The Digging Fork

A Davis Garden Newsletter
November - December 2007 November Planting
Cool season annuals Perennials: CA natives, most everything except frost tender plants Cool season bulbs Cool season vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, artichokes, bulbing onions, garlic, divide & replant clumps of multiplying onions Cool season annuals Cool season vegetables: arugula, beets, fava, carrots, kale and collards, green onions, cilantro, spinach, peas, radish, Swiss chard, turnips, miner’s lettuce
Spray nectarines and peaches at Thanksgiving for peach leaf curl. Control for snails, slugs, earwigs and cabbage worms as needed. Protect seedlings from birds.

Cool season annuals Bare-root ornamentals: trees, roses, shrubs and vines Bare-root fruits-vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, bulbing onions, rhubarb, strawberries, berries, grapes, fruit trees

Tree dahlias grow 10-12 feet in one season, blooming now!

see Plant notes

Some Interesting Shrubs
Cool season annuals Cool season vegetables: fava, spinach, Swiss chard, cilantro, green onions

directly into the garden
see Plant notes

Fertilize Pest & Disease Control

Spray nectarines and peaches between Christmas and New Year’s Day for peach leaf curl. When pruning look for borer damage and cut off infected limbs. Continue control of snails, slugs, birds, cabbage worms.


Cut back herbaceous perennials (don’t cut back frost tender perennials until late spring) Divide and replant herbaceous perennials. Garden clean-up continues. Compost leaves and plant debris. After first frost (or before), pull out summer annual flowers and vegetables. Remove unwanted seedlings or transplant. Cultivate with a digging fork and mulch. Weed control continues for cool season annuals and grasses.

Finish November tasks Start pruning deciduous trees Can start pruning roses toward the end of the month. Garden clean-up continues. (See November)


If rains haven’t started, water as needed. Once rains start, turn off automatic irrigation systems. Make sure new plantings have the water they need.

Water under large eaves if needed. Well watered plants are less susceptible to frost damage!

Toyon with red berries

Euonymus ‘Silver Queen’

Shrubs serve many purposes in a garden. They blend into the background of a garden allowing other plants to take center stage while other times they are used for utilitarian purposes such as privacy and wind blocks. In winter, the leafless structure of deciduous shrubs can be beautiful while evergreen shrubs are sometimes the only green in a garden. Here are some less planted shrubs and their contributions to the garden. North winds in Davis can be brutal. With a wall of tough shrubs, however, winds can be minimized. To be an effective wind block, tough leaves and a strong branching structure is required. The toyon, is a large California native shrub reaching up to 20 feet tall. The tough evergreen foliage makes this shrub perfect for either privacy or a wind block. Toyon can also be planted in areas of little, if any, summer irrigation. If given some summer water they will grow faster and look a little nicer. In the fall, clusters of red berries cover the plant providing an abundance of food for birds. There is also a yellow berried cultivar called ‘Davis Gold’. The hopseed bush, is a 10-15’ tall evergreen shrub. The cultivar ‘Purpurea’ has purple-bronze foliage and grows in sun or part shade and is moderately fast growing. While the leaves may not look as tough as a toyon’s, don’t let that fool you, this shrub can take all kinds of wind. An excellent wind block, privacy screen or specimen plant, Euonymus is worth growing for its handsome foliage and clean fresh look. Growing 6-10’ high and about as wide, the ‘Silver Queen’ cultivar has light green leaves with splashes of cream along the leaf edges. The ‘Silver King’ cultivar is similar in growth habit but has whiter leaf markings. Planted in sun or part sun is fine for this plant as it will retain its variegation in both exposures. However, this shrub is susceptible to powdery mildew so it is best to plant in the most sun as possible. Some shrubs have absolutely gorgeous flowers and fruit making them worth planting in the garden. The smoke tree, ‘Royal Purple’ cultivar has flowers that look like plumes of pink-burgundy smoke. These flower plumes rise above purple foliage making this shrub stand out in any garden. The smoke tree reaches 10-15’ high and prefers sun to part shade and is deciduous in the winter. The strawberry tree, can be grown as a multi-

trunk shrub. Shorter cultivars include ‘Elfin King’ to 5’ and ‘Compacta’ to 10’ high. The fabulous trait of this shrub is its fruit that resemble 1” yellow, red and orange gumballs that hang from the tree making it a true eye catcher. The strawberry tree when pruned up is exceptionally pretty, revealing cinnamon colored bark. Many shrubs can be pruned up allowing for planting space underneath. Two early spring blooming shrubs are winter pink currant and the golden currant. Both currants are California native deciduous shrubs best grown in partial shade of taller trees. The pink winter currant cultivar ‘Claremont’ is covered in light pink flower clusters for weeks in early spring. The golden currant is ablaze with yellow flowers about the same time. These plants are a little gangly but the flowers make it worthwhile. Both shrubs do not require a lot of watering once established. The angel’s trumpet, is a true garden specimen. While this plant can be difficult to grow due to frosting tendency, it can be done if persistent. An ideal planting locale would be up against a fence or a wall facing south or east with some larger trees around to provide filtered sun. If untouched by frost, this shrub can be trained into a single or multi-trunked 5-15’ tree. If top growth is killed by frost, the plant will most likely come back. Be aware of new growth emerging from the ground being eaten by snails and slugs. The blooms make this plant worth planting over and over again. The blooms are about a foot long or more and cover the plant at peak bloom time usually late summer or fall. Most varieties are scented and are either white, pink or peach shades. The Osmanthus has one of the most wonderful fragrances of any plant with a scent resembling apricots. For this reason it should be planted in most gardens. However, the plant itself, with its green leathery leaves, is handsome on its own. A nice benefit to this shrub is that it grows well in afternoon shade to all day bright shade. Reaching upwards of 15-20’ this evergreen shrub makes a nice background plant. The flowers are not showy but the fragrance can be smelled from a distance away. Ornamental cabbage tip.

Local classes and workshops
Worm Composting Workshop
Saturday, November 17 at 11 am. Held at the Student Co-ops off Regan Drive on the UCD campus. Free.
Leave workshop with a fully functional bin and worms!!
For information contact Project Compost or 754-8227

City of Davis Recycling Program
Backyard composting Tuesday, Nov. 6 2 pm Wednesday, Nov. 7 2 pm Worm composting Classes held at Community Gardens on Fifth St. Free compost bin by taking Davis Compost Correspondence Class
To sign up for above free classes (530) 757-5686

Master Gardener Workshops
Rose Pruning Workshop January 5 9 to 11 am Held at Woodland Community College

Woodland Library Rose Club
Rose Pruning seminar January 12 8 am to 12 noon

Davis Central Park Gardens
Rose Pruning Workshop Saturday, January 19
For more information

Herbarium Specimen Preparation Workshop
Saturday, January 19 9 am to 3 pm Held at UCD Cost is $40 to the general public
For more information or to register, contact Ellen Dean, Curator of the Center for Plant Diversity (530) 752-1091

Golden currant

Plant sales and events
UCD Arboretum
Lots of great tours coming up!!
For information

Plant Sales at The Gifted Gardener
Saturdays January 26 and February 23 9:30 am to 3 pm
18th and J Streets, Sacramento. Sales benefits local charities Information (916) 923-3745

Friends of the Davis Library Book Sale
December 6 to 9
Late February Late October

Often good finds on gardening books!
(530) 758-4754 or 757-5593

For information and times

Last fall a single rosette of ornamental cabbage was planted. In late February as the weather started to warm, the plant bolted (flowered). The stem showed new buds, so the top was cut off. All spring and summer new rosettes grew but they were green and not at all showy. With cooler weather this fall the purple coloring appeared. The moral of this ornamental cabbage story is to cut back when they bolt – don’t pull out. Plant some now!

Davis Garden Club
Saturday, December 8 Wreath Making Special event at a member’s house Meetings generally held at the Davis Public Library Usually meet the 4th Monday of the Month 7 to 9 pm
For information 222-3052


Plant notes!
Here is more information about some plants mentioned in this newsletter.

angel’s trumpet Brugmansia Frost sensitive specimen grown for
foot long, fragrant trumpet shaped flowers. Does best in partial sun on south side of fence or wall. May die to ground in winter. Bait for snails/slugs when new growth emerges. 5-15’. All parts toxic if eaten. Euonymus japonicus Evergreen variegated shrub . Does best in full sun and grows 6-10’. Susceptible to powdery mildew. ‘Silver Queen’ and ‘Silver King’ are nice cultivars. golden current Ribes aureum CA native shrub 5-10’. Does best in partial shade. Covered in bright yellow flowers early spring. Deciduous. hopseed bush Dodonaea viscosa Evergreen tall shrub used for a windbreak or privacy. ‘Purpurea’ cultivar has unusual bronze foliage. Evergreen shrubs 10-15’. Osmanthus Osmanthus x fortunei Evergreen large shrub grown for its wonderful apricot scent. Takes all day shade.

Strawberry tree fruit and flowers

pink winter current Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum ‘Claremont’ CA native deciduous shrub 5-12’. Pink flowers cover the
shrub early spring. Prefers partial shade.

Botanical Names of Plants
Plants have common names and botanical names. It would be nice to ignore seemingly confusing botanical plant names (also called scientific names) and just use the common names. But there can be many, many common names for the same plant and these sometimes differ depending on where you live. The same common name is often used for many different plants as well. To be certain exactly what plant you are buying or planting, the plant’s unique botanical name will be the most helpful. This name is recognized all over the world. Plants belong to families, have a family name and share similar cultural requirements, physical characteristics or problems with other plants in the family. Family names end in “aceae”. Examples of plant families include the Rose family, Rosaceae and the violet family, Violaceae. Rarely is the family name on a plant label. In theory, there is only one botanical name for each unique plant. But, because plants are often reclassified, the botanical plant name might change. When this happens, the former name is shown in parentheses, often with “syn.”. For example, the botanical name for hollyhock is Alcea rosea (syn. Althaea rosea). Botanical naming uses a binomial classification system with names mostly in Latin, but sometimes Greek. There are strict rules for writing these names!!
Raphanus sativus or Raphanus sativus is the scientific name for radish

smoke tree Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ Unusual plumes
of flowers. Grows 10-15’ in full sun to part shade. Deciduous. Arbutus unedo ‘Elfin King’ and ‘Compacta’ are shorter cultivars. Plant grown for unusual colorful fruit and interesting cinnamon colored bark. Takes full to part sun. Evergreen. toyon Heteromeles arbutifolia CA native evergreen shrub that takes wind, heat and drought conditions. Grows up to 20’ in sun to part sun. Colorful fall berries birds love. tree dahlia Dahlia imperialis Not really a shrub, but acts like one during the summer months. The plant dies to the ground each winter, then grows up from the tuberous roots to 10-12 ft. in one season. Sometimes frost kills the top of plant before it blooms in Oct. or Nov.

strawberry tree

Cool season annuals:
See September-October newsletter for ideas.

Cool season bulbs:
Still plenty of time to plant daffodils, Darwin hybrid tulips, Dutch iris, crocus, grape hyacinth and many more. Too late to plant ranunculus and anemone as they need to time grow roots before the cool spell.

Cool season vegetables and fruits:
Fava Vivia faba Most Fava have white and black flowers, the red
flowered cultivar is hard-to-find.

See September-October newsletter for information.

Bird Protection
Birds will eat and pull up seedlings. This wire cage protects the newly sprouted seeds until they are big enough to withstand bird damage. It is made with 18” wide chicken wire (1” holes), cut to whatever length is needed. The ends are folded closed and U shaped irrigation pins are used to hold it in place. Hibbert Lumber sells chicken wire by the foot and irrigation pins.
Beet seedlings protected from birds and rabbits

The first name is the genus and is a noun that is always capitalized. The second name is the specific epithet and is an adjective and not capitalized. The two names together are the plant species. The species name is either italicized or underlined and is unique to the plant. The specific epithet can help distinguish among the various characteristics of the plants in the genus. These adjectives describe something about the plant -- it can tell you where a plant is from, tell you the color of the flowers or foliage, form of the leaf or plant and many other peculiarities. The Sunset Western Garden Book (current edition, page 754) has a nice list of some of the common epithets used.


Brassica oleracea var. italica Brassica oleracea var. capitata Brassica oleracea var. botrytis

broccoli cabbage cauliflower

More gardening tips!
Nasturtium can be challenging to grow in Davis. If sown in the fall, there is a chance of frost damage, so best sown in full sun with some protection. The south side of a fence or house will usually give winter blooms. When sown in the spring, they need afternoon shade because they dislike the heat. Spraying peach and nectarine trees with copper based fungicide with at least 50% copper will help prevent peach leaf curl. Cover the entire tree with the spray. Bare-root plants usually become available in late December. If there is something you are especially looking for, ask nurseries to hold it for you. Nurseries put in their orders to the growers long ago and already know what they will be receiving. Cool season vegetables. The planting of cool season vegetable seeds and starts generally stops during the coldest part of the year. Planting begins again in late January and February. Soil compaction. Wet soil is very easy to compact. Avoid working and walking in wet beds. A fan rake is very useful for getting leaves out of flower beds. It is light and springy enough to rake over most well established plants. Two sources: Peaceful Valley Farm Supply Lee Valley Tools Ltd.

Above are the scientific names for three common vegetables. They are all the same species, but nature has modified the plant to create three varieties of vegetables that are unique to us but similar in many ways. The botanical varieties are subclassifications of the species and differ in some way from the species. The abbreviation “var.” stands for variety and is not capitalized, italicized or underlined and ends in a period. The variety name is italicized or underlined but not capitalized.
Brassica oleracea var. capitata ‘Copenhagen Market’ or Brassica oleracea var. capitata cv. Copenhagen Market

‘Copenhagen Market’ is the man-made cultivated variety or cultivar. Gardeners often call ‘Copenhagen Market’ a variety of cabbage, but it is really the cultivated variety or cultivar. The cultivar name is not in italics, all words are capitalized and either in single quote or proceeded by the abbreviation “cv.” which stands for cultivated variety. To add to the confusion, for many of the vegetables and common flowers, the scientific name is dropped and only the common name and cultivar name used. Often even the quotes are dropped so that Cabbage Copenhagan Market is what is most often found on the seed packets or plant labels. The botanical naming of hybrids can get a bit confusing. When two genus are crossed, the hybrid genus is written x Chitalpa tashkentensis (Catalpa bignonioides x Chilopsis linearis). Sometimes the parents are in parentheses. When two species are crossed, the resulting hybrid species name is written as in the example for the common strawberry Fragaria x ananassa (F. chiloensis x F. virginiana). Since the genus remains the same, it is shown as the initial and the reader assumes this refers to the previously stated genus. F. chiloensis is a California native species. Now we come to the most difficult part of scientific naming – pronunciation. Many gardeners are intimidated because they are afraid to say the name wrong. When learning any foreign language, the goal is to communicate. A wise gardener once said that as long as others understand what you mean, it really doesn’t matter if you pronounce the name (botanical or common) incorrectly. For many plants there is more than one common pronunciation. Below are some websites to help with pronunciation of botanical names, but they don’t always agree. This site has audio pronunciation as well.

Fan rake

Red flowered fava (hard-to-find)

Cover crops are good to plant in the fall if ground isn’t being used until spring. They help protect from erosion, smother weeds, improve the soil and can be nitrogen fixing. Fava beans used as a nitrogen fixing cover crop are also good to eat. Newsletter created by:
Marlene Simon -- UCD graduate in Horticulture Patricia Carpenter -- Garden Design and Education, with 30 years of Davis gardening experience. The bi-monthly newsletter is free if received by email. If mailed, the cost is $15 per year. To be added to the subscription list or to unsubscribe, contact us at:

Using the botanical name of a plant should help insure that you get the exact plant you want.