Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

November/December 2019 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.

I want to plant garlic for braiding. What varieties are best?

Garlic comes in two types: soft neck and hard neck. The soft neck varieties have pliable stalks, allowing them to be bent and braided easily. Soft neck garlic develops many cloves in each head of garlic. Hard neck garlic makes a flowering stem that produces many tiny bulbs, as well as an underground bulb with a single row of garlic cloves. Both are flavorful, although many gardeners say hard neck garlic is more strongly flavored. For braiding, go with soft neck.

I saw a beautiful plant in Vermont climbing up a chimney and was told it was a climbing hydrangea. Is that true? Are hydrangeas cold-hardy?

There is indeed a climbing hydrangea. It grows best where the vine can attach itself to a hard surface (it makes suckers to stick to a surface). It is spectacular in bloom. If they can survive Vermont winters, they can certainly survive anything California has to offer. Most people don't know hydrangeas can be quite cold-hardy, with some varieties even able to tolerate zone 3 of the USDA Zone Hardiness Map, the coldest zone in the country.


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