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Friday, March 31, 2006

Theodore Payne Foundation - California Native Plant Tour

The Los Angeles Times Home Section offered a large an excellent article on the Theodore Payne Foundation here in the San Fernando Valley. This weekend they host their Garden Tour -- opening 30 gardens across the Southland.

ayne tour: The gardens are open this Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $10 a person. To review tour stops and buy tickets, contact the Theodore Payne Foundation, 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley, (818) 768-1802, or go to www.theodorepayne.org.

A wild vision, a wild tour
Theodore Payne Foundation's 30-garden tour accents natives.
By Emily Green, Times Staff Writer
March 30, 2006

For most of the 46 years that the Theodore Payne Foundation has worked to educate Angelenos about the splendor of native flora, the group has been largely dismissed as weed huggers. Payne was an obscure English seedsman who championed wildflowers. The California dream was supposed to be about roses in January, not sagebrush. Yet three years ago, the foundation finally discovered its secret weapon: beauty. It would let the plants do the talking. It would stage a garden tour.

Link: Theodore Payne Foundation
Link: A Visit to the Theodore Payne Foundation Photo Gallery

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Saturday, March 25, 2006


The folks at la.foodblogging.com offer up some great links to Tomatomania and the Tapia Brothers Tomato "Festival" just a mile or so from the house.

Due to my odd food phobias, texture issues and such, I don't really like whole tomatoes, although I love tomato-based sauces. Still, delving into the variety of tomatoes that are available is interesting and could, perhaps, lead me into a deeper appreciation of tomatoes.


Do you love tomatoes? I like them. However, I can’t say I’m a tomato fanatic. However, there are people who are. Check out the people at Tomatomania.

So how did this non-fanatic find out about Tomato maniacs? [Continues]

(Via la.foodblogging.)

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Monday, March 20, 2006

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Let me know what's happening in your garden. Give it a try!

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Lecture: Inside Out, Outside In: Landscape, Architecture and the Getty Villa

Inside Out, Outside In: Landscape, Architecture and the Getty Villa
Thursday April 20, 2006 -- 8 pm
Auditorium, Getty Villa

Wim de Wit, head of Special Collections and Visual Resources at the Getty
Research Institute and co-curator of the exhibition The Getty Villa
Reimagined, will discuss the role of the natural landscape in Machado and
Silvetti's renovation of the Getty Villa. This lecture will explore various
features of Machado and Silvetti's redesign—such as the visitor entry
sequence, the creation of windows and skylights in the Museum, and the
construction of the outdoor theater—that helped link interior and exterior
spaces and redefined the Getty Villa's relationship to the Malibu canyon

Note: Reservations available beginning March 23.

Link: Getty Center Web Site
Related: Previous posts about the Getty
Link: Books and more about the Getty Center

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Welcome, O' Spring and shed your warming light...

That's right, Spring's a-coming tomorrow. The Vernal Equinox arrives and the days begin to grow longer than the nights until the Summer Solstice starts the trend towards Winter on June 21.

What's that you say? Snow on the ground. Snow in the air. snow on the tulips. Well, yes, the coming of Spring doesn't always mean the coming of Spring weather, that is for sure. I remember that in my Ohio hometown the first day of Spring usually meant snow showers of some sort. Sometime light, sometimes heavy, but almost always.

Even here in Van Nuys we have been having wet and blustery Spring-like weather for the last couple of weeks. It is great for the garden, and I try to appreciate these days. Soon they will be replaced with 90-100 degree temperatures. Ish!

So, get out there and shake off your Winter blues. Sharpen your tools and make preparations...for the garden is coming alive again!

Link: Previous mentions of Spring

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Last Year/This Year

Last Year
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
A photo from a short hike I took last week. The dried head from last year stands out against the new grow from this year.

Wildflowers are starting to hit their stride here, although they were few and far between on this walk.

More photos are available on Flickr.com. Click the photo to see my collection there.

Link: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Link: Rocky Oaks

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Flowers from the Getty

Blue Flowers
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Here is a great shot for use as a desktop picture. You can download the large version directly from Flickr.com. (Click the picture to link there)

We took some out of town visitors to the Getty Center last weekend and I found a few shots like this when wandering the garden there. I have a photo tour of the garden from 2003 available here.

Link: The Getty Center
Link: Walk through the Getty Garden Photo Gallery
Link: Books abou the Getty Center

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Walls, garden photos, bulb care, full moon gardening and more - March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bugs in the garden paper crafts

More great paper crafts, this time via ReadyMade, the blog of the great magazine that presents all sorts of DIY projects for almost every aspect of your life.

The Rodale Institute provides these excellent models, educating us all in the amazing world that exists just outside our door or, in the case of the bacteria series, right inside our own bodies.

There are enough activities here to keep everyone busy through even the longest rainy day.

Paper Garden

While they are probably meant for kids, these paper model projects featuring assorted plants, insects, and organisms are fun projects for any age. Models include your standard garden fare; lady bugs, and butterflies but take learning about the ecosystem of the garden to another level with nematodes, bacteria, and more.

(Via ReadyMade Blog.)

Related: Previous papercraft projects
Link: ReadyMade magazine at Amazon.com

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Weekend Project: Build a bird feeder

Here's a couple of quick projects to attract wildlife to your garden. Birdfeeders need not be pretty to be effective. Witness the ugly, yet functional, pole feeder that still sits outside my window, which I built from scraps 10 years ago when we first moved into this house. Its pole has rotted off at least once and the top is threatening to collapse under the weight of our well-fed squirrels. (SMILE)

So I guess that the coming demise of this feeder has me looking for alternatives. Something that doesn't cost $100 or more.

Weekend Project: Build a bird feeder

Lowe's has posted a guide for building a bird feeder from wood scraps you've got let over from other handy-man jobs.

Whether you're feeding birds for the winter or attracting them to your yard in the spring, these feeders are a great way to recycle your shop scraps. This also makes a great project to share with a child.

With spring just around the corner, this should make for a nice project that'll bring some birds to the backyard.

(Via Lifehacker.)

Related: Previous mentions of bird feeders
Link: Bird Feeder Items from Amazon.com

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Monday, March 13, 2006

New Maple Leaves

New Maple Leaves
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
The Japanese Maple is bursting with new leaves.

I love the colors on this tree, which appear both at the beginning and end of the season. I has a nice, slightly weeping, habit and bobs and moves well in the breeze.

Mine has been fairly slow growing, almost a miniature, and doesn't encroach on other plants around it. It seems to do well, even though it is planted very close to a large eucalyptus that towers above it.

I wish I had more space for them in the garden.

Related: Previous mentions of Japanese Maple
Link: Books about Japanese Maples

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Garden wall saga completed

Well, this week brought the new back wall to completion. The crew took 2 days and seemed to move at a blistering pace, completing 5 feet on the first day and another 5 feet the next. It is amazing to see how quickly professionals can do something.

Here are 2 pictures of the wall 1/2 completed and the final look.

The wall is a bit taller than we would have liked, although it looks about 1 foot shorter from our side, as the finished grade on their side was about 2 feet lower than our property. One complaint -- they didn't backfill the wall on our side, so now we have a 6 inch trench that will have to be filled with something.

At least the new wall blocks out the lights from the car lot. It has been blazingly bright in my back office since the old wall came down. They had to trim some tree limbs to make space for the new wall, but it doesn't appear they did anything too drastic. I was asked to remove a few more vines, as they would encroach on the wall. I did as they asked, but now I noticed that it wasn't really necessary as the vines would have cleared the wall anyway. Grrr. Getting the vines to climb this new wall is project #1 now. I need to clear out the vines I cut and find the most vigorous ones to re-attach to the wall. I will probably head to the nursery to find some replacement vines, as well.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Build a Garden Bench

Cold Climate Gardening discovered this garden bench project, complete with PDF plans and an animated video detailing the construction. Cool!

Let me know if projects like this interest you and I will continue to hunt them up.

Build a Garden Bench

There are lots of spots on our property that need a bench that don’t have one yet. The most I’ve done so far to rectify this is to collect plans for building garden benches. Yesterday I got the latest issue of Lowe’s self-published magazine, The Woodpost. (You can sign up here if you’re interested.) In [...]

(Via Cold Climate Gardening.)

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tuned in...

Perhaps it is because of the construction behind the house, but this seasons I feel like I am more tuned into what is happening in the garden. I make a point of checking out the construction site at least once a day and then make a tour through the garden to check the progress there.

I was beginning to wonder if my severe pruning of the Clytostoma vine outside my office would be the end of it. I hadn't noticed any new growth on any of the 3 individual plants. Oh well, I figured I would have to remove them and start over. We all make mistakes.

Imagine my surprise and happiness, though, when I noticed new growth starting a few days ago. Little red buds and leaves are starting to appear at nodes along the vines and it looks like it will recover after all. Whew! The trellis where it grows is in need of some major repairs, but I think I am going to prop it up, get one more season's use out of it and then, perhaps, replace it with something new.

Once I removed all the vines from this trellis, I noticed that there was some pretty severe rot and termite damage. I was also surprised to find none up the uprights were actually in the ground. It appears that it has survived all these years just standing on the soil. The original owners hadn't even placed blocks or bricks under the feet.

I expect the locust tree to start budding any day now. According to my garden calendar, this occurred on March 15th in 20054 and March 18th in 2003. Not sure why I didn't note it last year, but life sometimes gets in the way of gardening.

The way I can recall these dates is that I simply record them directly into my computer calendar as they occur and then mark them as recurring yearly events. As much as I like my paper journals, I find this method of garden journaling much more useful. I still draw plans and make notes in my paper journal, but date-related items go right into the calendar.

We are finally getting the rain we so much need. In the past 2 weeks we have had several heavy storms and just as many good, long, slow periods of showers. Of course, once the rain ends, I have several irrigation issues that will need to be addressed. It is the same every Spring. Drip emitters are plugged or disconnected, soaker hoses blocked, hose fittings disintegrated. Just a part of maintaining the garden from year to year.

I hope all is going well in your garden. I would love to hear about it. You can send email to me directly at agn@welchwrite.com or post comments here on the web site.

Keep digging and be well!

Related: Locust trees
Related: Clytostoma

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Wildflower Walk (somewhat)

Pink Wildflower
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
I needed to get out of the noise of the city today so I headed out to one of my favorite parks, Rocky Oaks in the Santa Monica Mountains.

I really had just planned to go for a short hike, but even though it is early in the season, I came across a few wildflowers putting on a show.

My garden is much too shaded to support wildflowers, but I often wish I could grow them. Their show is short, but they really pack a lot of bang for the buck.

More photos on Flickr.com. Click on the photo to go there.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Pam's Little Garden Space

A big thank you to Pam's Little Garden Space for the link.

I am always looking for nice gardening sites and incoming links is one of the best ways to find them.

Thanks again, Pam!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Passionflower seeds did not germinate

Sprouting Passiflora SeedsI didn't realize that it had been over a month until I checked the date on the original post, but my passionflower germination test has ended. Whether it was due the non-viability of the seeds or some ineptitude on my part, none of the seeds germinated.

I don't know how old the seed pod was, but it is a very good possibility that the seeds had simply dried out too much. When I checked today I noticed the beginning of fungal growth on the seeds, so I assume they were on their way to rotting instead of sprouting.

This does prove the rule, though, that you should always do a germination test on any suspect seed before you jump headlong into any planting project.

Link: Previous mentions of Passionflower
Link: Book: Passiflora by Torsten Ulme

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Book: Firescaping by Douglas Kent

I came across this book in the March/April 2006 issue of Westways magazine, a publication of the California AAA.

As nearly everyone knows., wildfire is a significant threat here in Southern California and elsewhere. Planting the right type of vegetation in your garden not only looks great, but offers significant protection to your home.

If you garden borders on wildlands, this looks to be an interesting read.

Link: Firescaping: Creating Fire-resistant Landscapes, Gardens, And Properties In California's Diverse Environments by Douglas Kent
Link: Previous posts on wildfire

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