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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Window Greenhouses

Martha Stewart Living Magazines has an excellent article on Window Greenhouses in the February 2004 issue. While the info isn't available online, it is worth a trip to the library to check it out. There are quite detailed designs and information on the plants that might thrive in the greenhouse, should you decide to add on to your home.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Greetings to readers from Providence

A hearty welcome to those of you who found AGN via a link from the Providence Journal and thanks for Sheila Lennon for adding the mention of AGN.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

New garden-related products available from Cafepress

I have added a new store to my Cafepress collection. It contains products with this picture, from my recent trip to Sicily. They are a great match for the gardeners in your life.

Check out the wide selection at:


Additional stores are also open at:



Nasturtiums and Paper Whites

The Paper-whites are in full bloom outside the back door. I am always amazed at their vigor each year. I once read that the smell of paper-whites is a bit like burning electrical wiring and I must say, that is true in some ways. The smell always catches me by surprise when I step out into the garden. Being a computer geek, the smell of burning electrical is never a happy thing, so I have remind myself that it is the flowers, not something about to blow up. (SMILE)

In the same bed, the nasturtiums I planted years ago are coming up again. A few years after we moved in I scattered some wildflower seed mix to try and fill in some holes. While most of the other flowers performed poorly, the nasturtiums from that mix naturalized and have returned every year. They are a really nice cover for the fading bulbs blooms as the summer progresses.

Not much rain in the last week. The storm I talked about a few days ago did indeed fall apart before it got to the Valley. I would like a nice steady rain to help out the transplanted roses from a week or so ago. I checked them yesterday and I am seeing signs of budding, so hopefully this means they will re-establish themselves and survive the summer. I will keep you informed on their progress.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Getting started with seeds

Martha Stewart Living Online offers up this great article on starting seeds indoors.

I am sure those of you in colder climes are itching to get back into the garden. Maybe starting seeds is a way to get your hands dirty while wiling away the reset of the Winter.

What I'm Reading...

Common to This Country: Botanical Discoveries of Lewis and Clark | The Adventurous Gardener


The weather radar shows rain approaching from the west, but you can never be sure here in the Valley. Oftentimes it skirts to the north or south of us and leaves us high and try. I would like anice gentle rainstorm to further settle in the roses we transplanted last week, I have been keeping them watered myself, but there is something about a rainstorm that just seems to make everything better.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


I got an email today from a reader, regarding the care of poinsettias received as Christmas gifts. I have never had much success with poinsettias, unfortunately. They always seem to dry up and wither soon after the holidays. That said, I haven't spent much time keeping them around either.

Here are a couple of articles I found that can provide more information on their care.

Keeping Poinsettias Healthy

The Poinsettia Pages

and the Google search I used to find them.

Discuss Gardening

Monday, January 19, 2004

Pruned and Returned

The roses have all been pruned now and the 4 roses I had to transplant have been returned to their rightful place in the front garden. I will babysit them for the next week or so to insure that they don't have any issues adjusting to their newly renovated area. I would hate to lose all of them, but sometimes things are beyond your control.

Discuss Gardening

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Azaleas A-bloom

Click for larger image

According to my handy gardening calender (actually just repeating entries in my electronic calender), the azaleas bloomed aroun d January 24, 2003. Our recent warm spell seems to have sped up the process this year. The earliest bloomers are always the large, mature plants in front of the house, with the smaller, more heavily pruned shrubs bringing up the rear.

Discuss Gardening

Dig around on Internet for gardening tools, equipment

Here is a host of great resources for garden shopping online from the Anchorage Daily News

[ Via All Headline News - Gardening News and Headlines]

Discuss Gardening

Saturday, January 17, 2004

You Snooze, You Lose

Hmmm....there is one problem with being a late sleeper and a late riser. This morning, the workmen arrived to finish our sewer line project long before I was awake. I hadn't had time to remove the rose bushes, so they did it on their own.

Unfortunately, instead of taking a nice root ball with each plant, they reduced them to something that looks like a bare root rose you might find at the nursury. I was a bit peeved, but really only had myself to blame, since I wasn't there to supervise.

I have taken all the plants and stashed them in a tub of water, to keep the roots moist. Once the work is done, I will transplant them back into their bed and cross my fingers. Where most gardeners would relish the opportunity to buy new plants, I have grown somewhat attached to these roses and would like to keep them around a while longer.

Wish me luck!

Discuss Gardening

Friday, January 16, 2004

Gardening on demand

There is nothing like a broken sewer line to force you into a bit of gardening.

While gardens are a wonder,however, large trees in close proximity to aged sewer lines are not a happy thing. The clay tile pipe from 1942/43 finally succumbed to age and roots and left us with major problems. Time to call in the plumbers!

We now have several large holes in the garden (6' long x 3' wide x 6' deep). So far, we have only had to sacrifice one azalea bush, but we were already planning on refurbishing that particular bed, anyway. We also got lucky, in that there had been a rose bush directly where this large hole is situated, but it died a few years ago. Finally, a lot of the digging is taking place in the alley, which only has plantings directly against the cement block wall.

New technology usually allows the plumber to pull new PVC piping along the path of the existing clay pipe with an interesting hydraulic machine. While this worked for a portion of the job, the plumbers found out that the original builders had placed the sewer line and gas line in the same trench. So, a large portion, aboutharms 20 feet will need to be completely trenched out and replaced by hand.

This change means that I have to move 5 rose bushes out of harms way. Of course, transplanting fully-grown rose bushes is a cumbersome task, so I looked for a few ways to make it easier. First, since it is pruning time here in Southern California, I decided to do the hard pruning before we dug them up. This will allow us to move them around more easily. Since I was doing these roses, I figured I might as well do the rest of the front yard (12+ roses) I was almost finished when a friend stopped by to chat, so tomorrow I will need to do the transplanting and finish up the pruning as well. I have some large trash bags that I will wrap around each root ball to prevent them from drying out. A quiet resting place in the shade should get them through the day without too much trauma.

I don't anticipate too many problems with the transplanting. Since the entire bed will be ripped up, I plan on taking very large root balls for each plant. This will allow me to easily reset them on top of the refilled trench once the job is complete. This will also cause as little root damage as possible. It will also give me a chance to redistribute the roses throughout the bed. The eastern end has been falling into heavier and heavier shade beneath a pine tree, so this should help. It will also help to disguise the hole that was left when the one plant died. By tomorrow night, they should all be happily re-installed in their new/old bed.

More later!

Discuss Gardening

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Take The Gold Line To The LA Arboretum

You can now get to the LA Arboretum using the new Metro Gold Line and Foothill Transit Bus.

From the arboretum's web site...

Just take your favorite MTA bus or train to Union Station, and then take the Gold Line to the Sierra Madre Villa station.

From there you can transfer to Foothill Transit busses that will take you within short walking distance to the Arboretum.

  • Take Gold Line to Sierra Madre Villa station.
  • Take Foothill Transit Bus #187 East
  • Get off on Baldwin & Colorado.
  • Walk south on Baldwin to the Arboretum entrance.

    For more information on the Arboretum, visit their web site:

    Discuss Events

  • Tuesday, January 13, 2004

    I posted this as part of my Events listings over at My Word, but thought it also might be interesting to local gardeners in and around Los Angeles.

    Nature Journaling: Wintertime

    SUN 1/18 11am

    Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

    Glories of Franklin Canyon

    Renew your spirit through nature journaling. Enhance the way you look at the natural world around you. Provide yourself with a record of your observations, thoughts, and feelings. Bring a sketchbook or pad, pencil, pen, and a small folding chair for your comfort. 2hrs WODOC

    From the Santa Monica Mountains Outdoors Guide

    Discuss Events

    Saturday, January 10, 2004

    Weblog Awards 2004

    The nomination form for the 2004 "Bloggies" is now up and operating. Stop by and nominate your favorite blogs (including this one...(SMILE) in a myriad of categories.

    Tuesday, January 06, 2004

    What I'm Reading...

    100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names

    Discuss Gardening Books

    Comune di Mascalucia, Sicily

    This is an old house and winery that has been turned into offices for the city of Mascalucia. One of the relatives works in this building and gave us a tour of the rest of the building, which is in great disrepair. They say in the next 2-3 months they are going to refurbish this part of the building and turn it into a museum.

    Even in the Winter, this garden is striking.

    Sunday, January 04, 2004

    Paperwhites and Daffoldils

    The paper whites and daffodils that were coming up before we left on our trip are now showing their first blooms. With all the rain we have had recently, I am sure there are more on the way.

    Saturday, January 03, 2004

    A special focus...

    Click for larger image

    This simple rock, lava from the flanks of Mt. Etna in Sicily, becomes an artistic focal point when covered with native mosses and simply left alone. This highlight, in an otherwise working garden, charms the eye and leads you to linger for a moment after the labor of picking fruit or olives.

    Rinaldi Garden, Mascalucia, Sicily

    Friday, January 02, 2004

    Rose Pruning Seminar

    It is that time of year again, when most gardeners prune back their roses to prepare them for their Spring growth spurt.

    Roger's Gardens, in Corona del Mar, is sponsoring a free rose pruning lecture with Cristin Fusano at 9am on January 10th.

    For further information and directions, visit the Roger's Garden web site at http://rogersgardens.com/

    Return from Sicily

    We're back from Sicily!!!...and processing tons of photos. I will be posting some stories from our trip as soon as I get readjusted to the time.

    Watch this space!