Sunday, October 18, 2009

Preparing for winter in Northern California

Who says that California doesn’t have any seasonal changes ?
Sure we do. We have seasons.
We have our drought season. Our fire season. Our mudslide and rainy season.
While much of the country will be experiencing a snowy cold winter, we here in Northern California will be experiencing a rainy ( with luck ! ) and chilly winter.
I often have several nights of chilling frost in my garden. Occasionally it has reached down to 27 degrees F.
A couple of nights of frost is usually not too threatening, but if we have a long hard prolonged frost that persists for a week or so then there will be painful plant loss if protective measures are not taken.
Some years have been worse than others so to prepare for the chilly winter I move my tender subtropicals into an unheated greenhouse.

That is how I spent my Saturday, cleaning out the greenhouse and moving plants.

View through the garden towards the green house.
From Pina Colada

Welcome to the small 8 x 10 greenhouse which will house some of my bromeliads and succulents
From Pina Colada

Some of the larger bromeliads that are still in their black plastic nursery pots were sunk into the ground all summer. I find this a lot easier than taking them out of their pots and transplanting them. They actually pup quicker when in a pot too, at least the more tropical varieties do.
When winter comes I pull the potted plants out of the ground, wash off the dirt and pop them on a shelf for their winter retreat. Come summer time, they go back into the ground, pot and all.
From Pina Colada


Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Fascinating! I just brought home about 12 bromeliads...and plunked many into the ground, some into trees and others into carved out palm trunks. I am always amazed by the tenacity of this species!

...So, just pull them out and winter some of them dry? I can see it however....because I have seen out of this world pup's on a plant simply stapled to a soil, no nuthin'.

Carolyn Parker said...

How nice to have the protective green house. In Lafayette, CA, I live in a frost pocket that kills lemon trees, and up the street, a quarter mile away, lemons do fine.

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

That's how I've been handling my small but growing bromeliad collection for the past 2 years.
They go into the greenhouse for the winter and back out into the garden for the spring, summer and fall.
I joined the S.F. Bromeliad Society a couple of years ago and each month at our meetings I end up taking home a few choice plants along with some great information that was shared with me from some long time growers.

Carolyn, I am very appreciative of my small 8x10 greenhouse. I got it as a kit at the S.F. garden show ( for a pretty good price too ) and it is well loved.

Bonnie said...

Your glass house reminds me of the one my Grandpa used to have in his amazing garden here in the Hollywood Hills. He was a Prof of Botany and head of the dept. at USC long ago... Oh the stories and pics I could share!

I just discovered your wonderful blog and website via The Polished Pebble and Velvet and Linen blogs. Your posts are so informative and the pictures are really beautiful! Your landscaping is truly spectacular!!! I can't wait to read all of the previous posts and look forward to your the future ones too!

danger garden said...

wow...and I thought you had it so easy down there! So your greenhouse is unheated?

EAL said...

Love the greenhouse. I also like the idea of pots in the ground, which I plan to try next year, at least a couple.

phrago said...

Hey, Isn't it great to have a greenhouse. I use mine all year round. This year, I am trying to come up with a design that will turn my bigger greenhouse into more of a garden than just a growing area. Very challenging because I would loose some bench space with the change, but I might like it better... You garden is so inspirational... Phrago