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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Attract wildlife to your garden

Horticultural blog provides links to a Guardian article and the Wild About Gardens web site.



Horticultural: Hedgehog havens


In today's Guardian, how to attract wildlife to your garden, a propos of this.



(Via Horticultural.)

Friday, April 15, 2005

A Painted Garden?

A few days ago, I was walking to school to pick up my son when I noticed a lawn that looked...well...odd. I didn't see it at first, but as I got closer I noticed that where the grass met the sidewalk, the cement was also marked green. It seems that someone, for some reason, PAINTED THE LAWN!


Now, this lawn was not in particularly bad shape and with all the rain we had this season, it shouldn't have been turning brown. Still, there it was...painted.


So, I started thinking of reasons why the owners might have decided to take this action. I suppose it could have been a food coloring-based color and perhaps it was part of a re-seeding project. Still, I didn't notice any seeds or water run off. Perhaps it needed to be greened-up for a television or movie shoot. I hadn't seen any production companies in the neighborhood and they are sort of hard to miss, with all their tractor-trailer rigs, lights and people. Maybe they were trying to spruce it up to take pictures for real estate brochures? I didn't see any For Sale signs, though.


I guess I will never know what happened to that lawn unless I run into the owners next time I am there. Until then, it remains yet another LA garden mystery.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Quick work, but much is accomplished

(A complete photo gallery for this entry, with larger versions and additional photos, is available here) or by clicking the individual photos



After baseball practice this morning and a trip to the local farmer's market for lunch (fresh crepes...YUM!) I found myself back at home. There have been a few small tasks on my gardening list that I haven't had a chance to get to, so I figured I might do one of them, just to give myself some sense of accomplishing something in the garden.




We had been given a small aloe plant by a friend when she moved to Hawaii a few months ago. I had transplanted it into a bigger pot, but, other than that, it really didn't get much attention. Recently, I noticed that it was doing very well and even throwing off some small sprouts along its base. Since it was growing nicely, I figured I would put it into the ground where we recently lost our 2 tree ferns. Mature tree ferns are very expensive and current finances don't allow me that much discretionary income to spend on plants. You can't get any cheaper than "free", though, so we will see if this aloe settles into this spot.


Nearby, we have had a small shrub rose growing in a pot. Years ago, I had collected seeds from a neighbors Passionflower fine and spread the seeds in this pot. Nothing happened for the longest time, them we saw sprouts and we now have a relatively vigorous vine. We haven't seen any flowers, yet, but the butterflies absolutely love it. We can almost always find larvae of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly on the plant, happily munching away. Since it appeared to be well-established in this plot, I figured I could move it into the ground. I did have to extract the shrub rose from the pot, though, and this took a few minutes. Now, though, the vine is in the ground and the shrub rose is transplanted back into the pot with room to grow.




Finally, friends had given us a Kalanchoe years ago as a house plant. I don't do very well with houseplants in general, and the cats tend to eat them, so this one found a home next to the house, outside the kitchen. It, too, took well to its surroundings and was bursting the seams of its plastic pot. To give it a bit more room, I found an old nursery pot, added some new soil and plopped him in. Now the plant can, at least, stand up on its own instead of toppling over every time the wind blows. I have placed it near the front door for a splash of color.


I figured that was a good list of accomplishments for the day, but there were a few other pictures I wanted to take. I posted picture of my Clytostoma vine in bloom a few days ago. That was a video capture, though, and not the greatest quality. If you check out the gallery for this post, you will find a digital still picture which shows a bit more detail.


While I was poking around back there, I came across this gorgeous specimen of the fungi realm. I don't have any fungi books to look up exactly what variety it is, but it is doing its job and breaking down an old Podocarpus stump from years ago. This is also a testament to all the rain we had this year. It is usually much too dry in my garden to grow mushrooms, especially ones of such size.