As a Pasadena Girl, the Pasadena Rose Parade has always had a special place in my end-of-the-year festivities, joyfully leading us into the new year. As a little girl, the scale of the floats amazed me. As a mid-teen, I was fascinated with the Clydesdales and all of the equine groups. In high school, a group of us seniors partied as we pasted billions of flower heads and seed bits onto floats in the freezing cold, finally finishing at 4am and blearily traipsed to a nearby home to crash on the floor for a 2-hour nap before returning to the parade route to cheer “our” float as it glided by in all its glory. Years of slumber-partyishly “sleeping” on the sidewalks later evolved into 7:30am alarm clocks in our own beds and watching the show on TV with a cup of tea – then visiting the floats the next day parked in East Pasadena to marvel at the tremendous variety of plant matter utilized to cover every surface. Then, as a gardener, I’ve never thought of oranges and artichokes and seeds the same since they were used to portray dinosaur skin on one year’s float.
This year’s floats had their own botanical delights – snails starred, bees buzzed, and monarch butterflies flitted down Colorado Boulevard.
One first-of-the-year activity that I love is checking out and fantasizing about the seed catalogs – in years past, they were the color picture books retrieved from the mailbox; now they’re online in all their glory. Of course, there are items that I don’t even think about, my usual choices. But I always make a point of choosing several items I’ve never grown before, just for the adventure of it all. Sometimes these newbies do end up on my Must Grow list. See Yvonne's Favorite Seed Catalogs - scoll down to below "Yvonne's Web Appearances."
Another first-of-the-year activity that I love doing is reviewing what plants I’d sowed or transplanted when and how they did, what plants I’d lost and surmised why and whether to repeat the effort, and generally some activities I’d like to pursue for the upcoming seasons. This time around, I have two areas I’d like to expand upon:
Plant More Flower Bulbs
For the last several years, I’ve been exploring the world of bulbs, mostly because I can depend on them to come up repeatedly each year despite increased heat and lessened water, but also because I don’t have to do anything more with them – they multiply in place and then several years down the road I dig up the clumps and spread them throughout my garden and give them to gardening friends. I’ve even had success (at least for a couple of years) with bulbs that are categorized as being not quite suitable for my Zone 9b (Sunset 19) garden.
Plant More Salvias
Years ago, I’d planted about a dozen different Salvias. Some died immediately (understandingly, the ones that preferred moist soil and shade, which aren't plentiful in my garden), and others kind of slowly diminished in strength, but the majority thrived. Ever since, I’ve made a point of planting more varieties and been thoroughly impressed with their growth filling in areas of the garden with their attractive foliage and colors. And they're great resources for pollinators!
For more monthly tips, see January
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