Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Winter Garden Tips!

Winter Garden Tips
Winter has arrived! Thankfully, for most southern California gardeners this doesn’t put a damper in our gardening plans, but, in fact, provides the opportunity to take advantage of planting winter loving plants, and getting your garden in tip top shape for spring!
There are all sorts of things that can be planted this time of year: cool season vegetables like beets, carrots, Swiss chard, kale and lettuces can go into the ground now, and can even be started by seed!
This is also the season to start planting your cottage garden classics, ensuring bountiful blooms for spring. Sweet peas should go into the ground during these cooler months – we will have a big selection from Annie’s Annuals in stock this season – and this is also a good time to plant delphiniums, too. We also like to start planting poppies now. The eschscholzia species grows very well here; you know that poppy as the ‘official California state flower’ that comes in a vibrant orange, but we also have it available in some really cool other colors like rose, alba, yellow and even a new variety called ‘Champagne’. Interesting fact: the species was named around 1810 by a German botanist who was exploring California and the Pacific coast. 
For all of these winter plants, be sure you are planting them in soil that drains well, as you don’t want them to get water logged by winter rain, which can cause them to rot. You can ensure this happens and promote aeration in your soil a few different ways. One way is add amendments designed to improve clay soil. Be sure to avoid mulch right now, as mulch can bog the soil down. Look for soil amendments that are specific to promoting better drainage – you can even add a few bags of cactus potting mix to your garden to achieve this.  Another way is to literally poke holes in your flower beds! There are tools available to achieve this, spike aerators can be found in hardware stores (shout out to Orange County Farm Supply, one of our favorite spots for all things tools!) for as low as about $25. Another method to improving drainage is to turn over the soil. If you don’t have a lot of material planted already in your garden, literally take a shovel, dig down, and flip the soil. You can do this on a smaller scale with a hand trowel, turning the soil over in the area you are going to be doing planting. In fact, it’s a good habit to get into any time you plant, as it promotes healthier soil and prevents compaction.
You don’t want to fertilize too heavily in the winter, as this is not the season that you want to promote a lot of growth. This is a good season to add amendments though, especially those that are low in nitrogen. We like worm castings and bone meal for this purpose.
Remember too, this is the time for cool season bulbs! Though a bit of work, planting bulbs is a time honored, fun tradition for many gardeners – we all have our favorites. You can also plant seeds for plants like nasturtiums and Larkspur during the winter, too.
            There is no rest for the active gardener! Get out there and make the most of these winter months!
PS: Mark your calendars now: our Spring Garden Party for 2020 will be on Saturday March 21st!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Summer garden tips

Summer is here…does your garden have its ‘beach body’ yet? 
by Brande Jackson
The summer solstice has come, the days are noticeably longer, and stores have long been selling July 4th decorations…that can only mean one thing: summer is here! What does that mean for you and your garden? We’ve got a few tips on how to get you garden into 'summer shape'.
1. Take advantage of that June gloom! Those June mornings are PERFECT for getting your garden game on. Use that weather to prune, plant and get the heavy work done. Yes, you’ll feel better not laboring under a blazing sun, but what really matters is that you won’t be stressing out your plants, either. Get prepared early in the season, before the weather warms up.
2. Toughen up that garden! Prune before the hottest days of summer hit, and try to plant as early in the season as you can, too (though you can certainly plant year round). Pull the weeds, throw down a layer of mulch (we like shredded bark the best), and start to do what is known as “deep watering”; basically, soak your garden on a more infrequent basis.  This will help it acclimate to hotter and dyer conditions. It doesn’t mean you won’t have to water in the heat of summer - you will - but deep watering encourages deeper root growth and ensures that water penetrates the top layer of soil, which is what you want.
3. Release the bugs! We like to release ladybugs into the garden around this time of year, as they help with aphids and other pests that begin to proliferate in summer months. While you are at it, be sure to keep an eye out for mosquitos – they were bad last year!  There are organic options for treating them, some geraniums you can plant that act as natural repellants, and be sure to treat any water features you have in your garden as a precaution, too.
4. Throw some shade! Provide some temporary shade to the hottest parts of your garden during the summer. Even plants that are meant for full sun can get damaged when it’s really crazy hot. Pick up some market umbrellas and stagger them around your yard, or find some cool looking tapestries and tie them up as temporary shade cloth. You don’t need to construct anything permanent nor does it need to be expensive, but temporarily shading parts of your garden during the hottest days of the year can go a long way towards keeping your plants healthy and happy. To figure out where your garden could use a ‘shade break’, look for plants that are wilting or looking kinda crispy when it’s hot, even after a good watering  - those are the ones that probably need it.
5. Get planting! There are all sorts of plants that thrive in the summer months. Salvias, sunflowers, succulents….and those are just the ‘S’ plants! Veggies to plant this time of year include squash, corn, eggplant, tomatoes, swiss chard, pumpkin, most melons, and cucumbers.  Get growing!
Late spring and summer is a fine time for getting outside and playing in your garden. Just take a few steps to get prepared, and you can enjoy your yard all season long!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

New plants!

New arrivals are in our garden, and just waiting to go home with you! We just got a new stock of Annie's Annuals & Perennials on our shelves, as well as a HUGE selection of air plants. 

Check out some of our summer goodies:


Have you tried out air plants yet? Easy to grow, fun, and super weird, they meet all of our requirements for an awesome plant. We have a big selection that just arrived last week - over 100 plants! Stop in and check them out!

Psoralea pinnata “Kool-Aid Bush”

This South African shrub or small tree is a a great choice to bring some height and interest to your garden. It reaches to about 12 feet in height, with dense soft needle like foliage - super cool.  It is said to bloom in it's first year, featuring bright lavender blue, sweet pea like flowers. And the name? The comes from the sweet scent of the blooms. Really fun, cool plant!

Asarina scandens ‘Sky Blue'

Asarina is a type of vine that is easy to grow, hardy, and comes in a variety of colors. The "Sky Blue" variety is one of our very favorites, though, and not one that we get in all that often! Fast growing, it reaches 8-10 feet in it's spread. It's great on a trellis, on a wall that needs coverage, or even a pot!

Crassula capitella “Red Pagoda”

This plant just looks so...geometric. Architectural. We LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Hardy, full sun, low water, great as a border plant or in a pot, and it blooms super cute white flowers in the summer time! 

We, of course, have much more than this in stock right now. Come on in and check us out - we are open every day from 10am - 5pm.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

4th of July celebration and thank you!


Johnnye Merle’s and Country Roads Antiques will be open this July 4th from 10am – 3pm. 

We are spending the 4th holding a special celebration in appreciation of all of our awesome customers over the years! Country Roads is in our 23rd year of business, and Johnnye Merle’s just celebrated our 10th anniversary. All things said and done, the best part of what we do is getting to build relationships and friendships.
To celebrate, we decided to throw a 4th of July BBQ! We’ll have free hot (and veggie!) dogs, s’mores, & lemonade, store wide sales on all sorts of vintage goodies, free mini-flags to show your July 4th spirit, sunflower seed plantings for the kids, and special plant discounts! 

We are only going to be open from 10am - 3pm, so be sure to stop in during those hours, say hello, and take part in the celebration!

Thanks for all of the amazing support of the years! We hope to see you this weekend!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

New plants!

You are following us on Facebook, right? We post our regular updates there, though we are still keeping this blog up and going, too!

New plants are coming in every Friday this time of year! Yesterday brought some fun goodie's from Annie's Annuals - check out a few photos below!