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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why I love perennials...

Coming home from my work the other day, I realized another reason I love perrenials. Onec you do something to them, it stays done...for a nice long time. (SMILE)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the trimming and cleanup I did on the the azaleas and juniper in the front garden. When I pulled into the driveway the other day, it still looked great...and it will continue to look good for almost a year.

No mowing the lawn every week. No weeding the vegetable garden. No planting and re-planting annuals every couple of months.

Sure, there is other work to do there...weeding the pathways, dead-heading the roses and trimming the fountain grass, but overall, it is very low maintenance.

Something that is always appreciated this busy time of year.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Goldfinch in the Garden

A week or so ago, I mentioned how the new bird feeder, with different seed, had attracted a Lesser Goldfinch to the garden. I finally got around to bringing some video into the computer and here are the results.

Goldfinch Frame Grab

Click to view the video

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Landscape Lights in the back garden

I have been wanting to install some small landscape lighting in the back garden for a while. In the evenings, the wonderful view outside my window turns into a black whole, so I thought adding some lights would help to extend our enjoyment of the garden at night.

I happened to notice this set of lights on sale at our local Osh (Orchard Supply Warehouse) store. We have one just up the street, and I needed a few other items, so we took a short Father's Day trip to pick them up.

Installation was painless, if not almost foolproof. You pull a short tab to activate the rechargable battery in each light, assemble the top, globe, stake and spike and place them wherever you like in the garden. A word of warning...don't try to press the light into the ground from the top. My son, Joe, did this, despite my warnings and shattered one of the plastic globes. I was able to put it back together, but figured I would warn you so you can avoid repairing anything.

Now, since these are solar lights, they don't generate as much light as a wired system, even a low-voltage one. That said, I think they add a nice accent to the garden at night. Time will tell if they get enough sunlight to operate each evening, but on this first night, they seemed to run until we were all in bed, and that is all you really need.

If I find I like this effect, I might think about installing a wired, low-voltage system to provide some uplighting to make the garden even more visible at night.

Link: Malibu 12 Pack Solar Powered LZ420-12 Black Polymer Walk Light Kit

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Friday, June 15, 2007

A Reader Letter: Rooting Willows

Laura D writes...

I hope it is okay to ask you a question. I have been searching the internet to research this and came upon your site. There is a large uprooted weeping willow tree that has many many sucklings sprouted on the trunk. If I take these sucklings and put them in water to root, then plant, will it eventually develop into a tree? Please advise.

Thanks, Laura D...

Oh yes!

It is my experience that trying to NOT root willow is more of a problem. (SMILE) In fact, a homemade rooting compound is usually made by soaking willow stems.

I would guess if you place the willow stems in a bucket of water, you would have roots very quickly. Then you could plant these small trees out as you wish.


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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Morning Glory - PaD 6/14/07

Morning Glory - PaD 6/14/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch
A lovely morning glory from our morning walk.

Backyard Zen from the Los Angeles Times

Japanese GardenToday's Home Section of the Los Angeles Times holds this wonderful article on the Japanese Gardens of Los Angeles and those who care for them. teh web article includes some beautiful photography, as well.

As much as I enjoy Japanese Gardens, I don't think I have the committment to care for one. They need detailed and loving care in cleaning, pruning and other maintenance. Such work does approach a Zen-like concentration, though, which is probably a very good thing, especially here in Los Angeles.

Backyard Zen Japanese gardens -- and the men who tend them -- have long inspired L.A.'s suburban soul.

IT'S a little after 8 a.m. on a slumbering block of tract homes in Panorama City, but Roy Imazu is already deep into a routine any choreographer would admire. There's not a wasted movement as he cuts up the floor with his partner, a trusty Honda power mower. He promenades briskly around the perimeter of the lawn, then closes in with an ever-tightening box maneuver. With a final pivot and push, he polishes off the last clump, leaving a tidy emerald carpet.

(Via Los Angeles Times - House & Garden.)

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

LIVE from the Garden - June 9, 2007

by Douglas E. Welch, agn@welchwrite.com
Reader/Listener Line - 818-804-5049

Links mentioned in this podcast:

The Lavender Fields - Photos
Animalbytes with Keri Dearborn
Squarefoot Gardening with Andy Helsby
A Gardener's Notebook Pictures on Flickr
A Gardener's Notebook Photo Sharing Group on Flickr

Listen to the Podcast

If first link does not play, try this one.

Podtrac Player

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

Lavender Photo Shopping BagLavender Photo Notecards BagLavender Photo Shopping Bag

I used one of my photos from our trip to The Lavender Fields to create these lavender themed products -- available from from CafePress.com

Support A Gardener's Notebook:

Join AGN Mailing List | iTunes Review | Digg.com | Podcast Alley | Call the Reader/Listener Line @ 206-338-5832

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Video: How To Propagate Semi Ripe Stem Cuttings from VideoJug

VideoJug is a great site for all sorts of how-to videos in a wide variety of topic. The recently sent an email letting me know that they had added many new gardening-related videos to thier site. A quick browse brought me to this video on propogating new plants. It is excellent, so I wanted to pass it along to you. I will continue looking through there site and highlight any videos I find interesting here.


VideoJug: How To Propagate Semi Ripe Stem Cuttings

Here is a great book on propogating your own plants, which I have highlighted in the past, Making More Plants by Ken Druse.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another Composter Assembled

Originally uploaded by dewelch
I assembled the second composter we purchased a few months ago. The first one is nearly full and already showing some completed compost at the bottom. This new unit, which went together very quickly, will allow us to unload even more material from our original open compost bin and let us get at he completed compost at the bottom.

The Amazon link above will take you to more detailed information on the composters. We bought ours at a discount, after attending a composting workshop sponsored by Los Angeles County.

I was going to make a video of the assembly, but I never seem to have the time, so I figured it was best to simply get it together and show you a picture for now, otherwise it might never have been put to use. (SMILE)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Garden Work Day! -- Yea!

Garden Still Life - PaD 6/2/07With so much going on in our lives a the moment, the garden has once again taken a back seat to new adventures, old jobs and other commitments. Today, though, we were presented with a complete Saturday with no baseball, no appointments, no errands, nothing.

Despite a somewhat late start, we have just come inside for some lunch after a good 3 hours of work in the front garden. It had been looking quite shaggy, of late, and I was getting a little embarrassed about the face we were presenting to the neighbors. The azaleas and juniper in the geometric beds missed their annual prune last year so I had to deal with 2 years of growth.

Overall, it wasn't too bad, though. This is one of the few times when we had all hands on deck, with everyone pitching in at one time and it actually went quite well. I had decided beforehand that I wouldn't try to do the entire front yard, as it usually leaves my arms as wiggly as wet noodles to hold the hedge trimmers for that long. Surprise, surprise, though, with a couple short breaks I was able to complete the whole thing. There is still a lot of raking and other cleanup to do, but we filled not only our own garden waste bin, but the neighbors, as well, so cleanup will have to spread out over the next several days.

While I was trimming, wife and son were clearing one of the geometric beds that had lost most of its plants over the 11 years we have lived here. This is part of our overall design change for the front garden. She wants a place to grow a few tomatoes and she loves the lavender we started in the front bed, so this newly cleaned up bed will be the beginnings of that. The front garden is gets more sun than the back, but neither one is perfect for growing vegetables. We will have to do some sun surveys and try to maximize those areas that get the most.

One way to gauge how much sun your garden receives is to do a time-lapse video of the area you are interested in. The sped-up nature of the video very clearly shows where the sunlight falls and for how long. You can even freeze various frames and market the farthest extents of the sun during different times of year,

Here is a slide show of our work for today. I hope yours was just as fun and productive.

Created with Paul's flickrSLiDR.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

My Friends: The Backyard Biodiversity Project - Day 1

My friend, Keri Dearborn, over at Animalbytes has started her own, personal, backyard bio-diversity project. She often writes about the wildlife in her garden, but now she is taking a systematic approach to documenting the life in her own little piece of the planet. I am reading everyday! (SMILE)

The Backyard Biodiversity Project - Day 1

...Today I started documenting the plant and animal species here on one small piece of the planet.

Field Notes:

This morning Zone 17, the driveway . I thought the first species would be a plant, but right now a fox squirrel is looking at me beligerently from the zone. She is the first living thing recorded on this first day an alien species, aggressive and thriving. Above me a mourning dove watches from the phone line, calm, native and wondering what I'm doing on the driveway on my hands and knees looking at snail shells and spider webs. It's a good start.

(Via AnimalBytes.)

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