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What to do this week in your Southern California garden

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Courtesy of Gerald Burke

(Read caption) Melampodium is a great summer flower for Southern California. Dwarf plants are loaded with little golden-yellow blooms all summer long and well into late fall. It’s easy to start from seed, germinates quickly, and will get by with average water, in full sun, in poor soil.

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If you goofed off and didn’t get your roses pruned in January or February, you can still do it.

It‘s late, and roses will already be starting to leaf out, but there won’t probably be any buds yet. So prune roses immediately and hope for the best. Blooms will be a little late, but they’ll eventually arrive.

Same for deciduous trees — you can still prune selectively this month, and that includes fruit trees.

Plant seeds now

From now through late summer you can plant seeds of vegetables and flowers, so if you didn’t get it done before, consider it now.

Seed racks in nurseries and garden centers have selections of annual and perennial flowers and vegetables, and seed catalogs have many more from which to choose. And since the catalog busy season is drawing to an end, your order will be filled promptly, no delays usually, and you can get the seed started this month.

Gardening with kids

A reader of one of my columns told me the other day that her young son wants to be a gardener and plant seeds. She said she knew nothing about gardening, and tried to put him off.

I told her to get some easy seeds for him to plant — bush beans, carrots, zinnias, marigolds -- and get them planted. I told her how to do it, and I hope this wil be the making of a new gardener, maybe the two of them.

And it’s really that easy. Today’s seeds germinate well, are easy to plant, and will forgive lots of mistakes, including planting too deep, not watering enough, too much shade, too much sun, etc..

So if there’s an aspiring gardener in your family, help him or her, and you’ll both benefit. And I told her I’m always as close as the telephone or e-mail and I’ll answer questions 24/7. You can ask a question in the comments section below.

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Gerald Burke is a freelance horticultural writer. He spent 35 years in the seed business, 30 of them with Burpee, and is a member of the Garden Writers Association.


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