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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ferns are going , going, gone

It looks as if we are going to lose the second tree fern in the front garden, right by the front porch. As you might be able to see from the picture, it has had this large chunk missing out of its stem for a long time, but it continued to grow. Since we lost its neighbor, though, it has steadily gone downhill. I don't know if it some sort of water issue or if they died back as a result of the termite fumigation we had a few months ago. Ther eis no easy wasy to tell.

We had another major garden crisis today. The water line that runs from the water main in the front garden to the hose taps in the back garden sprung a leak...a major leak. I am not sure if it it is related to the sewer work we had done a few months ago or not. It is possible, as the ground has been subsiding where the trench was dug. Maybe the pipe got stressed in the settling of the ground. Not sure -- Hey, the plumber just arrived! Time to go find out the damage.

Update: Problem solved for $150. New copper piping should give us problem-free usage in that area, at least.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Book: Stone Style

This is great book on using stone in decorating your home and garden. I noted several projects to try when I get some free time, including a sandstone clock, incense holders, stone drawer knobs, stone magnets and tacks, stone stamps and pebble candles.

Stone Style

Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon

Here is the photo from a local paper of Joseph and I at the Lazz Concert I mentioned in my last post.

For whatever reason, the photographer of The Acorn, a small, regional paper for the Thousand Oaks/Simi Valley area, finds Joseph quite photogenic. This is the second time we have appeared in the paper. By the way, I am not asleep in the picture, but concentrating on the sketch I was drawing. (SMILE)

Click for a short story from the paper and links to a larger image!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Why Leaves Change Color

Why Leaves Change Color

I must admit that Fall is the season I miss the most since moving to California. I love the colorful falling leaves and the unique smell of of the Earth settling down for "a long winter's nap".

This site, from the St. Paul Office of the National Forest gives some insight into the natural processes that create the dazzling show each year.

Recommended by Jo Ann at Goosing Your Muse

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Tumbling into Fall...

Well, as is the normal method to the LA madness, Fall seemed to arrive today, unannounced, but not unwelcome.

Fall is notoriously short each year, so we made the most of it. Temperatures never rose above the lower 70's and there was a brisk wind out of the southwest. As an added benefit we took in the final concert of the Summer at Peter Strauss Ranch(PDF) in the Santa Monica Mountains. It was a wonderful little Jazz Quintet who did 2 sets under the towering oaks and eucalyptus trees. Occasionally, both audience and performers were struck with falling leaves and bits of bark, but there was something a bit magical being outdoors, listening to nice music, on such a grand day.

Hopefully, these moderate temperatures will remain for a while. This will let me get into some Fall planting throughout the garden. Rosanne and Joe were kind enough to plant some more lavender in the front garden, although there are now some bulbs that need to be replanted there, as well.

I need to get up on the roof and sweep away all the leaves from the Summer before the first rains come. This is one of the problems in having so many mature trees in the garden. They drop a substantial number of leaves that need to be dealt with on a regular basis. If I don't get them up before the rain arrives the can turn into a solid mat that suffocates other plants and is almost impossible to blow away using my electric leaf blower. I know this from experience. One year, after a particular lack of attention, I had to rake every last path and bed to remove all the debris. It is much easier to take care of it in small pieces.

I have been seeing large bags of daffodil bulbs in the stores, so now it is time to grab a bunch and get them in the ground for an even better Spring bloom. There are also other plants that can be planted in the Fall here, so I need to investigate them further

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Event: Pesto Day

In Appreciation of our Learning Garden Volunteers and to Welcome New Garden Angels

Join us for


SEPTEMBER 25th 1pm - 5pm

The Learning Garden, Venice High School

Tickets - $3, in advance, $5 at the gate

Pick basil & make fresh garden pesto with The Learning Garden community!
Enjoy a light harvest supper out on the chi patio together with refreshments and music!!!

Support The Learning Garden's Fundraiser- Auction at the same time.

Available for your purchasing pleasure Exquisite Basil Pesto, Culinary and Medicinal Herb Plants, Selected Own-root Roses, Visionary Garden Cards and unexpected surprises.

PLEASE RSVP by Wednesday, September 23rd to:

Earth Spirit Agape @ Earthspiritagape@earthlink.net or The Garden Master @ 310.722.3656
www.thelearninggarden.org / www.agapelive.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Event: Summer Botanical Drawing Workshop

Summer Botanical Drawing Workshop

TUES 9/21 11am - Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

For artists of all levels.

Draw or paint plants, while learning more about our native flora.

Group size is limited. Reservations required 323-656-3899. 4hrs WODOC

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Cornerstone Festival: The Art of Landscape Design

NPR has an audio story (with pictures) on the avant-garde Cornerstone Festival: The Art of Landscape Design.

This is a collection of gardening as art form, focusing on hardscape and artwork as oppossed to traditional plantings and plants. It sounds like an excellent place to get you thinking about both gardening and art and developing new ideas for your own garden. Much like high fashion, you may not want to duplicate these gardens, but you might find your own ideas within.

Monday, September 06, 2004


Although the temperatures are more like July, the trees and shrubs seem to know that it is the beginning of Fall.

I noticed yesterday that both the Locust tree and the Wisteria in the back garden are starting to turn color. With temps in the 100's, though, I don't thing we are going to be feeling like it is time for cider, pumpkins and corn shocks for a while yet.

We are still watering on our Summer schedule and that will continue until the temperatures come down and the rain finally decides to fall. Sometimes this doesn't occur until November or December, though, so it could be a long wait.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Longing for greener pastures

I know I have been in the city too long when scenes of open fields, country roads and waving wheat immediately sends me into wistful revelry. I don’t know how it happens, but I suddenly find myself staring at a news story or television show and wondering how to get back to a place where I am not surrounded by millions of people in every direction.

You might think my garden could offer up some solace and, in fact, it does. Wandering through my small little plot of relative wilderness helps to ease my mind, but it almost as if the pressure of the city is constantly there, pressing down on me from every side with no way to escape.

I need to consciously remind myself that there is a rare beauty to my garden. Even though I night see all the troublesome areas and the work that needs to be done, there is a sense of wholeness and comfort to be found there. I am made most aware of this whenever we have visitors. They don’t see the broken sprinkler head or the clump of dead Nandina. They see towering trees, a welcoming garden swing, roses abloom and birds a-flutter. My garden is a unique environment to them, whereas I see it with the “contempt” of someone overly familiar with its contents.

We have had a summer garden party every year for the last several years. This is a great occasion to invite people into our garden and remind me of its wonders. Unfortunately, this year, other commitments have left us no time in the schedule and I am feeling the results.

A garden needs appreciation from myself and others. Without it, I become jaded, grumpy, cynical and difficult to live with. Maybe missing the party wasn’t the best thing for me this year. Despite the cleanup work and organizational issues, I think I could have used a nice get-together after all. Woulda, coulda, shoulda always rear their heads at the most useless times.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

School Magazine Drive

The school year has just begun and we are already into our first fundrasier, the Magazine Drive.

If you are in the market to renew any of your subscriptions -- or start a new one -- please take a moment to check out the QSP Reader's Digest magazine store.

40% of your purchase will go directly to Joe's school, St. Cyril's.