template_images/title_gardenguru.gif

Click HERE to submit a question for our Garden Guru. Please see the bottom of this page for Guru response times and other information!


Please note: If you would like to learn about a product's availability in our stores, please call our stores directly for up-to-date information.




Our Garden Guru answers the following gardening questions:

1. Tree and flowering shrub recommendations for small SF backyard?
2. Fog-tolerant herbs, fruits, veggies, and flowers that attract bees & hummingbirds
3. Low maintenance trees to plant in foggy areas
4. Vegetables to plant for areas with unpredictable weather



QUESTION 1

Q: Dear Garden Guru,

I live around 42nd and Judah. My backyard is about 25 x 25. Could you recommend some trees and flowering bushes for me?
-- Bob in San Francisco

.........................................................

A: Dear Bob,

Here are a few plants that should do well for you. All will take foggy sun. Flowering shrubs: Ceanothus (California lilac), Grevillea, Hebe, Cistus (rockrose), Spanish lavender. Perennials: Purple lantana, Echium (Pride of Madeira), zonal geranium, calla lily, salvia. Trees: Arbutus Marina, Agonis flexuosa, Acacia cognata, Dodonaea Atropurpurea, Magnolia Little Gem.




QUESTION 2

Q: Dear Garden Guru,

Can you recommend a list of fog/Mediterranean climate tolerant herbs, fruits, veggies, and flowers (which attracts bees and hummingbirds)? Any guidance will be much appreciated.

- Wayne in San Francisco

.........................................................

A: Dear Wayne,

First tip is to take care of the soil. Don't skip on the amendments that will help retain moisture and offer nutrition. Water regularly, especially the flowers and vegetables. Choose organic fertilizers that will not harm the beneficial soil organisms that help your plants' root systems by improving nutrient uptake and guarding against disease. Actinovate is a wonderful supplement for any new garden plant.

Vegetables: peas, lettuces, chard, beets, cabbages, broccoli, mustard, spinach, carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, arugula (actually all your greens), in the summer- cherry tomatoes too. Herbs- parsley, cilantro, rosemary, chervil, savory, sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram

Fruits- raspberries, southern highbush blueberries, apples, pears, strawberries, loquat, pineapple guava, lemon, kumquat, Trovita orange

Flowers that attract beneficials and pollinators- white alyssum, cosmos, achillea, agastache, tulbaghia, Oenothera, Eriogonum (Buckwheat), Erigeron, Dianthus

Hummingbirds- Abutilon, Fuchsia, Agastache, Salvia greggii, Salvia clevelandii, Nasturtium, Delphinium

There is so much more, but this will get you started.


QUESTION 3

Q: Dear Garden Guru,

We live in the Balboa Terrace area in SF where it can get cold and foggy. We are wondering what type of trees would be suitable to plant in our back yard that would not require much maintenance. Flowering Cherry Bloosom? We are open to suggestions.

- Frances in San Francisco

.........................................................

A: Dear Frances,

The trees most often recommended are the Arbutus 'Marina, Ficus nitida, Magnolia grandiflora, Melaleuca quinquenervia and Dodonaea. Flowering cherry and plum will survive, but may show signs of leaf burn later in the season.


QUESTION 4

Q: Dear Garden Guru,

We'd like to start our first garden here in SF. We live near Stern Grove so our area can be very foggy. What do you recommend we plant that can thrive in this unpredictable weather? My son would love to eat from our garden.

- Jody in San Francisco

.........................................................

A: Dear Jody,

You are lucky enough, with your cool weather, to grow lettuces year round. Peas can be grown successfully as you seldom have consistent temperatures higher than 75 which prevents peas from flowering (and fruiting). Carrots, beets, radishes,leeks, and onions can be sown in mid August for fall harvest. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli can be started now too. For something sweet, plant strawberries early next spring.





NOTES: Each month we select gardening questions that will help all Bay Area gardeners. Please allow 3-7 working days for a response. IMPORTANT: Please make sure your email address is correct so that our Guru can reply to your question.

Also note: When you send us your gardening question, we reserve the right to print
the question and our answer for the benefit of other gardeners.

Plant, Water, GrowPlant, Water, Grow