Welcome to my website. This website handles the overflow from 'Growing Ornamental Plants'. Both sites show how I select and grow ornamental plants which can cope with extremely hot and dry conditions in summer, and I show how I use water saving methods to achieve this.............John Ashworth 26th December 2015.
Growing Californian Lilac.
Latest Update 25th September 2016.
Californian Lilac (Skylark).
large evergreen flowering shrub or small tree, it has small leaves with
glossy dark green tops and a light grey/green underside. Its abundant flowering clusters are medium to light blue.
The powerful fragrance of the flowers bring large numbers of bees foraging for pollen and nectar in early spring.
have to prune the foliage hard after flowering to contain growth so it
does not outgrow the limited space I have available, but it is still
grows to about 2m wide and 2m tall.
is extremely hardy and tolerates our cool winter weather as well as our
extreme summer heat. It has not been tested in drought conditions.
My Californian Lilac needs plenty of sunlight to prosper, but will tolerate at least partial shade.
it is very drought and heat tolerant.
It survive in poor soil, but benefit greatly when fed with compost once a year, and is grown in moist soil.
Always minimise soil disturbances to maintain a natural soil structure.
a new bed for a new plantin spring by removing old mulch, fallen leaves and
other decaying organic material and disposing of them in the compost
Apply a 60mm thick top dressing of home made compost, and add a handful of blood and bone fertiliser per square metre and cover with fresh straw mulch.
Do not dig the soil.
for 4 weeks so worm and microbe activity can build up in the soil.
Propagate by taking cuttings from new growth in spring as soon as the new shoots are big enough.
Using sharp disinfected secateurs, take a 100mm cutting from just below a node on a current years stem.
Remove the leaves from the stem leaving only 2 or 3 at the top.
the cutting 50mm deep in a small Jiffy pot containing sieved compost. Soak the pot in 10mm deep dilute seaweed extract for an
Transfer the pot to a propagator and bury to its rim in the compost wicking medium.
Transplant the new plant into the prepared bed without removing it from the Jiffy pot as soon as it is established and starts to put on new growth.
Lightly prune the plant after flowering, and again in August to maintain the tree's shape and contain unwanted growth.
winter clear the ground of waste organic material and spent straw mulch
beneath the plant and dispose of it in the compost heap.
the soil surrounding the plant in late winter by applying a dressing of
about 60mm deep homemade compost and cover it with about 50mm of fresh
the foliage of the plant with aerated compost tea every month at the
same time as the rest of the ornamental plants are sprayed.
Organic Pest Control.
I have not been aware of any pest problems with my Californian Lilac since I bought it in 2010. However
sensible preventive measures like regularly spraying the plant with
aerated compost tea boosts its natural defences by colonising the
leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.
These microbes defend plants against airborne pests and diseases.
proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made
compost boosts the community of beneficial
microbes and defends roots against plant pathogens.