Spring forward into seasonal planting 

Janet Moyer knows how to make spring bloom.

Moyer, principal of Janet Moyer Landscaping, is the featured landscape designer on the San Francisco Botanical Gardens “Glorious Tour of Gardens in the Heart of San Francisco” on May 22. Four of her gardens, mostly in the Forest Hill neighborhood, are highlighted.

Moyer, who focuses on beauty and sustainability, enjoys sharing ways to rev up the bloom-power of home gardens.

“Spring is tulips and daffodils,” Moyer says. “We chose the bulbs we wanted back in the fall and then refrigerated them for eight weeks. It’s delayed gratification. Now they’re popping up.”

Pastel plant colors work well for spring, she says. “The light is so soft other colors tend to be bold.”

Some stellar spring plants are the fragrant “fragrantissima” rhododendron.

“I have a vase full right now and it’s a wonderful vanilla,” Moyer says.

She also recommends Clematis armondie, a vine with white flowers. And she loves lilacs.

“They say they don’t bloom here, but we plant them in the shade,” she says. “We can get a good three or four weeks out of them.”

Hellebore, another favorite, is only a foot tall with tiny pink or white flowers that keeps blossoms for a month.

“It’s a very well-behaved plant,” Moyer says. “There’s really no maintenance to it. It’s definitely a front-row plant because it’s so neat and orderly. The flowers fade to four little seeds.”

Camellias bloom profusely now as well. And Moyer is quick to point out the benefits of blossoming fruit trees, including apple, cherry and plum, which are just starting to flower.

Purple-flowered Lantanam, “for the butterflies,” blooms almost all year.

All this flower-power is framed by new, light green plant growth in the tour’s garden “rooms.”

“They’ve had their leaves washed off for three good months — it’s gotten city soot off the plants.”

Moyer says spring is also a time to focus on planting edibles in gardens. Some, like strawberries, will bloom with tiny flowers.

SF Botanical Garden Tour

Forest Hill area, San Francisco
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 22
Tickets: $60
Contact: (415) 661-1316, ext. 400; www.sfbotanicalgarden.org

Tips for spring gardens at home:

  1. Give plants a little dose of fertilizer, especially fruit-bearing and ornamentals like roses.
  2. Use a smart irrigation controller or adjust irrigation to water more in the garden.
  3. Most perennials can get pruned now that chances of frost are over.
  4. When you buy a plant, make sure you have the right one — double-check tags in stores.
  5. Before putting a newly purchased plant in the ground, soak it in a bucket of water to ensure the roots are moistened.

Hottest “It Plant”: Phormium, with smaller varieties and brighter colors. “They’re very drought-tolerant,” Moyer says. “Some are growing in the middle of Market Street.” 

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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