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Thursday, March 27, 2003


How to make a garden feel more welcoming

Growing Lifestyle hosts this interesting article. I am always looking for new ways to draw people into the garden, although it seems to do a fine job already. Still, a little advice never hurts.

Sunday, March 23, 2003



The Complete Book of Garden Seating

You might think such a narrowly focused book might be a bit dry and uninteresting, but the seating ideas inside are worth a second, third and forth glance. You will find ideas for everything from wicker to wood to stone to (amazingly) straw bale couches and chairs.

If you are looking for a way to make your garden more enticing, this is a great place to start.

Sunday, March 16, 2003


Antelope Valley Wildflowers

The family took a trip to the Antelope Valley, north of Los Angeles today. We were there to check out the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve near Lancaster, California. While not yet at its peak, the reserve was covered in wildflowers of all sorts, not just the California State Flower.

Click on the picture above to view a gallery of or visit my other blog, My Word, for a complete rundown on the days events.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

High-Tech Gardening Journal

From year to year, I never seem to remember when the daffodils first appear, when the japanese maple starts to bud or when I pruned my roses at the beginning of the season.

Although I have tried several times over the years, I have never been able to maintain a gardening journal for more than a few months. In many ways, AGN, functions as my journal, but even then I don't refer back to past entries as much as I could.

In an effort to remember the gardening events of this year, I have taken to entering them into the calendar of my Sony Clie as repeating yearly events. These then will provide automatic reminders next year. I am hoping this will remind me to enter even more data in coming years, creating a perpetual calendar specific to my garden.

Cherry Blossoms at Lake Balboa

After reading some recent wildflower reports from the Poppy Reserve, I decided to postpone our trip to sometime later in the month. This gave Joe and I a chance to check out the cherry blossoms at Lake Balboa Park in Encino.

The trees are blooming, but they are not a their peak, yet. Still, they are quite beautiful and offer many opportunities for photos. When the bloom is at its height, though, it is like there is a great pink cloud floating over the lake.

The best surprise today was the large wisteria which are growing on trellises around the lake. Several were totally covered in white and purple flower spikes.

The lake was quite busy today, almost like a Saturday or Sunday. I spotted at least 3 painters and a television show was also filming today.

Try to visit the lake over the next few weeks. The bloom should increase dramatically. You can tell the end is approaching when leaves begin to emerge.

Lake Balboa

(818) 756-9743

Balboa Boulevard, south of Victory Blvd., Encino

Encino 26 acre lake. Rent a paddle boat to explore the beautiful lake or spend the day fishing from the shore... the lake is stocked regularly by the Department of Fish and Game.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

The Gardening Launchpad

On occassion, if you look through the Recent Referers list on the left, you may see that someone found AGN by visiting this site. TGL is an excellent place to start your search for gardening information. They regularly feature interesting web sites, have special gardening tips and even gardening humor.

If you get a chance, check out The Gardening Launchpad.

Friday, March 07, 2003

The seeds of time...

Our seed germination experiment has been a wild success. Total germination ran at about 70%, which isn't bad for sunflower bird seed.

After "planting" the seeds on Monday, we were already seeing activity the next day. By Wednesday, the emerging root was clearly visible on nearly all the seeds.

Today, the plants have nearly pushed off their seed coats entirely.

Tomorrow we will probably take the opportunity of Joe's 5th Birthday party to keep the kids busy potting up the viable plants.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Germinating Idea

My 5-year-old, Joe, is deeply interested in understanding how the world works. When we planted our native wildflower mix over the weekend, I explained that we had to keep the seeds damp so they would germinate. After a few minutes of trying to explain this concept, I decided to show him instead. A few sunflower seeds, a damp paper towel and a plastic container is all it takes.

Thanks to school science fairs, there is a host of information on seed germination available on the Internet. (See the results of a Google search on the topic.) I even had Joe plant 10 seeds so we could easily do a little thinking about percentages when the seeds start to sprout. We are now eagerly awaiting the results of our experiments, both inside and out in the recently planted garden beds.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Cleanup, Cleanup

Today was garden cleanup day here at AGN headquarters. We called in our favorite tree maintenance service to trim about 8 trees throughout the garden. I have posted a few photos of our work today so you can see what is happening around here.

All the dead limbs were pulled out of our weeping willow, which is just starting to leaf out for the season. It looks a bit ragged right now, but I think it will be much healthier this year. We noted some signs of insect damage on the dead sections, so hopefully this will help the tree heal itself.

The workers also thinned a pine tree in our front yard. This was originally a live Christmas tree planted by the former owners. It has suffered quite a bit over the years, having been "topped" at least a couple of times. It also looks a bit thing now, but it is starting to regain its natural shape and should look even better by next year.

The azaleas in the front yard have been blooming for about a week and are looking quite lovely. They are all shaggy right now and will need their own haircut after the bloom has finished.

Finally, Joe and I planted the "Shady Mix" of native wildflower seeds in the back garden once the workmen had finished. We should start to see sprouts in about 1-1/2 - 2 weeks.

We also finished a job I had been meaning to do for months. We have several humps of Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) spread throughout the garden. I have been slowly gathering all these plants, dividing them, and planting them along the edge of a long curving path through the "woodland" part of the garden.

The plant divides very easily, being a loose collection of individual bulbs or corms. I am not quite sure which. I only have to shake the clump in my hand, or maybe tease it apart gently with my finders. There are plenty of large and small roots on every plant, So I think it should be a successful transplant. My previous move had a nearly 100% success rate. That certainly doesn't happen every day!

Today's work also marks the start of preparations for our big, annual Garden Party. Each June, around the time of our wedding anniversary, we invite all our friends over to enjoy a big potluck meal and sit around playing music or just chatting. The kids have a blast and the parents can easily keep an eye on them while relaxing for a few hours. There is still more garden work to do before then, but I feel much better getting so much out of the way in one day.