Some plants that thrive a few miles inland can be trouble for gardeners along the coast, according to Bobby Carrick of Shore Gardens nursery in San Clemente. Such favorites as roses, crepe myrtle, euonymus and deciduous fruit trees (peaches, plums and apricots) are subject to mildew on the coast, where it is warmer in winter but cooler in summer than inland areas.
Bulbs are OK along the coast and now is the time to plant them there and inland. But, Carrick said, bulbs on the coast will come up earlier than their inland counterparts. This is also a good time for coastal gardeners to be planting color annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
Food for thought--Feeding plants as the cold weather approaches is generally all right along the coast but it is definitely not a good idea in areas subject to frost. New growth, especially on tender plants such as bougainvillea, can be easily destroyed by cold weather.
A few changes in the maintenance routine can help head off any damage. Feeding tender plants is a bad idea with cooler weather approaching. Watering should be thorough and deep, but the time between waterings should be increased. If, for instance, you watered once a week during summer, make it two weeks now. If the plants aren't drooping at the end of two weeks, stretch the time even more; by winter, waterings may be a month or more apart.
Planting time--Many Orange County residents from out of state many not realize that fall is often the best time for planting--it's not time to put away those gardening tools yet. In fact, even longtime locals may be in for a few fall gardening surprises, according to the California Assn. of Nurserymen:
Annual bedding plants can be planted now to provide color in winter and into the spring--good choices include pansies, violas, stock and fairy primroses. Colorful perennials ripe for fall planting include delphiniums, columbine and Shasta daisies.
There are a number of cool-season vegetables ideal for planting now, including peas, carrots, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, chard and lettuce, along with broccoli and other cabbage varieties. In winter there are fewer weeds to pull, the rains help water the crop and the soil is more workable.
This is also a good time to plant many types of lawn from seed. One advantage is that the weeds that always appear in new lawns are winter lawn weeds that will disappear when summer comes around.
Color cascade--A popular garden touch is growing plants on top of a retaining wall or in a raised bed to let their color cascade over the side. Some plants just won't achieve this effect, though. Plants that will include: ivy geranium, convovulus, lotus berthelota, lantana and lobelia for sunny spots; trailing campanula for sun or shade; hanging fuchsias for shady corners.