Tom Carwin, on Gardening | Parking Strip Project

Take care of your garden

A significant garden project has recently taken control of our time, so this column shares what we have done and learned in the process.

I say “because” the project is possible only with the help of timely and highly qualified graduates of the Kabrilo College Vegetation Program (another property of this college for this community).

The project is a parking strip, a 40-inch wide bed between the sidewalk and the sidewalk. This strip is cut off along the way and two paved passages, so the hanger has four beds: approximately 40, 30, 20 and 3 feet long. (That makes it easier to divide the project into organized tasks.)

These beds are made of the same type of daffodil (Narcissus’ Mon Cherry) for mass production. These problem-free plants grow well without irrigation and produce more bulbs each year for many years. Over time, they become overcrowded until their flowering subsides. They needed to be divided.

The usual advice is to divide the bulbs every three or four years, but this bed was first installed probably seven years ago, which shows that splitting the bulbs can be postponed by supporting endless priorities.

Two of these bulbs are planted in California Fussia (Epilobium Canum, formerly known as Zushnernia California), a low-growth type, “Effort Choice”. This California native grows 1 foot tall and spreads with ground runners. The plant was doing well in an irrigated 20-foot bed, partially covered with shade from a large tree. We decided to leave that bed for another year without touching it.

In a more vulnerable 40-foot bed, the plant was not working well, but due to lack of irrigation, we cleared our beds.

The 30-foot-long bulbs are planted in a strong, well-distributed, low-growing green geranium (Geranium × cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’, despite poor irrigation. It is a good plant, but it is very common in that bed and in the garden, so we decided to get rid of it without prejudice.

Now the project is limited to two large beds, 70 feet[70 m]high. You may remember that there is a small fourth bed across the street. We will plant it another day.

The work begins by digging up an impressive number of sleeping bulbs and temporarily storing them in a cool, dark place (gara rage, in this case).

The next step is to water the bed, enable the bulbs to replant. This approach involves moving 4 to 6 inches of soil along the sidewalk to load bulbs. We put them at a distance of 6 inches to allow enough space to grow and spread for a few more years.

The work had to be completed within a day of moving the soil off the sidewalk and replacing it with light bulbs.

This process has thrown away too many bulbs. They should be replanted before the onset of the rainy season in mid-October. We held 10 or 20 light bulbs in groups each month to share with friends and visitors at the Santa Cruz garden exchange.

Ten bulbs can give a beautiful little bouquet in a sunny garden. The usual advice is to place three light bulbs in a triangle and dial in with the other seven bulbs. Some gardens have spaces for multiple sets.

The next garden exchange will take place Aug. 28 at 8-9 am at Live Oak Grange, 1900 17th Ave. , Occurs in Santa Cruz. There will be plenty of free light bulbs!

The next step was to cover the beds with daffodil to cover the beds. As mentioned in the recent columns, local garden centers have affordable groundwater plants in small houses and six packs. Most supplies are common plants, and some require shady or semi-shady conditions, as well as regular irrigation. Ground cover selection includes individual preferences and garden conditions, so it’s time to consider options.

I chose Campanula poscharskyana ‘Birch Hybrid’ (this plant was named after German gardener Gustav Adolf Posharski). I call it the Serbian Bel Flower.

Wikipedia is the annual sequel to Lavender-Blue Star-shaped Flowers. He is a native of the Dinar Alps in the former Yugoslavia. It grows up to 6 inches in height, blooms all summer, tolerates full sun and appreciates regular irrigation and good drainage. I am determined to water this plant regularly!

Serbian bell flowers can be distributed every three or four years. This is related to the distribution program for daffodils and suggests a seasonal program: a three-year low-maintenance garden is being replaced by one-day vigorous gardening.

It is grown in the Serbian Bel flower, in Ruhland in southern Brandenburg, Germany. (Contributed by Wilhelm Zimmerling / Wikipedia)
Narcissus “Mon Cherry” in my garden, one of the largest species of daffodil. (Tom Carwin – Contributed)

Increase your knowledge of gardening

Here are some upcoming webinars to expand your knowledge and ideas.

The Cactus and Success Association will present its website, “Apocadsis in the Ages”, on Saturday at 10 p.m. The presenter will be Colin Walker, a retired professor of biology and currently an honorary researcher at the Open University of England.

The SS describes the apocalypse as the “family of the apocryphal family known as adenium, pachypodiums, and plumerias” and “As a result of recent molecular studies, the Asclepiadaceae family has joined. [the Apocynaceae]. Therefore, the Staphylococcus, Brachstelmas, Syropegia, Focus, etc. are now apocryphal. The extended family now includes more than 600+ species in more than 70 species.

My collection includes only one plant in this huge family, the South African foxia eduli. This is a edible codex used to make heavy jams (but I don’t do that).

To read more and to register for this free event, visit cact

The American Horticulture Association, in partnership with, has announced live, interactive virtual tours of popular public gardens. Many upcoming events include Sunday’s “Rio Genero Vegetable Garden,” “Bancon View of Banf from the Peace Cassade Gardens” and “A Walk through 2,000 Bamboo Sticks.”

These are “end-to-end” events, which are free of explicit invitations.

Visit for information on these and more tours.

Enrich your gardening days

Large-scale gardening projects can be manageable, well-researched, and enriching experiences when properly managed by qualified assistants.

Enjoy your garden!

Tom Carwin is president of the UCC Santa Cruz Arborum, the Monterey Bay Area Cactus and Success Association, and the Monterey Bay Irises Association, and the lifelong UC Master Gardener (certified 1999-2009). He is currently a board member and gardener for the Santa Cruz Hostel Association. To see daily photos from his garden Visit to find the archive of old gardening columns.

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