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SHARING SECRETS: Winter Blues… Do You Have Any?

Edited by Cathy Tylka, for Let's Talk Plants! March 2022.

This month's question:

Winter Blues … Do you have any? Are they blue flowers or plants, do you enjoy doing work in the garden to beat the blues, what helps you beat the blues and weeding?


Ida Rigby of 92064 mentions . . .

. . . Blue flowers in my garden today: rosemary, the hedge-like kind. These flowers are keeping the bees from the winter blues. Then, the Ipheion uniflorum 'Wisley Blue' that I planted years ago that suddenly took off a few years ago and now has become a real pest, but it's blue. To dispel the winter blues, I include photos taken in 2011 during a Pac Hort trip to Chile for the 40-year bloom on the Atacama Desert.

What am I doing to deal with the winter blues? This year it's less the winter blues and more the summer in winter, no rain in sight blues. What do I do, just keep methodically weeding and listening to the birds, watching the nodes on roses swelling early and with so many spring demands in winter, no time for the blues!


Dale Sutton said…

. . . Plants are slow to sprout. Snap peas are trudging along in one raised bed but lagging in others. Same soil same water same human. Carrots are resisting the urge to poke their greens above soil.

Could it be Santa Ana malaise?

Don't inquire about my subpar lettuce vigor.

So, the radishes, like good soldiers, are coming to full attention.

I have great news regarding the massive avocado bloom being attended by local bees.

And my four varieties of citrus fruit appear to be fruitful.


Marilyn Guidroz of 92028 shared…

. . . Winter Blues! Yes indeed! Cold, wet, dark, and bare. Not my favorite however, when we see the rest of the country, we must be grateful for our weather! Here is what I do to keep me inspired and cheerful - I visit the nurseries! So much to see and enjoy! So many to visit! Enjoy!


Tynan Wyatt shared…

. . . California natives and other Mediterranean climate plants are my winter go-tos. They start to kick into high gear from the fall rains to the later winter chills. For blue color it's hard to beat Ceanothus!


Cathy Tylka of 92026, confides…

. . . I love my purple lantana and it’s in the blue family, along with my rosemary. The smell of the rosemary is so soothing to me. The Italian oregano blooms all year long, but is most faithful just now. And, lest I forget, the Birds of Paradise with their peacock blue tongues.


Thelma Lee Gross shared…

. . . I used to have a winter down time but now, as a relative newcomer to San Diego, I can garden all “winter"! My roses refuse to go dormant despite leaf stripping and strong pruning. 😬 I have been planting corms and bulbs and tubers. I can’t wait to see anemones, ranunculus, allium, and daffodils. I mostly love collecting flowering plants so winter brings reduced flowers, but never a reduced spirit for gardening!


Vince Lazaneo of 92126, speaks …

. . . My reply to the question "I like tall flowers. Lately I have bought four-inch pots of Pacific Giant Delphinium cultivars at Walter Andersen Nursery early in the year. I plant them in one-gallon pots and keep them in a shade house in the hot summer months and plant them in the garden in the fall. This year they bloomed early and were not as tall as the year before.


Jane Coogan Beer of 90064, replied…

. . . This morning I cut some Tuscan Blue Rosemary for my non gardening friends. The two mature plants that I have are two to three feet tall and wide which tells me to start some new ones next fall. The mature ones will get gangly or die soon after. Then I ate some Borage flowers. This self-sow every year. I only eat the ones distanced from the road and sidewalk to avoid car and dog contributions. My Ceanothus is also blooming. This is another which needs no care. It lasts six plus years for me. I have to whack it back; it may last longer if left alone.

Paperwhites ended last month. Multi-headed highly fragrant narcissus are in full bloom. The first daffodils will bloom soon. All of these are naturalized. Blue Babiana are the only blue bulbs I grow and they are a few months out. Most of the other blue bulbs can be planted and bloom for one year only in my zone (10b plus.) Too much work for little impact.

By March I will have some sweetpeas. Cupani has blue, fragrance and history. They reseed but not profusely.


Pat Veniola from 92028, replied…

. . . For me, a big job of pruning is the best medicine for beating the blues. I ALWAYS feel better during and when finished. As for the weeds, a good amount of mulch all over the yard makes it easy to solve that problem.

The List:

1. Fig ‘Brown Turkey’ major pruning last month (new battery-powered tool was amazing to use).

2. I like to keep ‘Oliver Twist’ open so the beautiful black stems and shiny leaves are apparent.

3. I got the lower half of my ‘Moonlight’ done so far. I like to see the “bones” of the plant and keep it open so we can see traffic coming.

4. We have five big Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Oliver Twist’ that I drastically pruned two years ago, and they need it again. I don’t want big bushes ... I want them to be an open screen. This year I’m hiring it done!

5. This week I’ll make cuttings from the Poinsettias and harden them off for a couple of weeks before giving them away. Cuttings anyone?


Gerald Stewart laments…

. . . The only winter blues I have is lack of rain. What takes care of those blues is tripping the irrigation timer, which was turned off long ago. Hard to be blue when days are in the 70°s and 80°s.


Debra Clarkin of 91906, stated…

. . . What helps me to beat the blues? My wonderful husband!

Working in the garden with my limited ability right now is a very slow task. I’m not supposed to use my arms right now because overuse might damage the progress of my healing.

So, I try to pick one or two small chores in the garden each day. Planting seeds, or small plants carrot tops or lettuce stems, watering. I look forward to being able to weed, plant prune, my reward now is watching things slowly emerge in the garden. Just a little at a time.

My children helped me repot the bare root roses which I bought before my surgery. I just couldn’t get to, to plant, and plant my seed potatoes.

Watching the poppies rising out of the ground. The peas growing taller.

Waiting for more plants to emerge, rise grow, and share their beauty with us.

The time is coming shortly for the tulips, daffodils, hyacinths peeking out of the ground now to show us all their colors and glory. Heart lifting beauty, wonderful uplifting scent this is how I beat back the blues.

You can see the peas are up about four inches already.


Alyson Beathed of 92028, offers…

. . . Blooms this time of year. Annual that self-sows for next year.


Karen England of 92084 adds this. . .

. . . Lavender's Blue, the nursery rhyme, goes like this according to -

Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly (or diddle, diddle)

Lavender's green

When l am King, dilly, dilly

You shall be Queen!

Call up your men, dilly, dilly

Set them to work

Some to the plough, dilly, dilly

And some to the pond.

Some to make hay, dilly, dilly

Some to cut corn

While you and I, dilly, dilly

Keep ourselves warm.


Cathy Tylka, RN, retired Emergency Nurse, found her love of plants and the SDHS merge many years ago. Cathy acted as Treasurer for the organization and volunteer for many activities. Now, more than happy to assist in gathering questions to ask you in the Sharing Secrets area of the Newsletter.


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