Spring love

There is never any question about me planting bulbs in the fall. It is such a hopeful part of gardening. Today it was 70* which we normally do not experience until mid April. Tomorrow the 50’s return.



I decided to start some tomato seeds on February 15th, a usual time for my area. My set up is not fancy, in my garage with a heat mat and fluorescent lights. I decided to try one seed per cell this year with 2/3 potting mix and 1/3 seed starting mix on top of that in every cell. This year I have some old faithful favorites and several new varieties courtesy of Victory Seeds and the author Craig LeHoullier. I won the book in a contest and was given seeds and a gift certificate as a bonus.

Here is my 2/15 seed list with the number started:

  1. Sunsugar-6
  2. Sun Gold-6
  3. Sweet Million-9
  4. Chocolate Cherry-6
  5. Costoluso Genovese-4
  6. Dwarf Arctic Rose-4
  7. Dwarf Fred’s Tie Dye-4
  8. Dwarf Tamunda Red-4
  9. Morgage Lifter -2
  10. Brandywine Sudduth strain-2
  11. Dwarf Jade Beauty-2

You might be wondering, how much space do I dedicate to growing tomatoes? I grow Ten to twelve in a raised bed. I grow tomato seedlings for myself and give the remainder to the Central Valley Garden Club for their May 5th sale.

In the week since I started the seeds we have had below freezing overnight temps for the past three nights and a 20 hour power outage! Just when I thought I would have to start over, I see germination! This season my blog will follow these seedlings along their way.

The plants just keep getting better, and there was the wildlife!

Background information from Wikipedia:
Telopea truncata, commonly known as the Tasmanian waratah, is a plant in the family Proteaceae. It is endemic to Tasmania where it is found on moist acidic soils, similar to Western Washington west of the Cascades.  

The flower heads, known as inflorescences, are terminal—that is, they arise on the ends of small branches—and are surrounded by small inconspicuous hairy bracts.

Lots of space needed for this beauty! 

Another noteworthy specimen plant in Dan Hinkley’s garden is rhodocoma capensis plant from South Africa. This plant grows in the USDA zones 8-10. Dan said when we get an occasional snowfall the plant will go flat due to the weight of the snow, but will bounce back after snowmelt. We saw several varieties of this plant thriving in his garden. 

More unique plants 

One of several focal points in the Hinkley garden is a Dove tree. Dan explained that it was planted by previous gardener before he owned the property. The plant is originally from China and the the “doves” are actually white bracts.

To learn more about this rare plant collector follow these links:

Dan’s web presence
Monrovia Dan Hinkley collection

Dan Hinkley’s unique garden

My garden club has a reputation for organizing many interesting field trips every year. Being relatively new to the area (six years already) I have enjoyed this type of orientation to the local gardening world. I really didn’t know about Dan before we went on the trip, but judging from previous trips with this group, I just knew it would be fun! It did not disappoint. 

A garden needs to have acreage to be able to grow several types of bamboo. That is just one of the many unique features of Dan Hinkley’s hidden garden on the waterfront. Dan told us about bamboo the pandas eat and how to cook bamboo shoots! He broke off one and handed it to us for inspection.  As we wandered about, I noticed that none of the plants were labeled but every question about variety or source location brought an in depth answer. Many of the plants on the property were started as seeds collected in places like Japan, China or Tasmania.