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My tree dahlias (Dahlia imperialis) are right on schedule. I first noticed buds at the beginning of November… way high up in the sky… approaching twenty feet… despite the fact that I cut them back in summer in an apparently futile attempt at shorter, bushier plants.

So, yeah, this is year three and I think it’s safe to say that tree dahlias will grow for extreme gardeners in Sacramento. They’re crazy fun– way too tall, prone to toppling from strong wind gusts, and might be snuffed out at the first cold snap before the buds open. But OMG, when you see those sky-scraping pink flowers you’ll want to yell, “The tree dahlias are blooming! The tree dahlias are blooming!” with the same level of excitement Navin Johnson expressed when the new phone books arrived.


Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), pink sedum (now yellow, with brown seedheads), and spent agapanthus

In the last few years, I’ve been trying to provide overwintering hummingbirds with a source of homegrown nectar. Why? Because I’m too lazy to keep fresh nectar in my hummingbird feeders. The mixing… the boiling… the pouring… the storing. The doing it all over again. Ugh.

So far, Salvia and Cuphea have made November more nectarrific and colorful. Since November 4, doesn’t it seem like everything is just a little bit more sparkly?


Giant Cigar Plant (Cuphea micropetala)


Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea)


It’s a big, bushy, sprawling plant with lovely gray-green leaves.


Purple oxalis and Corokia cotoneaster in a pot.


Mushrooms, oak leaves, and nasturtiums

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