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California Peony growers....Help Me!

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

I, in my zone pushing delerium, decided to try Tree Peonies last year. I was only able to afford three. They didn't do much last year and I thought I had lost them. Yet they've reappeared and seem to have responded nicely to our very wet year this winter. I really need some assistance with successful cultivators of this plant. These are my challenges.

Location:

Afternoon shade from a Southern Magnolia in a bed where mulching occurs often. Soil is in great shape, drains well, is loaded with organic matter, and is very 'alive'.

My Issues...(Well my issues with Paeonia...the rest could take years..lol)

Irrigation- domestic water is heavily chlorinated
Super hot summer heat
No humidity

Oh yeah, and I don't use synthetics

Please help!

Don

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Here's a look at them as of five minutes ago. The plants were prohibitively expensive, and although that shouldn't be/ isn't my reason for concern. I'd really like to be successful with these plants.

The Choysia ternata in the left of the picture is evidence of how finicky plants feel about our water here.

Thumbnail by drdon
Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Another view of the three Peonies

Thumbnail by drdon
Northern California, CA

I've had little success with the 3 Peonies I've tried. It's just too hot here. I've moved them a couple of times and they are still hanging on 5 years later, but bear little or no resemblance to the Peonies I saw growing up in Europe and the midwest. I get a couple of beautiful blooms per season from each plant, but really not enough to continue with them. They are still in the garden because I just don't have the heart to toss them.

I'm obviously not the one to help you, because my success has been minimal to say the least. :-)

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Thank you Happenstance,

I thought that the bloody heat might be a limiting factor, but I'm a confirmed zone pusher, and couldn't resist the chance at these flowers.

Klamath Falls, OR(Zone 6a)

Pssttt drdon, don't tell the rest of the forum frequenters that I'm not really a California gardener. We live only 15 miles from the border, so I occasionally sneak over. (Hopefully, noone will pelt me with ripe citrus fruit. 8={) In fact, we probably have more in common with the climate of Northern California than we do with most of the rest of Oregon....cold snowy winters, hot summers, short growing season, etc. etc. etc. Anyhoo, I do grow peonies so I decided to stick in my two cents.

Firstly, I don't think your summer heat is an issue. Although I grow herbaceous peonies rather than the tree kind, we have very hot summers here as well and they don't seem to mind the heat at all. Nor do I think the afternoon shade is a problem, so long as they get plenty of sun in the morning. I'm not certain about the water, which would depend on how strong the chlorination is. Peonies are really very tough little critters and are not very finicky about very much at all. They take a long time to get going very well. It sometimes takes several years before you have much/any bloom. And they despise being moved. Having said all that, you may have an issue with insufficient winter chill. I don't know how cold it gets in Temecula during the wintertime, but peonies seem to do best in climates that have cold winters. It may be (though I can't guarantee it) the problem Happenstance is having in the Bay Area.

That's not to say that you won't be successful with yours. I think peonies are so beautiful that they are worth the extra effort, if there is a chance you can grow them, and since you enjoy pushing the envelope (or zone), I say "Go, for it!" Yours look to be leafing out very nicely and only time will tell. Don't be discouraged if they don't bloom this first year. It won't be at all unusual and doesn't mean that they are not going to eventually.

Mine are just now beginning to show shoots above ground. You lucky Californian, you!

Northern California, CA

Welcome to California sharvis.....love to have the neighbors drop in.

I'd agree with you about the winter chill, 38 is the lowest it's gone for a couple of hours in the early AM in the last 7 years. They literally fry here if they aren't in complete afternoon shade and they do want a lot of water which I give them. The other issue here is that we have tremendous winds and I think it just saps all the strength in the plant trying to stay ahead of the heat and desicating wind.

Come back and visit often!

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

rotf@at being pelted by citrus....hahahaha

We get quite a bit colder, for longer periods of time. I documented four weeks straight with night time temps below freezing this year. And that's a rainy year which is usually milder than a drier winter. Cold shouldn't be a problem in that it was the reason I went ahead and tried them. When we lived on the coast, it rarely got below 40F, so I knew I'd never get them to fully rest. I'm glad to hear that the heat isn't quite the issue I thought it might be. Now I'm down to poison tap water...lol. That I can't do anything about without purchasing a giant reverse osmosis system...hmmm. No money for that. It would be cheaper to water them by hand with bloody Evian...lol.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Don - welcome to zone pushers anonymous.

Sharvis - I'm glad you joined us. As to Peonys though you have it all over most of us. Peonys are really a max zone 8 plant (well the site below says 9). So your zone 6 weather is great for them. I have one that I put in the ground last year. It's in the shade half the day. I find that with lower zone plants like this it's better to have them get afternoon shade, and it's coming up. We'll see if it blooms again. :-)

Here's a site for peonies that explains care including natural fertilizers. I'm surprised at compost though because it's high in nitrogen which can sometimes affect bloom. Some rose growers are using Alfalfa meal

http://www.goldenport.com/peony/tpcare.htm

It says at least 5 hours of sun a day. Mine isn't a tree peony, but I wish it was.

If your water is really so bad, I believe that there are water filters you can use for this purpose while still retaining the minerals etc.

And check the ph. it could be the phroblem. You might even get complete a complete soil test kit including trace minerals. Oh I've just got a lot of ideas to use up your time.

Klamath Falls, OR(Zone 6a)

"Zone Pushers Anonymous" LOL I love it!

Speaking of which, when I lived in Long Beach I was so anxious to grow lilacs that I actually piled ice cubes around the bases of the plants to give them enough winter chill to bloom. I swear I read that somewhere. Of course, it didn't work. They grew but they never bloomed. Does that qualify me for membership? Hehehe.

BTW, thank you all for the warm welcome. GO CALIFORNIA!!!

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

hiya doss,

The link you suggested is the place where I bought them. I purchased Black Jade Paragon, Red Lotus, and Blue Butterfly. I was encouraged back then by the information on the website, so I decided to try a few. The plants did okay last year in their first season but were planted in spring...So they pooped out from the heat quickly and went kind of dormant only to pop back up in the middle of fall. This year's emergence of all of them was a very exciting thing and I was hoping for some pearls of wisdom from my fellow Californians regarding their experiences. The zone-pushing is strictly ego...lol. I figure if it can be grown, well heck, I can grow it....big mistake...lol.

Pam and I had enormous, wonderful Champacas (Michelia champaca) trees down at the coast. Summer evenings out on the back garden terrace was like having Joy perfume sprayed on the ocean breezes. So, as a confirmed zone-pusher I endeavored to grow them here. First year was a slam dunk, they grew all the way past new year and stopped only for a moment. Last summer they were fabulous albeit still only 6' tall. But they began to branch and bloom, it was great. Then that nasty dry frost hit in November and just kicked their butts. They are returning from the crowns, but it will take years for them to get back to size. Ego is a real bugger sometimes..lol.

But the Peonies have a place where their exposure is correct. I've got more soil analysis equipment than most county extensions. My soil pH is stable at 6.8, but my water is a mess. I've priced some reverse osmosis systems big enough to handle the job and would have to take out a second mortgage to accommodate the gpm burden of our sprinkler systems. I mulch with worm castings and feed only organics like cottonseed meal...etc...

I guess it's time to just be patient with these rascals and see how they behave once the heat kicks in down here.

Don-in need of a good twelve-step program for zone denial..

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

I'm a major codependent in that area Don, Just lost a zone 10a red passion flower in my zone 9b garden. One cool night was all it took. Hang on though. I have a friend who has a really wonderful peony - although it's a bush type and not a tree type. I've had bulbs that have croaked their first year here and functioned fine-sometimes after three or four years. Alliums have been difficult. But then there is that onion smell anyway. The other thing, if your really serious about having a peony that functions, is to call the vendor and ask if there are any that are more adaptable to heat. My french late tulips are very happy here. Great for California. Although if you're water is the problem.....How do you feel about going into debt? I wonder if there is a site for chlorine tolerant plants?

I'm rooting for you.

These sure are to dream over.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Don, the Chinese have a saying that tree peonies are more beautiful in their second century, so be patient. They sometimes don't bloom for the first few years. They do require a certain amount of frost to bloom. All of that rain this winter probably warmed up the air too much and cut out a lot of the natural frost days. You may have had more rain than I did. I grow them in zone 9A, in full sun, and all of them are blooming right now.

Sharvis, you had the right idea in Long Beach with the ice cubes. They really do work. I used to use them in Piedmont, where we never had frost. You probably felt silly doing it and didn't persist. A couple of times isn't enough. Peony blooms need many, many frosty mornings in winter. Otherwise, they just produce a lot of pretty greenery.

Talk about zone pushers. This year I'm growing alpine plants and tropicals in the same garden. It's going to involve lots of ice cubes in summer for one and portable cloches in winter for the other. As if simple gardening weren't enough work!

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Well, your asking made me go out and look at my Peony. Not a tree Peony of course, but here it is with one little bud at the top righthand corner. It must be spring. Someone down the block has lilacs in bloom. Must be a mutant cultivar.

Thumbnail by doss
Klamath Falls, OR(Zone 6a)

Well doss, that's just disgusting that you already have a bud on your plant! ;-} Those California growers who are afflicted with 'peony envy' should take a lesson from your book. It can be done. Be sure to post a picture when it the bloom appears.

And zuzu (cute name, btw) you are absolutely right. I did feel silly, and I didn't persist. Do you think I could grow tropicals here if I wore a grass skirt while I serenaded them with Hawaiian love songs?

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

hiya ZuZu,

If nothing I'm a patient gardener. Spring just hits so hard here and summer, with it's appurtenance of ungodly heat and dryness. If I have to wait another century or so...no biggie..lol. They look so good right now and have been putting on new foliage without tip burn, so I'm encouraged by that little bonus.

I do apologize for my perceived sense of urgency..(I'm sure the exclamation point after help did nothing to dispel that perception..lol). These plants are precious members of the garden, and with time will hopefully deport themselves with the flair that it so often associated with peonies.

doss, Great color on the foliage of your herbaceous peony, I'm also a big fan of Sluggo, and detected its presence there to keep the molluscs at bay.

In regard to the ice-cube usage. It's a Great idea. There's an icemaker at the bar not ten feet from where the peonies live. I will certainly keep that in mind if next winter proves to be milder than usual again.

rotf @ peonie envy...good one!

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Yep, I grow Hostas and Dahlias and just about everything that slugs and snails like. I think that I'm supporting the snail bait industry. Sometimes I miss the ground though. If I could use deadline, I might, but I have little dogs and kids in the yard. I hope you're getting your Sluggo generic and not paying for the brand. That helps some. Diligence for the past two years has paid off. It's better this spring.

I bought my Peony in a local nursery. That might be part of it's success. Its a white double and has to be staked. But then I have a lot of things that have to be staked. It's been a very wet rainy temperate spring.

Sometimes urgency is just what is needed in the garden. Plants just won't wait sometimes.!!!!!

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

lol doss, spring is certainly a bit of an urgent time down here. I've been getting the generic from Peaceful Valley since they began with it. I actually thought I figured out how to make the stuff (it's just iron phosphate), but I couldn't figure out how to pelletize so it didn't last very long. But I had great flowers and no iron chlorosis..lol.

We also have doggies, no kids, but lots of family kids visit. The gardens are all tended without the use of synthetics of any kind. We also grow a rather wide selection of Dahlias including D. imperialis which is a real wonder of a plant. No hostas, waay to hot and dry...zone envy again. But I've been able to get some interesting Magnolias to grow here when I couldn't get them to perform at all in our gardens at the coast. We had philodendrons as ground covers in our old place with great tropical gardens. Here, all of my precious orchids and tropical fruits have been relegated to the greenhouse with brief trips outside during milder days.

As one of the many zone-pushing individuals, living in garden denial I'm constantly looking for mini climates on the property to re-construct some tropical bliss. I had to part with a cycad and palm collection that was over 250 individual species from over 100 genera. I parted with my Cymbidiums and am now trying peonies. Hmmm, I wonder about the trade off for a horse ranch often..lol. We looked at land in Los Gatos, but just couldn't swing it on our retirement income.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

You are an adventurer! I'm surprised that Dahlias do well in the hot weather there. Some of mine even wilt in the middle of the day. What do you have that is happy in the heat, and what organics do you feed them?

I'm sorry about your collections. :-( I don't have any really fancy Hostas, and here they really grow like weeds once you get them started, and keep the snails away from them.

What paradise local did you move from?

You do mean Tree Dahlia?

Thumbnail by doss
Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Pam and I moved from the township Cardiff by the Sea, just north of San Diego. We lived on top of the westernmost bluff of an old sandstone formation. Our soil was sandy, drained like a sieve, so we learned a great deal about different types of mulch. The weather was an incredible mixing of direct marine influence at the west side of the house and an inland influence down the eastern slope of our little 2.5 acre plot. So we were able to grow subtropicals and some heat-loving subtropicals. I had a shade house/greenhouse that was a nice size 20'x60' there where most of my collections lived. They are now the property of the Los Angeles Arboretum.

Our ranch here in Temecula also has very sandy soil (half of the ranch is actually an alluvial fan of sorts. This was perfect for the horses (population is now up to 27 with #28 due any day) and for our building site requirements. There were several very nice California Live Oaks on the property which were all kept.

We grow lots of Salvias here, and the collection is slowly getting a little interesting. Magnolias, roses-species, modern, and historic. We also grow a few perennials and I'm a bit of a Proteaceae nut case. Our Dahlias, are all heavily mulched with home made earthworm/vermicompost. We recycle about a half ton of horse manure and bedding each day and feed the lot to a vigorously hungry population of earthworms. During the warm months, the worms actually finish the compost in less than eight weeks. The soils in all of our gardens are covered with the stuff three times per year. During the spring we mulch right after feeding with a medium N materials blend of Alfalfa Meal, Soybean Meal, Cottonseed Meal and Corn Gluten Meal. We get about 14 weeks of feeding from this blend without harming blooms with too much N. Summer feeding is mostly a mix of Fish Meal, Feather Meal, Blood Meal, and Hoof and Horn Meal. This feeding gets us through the fall with ample N to promote good growth and help the soil to digest the thick layer of mulch prior to our fall mulching. In the fall we replenish minerals after a soils test with materials like Greensand, Sul-Po-Mag, Bone Meal, and some Humates derived from Rutile Sands.

It sounds real time consuming and all, but in fact it's really rather efficient. We mix the fertilizers in a cement mixer a couple of weeks ahead of time, and then just harvest as much compost/ mulch as we need to cover the feedings. We supplement for heavy feeders with fish emulsion from Peaceful Valley or Neptune's Harvest and fight some evapotranspiration problems (Dahlias mostly) with frequent dilute foliar applications of seaweed extracts (Maxicrop or DynaGro's silica liquid). I figure I spend less time feeding gardens that are spread out over an 1.5 acres than most people with city lots spend using water solubles or other synthetics.

The secret, if there is one, seems to be in the mucus left by earthworms as they till through the soils. This acts as a wetting agent, helps soil aggregates stick together and is loaded with pathogen-fighting enzymes and hygenic compounds.

We have two small patches of turfgrass (Marathon 1), approx 3500sqft total that is fed twice during the warm season with blood meal and once in the fall with minerals. No thatch, no diseases, and the blood meal provides enough available iron to keep the turf an emerald green.

I've been growing organically since the 70's and can't really imagine any other way.

Best,
Don

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Don,

You are a collector of everything. It's a good thing that you found a way to use that manure.

I will certainly try your spray on the Dahlias. It has been frustrating to say the least, but only a few cultivars seem to have the problem. Maybe they'll be better this year when they're more established.

I love your idea, and I don't think that it sounds like a lot of work. I don't have room for compost and I don't use the community compost because I don't know what's in it. Get diseases and you have to fight. I had a bad case of Iris leaf Spot this spring because of the bad weather.

I have been wondering about all of the natural fertilizers and the amount of Nitrogen in them. You've learned a lot over the years. I am writing as fast as I can. Now, what can I substitute for the manure?

I didn't realize that there were a lot of Proteaceae. My neighbor has one, but it's the only one I've really seen in a garden here. What got you started on that?

And tell me about your magnolias. Do you have any photos?

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

hiya doss,

Yep, we had to find a use for all that poop, so what we don't use we sell cheap to neighbors and friends. Our soils love the stuff.

We don't really collect that many different genera, but we are new to this type of cold/hot climate and in the past three years have learned where we can focus our penchant for collecting plants that interest us. It's the curse of horticulture..lol.

Greenwaste, community composting operations are a wonderful aspect of our society attempting to reuse organic matter resources. The problem is that these composts are, just as you said, variable in source, cleanliness, disease and pathogen content. Super hot thermophyllic composting operations are out there, they are great, but some pathogens get back into the heaps by contaminated equipment used for handling. The only problem is, like with all things, some facilities do a better job than others.

As far as a replacement for the manures you use, I can't see any reason why unless you're experiencing buildups of insoluble salts or soluble salts in your soil. Manures are still the best soil food there is. For using organic fertilizers, well there are certainly a bunch of them out there these days with fancy packaging, big promises, and lots of silly talk about how they are single-handedly saving your and my environment...lol.

Alfalfa meal; about 4%N and possibly one of the most complete plant foods.
Cottonseed meal; about 6%N and really great for acid-lovers
Blood meal; about 13%N and a good source of iron.
Soybean meal; about 8%N very good source of minerals
Bone meal; about 10-14%P good source of calcium as well
Fish meal; about 10%N with a great balance of other nutrients
Feather meal; about 12%N with some other micros

these are just a few of the N source type organic granulars. Many are available at local animal feed stores. When one learns a bit about the unique macro and micro nutrients inherent to these materials it is an easy step to begin blending to a particular need, soil, plant.

I hope this info is useful to you and all of my Magnolia collection are currently fairly small plants. Some of them like Magnolia campbellii aren't expected to give me any blossom for two to three more years. Magnolia denudata was attacked by our dogs, so it's in recovery. Magnolia liliflora, M. stellata, M. soulangeana and others are a little young for flowers. So not unlike my little Tree Peony experiment is not a new endeavor...lol.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Thanks so much,

You called for help and now you're helping me. It must be pretty amazing to step into a whole different plant culture from the one that you're used to. Are you building a greenhouse where you are? My mom goes to the LA Arboretum all of the time, so your donations are greatly appreciated.

You will live in a paradise of Magnolias. I would certainly grow more if I had the space. I have a 'Galaxy' that is just out of this world, and a 'Butterfly' that has never bloomed for me. I moved it two years ago from a pretty shady place, so maybe it'll take off. Breaking another one of those sacred rules, Magnolias don't like their roots fussed with.

I don't know though, Soulangeana just might beat them all. But maybe it's because all the really big Magnolias out here are Soulangeanas.

Poor denutata. :-( I hope the dogs had a good time at least.

I did put Alfalfa pellets down this spring for the first time. My husband saw them and wondered what herd of animals had pooped all over our yard. Things seem to be responding well. My Dahlias are peeking their little leaves over the soil now. Except some of the really big ones and those are already six inches high. Even my new ones are showing signs of growth. I have some daylilies coming and I don't know where I'll put them, but I just can't resist. Well, the weeds don't have much of an opportunity to grow.

Are fish emulsion and fish meal the same? Guess I'll go out and buy some worms to go with the lacewings I just bought to eat the spidermites in my redwood trees. Spidermites I can do without but my neighbor has 20 redwoods right next to my three ( some silly Sunset magazine idea that they made a great fence screening if you planted them 10 feet apart. They should be shot.)

Well, I'll be looking for you. You are great to help me this way.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Sharvis, the grass skirt most certainly will work, but only if you invite all of the neighbors to watch you sing and dance.

Doss, what is the name of that fabulous lavender beauty and how tall is it?

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

It's a tree Dahlia or in Don speak 'D. imperialis'. It's behind an eight foot fence so I'd guess it's a good 10 feet tall - maybe a little more. It's great to peek over a fence. The general literature says that it's grown mostly for it's foliage. But this is really late in the year. It was November 24.

I love how it comes out of the ground as thick as a mallet handle.

It came from a huge tuber a friend gave me, but it was it's first year in the ground. It does come in a double, but I don't know how that one grows. Here's a close up.

Thumbnail by doss
Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

It's just beautiful. I love something that grows that tall and doesn't form a dense thicket. It really looks graceful. I just looked it up on the Annie's Annuals site. She has a pink one, but it's not as nice. I like the lavender.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Do you grow Princess Flower? I find that it's another one that others might call leggy but I find is lovely grown with other plants at it's feet. And not lavender but in the same family. If you grow it you know it blooms the entire growing season.

I should mention that the photo was taken at Thanksgiving time because it doesn't bloom for more than two weeks max. I'm sure that's why it's noted as a foliage plant. Lower zones may never get bloom. On the other hand, it's the first year in the ground. Maybe it will bloom earlier this year.

Maybe you have some information Don?

This message was edited Apr 11, 2005 8:10 AM

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Our Dahlia imperialis/ Mexican Tree Dahlia bloomed like mad in starting in Mid October, we had a bit of a freak snowfall in the second week of November that was the first time snow had stuck to the ground since 1967, this snowfall broke the poor things (5 specimens) from the weight of snow.

Our experience with these plants is that a 3-6 week bloom cycle is usually experienced. Colors are somewhate variable from speciment to specimen ranging from light pink, to a mauvie pink, to a light lavender color. Color variations actually have occurred on single plants for us in the past.

Thumbnail by drdon
Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Those poor sad babies. I have mine growing between a fence and the olive tree for support which works fine. The wind here would be hard on them. It will be great to see them blooming for longer this year.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

I do grow Princess Flower, but I'm in 9a, so I have to grow them in pots and bring them inside the day before Thanksgiving, and they never get that big. I loved growing them in Piedmont. They got enormous! My neighbor up the street has a big Tibouchina growing outside, but it's in a sheltered spot, and all of my sheltered spots are already crammed full of Clivia and such.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Don - we've stolen your thread. Is that OK?

I saw a yellow clivia the other day. Yum.

Temecula, CA(Zone 8b)

Free association is welcome on any thread I might start, and what's life without a hijacked conversation every now and then? Keep going, I'm fascinated and I think we've thoroughly beaten the peony thing into the ground, all puns intended, even bad ones.

The recent yellow and white Clivia miniata hybrids are really quite lovely.

Arroyo Grande, CA

Princess flowers can be wacked back to the main stem to get rid of the legginess. I just leave the tall main stem and let the side shoots resprout. Both the big flowered one and the small flowered one react the same. The ones I have in pots respond very well to a balanced fertilizer. The ones in the ground do not seem to need it. I usually do it in the winter when they are looking ratty, but if you wait till spring they resprout right away.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

I'm all for Whacking Princess Flowers! What a fun thing. The only time I don't whack them is when they are growing through other things and the legginess is actually attractive. It's interesting that those long stems don't break. I actually cut the whole thing back and it works just fine.

Is there a reason you cut out all the side growth?

Arroyo Grande, CA

I wanted the plant to be tall and thin. It spreads out during the year. It probably should be upsized this year. It is in about a seven gallon pot. I mix plastic nursery pots in with the others. They all grow together as the year goes by and you do not even notice the 3s,5s,7s, and 15s. I pruned back a bunch of stuff over the weekend so it is looking pretty bare, begonias, ferns, and a bunch o' other stuff. Everyone got fed too. I hope I do not have to upsize the banana again. It is in a 4 potting soil bag chinese pot, from a 15 gal. I don't think I could do it by myself next time

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

What zone are you in Chuck? I can see why you want them tall if you're gardening in pots. That makes total sense. My tuberous begonias are just coming up. You must be a zone 10 person.

Arroyo Grande, CA

I suspect zone 10. We are close enough to the ocean and on a steep hillside, so there is no frost. Not enough heat for some of the tropicals but others do just fine. I pretty much try everything, if it is tender or needs lots of water I put it in a pot and on the deck, if not goes in the yard.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

If you go to your personal information you can find out there and then put it in "what I want people to know about me". It'll show up under your city so we can all ohh and ahh at how lucky you are.

Arroyo Grande, CA

Thanks for the tip. We have lived here four years, I am still learning a lot. We only moved 15 miles from San Luis Obispo, but the weather is quite different. The weather is quite different two miles away as you go further inland or get on the flats.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Ah, California weather. Don knows a lot about that. I have lived in the same place for 30 years but the climate changes in different places in my garden. And I only have half an acre! But on the coast and a few miles from the coast are two different worlds.

Don, if you're still here, what kind of horses do you have? And why so many?

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