Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

Nov./Dec. 2015 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

All my neighbors have beautiful snapdragons every spring, but by the time I plant them, I don't get nice blooms. Why?

In California, you need to get plants in the ground in November and December. They'll grow through our mostly mild winters and reward you with many stalks of blooms in the spring and early summer. Leave the flowers as they die back and they'll produce seed for a surprise batch of plants the following year.

When should I cut back my ornamental grasses? They look so beautiful in the fall and winter.

Timing is everything, and the plants will let you know when it's time for a haircut. The trick is to enjoy their beautiful golden hues all fall and winter, but cut them back before they start to fall apart—and definitely before new green shoots start to appear. I've let them go too long in the past and it's a messy, difficult job to get them cut and the garden cleaned up. Cut them back no later than the first week of January.


About Pat Rubin, California Bountiful's gardening expert

For Pat Rubin, gardening is more than just dirt and plants. "It's about history, romance, adventure and people," she says. "And it should be fun."

California Bountiful's gardening columnist has lived and chronicled this fun, hands-in-the-dirt approach for years—and for additional publications including Fine Gardening, Pacific Horticulture, Christian Science Monitor, Family Circle and The Sacramento Bee. Pat has also volunteered as a Master Gardener, speaks to garden clubs and appears regularly on gardening radio shows.

Need gardening advice? Ask the expert!

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