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Saturday, January 18, 2003

Birds



A Friend in the Garden





I always like birds and other wildlife in my garden. Here is a visitor who seemed very content to just sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Books




Garden Home City: Creating an Urban Haven
by Bonnie Trust Dahan



cover


This is the latest book by Dahan. I enjoy here photos and writing as they provide many idea for bringing the garden inside your home, whether it is an old New England farm house or an apartment on the Upper West Side.


Her previous book, seen below, is also very good and has earned a place on my bookshelf for on-going reference.




Garden House: Bringing the Outdoors in




cover

Thursday, January 16, 2003



Photos



Orange Blossoms in Malibu




While visiting a client in Malibu today, I was over-powered by the scent of orange and lemon trees in full bloom nearly everywhere I went. It is hard to imagine them throwing off such smells when parts of the country are still suffering with cold temperatures and snow.


Just one of the many reasons people move to California, I guess.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003



In the garden with books...



cover



Two Gardeners : Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence



cover



Soul of Nowhere: Traversing Grace in a Rugged Land


I highly enjoyed Child's previous book, The Secret Knowledge of Water and look forward to digging into this book.

Sunday, January 12, 2003



More than I thought...



It seems I got more done in the garden yesterday than I originally thought. After posting the last entry I remembered that I took a few minutes to prune our small Crape Myrtle in the back garden.


This tree has long suffered under the heavy canopy of a much larger Ash tree. The previous owners over-planted in the 10 years building the garden, but each year we "edit" out a few of the more egregious errors. This has let in much more light to the Crape Myrtle and it seems to appreciate the extra attention.


Basic pruning, especially in a tree this (relatively) young, is to take off any branches that are less than "pencil-sized." This helps to increase the branching for fullness while also directing the tree's energy into the stronger limbs and producing flowers.


Spiders, spiders, everywhere



Another, rather unpleasant, task is the ritual removal of the large black widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus) that can usually be found living within the driveway hose reel. It seems to provide the ideal environment for black widows as there is almost always one there and, judging by their size, quite healthy.


I don't mind spiders in my garden, but these are one of the few arachnids I will kill on sight. Even though my 5-year-old sun knows to not go near them, they are quite dangerous to have around the hose reel and other exposed areas. IF you know of anyone who researches black widows, tell them I would be happy to share my bounty.


I started the regular removal of the spiders a few years ago. Without thinking, I reached my hand into the center the hose reel to tighten the fitting. Only afterwards did I notice that it might be a good home for black widows. Sure enough, a quick look showed one to be happily ensconced there. I was lucky I didn't get bitten. Now, I don't work on the reel without carefully washing it out and removing any life forms I find there.