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Friday, July 30, 2004

The "Living" Desert

We are on the road this weekend doing book signings for my wife's book.

Driving the I-10 between LA and Phoenix always reminds me how much I love some of the desert plants. I always smile at the first Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)we see. The Ocotillo Fouquieria splendens, with its long, spindly branches looks even nicer when in full bloom. Finally, the Cholla cactus look so cuddly some have earned the named "Teddy Bear", but you certainly wouldn't want to get close enough to hug them.

The extreme climate of the desert can look empty and lifeless to some who pass through. All you need to do, though, is get off of the freeway, turn off the car and life will appear all around you.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Entropy Rules

It seems that I am dealing with an isolated pocket of extreme entropy here in Van Nuys. I decided to spend a few moments watering and generally cleaning up around the garden last night. I blasted the whitefly off the hibiscus and then started to check all the soaker and drip irrigation systems.

There was nothing much amiss in the rose beds, just a few drip lines disconnected, but everything seemed to be working well. I did notice, though, that the soaker hose along the front driveway was not working very well. I had added onto this hose a while ago and I think the low water pressure necessary for the drip system did not provide enough pressure to reach such a long distance. So, as a temporary fallback, I decided to reconnect that soaker to the front spigot and run the hose across the front of the (unused) garage.

In doing this, however, I noticed first that the hose reel was leaking water. I abhor wasting water, but new washers and tightening the fittings wasn't working. Finally, I realized that threads on the end of the hose had developed a crack, allowing the water to escape. I pulled out one of the hose ends I always keep on hand, and soon had it refitted. Of course, then the host reel connection itself decided to leak. Tearing that apart, I found some loose connections. Finally, the faucet end connecting, after all the on/off/disconnection/connection had started to leak, as well. Grrrr! Finally, though, I had it all back together and working well enough to give the thirsty driveway bed a good soaking.

The next step is to purchase some different manifolds and Y-adapters to allow everything to be reconnected to the mechanical times I use on the spigots throughout the garden.

Finally, as if this was not enough, this morning I awoke to a puddle-filled back garden. My son and I had been watering the roses there, giving them an extra drink after checking the drip system. When we moved to the front garden, he simply dropped the hose and followed. Sometime overnight, the pressure in the hose built up to such an extent that it blew the hose fitting, and the attached spray head right off the hose. Just what I needed, something else to fix. Thankfully, though, this is less critical as I use that hose infrequently.

Event: Summer Botanical Drawing Workshop

More info in My Word

Friday, July 23, 2004

Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) Cards, Postcards and Mousepads

I have taken my nice photo of Echinacea flowers and made it available on mousepads, greeeting cards and postcards.

You can browse and order by visiting my CafePress Shop

You can also browse my other shops by visiting my Products Page.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Book: Garden Style Projects

Another book to spur your garden creativity!

Garden Style Projects

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Gardening? What's that?

I have been so busy with work (computer consulting) and the heat has been so incessant, the biggest garden job I have completed is stripping the spent blossoms off the hanging geranium on the front porch. I am feeling quite unaccomplished and the garden is looking quite worn in all the heat. I removed the one dead tree fern a few days ago and now the second one is starting to look bad, as well. Not sure what is happening out front, but I am guessing it is heat and , possibly, age that is doing them in.

The 2 Nandina I transplanted into the back garden due to termite tenting started off well enough, but now they too don't look so well. I have stepped up the watering in that area, as I was probably underwatering for the temperature. Only time will tell if they will establish themselves. Honestly, that area of the garden seems to kill nearly everything I put there. The poor soil, along with the prolific tree roots make for a difficult environment.

My wife always jokes about "night garden" when it is so hot during the day. There has been one or two occassions when I set up my worklight and finished some long-neglected project, but usually evening means a little rest and then back to work on other things. This is one of the curses of working from home, you never really leave the office. Of course, I probably have a prettier view out my window than most people, though.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Hot and slow

It has been exceedingly warm the last several days. I need to remember to run the soaker hoses and drip system sometime today. I usually like to do it in the morning, but never got around to it.

We lost on of the tree ferns in front of the house this week. I didn't notice it was looking sickly until it was far too late to do anything about it. Its neighbor, just a few feet away seems fine, so I am unsure what might have happened. I liked the look of having a pair, so I might get a new one to re-plant in the general area.

Nothing much else going on in the garden at the moment. This time of year is always a slow period. The heat forces everything to slow down and wait, but a couple of weeks should bring a new growth and bloom cycle.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Gardening Freebies for the kids

Whitney Farms is offering a printable Kid's Gardening Guide (PDF format) and an order form for a free Gardening Kit.

From the web site...

"The kit contains a mini pot, soil and seeds, plus a coupon for Whitney Farms products to keep your plants growing healthy."

Via Freebies.About.com

Friday, July 09, 2004

Book: Small Space Gardens

Sometimes, when I don't have the time (or energy) to work in the garden, and I am tired of all the business books I am reading, I love a good gardening book. Books like Small Space Gardens, give me a chance to dream about additions and changes to my garden. Books can even get me motivated enough to get outdoors and do some small thing instead of constantly sitting at the computer doing "work". This is one of the hazards of working from your home. The computer is always calling out to you -- always making you feel that there is more important work to do.

So, for a few moments of my day, usually over dinner or in the quiet of the evening, I lose myself in my gardening books, dreaming of new flowers, new plants and new landscapes.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Wasps in the Garden

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a good story on "Taking care of wasps and hornets when they become pests" in a recent issue.

Over the years, I have learned how to live with wasps and hornets, as they have a definite place in the garden ecosystem. Still, when they decide to colonize near front entrances and in the garage, some action must be taken. This article gives you ideas on how to deal with them when they move out of their garden niche and into your personal space.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Event: 27th Annual Lotus Festival

27th Annual Lotus Festival

The Lotus Festival celebrates the people and cultures of the Asian and Pacific Islands. This event features a variety of cultural entertainment, exotic food, boutiques, a community health fair, dragon boat races, a childrenís courtyard, and a carnival. Donít miss the Saturday night fireworks display over the water.

W H E N : July 10 & 11, Saturday 12:00 noon - 10:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.

S I T E : Echo Park Lake, 1632 Bellevue Ave., Echo Park

C O S T : Free

S P O N S O R : City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks

I N F O : 1-888-LAPARKS (527-2757), http://www.laparks.org

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Huntington: Library, Art Collections and Botanic Garden

Here are 2 photos from our recent trip to The Huntington. You can read more about it in this entry from My Word.

There is always so much garden to enjoy and photograph, I am overwhlemed when I visit.