Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Fall is for planting

I'm writing this article to let everyone know of some new and unusual plants that grow well here in Tehachapi! First of all, it's always better to plant spring-blooming plants in the fall. They establish better and you get a longer bloom time!

Some perennials to consider are: Echinacea we have eight different varieties and we just received a beautiful load. Hardy geraniums, in six or seven varieties. Give them a try, you won't be disappointed. Saponaria, a beautiful pink flower. Asiatic and Stargazer lilies, those of you who tried them were pleasantly surprised. Gold Caryopteris, I have some planted at the nursery along with Echinacea, Gaura, Penstemon and three different ground covers out front. Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus ruber) is always a favorite that blooms almost all summer. Peonies, we have many varieties, with huge flowers and more coming! Many Agastache, also called hummingbird plant. Japanese Anemone, which takes a lot of shade and blooms in the fall.

Now how about a few interesting shrubs you may not be aware of: Loropetalum, not a new plant but should be planted more up here in the shade. I have them at my house and they are blooming now. Nandina obsession, there are many varieties of Nandina, but I like this one. It is small and always has a little red in the leaves, and in the winter, it's pretty much all red. Nandina Gulf Stream is 3 1/2' tall. I have a bed at home with three different kinds of Nandina. I love it!

Cotinus "Golden Spirit" takes part shade but contrasts nicely with green shrubs or red in the landscape. Cotinus "Royal Purple" can grow to be a tree. I'm looking at one right now across the street and it is 9' tall and still purple. Orange Rocket barberry Forsythia show off blooms in late winter. Rose of Sharon is blooming now with several varieties. Bloomerang Lilacs bloom in the spring and again in summer (very popular now). Buddleia "Butterfly Bush" has six different colors available. It comes in Buzz which is dwarf and 8-10' tall varieties, and blooms most of the summer with fragrant flowers. Coleonema "Sunset Gold," I haven't had this one before, but it's another good contrasting plant, mostly shade. Cornus "Red Osier" is a red bark dogwood, which looks good in snow and prefers part shade. Polygonatum odoratum is another mostly shade plant with variegated foliage. Viburnum burkwoodii, I mentioned this one last year and those of you who tried it were pleasantly surprised. It has spring bloom, fragrant flowers and is deciduous. Last but not least, Lavender, everyone loves lavender. I like the original English Lavender angustifolia, but three newer ones are SuperBlue, Sensational and Phenomenal, which are all great!

Now how about some trees? Canada Red Chokecherry, October Glory Maple (40 feet x 35 feet wide), Vine Maple (part sun, great fall color), Full Moon Maple (new to almost everyone; they are pricey, but those of you who have them, love them), Burr Oak, Green Giant Thuja (a good windbreaker or privacy plant, they grow fast and are bug resistant) and Jeffrey Pine (a high elevation tree that smells like vanilla, and a California Native).

Other notable California Natives include: Toyon (hardy), Dr. Hurd manzanita (taller form of manzanita, known for red branches), Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus montanus (a nice upright plant), California Redbud (grows multi-trunked and lower than Eastern Redbud), Eastern Redbuds (not native), Carolina Sweatheart, Golden Falls, The Rising Sun and Red Yucca (another popular native blooming over by Walmart, and very drought tolerant).

Fruit trees are hard to get again. I buy most of my fruit trees from Oregon and a new law just passed this year won't allow them to come into Kern County to protect the fruit growers, I guess, but they have to inspect them before they leave, so I don't get it. I just made an order and probably half of it was fruit that they won't ship now. These things affect small business more than you know!

I still have hardy fig trees including Brown Turkey Fig, Stella, Desert and Olympian (all produce), as well as Hood Pears and Goji Berries. Come in and explore our large variety of garden art, as well as gift items, tropical fish, gold fish and much more. Get that yard in shape, visit us at Mountain Gardens Nursery & Pet at 503 S. Curry St., Tehachapi, and try something new this year!