Ann Wright: Gardening and pink in November |

Ann Wright: Gardening and pink in November

Ann Wright

Although the days are short, the nights have been mild thus far with beautiful fall days dispersed among some rainy days.

While working at the Master Gardener's demonstration garden one recent morning, a flash of pink was spotted growing near one of the fences — pink in November?

Turns out it is a pink camellia — the dark green shiny leaves are blooming with delicate pink blossoms amidst dozens of swelling flower buds. A gem among the autumn colors of gold!

This is the Camellia sasanqua. It grows well at our garden in Grass Valley tucked out of summer's hottest sun, protected from winter wind. With a gentle fragrance, these vigorous, hearty camellias bloom in late fall and into winter.

So, yes — pink in November. Come visit the garden to see this and other lovely fall displays. The demonstration garden is located at 1036 W. Main St. on the Nevada Irrigation District Business grounds.

Last minute gardening before winter

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There are still a number of garden tasks that may be accomplished before the coldest temperatures set in. It is a nice time to be out in the garden — here are a few activities that may round out your fall days:

Consider shopping for trees – size-up your landscape and envision fall colors in your yard next year and years to come. With rain softening the otherwise cement-like ground, now is a great time to dig holes, preparing for planting new trees, vines or shrubs.

Chinese pistaches (Pistacia spp.), crape myrtles (Lagerstromeria spp.), or native redbud (Cercis spp.) are colorful this time of year. Shrubs you may consider include azaleas, oakleaf hydrangeas, or smoke trees (Cotinus spp.)

Plant flowers such as primrose, calendula, pansies, or snapdragons.

Plant perennials and spring-flowering bulbs. It's not too late to plant bare-root artichokes, garlic onion bulbs and peas, parsley and spinach. California natives and grass plugs should be planted by the end of the month.

Now is a good time to fertilize cool-season grasses, flowers and vegetables with a balanced fertilizer.

A balanced fertilizer contains equal percentages of N, P and K (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), for example 12-12-12. This means that there is 12 percent of each of the elements in the fertilizer mix.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between fertilizers and amendments. Fertilizers directly affect the growth of the plant as the availability of nutrients is changed with the addition of fertilizer.

On the other hand, amendments indirectly affect plant growth by improving the condition of the soil in which the plant is grown.

For example, ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer whereas gypsum is an amendment. (Gypsum is calcium sulfate, a naturally occurring soft mineral that is helpful in breaking up heavy clay soil. Gypsum is also utilized to remove excess sodium from the soil while adding calcium.)

Prune dead and broken or diseased branches from shrubs and trees.

Dormant oil spray can be sprayed on peach, nectarine, cherry, and persimmon trees from late in the dormant season until just before bud-break next season.

Coming soon

Enjoy the fruits of the season and as we prepare for Thanksgiving next week, we are grateful for your interest and support during the past season of Nevada County Master Gardener workshops and events.

Look for our calendar of workshops for 2018 coming soon. In the meantime if you have garden related questions, call the hotline at 530-273-0919, check out our Facebook page, or go to the website at

Join us on the radio every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon on "Master Gardener's and Friends" on KNCO radio at AM 830 on the radio dial. Have a very happy, blessed Thanksgiving!

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.

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