Other WelchWrite Blogs: My Word with Douglas E. Welch - Career Opportunities
- TechnologyIQ - Careers in New Media

Home -- Contact Me -- Search Welchwrite.com -- Subscribe to AGN
Douglas' Events, Appearances and Seminar Calendar

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

15 Plants for Long-Lasting Fragrance

A nice listing, with a few pictures, of fragrant plants for all seasons.

From Fine Gardening #88, pp. 68-71

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Bluebirds of Paradise

While it is not online, there is an excellent article on Bluebirds in the August issue of Country Living. While we don't have them down here in the San Fernando Valley, I have been lucky enough to view the Mountain Bluebirds up in the San Gabriel Mountains when we were volunteers in the Angeles National Forest.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Hedging my bets

I finished the trimming of all the geometric beds in the front garden this morning, taking advantage of the cooler temperatures provided by the marine layer.

As I was working on this project I finally developed a plan to insure that this is the last time I need to do it. The beds are overcrowded and many of the junipers are simply being swamped by the azaleas. I am already planning on removing 2 of the smaller beds and starting a collection of more cottage-type planting. The area could use a bit more color as the azaleas only bloom once a year. I think this would really help to cut down on maintenance and, for the first time, I could institute some better irrigation systems

I am a big fan of soaker and drip systems, but this area has defied their use by the shear size. Currently, the area is watered using retrofitted lawn sprinkler on high risers to reach above the plantings. The downside to this, besides the obvious evaporation issues, is that it also waters all the paths. This leads to the only major weed problem I have in the entire garden. It would be a pleasure to solve it.

I will keep you informed of the changes I hope to make here. Wish me luck!


It seems I not the only one with troublesome willows. Over at Cold Climate Gardening is the description of how a recent storm put the end to a grand old willow and almost took out another tree with it.

I still have one weeping willow in the back garden. Cleaning up the other day I noticed quite a bit of rot, right at ground level. Sprouting toadstool/mushrooms attracted my attention and it appears they may have been growing on one of the large roots at the base of the tree.

We recently had this willow trimmed and after a bit of "sunburn" the leaves returned in full force. The tree had been getting crowded out by surrounding tress, but these were removed in a recent rehab effort.

My willow doesn't sound anywhere near the size of the one that fell, but I would hate to lose it, as it effectively screens off a large portion of the back yard.

Via Cold Climate Gardening

Sunday, July 20, 2003



California's Gardener's Guide

My friend, Liz, introduced me to this book today when was visiting. It is a great quick reference, with one plant per page. It would certainly be easier to navigate than the Sunset Western Garden book I carry around. Great for the beginning California gardener.

Time for a change

I took advantage of the cooler temperatures this morning to attack the trimming of the geometric beds of azaleas and juniper in the front garden. This is always a major job and I dread it. It only takes about 2 hours or so, but my arms are like jelly by the time I am done.

Today, I only got about halfway done before my arms gave out. I was also getting frustrated as I noticed that the plantings are steadily deteriorating. Azaleas and juniper are really not designed to be cut with hedge trimmer. It cuts up the leaves of the azaleas and it leads to all sorts of problems with "naked legs". This is a common problem effecting hedges and dense shrub plantings where the lower 1/2 of the plant doesn't get enough light and stops growing leaves. The plants are also overcrowded, so several of them have died back completely.

Since these planting are over 15 years old, I think it is time for a change. I inherited the garden from the previous owners and most of the planting work, but these are getting on my nerves. I am thinking that I will select the strongest azaleas and a few juniper for transplanting elsewhere and then uproot most of the rest of the plantings. I am thinking of converting the geometric beds into something much more freeform. Nice naturalized clumps of azalea to match those in from the of the porch.

I have already started the transformation of a circular bed in the center of the garden. A pine tree once grew in this spot, but when it died I planted it into wildflowers. Recently I added 4 clumps of purple fountain grass and it seems to like the location quite well. Now that it is established, I think I will remove the ring of azalea and juniper to open up the bed and allow the fountain grass to be seen more easily.
Wish me luck and....Keep digging!

Monday, July 14, 2003

By the dark of the mooon

Do you believe that working your garden, planting and other tasks are best governed by the phase of the moon? This National Geographic article explores the myth and reality of Moon Gardening.

Myself, I get in the garden whenever it is cool enough to not burst into flames, unlike this week. (SMILE)

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

A Cold Climate Gardening Journal

I realize every so often that not all of you are living in the desert west, dealing with ever-blooming roses and year-round, out of control weeds. For those of you who get to stop gardening at least a little part of the year, this group blog should be worth a visit.

From the Cold Climate Gardening Journal...

This is a collaborative weblog of gardeners--from novice to master--gardening in hardiness zone 4 and colder. We invite your participation in the comment section.

Via Feedster

Sunday, July 06, 2003


Spent part of the day removing a host of wild figs that had grown up behind the old shed int he back garden. No matter how often I remove these sprouts, they always return. A variety of birds, including crows, jay and mockingbirds love to sit on the power pole above this site and I assume it is they who are depositing the fig seeds again and again.

The job wouldn't be as much of a hassle if I cleared it out regularly, but it is a difficult area to access and somewhat "out of sight, out of mind", so it only gets attention when the plants are too large to ignore. I guess I need to add this task back into my calendar so it will remind me to attack it each quarter.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

2003 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map -- Draft

I heard about this from http://gardening.about.com">gardening.about.com and wanted to pass it on.

This draft is currently under review. In some cases, your zone may have changed since the last map.

The map is provided as a large, PDF (Adobe Reader) file. There is a link from the web site, if you need to download this free software.