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Sunday, November 30, 2003

A Desktop Garden

I was just watching Under the Tree 2003 on HGTV and saw a short spot on this mini-garden that fits on a table top. This could be a great way to bring the garden into your home or office, even if you don't have time to get your hands in the outdoor soil.

Available from Sarut NYC for $25.

I would guess that a creative gardener could even figure out how to build one on their own. I might take a few minutes to think about that project myself.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

A Green Roof...

The Garden Spot in Houston, TX points to an article from their local paper today on a "green roof."

It is hoped that these rooftop gardens might be a way to reduce ozone levels in large cities and combat other forms of air pollution, as well.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US (in case I have any international readers out there) and the California branch of the family is gathering here at the Welch Homestead.

The smell of roasting turkey is filling the house as my sister and my son prepare the big bird. We will be joined today by friends as well, as we offer up our celebration to anyone who might not have other plans or is far away from their family.

Sometimes, after reading the daily newspaper or watching the television news, you really have to think hard about exactly what there is to be thankful for. Still, there are things, both large and small, that come to mind if you think about it. You just have to delve deep into your memories to find them.

I hope this holiday season finds you all well, wherever you many be.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Virginia Robinson Gardens - Beverly Hills

Thursday's Los Angeles Times has an article in the Home Section about the Virginia Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills.

Beverly Hills, con brio -- Los Angeles Times, Home, Page F3

The gardens have recently completed a restoration begun in 1997 and are open to public tours, by reservation only.

It might be interesting to get a group together for a visit sometimes. It sounds like an interesting and enlightening trip.

A Stink in the Air

Ah, November and time for everyone in the neighborhood to top dress their lawn with steer manure. I hate it. You can't take a walk without being assaulted with it on all sides. Heck, I even smelled it driving around with the windows up.

Thank goodness I don't have a lawn because I would not be able to use the product in my garden. Usually is cool during November so things aren't so bad, but this week the temperature rose back up into the 80's. Yeeech!

Luckily it shouldn't be too much longer before the smell disappears. Another inch of rain and all should be well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Locust in Fall

Click for larger image

Dramatically clear here today with the temperature around 75 degrees.

Last weeks rain has cleared out the sky and left it this striking blue. The yellow leaves of the locust tree off the back porch are quite striking when juxtaposed with it. I am surprised the rain didn't strip this tree as it usually does. Perhaps it wasn't as heavy as in the past.

It is supposed to warm up here for the next few days and then turn cooler again with a chance for rain. The evenings have been quite cool for the Valley, getting down into the 40's at night. It makes it fun as you get some feeling of the seasons change and the upcoming holidays.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Christmas Shopping?

Just a gentle reminder, if you are shopping for holiday presents through Amazon.com, you can use the WelchWrite Bookstore. Simply click on the link below to start your shopping and WelchWrite receives a small portion (around 5%) of each sale.

alt="In Association with Amazon.com">

You can also see some of my recommendations for books, hardware and software by visiting my Douglas Recommends... page.

Coast Journal

Coast Journal is a new blog focusing on, "a regular review of non-fiction books, primarily about plants and gardens, nature, with some history thrown in ," according to its owner, Valarie Adolph. Her reviews also appear on Amazon.com.

I am always looking for a new books, especially about gardening, so this should be a neat, new resource to add to my favorites list.

The Garden Safari

Taking a nearly obsessive approach to documenting their garden, Hania and Hans Arentsen, have created The Garden Safari.

Their site includes photos and sound from the large variety of fauna that inhabit or visit their garden. They have sections on birds, squirrels, insects and more. The site is illustrated with wonderful photos and a large amount of information on each item.

There are days when I wish I could document my garden in this detail, but, alas, I don't have the time, nor photography skills or equipment to make it a reality. It is nice to see, though, what can be done by someone who is deeply immersed in their garden and the place they live.

Via Metafilter.com

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The Garden Shed

While not unique to Great Britain, the garden shed is taken to a fine art there.

Check out the myriad examples on this site.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Garden pictures for your desktop

In honor of their 15th anniversary, Fine Gardening magazine is offering up 6 beautiful pictures for your computer desktop. These pictures are available in a variety of sizes for screens of various resolutions.

Via Gardening.About.Com

New software updates from Microsoft and Apple -- more info in My Word

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

One Board Birdhouse from Birds and Blooms Magazine

Here is my second build of this project from Birds and Blooms magazine. Just a little project to get ready for the upcoming nesting season.

We haven't had a lot of success with bird houses in the garden before, but I think that is partially due to the abundance of natural nesting areas. We always get 2-3 Mourning Dove nests atop the wisteria trellis.

This One Board Birdhouse is a great kids project as it only involves cutting straight lines. The only tricky part might be drilling the hole, as it is best done with a hole saw or large spade bit.

Once you have built this simple version, you could go on to customize it in many different ways.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Two more serendipitous garden book finds

I happened upon both of these books as I wandered through the library today. They are similar in nature, although the second, Private Landscapes, is more about architecture than gardens. That said, there are some excellent photos of the gardens that accomplish these "modern" architectural homes.

Urban Sanctuaries: Peaceful Havens for the City Gardener

Private Landscapes: Modernist Gardens in Southern California

Perfect Garden Day

Today just seemed like the perfect garden day. The temperature was cool, but not cold and the sun was shining brightly. I just came in, after spending an hour or so filling feeders, reading and planning, as some high clouds started to drift in from the south. This was enough to make it a bit too cool to sit.

There was a light breeze, just enough to turn my miniature windmill and rustle the drying leaves on the trees. The Japanese maple has turned brown, but it always seems to want to hold onto its leaves even after that. The locust is creating a yellow carpet just off the back patio, as it does every year.

Several of the neighborhood squirrels came by on their usual rounds, but seemed a bit surprised to find me waiting for them. They would pause on the fence, earnestly checking me out and making sure I wasn't a threat. Then I would hear them scamper along the fence behind me, heading for the big power pole at the back corner of the lot. Another decided to come across the garage roof, over the wisteria trellis, up the ash tree and over to the eucalyptus. I lost sight of him after that, but I will probably see him/her raiding the feeder sometime this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Between the rains, into the ground

Whatever the reason, I got the urge to put my daffodil bulbs into the ground this afternoon. The weather has been cool and dry the last several days, so it seemed like the right time.

Forty of these "King Alfred-type" daffodils went into the front bed and were interspersed among the roses along the driveway. This should give some color during January when the roses are cut back hard and look a little forlorn.

This weekend is supposed to bring rain again, so this should settle the bulbs in and give them a good start. I purchased these on a bit of an impulse, but hopefully they will take off and add another element to the front garden.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Early rain

Halloween night was almost spoiled by the first rain of the Winter last night. As I set up my little effects and such around 530p it started to drizzle. Luckily, the large elm tree in the front garden shields the driveway, so I was able to stay fairly dry while waiting for the trick-or-treaters.

We had about 100 kids of various ages. My little "leaf-blower ghost" effect, which pops up out of the garden has developed a bit of a reputation over the years. It is basically a trash bag pulled over my leaf blower and triggered with and X-10 remote control. Quite startling actually. Rosanne knows it is there, but I even scared her once during testing.

Around 815p the skies decided to stop fiddling around and actually rain. I tore down all the electrical parts and was comfortably ensconced back in the house by 830p.

I usually like to do a big garden leaf cleanup before the first rain of the years arrived, but this is the earliest that it has ever rained in our 17 years here in the San Fernando Valley. Now I have a mat of leaves on everything. It will take a little while for it to dry out enough to be raked and blown. I need to brush all the leaves off the roof of the house, as well. We have so many trees that it pays to sweep off the leave litter so it doesn't create a dam and force water under the shingles. We haven't had a problem with this since we re-roofed the large addition on the back, but better safe than sorry.

The locust tree outside the back door had already started turning and dropping its small leaves. The first rain usually knocks the rest of the leaves off in one fell swoop, but this this one came so early the leaves were a bit more firmly attached.

As happens every year, the first rain quickly brings forth the first bulbs. This backwards bloom always confuses me. Our Winter is like Spring most everywhere else in the country. I noticed some snow bells and daffodils starting to poke their way up. I never got my other daffodil bulbs in the ground, but figure I have some time before the next rain to do it.

It is a pleasure to get away from all the heat of last week and hopefully this will put an end to this years fire season earlier than normal. You might think the fire danger is greatest in June or July, but any firefighter will tell you that October and November are traditionally the worst, especially when we get a Santa Ana Wind as we did last week. By this time of year, everything is at its most tinder dry, waiting on that first rain of Winter.