. Most of our trees and shrubs will be fine. It’s the plants of tropical origins that are very unhappy.  Examples include: Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Impatiens, Mandevilla and Ficus If you have tender plants you may cover them the same as your containers above. Make sure you uncover plants before the sun hits them the next morning.

 If you get frost damage the most important thing to remember is: Do not prune off damaged foliage until new growth appears in the spring and all danger of frost is past.  In Santa Barbara this is usually late February.  Frost damaged leaves and stems may not be attractive but they will protect the plant from subsequent frosts.

 After an occasional hard frost it’s a good idea to hose the plants off before the sun hits them.

 Most established woody plants survive Santa Barbara frosts with minor injury. If you live in an area that freezes most winters its best to avoid tropicals. Watch for clear, cloudless, winter nights with low humidity. A great place to check the forecast is: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ or 805 9886610.

D’s blog

Those of you who read this blog are most likely local La Sumida Nursery customers. We are very grateful to you. Your support makes it possible for  Independent  Garden Centers to continue in the era of the ‘Big Box’  center. Can you imagine the lack of selection if we could only purchase plants at Home Depot?  

At this time when we see even chains going out of business recently  (Comp USA, Circuit City, and Linens N Things)  I have made a new commitment to support local business and shop locally. At the Nursery, La Sumida is able to support local growers and wholesalers, both large and small. This is also good for keeping freight costs down.
Two instances lately have made me rethink my shopping habits. I admit I can get pretty lazy. There have been times when virtually all my shopping has been online. I realized the error of my ways when I tried to stop by Crispin Leather downtown. OOps, they aren’t there anymore. Jr./ Sr. Shoe-Town where my family bought shoes for three generations is  gone as well. Where are all the shoe stores? 
For my granddaughter’s birthday I shopped locally. Luckily Chaucer’s Bookstore is still going strong.  Kernohan’s Toys on Calle Real had great selections as well. I’ll shop locally for my Chrismas gifts as well.
Thanks to all of you for your support this year. Please remember La Sumida for the holidays. We have beautiful Noble firs, Live trees, Poinsettias, Wreaths, Garland, Table arrangements, Cyclamen, Christmas Cactus, Ornamental Peppers, Holiday Color Bowls, as well as great gift items for  gardeners and plant lovers. Gift wrapping and delivery is available. Going to a dinner party? Need a host/hostess gift? Judi makes beautiful, creative, gift baskets. 
We look forward to seeing you this month, 
Take care, D.