For those looking to add some spring color to their homes, an area horticulturist said there are plenty of early season plant options.
The shelves of most area nurseries aren't quite full thanks to the late chill heading into spring, said Jenny Addie, a horticulturist at Green Thumb West Nursery and Garden Center in Martinez.
"This is really what we call a transitional time," Addie said.
Within a couple of weeks nurseries should be fully stocked with spring flowers and vegetables. "Good Friday is the first proper planting day, when usually all the danger of frost is gone."
Addie recommends container gardening for some early color.
"Containers are a huge thing at the moment," she said. Clustering multiple containers can add interest from the plants and the containers themselves.
"You can coordinate the colors, you can get different textures into the containers."
Containers can easily be covered or moved indoors or to a more protected area in case of a late frost.
Addie also said oranges and other warm colors are replacing cool colors as the flower colors of the season.
"That seems to be the current trend, the oranges and the burnt colors and yellows," shee said.
Some new grasses, including lomandra, are good choices for beds or containers. The grass is finer than the popular lariope, Monkey Grass.
"It is a wonderful grass for containers and has got a real pretty growth habit to it," Addie said.
Since the ground remains cooler than the average temperature this time of year, She said some winter plants, including geraniums, also can be used until the area gets consistent warmer temperatures.
Lantana, Addie said, can be very colorful and proved itself hardy during the 2008 drought. Creeping Jenny is a good ground cover that looks great flowing over the sides of containers.
She said those who would rather wait until all danger of frost has passed can spend the next couple of weeks preparing for planting. Soil in flower beds and vegetable gardens and lawns excluding centipede should be amended with lime.
"Most flowers need lime," Addie said. The chemical counteracts the area's extremely acidic soil.
Mulch also is important to protect plants roots from heat and cold and to conserve water.
Now also is the time to apply pre-emergents to control weeds in the spring and summer. Granular forms should be applied after planting.
"It stops weeds from germinating in beds," Addie said. The pre-emergent forms a barrier that should not be disturbed.
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