January 2015 Garden Activities….

After beautiful December rains in the San Francisco Bay Area…. we enjoyed sunny days all through January that encouraged a lot of activity in our gardens.   Let’s take a peak at Pat’s gardens…..

Prune back roses……that’s a heart-breaking task, when there are still a few healthy blossoms on the bushes.  But, it’s time to prune if we want to enjoy a breath-taking show in early spring


Dahlia tubers (bulbs) planted early last spring are ready to be dug up, separated, divided,  and stored until  April when it will be time to plant again.


I discovered a “garden fork”  worked great for me when digging up the tubers.  Can you see the daffodils popping up behind me?

The Schaaf abode should have about 300 daffodils in full bloom by mid February.


Dahlia Tubers Jan 2015

After digging and dividing the tubers, they have to be labeled and stored in a cool place. I used peat moss and plastic bags to store.   Since it’s important the tubers are not too wet or dry, they have to be checked weekly.

I dug up thirty-five plants and have about 150 tubers to store.  My colleague has over five hundred plants and two thousand tubers!

Lots of yellow in back yard…

Jan Lemons


Daffodils must love the lemon tree as they are always the first to show their pretty faces.




The daffodils that are getting less sun and are in competition with the herbs (especially the parsley which grows like a weed) are just starting to bloom.



 Fava Beans – Organic Gardening



Lastly, I’d like to share an experience I had last August with my friend Fran.    We attended an organic gardening class at Filoli.

What did we learn that we could apply to our veggie gardens?   Plant fava beans during the winter months. The roots give off nitrogen which the tomatoes will capture during the summer.



My August blog will have photos of organic tomatoes where

the fava beans are growing this winter.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Dahlia Blooming Season is coming to an end…..

but not over!

Verorone’s Morning Star, White Orchette.  Originator, Roland Verrone won the prestigious Stanley Johnson medal award several years in a row.  This is my second year to have this beauty in my dahlia garden.


Photos by Benjamin Woch

Verrone's Moning Star, Orchette

White Incurved Cactus:  Jim bought me a bag of tubers spring 2012 with no names attached; all tubers look alike in a bag!  There are many of this form, and my mission is to one day find it’s name.

 Incurved Cactus

Just Peachy, Semi Cactus, grows to about 6 inches in diameter.  This year I had at least 50 blossoms with nice tall strong stems.

Just Peachy, Semi Cactus, BB, LB

Sir Garth, formal decorative, grew 8 plus inches in diameter.  Given to me by a friend spring 2013, I was able to dig up about ten tubers January 2014.  I keep them in a dry dark place (my garage) and was able to share most of the tubers at the Dahlia Society of San Jose in the spring.  I kept/planted two tubers and they grew beautifully.  Look at the strong stems to hold up the crown.


Pam Holden, Water Lily produced many many many blooms:


The Dahlia Society of of San Jose sponsored their Annual Show mid September at Vallco Shopping Center in Cupertino.  Dahlia growers from Monterey. San Leandro, and San Francisco, came to exhibit their best cultivars to share with the San Jose Community.

Karen and Kevin came Friday night from Monterrey to set up their cultivars:

Guest from Monterey Dahlia Society 2014

Over 800 arrangements were presented to judges and community…

JS Dahlia Show Pat 2014


JS Dahlia Show - FriendsHope you can come next year to capture the beautiful dahlias.

Dahlias are a truly beautiful addition to the garden for six months of the year – capture the fun in 2015!




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saturday Garden Chores Made Easy with….

three helpers: Peter, Matthew, and Benjamin.

Peter taking a short water break…….and observing his brothers!


Matthew helps grandpa with the hard work…., but, always time for a smile:)

Saturday Chores with Grandpa

Benjamin picks the first tomato of the season – Kellogg s Breakfast


This heirloom variety weighed in at 14 ounces.

The garden team all enjoyed bacon, lettuce and “tomato” sandwiches for lunch!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring wisteria, after winter pruning….

Sharing just a few photos of the “fruit” from my pruning lesson at Filoli.

White Japanese Wisteria — Wisteria floribunda ‘Longissima Alba’
Wisteria 2014 a

Wisteria 2014

Wisteria 2014 d

Wisteria 2014 c

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

California Spring Trials 2014.

Fred and I attended the northern section of California Spring Trails to capture the new cultivars that you will soon see in your local nurseries. I was fascinated with Pacific Plug & Liner’s new basil tree call Savour.

BasilTree Sav-ourBasil Tree Fred

Also at PP&L, Cultivaris was displaying their many new varieties. I was especially impressed with the new Digiplexis Illumination.

PP&L Pat

Making it’s debut at PP&L was their new white strawberry called Hula Berry. The naming and logo were done by the design firm BatesMeron who Fred works for in Chicago.


We also stopped at Sakata Seed America in Salinas. They had so many beautiful varieties on display, including the SunPatiens series. Imagine – impatiens that can grown in full sun!



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wisteria class at Filoli….

Gardens (www.filoli.com) put into action.

Wisteria 1

We planted three Wisteria floribunda “longissima Alba,’ (White Japanese Wisteria), spring 2009.  Now it’s time to un-tangle the long whips that grew during the summer months.

What did I learn in class?

Wisteria need direction, form and structural support.  You need to envision where you want your plants(s) to grow by training the long whips (vines) that grew the previous year, and anchor them in the desired structure creating the framework for your wisteria.  Be careful when un-winding the long whips, and prune off any that may distort your vision.

Wisteria should be pruned twice a year – midsummer, then again in the winter to stimulate the formation of short side-shoots that will bear summer flowers.

Seed pods?

Wisteria are in the Legume (pea) family.  After its flowers fade, they produce as their fruit, long velvety seed pods.  Cut them off if you don’t like the looks of them.  They do no harm to the plant, left on or removed.  Mid summer I will post a photo of the flowers and seed pods.

Wisteria 3

If you are planting along side a wall or fence, it may be a little easier to prune than growing over a large arbor like ours.  I got to climb the ladder because my shoulders fit through the slats!

Bryan Temmermand with Hale Creek Construction built the arbor across the entire back of our home, and encouraged us to plant wisteria.  Check out Bryan’s website: http://www.halecreekconstruction.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dahlia Dig

Dahlia friends-
I’m a little late in digging up my dahlia tubers, but I have faith that if I divide, store, and check on them periodically they will be in good condition to plant in the spring. So… if you haven’t started to dig, do so before you commence pruning your roses! If you need information on how to dig, divide and store tubers, check out the American Dahlia Society web site.
Have fun.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment