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Friday, July 14, 2006

Playing with my new cameraphone - Sunlit Daylily

I just got new cell phones for the family and they come with the typical cameraphone. It doesn't take very good shots, but it does allow you to capture those "spur of the moment" shots you might have missed before.

Here is a show of a daylily growing outside the Robek's in a local shopping plaza. The color of the light through the petals caught my eye.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Elsewhere Online: Propagate Your Shrubs from Softwood Cuttings

Propagate Your Shrubs from Softwood Cuttings

A nice article on how to get more plants from the plants you already have, courtesy of Fine Gardening Magazine.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Japanese Maple with heat/sun damage?

This photo shows what happens every year about this time. Although the tree is in a shaded area the high heat seems to cause the leaves to curl and turn brown. There is no obvious sign of disease and it seems to happen every year when we get our few weeks of 100+ temperatures.

I have read else where that Japanese Maples are susceptible to sunburn so I guess I will just have to chalk it up to that cause. It doesn't seem to cause and major damage, but it can look a bit unsightly. Moving the tree is probably out of the question as it is moderately large and I am not sure where else in the garden it might go.
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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On my wishlist: Edirol R-09 Portable Digital Recorder

After having an opportunity to use this unit and hear its sounds quality, I have decided to add it to my Amazon Wish List and start reserving listener/reader donations towards purchasing my own unit. Special thanks to all who have donated in the recent weeks

I used my friend's Edirol R-09 to record my interview with Keri Dearborn, which listener's of A Gardener's Notebook have heard over the last few weeks. This interview was recorded with no additional equipment...just the recorder sitting on a chair between us while we talked. In fact, you can see the unit, tiny as it is, in the photo posted along with that podcast entry.

The R-09 also allows you to connect any sort of external microphone to the unit including lavaliere microphones for doing interviews and shotgun mics for long distance recording. My friend, Michael, has also simply fitted the windscreen for his shotgun mic (usually called a "muff") directly over the top of the unit to shield it from wind noise when using it outside.

This unit would make it so much easier to do interviews for the podcasts as well as un-tether me from my computer to do sightseeing tours and ad-hoc, man-on-the-street conversations. It would also make it very easy to record conference sessions and speeches that I attend.

So, if you have been waiting for a direct, tangible reason to donate to Career Opportunities or A Gardener's Notebook, here is where some of you money would be used.

Make a donation for the Edirol R-09



Link: My Amazon Wishlist
Link: Edirol R-09 at Amazon.com

Returning home, cleanup, book review, and gardening dirty tricks - July 11, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Shout-out!

A Garden by the Ruins near Narberth blog gives AGN a nice shout-out!

Check them out!

Sowing the seeds of eco-terrorism?

Last Sunday an odd article appeared in the Los Angeles Times, (Was flower just a dirty trick?, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2006). It seems some developers in Sebastopol, California are accusing ecological activists of planting an endangered plant species on their property in an attempt to slow or derail development.

The California Department of Fish and Game made an investigation and declared that the endangered plants had been transplanted onto the site, although information regarding how they came to this decision is sketchy. The developers went so far as to call the act "eco-terrorism."

On one hand, I have always taken issue with groups that use the Endangered Species Act as an all-purpose club against development. In my mind, the too eager use of the Act diminishes its usefulness and importance when endangered species are truly involved. Too often people are only seeking to stop development instead of protecting any individual species.

On the other hand, the planting of an endangered species is a truly inspired and graphic attack. Let the plants speak for themselves. Let them show where their habitat is found and how it might be destroyed. It is the closest thing I can find to giving them their own voice. For the developers to call this act, if indeed the seeds where scattered by humans, eco-terrorism is heavy handed and ludicrously extreme. Scattering seeds is a far way from blowing up oil pipelines, destroying logging equipment and spiking trees. Who is really being hurt here? Development should always be carefully considered and if a few simple flowers can engage people in conversation and consideration, all the better.

My own fear is that this event will put a chill on the various guerilla gardening efforts around the world that seek to turn blighted, ignored areas into charming and inspiring public gardens.

It will be interesting to watch the outcome of this event and see if other attempts to use plants as protest begin to sprout.

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Book: The Lost Gardens by Anthony Eglin

The Lost Gardens, the second in a (hopefully) on-going series by Anthony Eglin picks up the story of Professor Lawrence Kingston following the murder and intrigue surrounding the discovery and theft of a unique blue rose, the Holy Grail of gardeners. This story is recounted in "The Blue Rose" and my review can be found in this previous post.

In this new story, Kingston is hired to restore a huge manor garden to its former glory after the property is inherited, unexpectedly and unexplainably, by a young, American woman. When a dis-used chapel is found on the property, complete with a skeleton in its well, Kingston is again involved in detective work, archeological mysteries and murder.

While not quite as action-packed as the first book, The lost Gardens is a grand combination of gardening lore, history, mystery and action-adventure. Kingston become even more likable than before, less curmudgeonly and might even be falling in love again.

Eglin gives a charming feel to the English countryside, despite the untoward events that occur and leads the reader down a wandering garden path to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.

I look forward to more books in this series that combine my interests in gardening and my love of a great mystery.

Link: The Lost Gardens by Anthony Eglin
Link: The Blue Rose by Anthony Eglin

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Carrotwood Fruit and the Mockingbird


Carrotwood Fruit
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Since we returned from Hawaii, I have noticed a mockingbird frequenting the garden more than ever before. I thought, perhaps, that it had a nest in the garden, since it wasn't making the usually plaintive call of the male seeking a mate, but only a loud chirp every so often as it flitted about the garden.

While there might be a nest, it seems more likely that the mockingbirds are here to enjoy these carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) fruits that have started to appear on most of my trees. In fact, this picture from a fellow Flickr user shows a mockingbird investigating the fruit of a carrotwood.

A little Google searching turned up a host of information the carrotwood, including the fact that the USDA in Florida considers it a noxious weed. This is a surprise to me as, here in California, they are widely used in new sub-divisions to create quick, evergreen growth. I haven't noticed them being very invasive in our wetlands area, unlike the killer bamboo and pampas grass you often see. I also haven't noticed any volunteers from the carrotwoods over the years. The native fan palms and the elm trees are much more troublesome in that regard. It only goes to show that you should do your research before planing in your garden, just to make sure it won't become a problem later.

I had several more of these trees in the garden, but I think I am now down to 3 or 4 from an original 8 or 9. The previous owners had overplanted dramatically, so we have spent the last 10 years editing and refining the garden down to more manageable roots.

It is good to see that the carrotwood fruits aren't going to waste. They are another great way to attract different varieties of birds to my garden.