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Monday, September 25, 2006

Elsewhere Online: Garden Rant: Online Botanical Illustrations eBook

Although newly formed, the Garden Rant blog is turning out some great posts and great information. Today's post, about an eBook on botanical art, is a interesting find. I have downloaded the book and taking my time working through it.

A perfect little gem for the coming Winter months.

Garden Rant: Thanks, Mo!

Mo has produced a cool new e-book all about botanical illustrations. It's quick and easy to download from her website, and it's a useful guide to online resources for old botanical art. (Continues)

(Via Garden Rant.)

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Paying for my sloth

Ah, there comes a times when we all have to pay for our sloth.

I have been ignoring the north rose bed in the front garden for a while. This is the one that was dug up to replace the sewer line a few years ago. The turning of the sol caused the grass to just explode in this bed. Today, it was time to fight back.

It only took about an hour to use my wiggle hoe to pull out all the grass, but it was quite a bit of work. I needed the exercise, though, so my previous slough has, at least, provided me some physical activity.

At the end of the project I even remove another infection of tall grass and the dead junipers they were smothering. This is but the beginning of a big change in the front garden. The geometric azalea and juniper beds are slowly going to change into more naturalized beds. Not only will this make them more attractive, it will also make them much easier to maintain.

Off now to nurse my sore shoulder and arm from all that hoeing.

Be well!

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Douglas on KNBC's "Your LA" Discussing Podcasting

Well, it finally occurred. I guess I didn't end up on the cutting room floor, as can sometimes happen.

Today's episode of Your LA (http://myspace.com/yourlatv) included a 2-3 minute segment of yours truly discussing podcasting.

In case you missed it (What, you didn't set the TiVO for this once-in-a-lifetime event? (SMILE)) I have linked the video here. Click on the picture to view:

Link: Douglas on KNBC's Your LA (Video)

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Elsewhere Online: How to make a seed-starting calendar

If I was more of a vegetable grower, this article from Readymade would find a place in my gardening journal for sure. As it is, perhaps it can help out a few of your who don't consider annuals "too much" work, like I do. (SMILE)

That said, I really need to get on the ball and figure out what I am going to plant when the rains come. There are several areas of the garden that could use some TLC.

How to make a seed-starting calendar

Here in the SF Bay Area, we are really lucky - we have virtually year round gardening weather. Fall is considered our second spring, and if I planned my calendar correctly, I should have fresh peas from the garden for Thanksgiving.

The challenge is knowing when to start seeds. (Continues)

(Via ReadyMade Blog.)

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cleanup this week

More cleanup this week in the garden, as much for its own purposes as preparing for any Fall planting we might engage in.

Working in the back garden, we are slowly, but surely dismantling the wood pile that has been with us since we moved in. I have burned a few pieces, but, even after repair, our fireplace still smokes quite a bit, so we don't really use it. I have already sent 2 complete garden bin loads away with probably 2-3 more to got. It may take a little time, but as with other piles of garden debris they eventually get moved out.

we are also "de-littering" the small woodland garden in preparation for upcoming leaf drop. Despite the fact that all the trees are evergreen, they do go through cycles of dropping more leaves in the Fall and winter. Also, we will, have to contend with the leaf drop from out Ash, Camphor, Elm and Wisteria anyway, so we might has well get a head start on the other areas.

As we worked in the garden on Tuesday morning, we were surprised by what looked like an immature red-tail or red-shouldered hawk. He flew in and perched directly above us for almost 15 minutes. I suppose he was upset we were disturbing his hunting. As we got back to work after his departure, we found a mourning dove hunkered down beneath the feeder, totally camouflaged in the leaves and unwilling to move, even as we approached very closely. I thought for a moment the dove might have been a "near-miss" from the hawk, but it quickly flew away once we approached closer.

We are always amazed at the "little wilderness" we have established here in urban Van Nuys.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Book: Fields of Plenty by Michael Ableman

Fields of Plenty: A farmer's journey in search of real food and the people who grow it

MIchael Ableman leaves his own farm in Canada in order to visit other organic farmers throughout the United States. He is on a search for "real food" among all the industrial agriculture that farming has become.

The people he visits are all quirky, but each in their own unique ways. They share one common concern, though, and that is the dilution of the term "organic" as it applies to food and agriculture. As with any popular trend, the organic movement is now in the domain of government and bureaucracy with all the costs and benefits that brings.

Reading this book was like returning to my childhood when I rode from farm to farm with my father as he repaired farm equipment for all our neighbors. In return, they would harvest our fields in the Fall. It was always interesting to see how each farmer found their own path through the wilderness...choosing different equipment, different crops, different methods. I found that Ableman's experiences ring true to my own experiences growing up.

Like all good books about food, this book made me hungry as I moved from chapter to chapter. Even though I am a notoriously picky eater, the thought of tasting a ripe peach, fresh from the tree, or blackberries straight from the bush made my mouth water.

It is good to know that there are still farmers who hold to a smaller ideal in their farms -- who nurture each plant with the care it deserves, coaxing out the best food possible. You should seek them out at your local farmer's market. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Subscribe to AGN Feed via email, RSS or email group

The podcast download problems we have been having lately (see this post on Career Opportunities) point out a major issue with how I communicate with you. If you only subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or other podcatching client, you are cut-off from the information flow if anything goes wrong with the the podcast delivery.

I will be releasing a short audio podcast, and a PDF download for those who I can't reach directly via the blog, but I wanted to talk to those who do read the blog, too.

As a way of keeping you all "in the know" I would like to suggest that you subscribe to the AGN Email Mailing list, subscribe to the AGN feed using a text-based RSS reader, such as Google Reader, or use this new service from FeedBurner which allows you to subscribe to the AGNp feed and have it delivered directly to your email inbox.

Enter your email address:

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As always, if you have any questions or comments about A Gardener's Notebook, the podcast, the blog or any aspect of the WelchWrite web site, I would love to hear from you.

Send you emails to agn@welchwrite.com, call our listener line at 206-338-5832, Skype Me (douglaswelch), or IM me via AIM (welchwrite)

Friday, September 08, 2006

A late evening, neighborhood walk

Trying to de-stress a bit today, so I took my second walk through the neighborhood this evening. While it is a little sticky, the high temperatures have abated for a while.

As you might guess, blooms and leaves catch my eyes as I walk, so here are a few cameraphone picts from my walk.

Click for larger versions

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

AGN Garden Education Challenge

Thanks to a timely email from DonorsChoose, I have decided to start the first AGN Garden Education Challenge. I have always felt that education, in a wide variety of areas, is an essential part of every child's life. Through education, they can make informed decisions about their lives.

I also believe that garden-related education offers up a unique and fun way to address hundreds of different education concepts, while allowing the children to engage in a hands-on, fun and creative activity. One of my best memories from High School, was our small, inflatable greenhouse that was the result of some grant money. It says something that the only class in which I received straight A's, was Botany, taught at a college-level.

Using the DonorsChoose web site, I have selected 3 projects that focus on garden-related topics. You can donate some or all of the resources necessary or divide your donations among them.

Click on the graphic above to donate.

From their web site...

DonorsChoose is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund. (More information on DonorsChoose)

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Elsewhere Online: Gleanings from Old Gardening Books

It looks as if the Google Books project is starting to gain some momentum. The gardening blog, May Dreams Gardens points out several old gardening books that are available, in full, from Google.

I did a quick search on Audubon and birds and turned up even more information.

You can specify in your search whether to show all books in the system or only those that are totally viewable online.

Gleanings from Old Gardening Books

I explored Google Books this evening, an evening that is rainy, damp and cool and more like the end of September than the eve of September. Brrrrr… I am wearing long sleeves!

A few days ago, Google announced that they have added a download feature for books that are in the public domain. That drew my interest and I started searching through some of the books. I’ve just started looking and here are some of my finds: (Continues)

(Via May Dreams Gardens.)

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

WelchWrite Web Cam Online

I have toyed with the idea of setting up a web cam so I could use it during my Skypecasts and interviews, but now I have it up and running quite frequently.

Today, I am showing a feed of the bird bath in my garden as our temperatures push towards the 100 degree mark.

Current Web Cam Picture

Click to visit the webcam page!

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Monday, September 04, 2006

The Summer Party, a book review and more - September 4, 2006

Listen to the Podcast

Theme Music: The One by The Woodshedders, aka the Hot Club of West Virginia, courtesy of the PodSafe Music Network

I'd love to hear what's going on in your garden. Post your comments here or email them to agn@welchwrite.com.

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