Flower timing in Southern California is weird. Right now it's cold and "winter" for Southern California and I'm started seedlings like crazy while the rest of the country is hunkered down browsing seed catalogs. We have two distinct seasons here that don't exist in other places. Many of their early spring plants are our winter bloomers (makes me think of flannel underpants). IF you read many websites, books, or social media you see mention of starting things 6 weeks or 4 weeks or 2 weeks before the last frost date. What is this magical frost gate through which so many exciting things happen? Just kidding! I grew up in Minnesota so I'm just kidding about not knowing about frost but So Cal natives might not have such a relationship with freezing temperatures. We don't have a real frost in Pasadena. I might get a little frost lick in one specific part of my yard that will kill nasturtium sprouts on a really cold night but for the most part nothing freezes. That opens up a whole world of growing possibilities! It also means we can play a long game with cool loving flowers like ranunculus. Sadly, not going to have much luck with peonies as they do best with real chill. I found it quite challenging to translate all this talk of frost to my growing climate here in Pasadena. Because I like that sort of challenge I went deep into research and scouring social media groups of flower farmers and came up with a strategy that so far has worked well. I don't actually follow my own strategy because life gets in the way but every year I' a little less behind on my schedule. Progress! It is WEIRD to be starting cool loving plants in September when it's 100 degrees out. Sometimes it the weather makes it impossible. Often, the plants are fine if you shade them a bit and put them in the coolest spot you have. Before you know it it's cold again and then you are taking advantage of the short lived winter to give your cool flowers the best start. During December and January we dip below 10 hours of daily sunlight and that will also stall things a bit but don't despair! In February and March everything is going to POP and you will have more blooms than you know what to do with! Then we bump into the other "season" which is HEAT. By March and April while you are overwhelmed with cool flowers it's time to think about your heat lovers. In order to help everyone else with this quirky scheduling I made a planner with month by month "to-do" lists. If that's something you might find useful, it's available on my website.
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