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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Melon Tips from GardenGate.com

Garden Gate Magazine has an email list of gardening tips that I recently subscribed to. Today they send out this tip out regarding the ripeness of melons. Since most melons don't ripen once they are cut from the vine, it is important to pick the right moment.

GardenGateTips.com: "Ripe for the picking

Mark Twain once said, "A ripe melon says 'punk' when thumped; a green one says 'pink' or 'pank.'"

This thump test works for some watermelons, but two less subjective clues may make picking the perfect watermelon easier..."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Gardens from Space

Playing around with Google Earth lately and thought about looking at some of the great gardens in the LA area. Since these gardens are quite large, satellite photos show good detail.

Here is a shot showing the entire Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, California.

Click for larger image

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Beetles on attack!

Luckily, my garden has never been plagued much by Japanese Beetles, but from the other gardening blogs I read, they are menace to some. From a usually non-garden source, here comes information on Japanese Beetles and traps you can use to reduce their populations in your garden.

Gadgets to the rescue?

Japanese Beetle Traps Stop Unwanted Guests from Eating Your Plants and Trees Japanese Beetle Traps are available from Amazon.com and its affiliates. [ Photo: Amazon.com ] The most unpleasant surprise of relocating to Newtown, PA was finding out that the area of town where we live is infested with Japanese Beetles. According...

(Via Operation Gadget.)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A few minutes in the garden today

Work has been absorbing all my time lately, so all I have been able to do is look at it from my office window. Thankfully, Rosanne and Joe have been doing a great job keeping it watered and neat. We have been having the firs long spate of hot weather this week, but the plants have been doing ok, thanks to them.

The old, dead apricot in the old backyard finally gave up the ghost as one end of the family clotheslines. I put it in several years ago when we re-discovered that air-drying our clothes, especially my ubiquitous Polo shirts, made them last months longer. Today, I extended the line to another, live tree a few yards away. I still need some help to get the line tensioned, but the main work is done. It will have to be re-tensioned in a week or so, after the few loads are hung, as the rope stretches quite a bit in its first few weeks.

I had also noticed the the wisteria vine was, once again, attempting to destroy its trellis and take over the surrounding trees, the garage, the air conditioner and the telephone line to the house. A few minutes with my trimmers will keep things in check until I can do my first, dramatic pruning of the beast this fall. It was horribly unkempt when we moved in and the years and made it more-so. I plan on bringing it back down to a few leaders per trellis leg, removing or replacing the lattice parts of the trellis and being more attentive to training it onto the trellis properly. Not only will this make it easier to maintain, but it should result in more blooms come next spring.

Our big summer party is coming in a few weeks and a cousin is arriving from Sicily this Tuesday. Maybe I can put this strapping 18-year-old to work helping me neaten the garden. I need to blow leaves throughout and do some minor trimming and pruning. Nothing big, but the heat does make it feel like more work.

Being busy with work is a good thing, but ignoring the garden always gives me a gnawing sensation that I am not doing my best for the house. We recently had the living room and dining room patched and re-painted, so now it is time to expend a little elbow grease outdoors.

Hope your garden is blooming well! Keep digging! -- Douglas

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mom! I got a rash!

If you are wondering what caused the itchy rash on your arm after you were working in the garden, this neat database might clear things up. (SMILE)

Col Climate Gardening serves up this link to the Botanical Dermatology Databse, a clearing house of information on those garden things that cause some of us to break out.

We once thought the lantana in our garden had caused a rash on my son, Joe, but subsequent exposures did not cause any problems. Other than that, we seem to be fairly free of irritating plants beyond the thorns of the roses and the sickle-thorn fern in the back garden.

The Botanical Dermatology Database If you have a rash or other skin problem that you think might be plant related, trying using the search engine at the Botanical Dermatology Database. I checked out my family's old enemy Pastinaca sativa (aka wild parsnip), and learned a few things. First of all, wild parsnip and cultivated parsnip are the same [...]

(Via Cold Climate Gardening.)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

New link to AGN

Rachel76 describes herself as "Rachel, 29. married, five cats. future nurse, currently unemployed. future Montana resident, currently a Colorado resident. future published writer, currently full of ideas. always interested in making our house a home."

Thanks for the link!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Wine Barrel Chair by Whit Mcleod

I came across this wine barrel chair while flipping through a copy of Dwell Magazine. A garden seemed the perfect setting for a chair made of recycled wine barrels. You often see barrels used as planters out here in California and many wineries sell them right outside their tasting rooms. Why not make a few bucks off of something that is worthless to them.

From their web site...
"Welcome to Whit McLeod Chairs. We make furniture from reclaimed and salvaged materials. Our Wine Barrel Folding Chair is 100% white oak, salvaged from wine barrels discarded by California wineries."

For more information, visit their web site at Mcleod Chair's

What I'm Reading...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

How to mow the lawn (and more!)

As if to prove that you can be geeky about anything, the linked site takes the "simple" task of mowing the lawn, and almost everything else to new heights. TradeTricks.com offers "Professional secrets from those in the know." Let's hope for more gardening-related posts in the future.
How to mow the lawn

The Tricks of the Trade weblog has advice for lawn-mowers looking for satisfying lines of green freshly-cut goodness:
When mowing your lawn, look into the distance beyond the edge of the area. Pick a point and walk toward it, and you'll start to get straight, purty lines. If your grass isn't too tall, you should overlap your passes only by the width of the wheels, which will cut the grass that was pushed over on the previous pass and give you nice pinstripes. Mow at a different angle each time to avoid creating ruts.

Greenskeeper [Tricks of the Trade]

(Via Lifehacker.)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Making a lavender wand - Garden Gate Magazine

We are visiting my sister, Denise, in Indio, California this weekend. It is hot, but we are headed to the mountains tomorrow for an small town 4th of July parade.

Denise had a copy of Garden Gate Magazine, which I have never seen before. It has a ton of great ideas and they also offer some free tips and hints on their web site.

Here is a photo essay on making a lavender wand.

Issue 62 - Make a Lavender Wand

After it is dried, the heads and buds of lavender can be used in soothing sachets, potpourris and bath bags. Or you can save the entire stem and use it in flower arrangements or as a fragrant fire starter for your woodburning stove.

Lavender is also an effective moth repellent. Here's how to create charming lavender "wands" that will keep your closet or drawer moth-free and smelling wonderful.