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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wind damage in my area

These pictures are a good reminder that if you don't prune the dead wood out of your trees, a good wind is liable to do it for you.

Wind Effects in LA - 4 Wind Effects in LA - 3 Wind Effects in LA - 2 Wind Effects in LA - 1

We had a strong, cold Santa Ana Wind this week and any tree that had a bit of deadwood, or weak limbs, quickly shed them into streets, yards and even on top of a couple of houses. Sometimes you can't really tell if you have dead limbs higher up in the tree, but if you see them, it is best to remove them on your terms, and not the weather's.

Here in Los Angeles, we have the additional issues of dead palm fronds. These can look light, but they can come down with surprising force on unsuspecting cars and pedestrians. I wasn't able to grab a picture, but one street I passed was almost entirely buried in palm fronds, making it difficult for cars to even get down the street.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Patio Bed Cleanup and Division Complete

Patio Bed CleanupAfter almost a week of being down with a bad cold, I HAD to get out into the garden today. Since it was garbage day, it was also a good idea to fill our green bin while we had the chance.

About 2 weeks ago I cleaned out half of this bed, dividing a large clump of agapanthus and replanted the divisions. I ran out of time, energy and green bin space, so I left the remainder until today. Having done part of this bed already, I knew what I had to do. The large amount of leaves were raked off, pulling out most of the agapanthus with it. They were so crowded that they had pushed themselves almost completely out of the underlying soil, so they came up easily. It only took a few moments to pull out the strongest rhizomes and set them aside for transplanting.

My little Troy-Bilt Electric Cultivator did its usual great job of fitting up the bed. I then dug a small trench and re-inserted the rhizomes. After a good watering-in and then a run on the soaker hose, I was done.

I am thinking of picking up some nasturium seeds to plant in this newly turned area, They have done well in this area in the past and should brighten up this bed which is so close to the house and we see every day.

It is great to have this particular project out of the way and it shows me how to approach the clean up of my other beds.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Cooper's Hawk in my garden this morning

This big guy was having his lunch in my back garden this morning and took his time, so I was able to get about 10 minutes of closeup footage.

Previously on WelchWrite.com...

Video: Coopers (not Red-tailed) hawk in the garden this morning

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

The 10-minute (or more) Gardener - Cleanup and Dividing the Agapanthus

Today has been a productive day in many regards, so after accomplishing stuff at my desk and computer, there was some time (and motivation) to do a bit in the garden, too.

Bulbs 2009I know I make everyone north of me jealous, instead of planting bulbs this time of year, ours are starting to grow. We had an early rain this year, 2-3 weeks ahead of the usual (according to my gardening journal) and this morning I saw the first bulbs poking their heads above all the leaf litter.
This was one reason I wanted to get out and work today -- to provide an easier time for the emerging bulbs.

(Click any picture for larger photos and additional photos in this set. -- Douglas)

As you probably read, we did our semi-annual roof cleaning last week. This always results in a large clump of leaves being pushed into the flower bed near the back patio. Today, I set out to clear as much of that bed as possible. I quickly filled our green gardening bin provided by the city, and started a new leaf mold-only compost pile by the back wall, in the space opened by demolishing our old garden shed.

There are several large clumps of Agapanthus in this bed and I have been meaning to divide them for years, but never got around to it. In cleaning up the leaves, though, the rhizomes of the Agapanthus came right up with them. They had pushed themselves completely out of the soil.

Agapanthus divisionsSo, with that, my project grew a bit. After I cleared the leaves from about 1/2 of the bed, I took out the Troy-Bilt mini-cultivator (Review | Audio | Video) I received a few months ago and cultivated the general area. I had to avoid the large tree root and some existing plantings, but in the end I worked up a fairly large area. I then selected the healthiest looking Agapanthus rhizomes and distributed them in a trench basically where they had originally been, but much more spread out. A few minutes of backfilling (and replanting any other bulbs we had turned up in our work), some heavy watering and we were done. There is one more large clump that will probably get the same treatment when we clean out the other end of this bed.

All told, today's project took about any hour, but I was also able to make it into my daily workout instead of taking my usual 2 mile walk.

Digging trench in cultivated bed

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Garden Cleanup - "Up on the roof"

Over the last week or so the temperatures have been cooling down and the mornings are grey and sometimes foggy. It is heard to believe after so many dry months, but the rains are coming. According to my records, the earliest rain I have recorded here in my garden was October 23, 2004. Typically we get one rain in October, but then we might have a dry spell until late November.

That said, it is important each year we clear all the leaves from the roof before the first rain arrives. The many trees on the property can create quite a pile and these leaves can cause the rainwater to back up under the shingles and damage the roof. We don't always make the first rain, but last night I decided that today would be the day to get things done. Then we will be prepared for whatever comes. There has been some talk of this year being an El Niņo. This is a cyclical weather pattern that brings extreme amounts of rain to the Southern California area. We have experienced one of these in the past and it indeed was very, very wet compared to a typical year. The Garden looked great, but many people suffered damage from mudslides through the surrounding mountains.

Here is what the roof looked like before and after our morning's work. Most of the leaves went into the compost bins, but we also had to start a separate leaf mold pile to hold the extra.

Garden Cleanup - October 10, 2009 - 1 Garden Cleanup - October 10, 2009 - 3

Garden Cleanup - October 10, 2009 - 2 Garden Cleanup - October 10, 2009 - 4

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