Sasanqua camellias are now in bloom. When gardeners hear the word camellia in conjunction with sasanqua , they expect the large, full flowers of Camellia japonica . But the abundant sasanqua flowers are only about half the size, as are the leaves. The colors are similar to those of japonicas, but there tend to be more singles. Some grow so low they can be used as ground covers. Others are vine-like and need support, such as a trellis. They are often more tolerant of the sun. Fall-blooming sasanquas are seldom in competition with spring-blooming japonicas.
Speaking of camellias: This spring, watch for the yellow camellias hybridized by Nuccio Nurseries in Altadena.
Fertilize cymbidiums with a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus fertilizer, and make sure the plants are getting enough light. Do not rotate plants; doing so will cause the stems to twist. Stake new spikes as they grow so that they don't bend over. Bait for slugs and snails. If the temperature goes much below freezing, the plants will need to be protected.
Romaine lettuce, especially the variety 'Dark Green Cos,' is a good bet for fall and winter gardens. The dark-green upright plants are attractive in borders and in containers. Plants are available at some local nurseries.