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Saturday, September 27, 2003

Halloween Books

I posted links to 7 Halloween books over at My Word. Many of these include the use of garden products (SMILE), so you might find them insteresting.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Californians...Vote on October 7th

I urge all my California readers to get out and vote in the Recall Election on October 7th, 2003. Voting is both a right and a responsibility. Make sure your voice is heard!

It is especially important that you vote in this election. The office of Governor could be won with as little as a 15% majority. Don't let others make this important decision for you.

For myself, I will be voting NO on the Recall and FOR Cruz Bustamante.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, please Get out the Vote on October 7th!

Monday, September 22, 2003

LA DWP Tree Information

I got a quick response from the LA DWP Green LA program regarding their workshops and the types of trees they make available.

Tree List HTML MS Word


Saturday, September 20, 2003

Free Trees in LA

LA DWP customers can get up to 7 free trees to aid in energy savings around their home.

"After attending a tree-planting workshop, residents are eligible to receive up to seven free shade trees and can select from approximately 40 different species. To date, over 10,000 shade trees have been planted through Trees for a Green LA." says the LA DWP web site.

I have put in an email request for a list of the species that the program provides and will pass that on when I get their response.

You can also get more information about the program by calling 800-473-3652.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Find the lizard!

Man, I thought the lizards in my yard were camoflage experts. This one has them beat, that is for sure. Of course, it has lots of leafy greenery to blend in with instead of the dry rocks and leaves of my garden, but still. I must say, though, that I love wildlife in my garden. From my beefy scrub jays to opossums, I get my own little animal kingdom right here in Van Nuys.

In the perverse way that optical illusions work, though, now that I have found the anole in the picture, I can't NOT see it now. (SMILE)

Via Garden Spot

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Roll out the (rain) barrel

This article from HGTV.com, Building your own rain barrel, makes me wish I had gutters on my house. I have a few, but they are poorly designed and ineffectual. Worse still, the large number of trees in the back garden yields huge piles of leaves that clog everything in site.

The real pity is, I would really like a rain barrel, but I fear that here in Los Angeles, the rain comes too infrequently to make it worthwhile. I would need a much larger cistern in order to catch enough for even part of the dry season. Then again, any water I can get for free would be dollars off the water (and the sewer) bill.

If you can make use of good rain barrel, the step-by-step instructions might be the way to get things rolling.

Via Gardening.About.com

Time off

After the big buildup to the Garden Party, I have avoided much work in the garden this last week. I am getting involved in plans for Halloween now, but there are a few jobs to complete.

I bought 40 daffodil bulbs to go into the front bed. These need to be put in before the first rain arrives in the next few months. They will add some more yellow to the purple lantana that is already there.

General cleanup will need to continue, as well. Leaves need to be cleaned up from the paths, the beds and even the roof of the house. If I don't get around to this, the leaves can dam up the water and cause leaks inside my office, even with a brand new roof.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Planting and moving

I picked up 2 Lady Banks roses (Rosa banksiae) on the cheap this weekend when I was visiting my favorite mountain town of Idyllwild. A small nursery there was closing out its inventory, now that the planting season is over on the mountain.

These roses went on each side of the trellis next to the front door. There has been a small pink rose there since we moved in 7 years ago, but it has never really down that well. I am hoping that these more aggressive climbers will make better use of the trellis.

In order to fit these roses in I had to move a large, mature rose that throws off lovely long canes of blood red roses once a year. I have no idea of variety, as it was also here when we bought the house. It has survived one move from the back garden to this location, so hopefully it can survive another move to the other side of the driveway. It might actually get a little more sun there as well. I left a HUGE root ball on the plant when I moved it, so I think it should be fine in its new home.

I was planning on moving these roses later in the Winter, but things always seem to happen differently than I plan. As it is, there are 2 more roses that will probably move out of this bed and into others. I will try and do this right after I prune them back in January.

Here in the San Fernando Valley, my roses never really go completely dormant. Even in January I am usually taking off blooms when I do my hard pruning. This is so different from Ohio, where gardeners need to do much more to protect their roses from killing and damaging frost and snow.

Sunday, September 07, 2003



Garden Crafts: A Practical Guide to Creating Handcrafted Features for Your Garden

Serendipity never fails to strike when I am wandering through the library. I tend to visit every couple of days and have taken to browsing the "sorting shelves" as well as the new book area. I figure that if a book has been checked out recently, it might be interesting to me as well. This is one of my recent finds.

Garden Crafts contains not only general information about the variety of crafts you might make for your garden, it also includes 6-7 specific projects using iron, wood, vines, and rock that you can make yourself. While none of these projects are for the faint-hearted crafter, there are many ways to adapt the ideas to your own time and skills. I also like the fact that many of the projects use recycled items.

Through the gate and down the alley

In my recent post about our End of Summer Garden Party, I wrote of how I send our guests down the long alley on the north side of the house. This keeps us from having to answer the front door 40+ times during the party, dashing from the back garden through the house, but it also gives some build-up to the garden. I like to think of it as entering a different world, even though it might sit in the center of urban Van Nuys.

Today, I went out and took a few pictures to give you some idea how it would feel to enter the my garden this way.

Take a look by clicking on the photo above.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Nuturing Native Splendor - LA Times

The Home Section of the LA Times has a large and excellent article on gardening with California native plants.

Nurturing Native Splendor

It also includes a month-by-month guide so you can plant for blooms all year long. An excellent resource for anyone wanting to include more natives in their gardening plans.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Our End of Summer Garden Party

Last Sunday we held our annual summer garden party. This one was actually an "end of summer" party since we held it so late in the month.
It seems that getting out of LA, and back in again, on a holiday weekend has become almost impossible due to the traffic. This led us to host the party on the middle day so people could easily join us without fighting the crush AND have a day for recovery before school started. It seemed to work as we had a large crowd filling every corner of the back garden.

For these parties, I always bring people down the long alley on the north side of the house. This gives me a great reason to trim back the plants, since we rarely use the alley during the rest of the year. It also gives a wonderful build-up to the garden as a whole. You come down along the house, past plantings of Nandina, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Creeping Fig, all shaded by several mature Podacarpus trees. At the end of the alley you can glimpse our young Redwood tree, its shaggy red bark shining in the sun.

Our friend, Enrique, suggested placing a large, antique wardrobe across the far end of the alley in a fitting tribute to Narnia. Of course, I am in no shape to portray charming Mr. Tummnus, though.

A potluck seems just right for the garden, so everyone brought something for an appetizer or a dessert and Rosanne and I cooked up a pasta feed like you have never seen before. We had 4 types of pasta sauce, a pot full of penne, a lasagna and a baked polenta dish. It must have been good because I had one plate, stepped away to play some music and by the time I returned, it was all nearly gone. Just enough for leftovers on Monday! (Yummy)

As evening came on, several of us gathered our guitars for an impromptu jam session under the wisteria trellis. This space, with the addition of a few bales of straw has become the traditional "stage" during out outdoor parties. It is great to sit around playing music with friends under the falling dusk. I highly recommend it for any party you have.

More photos are available by clicking on the picture above.