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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count Bird Walk at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area

My good friend, Keri Dearborn of Animalbytes.net, led us on a great walk around the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife area this morning in honor of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend. We spent 2.5 hours spotting all sorts of birds, including 2 new one's for my life list, a Downy Woodpecker and an Osprey and also an up close look at a vulture.

Below are 6 embedded videos streamed live and recorded with my iPhone. I hope it gives you a bit of a feeling of what it was like to be out with us this morning.

Keri's husband, Michael Lawshe, took some great photos on the walk, too.

Photos of today's Great Backyard Bird Count Walk













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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Do It Right! LA City Christmas Tree Pickup and Recycling

My friend, Keri Dearborn, over at Animalbytes has pointed out this great information for City of LA residents about Christmas tree pickup, dropoff and recycling.

In the past, many Christmas trees were simply dumped curbside, on lawns or in empty lots. They would often site there for a month or more until someone decided to clean them up.

The best action to take, of course, is to cut up, or chip/shred your tree for use as mulch in your garden or compost pile. While I have the ability to do that here, I realize some other city dwellers might not be equipped for such things.

If you can't mulch or compost your tree, the City of LA has 3 different ways to dispose of your Christmas Tree.

  1. Cut it up and place it in your standard green garden bin

  2. Leave it curbside, if it is too big to fit in the bin (or you are unable to dismantle it)

  3. Take your tree to a long list of drop-off sites around the city incuding various Parks and Recreation and Fire Station locations. This is a limited time option, though. You will only be able to do this on Saturday, January 2, 2010 and Sunday, January 3, 2010.


Here is complete information on City of Los Angeles Christmas Tree Recycling Program. Dispose of your Christmas tree properly!

Photo Credit: Flickr picture by Shira Golding

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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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Monday, December 29, 2008

Makes me yearn for seasons again

This timelapse video makes me yearn to live somewhere where there are defined seasons again.

The creator also provides a "making of" video explaining how he created it.

Be sure to click over to Vimeo to see it in HD.



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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Elsewhere Online: How to build a rain water collector

Heck, I'd almost build one of these if there was any expectation of rain in the next 12 months.

I am sure we will get some rain this Winter, but prospects don't look good. Then again, maybe I SHOULD build one of these so I can capture what little we do it.

Decisions, decisions...


How to build a rain water collector

In this instructable, I will show how I made a rainwater collection system to water my garden. This helps to conserve water and make good use of a free and renewable resource.



Note that this involves using many different tools and proper safety precautions should always be taken.

The beginning -...

By: iPodGuy

(Via explore.)


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Monday, October 08, 2007

Elsewhere Online: The Urban Compost Tumber

Cold Climate Gardening has an excellent and in-depth review of one type of tumbling composter that we have all heard about. Can this help improve your compost production/ Definitely worth a read. Lots of pictures, too!

The Urban Compost Tumber Readers of this blog know I tend to get absorbed in the details of garden projects. But somehow the making of compost has been immune to such obsessions. To my mind, compost just happens. I...


(Continues)

(Via Cold Climate Gardening.)


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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Autumn in the Garden and more! - October 6, 2007

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



In this show, I talk about our long, dry summer, an early rain, Autumn beginning and a rat in the compost (Oh, my!)

What's happening in your garden? Let me know by calling the listener line at 818-804-5049 and leaving a message. I just might use it in the podcast.

A Gardener's Notebook Pictures on Flickr
A Gardener's Notebook Photo Sharing Group on Flickr

Listen to the Podcast

Podtrac Player


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

Support A Gardener's Notebook:

Join AGN Mailing List | iTunes Review | Digg.com | Podcast Alley | Call the Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049



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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Introduction to Cottage Gardens - VideoJug.com

I have often contemplated a cottage garden retrofit to my garden and this video offers some great insight.



VideoJug: An Introduction To Cottage Gardens


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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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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Guest Post: Beneficial Wild Creatures In Your Garden by Keri Dearborn

Beneficial Wild Creatures In Your Garden
Guest Blogger, Keri Dearborn

(After talking with my friend Keri Dearborn over at AnimalBytes.net, I got the idea to have her write this blog post. She is an expert on wildlife and a gardener herself, so it seemed the perfect combination. Enjoy! -- Douglas)

I see my garden as an oasis of native habitat in a nature-hostile world. If I can sit on my patio and watch an Allen's hummingbird raising her latest batch of fledglings or pick up a pot and find a slender salamander hunting for earthworms, my faith in the resilience of the planet is restored.

But some wild visitors offer more than beauty and soul rejuvenation. These critters are beneficial to your garden or to you directly. You should be inviting them into your garden and encouraging them to stay.

Ant Lion PitsSuper Pollinators
We all learned about honey bees in Elementary School. While a great producer of honey, the European honey bee is not an efficient pollinator. It also is in serious trouble with introduced diseases. Native bees, like that big black valley carpenter bee that comes through your yard at the same time every day and the California bumble bee with its single stripe of yellow are much better at pollinating plants. These bees live in small groups or are solitary. They are docile and seldom sting.

But bees aren't the only pollinators. Many plants are pollinated by flies, wasps, beetles and other insects. A flower fly may look like a skinny bee hovering over your flowers, but this fly does double duty: itís an important pollinator and their larva feed on aphids.

Super Predators
Wild predators are vital to a healthy ecosystem, even in your yard. If you have a problem with aphids, donít spray insecticide, attract insect-eating predators. Nobody eats more bugs than spiders and other insects. Learn the good bugs from the bad.

Ant Lion PitsYou probably know the lady bug and the praying mantis eat a variety of insect pests. But so do ground beetles, ant lions and paper wasps. The golden polistes, a large common paper wasp, is frequently sprayed and their papery nest knocked down from house eaves. Do they have a stinger? Yes, but they seldom sting people. These wasps prey on tomato worms and other caterpillars that dine on your flowers and vegetable garden.

The other predators you need are insect-eating birds: wrens, bushtits, California towhees, black phoebes and hummingbirds. Thatís right, hummingbirds are catching insects on the wing. This crew of birds can clean up the bugs in your yard in no time, but they won't come if you are spraying. Nobody wants to eat a toxic bug?

Hawks also play an important roll. Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks will maintain a balance among your seed-eating birds. Red-tailed hawks hunt rodents and rabbits by day, while owls hunt them by night.

And while you might not think of a snake as something you want in your garden, think again. The gopher snake not only preys on gophers and mice, it is harmless to humans. It is such an efficient hunter, a rattlesnake doesn't want to compete with it. When a gopher snake moves in, the rattlesnake moves out.

Even a rattlesnake is providing a service by reducing rat and mice populations, but few people are comfortable having them around. To keep rattlesnakes away, provide habitat for their predators. Both red-tailed hawks and red-shouldered hawks prey on rattlesnakes. California kingsnakes are immune to rattlesnake venom and also eat rattlesnakes. The beneficial kingsnake is harmless to humans.

Super Defenders
With all the hype about various diseases swilling around us, there are a few animals that offer humans valuable protection. Case in point the species that started this joint effort, the western fence lizard. For more on how the western fence lizard helps protect you from Lyme's disease check out my post on www.animalbytes.net .

West Nile virus is a real concern in Southern California. Removing standing water that offers mosquitos a breeding place is the first line of protection but there are a variety of predators that will help your efforts. Orb spiders with their classic webs are extraordinary insect hunters and mosquitos are on their menu. Admire that web, donít knock it down. Birds, that eat flying insects, like the black phoebe provide mosquito patrol during the day. While at night, bats are eating mosquitos by the ton. Bats are vital members of the southern California ecosystem. Iíve seen big brown bats, Brazilian free-tailed bats and a western red bat in my neighborhood. We put up a bat box last fall and April 25 we noticed bats milling around the bat house at twilight. Good bye mosquitos!

Go Native
There are few native animals I would deter from my garden. (Yes, I have had rabbits that munch my lettuce. (Desert cottontail) The key word here is "native." Most infestations and seriously troublesome critters (from insects to rats) are non-natives, they have few predators and even the weather may encourage them to over reproduce.

Why invite wild animals into your garden? Many of them can be beneficial. But it is also a global issue. Southern California is one of the world's biodiversity hot spots, just like Borneo and the Amazon forest. Our native plants and animals are disappearing rapidly as their habitat is lost to human development. Some of these creatures are international residents. The hermit thrush that spent the winter in my yard is now in Canada or Alaska, while black-headed grosbeak and western tanagers have just returned from Mexico and Central America.

If you want to save the world, there is no better place to start than in your garden. Iíve had 114 native animal species in my yard, including 63 species of native birds. How about you?

How do you go about attracting beneficial wildlife to your garden? Check out my post ďCreating a Garden That Attracts WildlifeĒ on AnimalBytes.net.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Audio: Interview on "Chrysalis" by Kim Todd (Audio)

I came across this interesting edition of Tech Nation while listening to podcasts today. When we are gardening, it always pays to learn more about the other creatures that inhabit our gardens.

I love both science and biography, so I immediately requested this book from my local library. The podcast, though, gives an excellent introduction to the book and definitely worth a listen.
Tech Nation with Moira Gunn - Click to listen

Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with Kim Todd, who in her book "Chrysalis" recounts the tale of Maria Sibylla Merian and her documentation of the secrets of metamorphosis.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Event: Free trees in Sherman Oaks this Saturday - April 21

The gang over at LAist clued us in to this event. If you have a need for a tree in your landscaping, be sure to stop by.




Million Trees program comes to Sherman Oaks

Contributed by: GM Communications on 4/13/2007

What: The Fashion Square Car Wash, in association with the Million Trees program, will give away free trees to the public from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, at the car wash.

The program, created by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, distributes trees to all areas of the city. People who pick up a five-gallon tree are asked to plant the tree on their home or business property.

No car wash sale is required to participate in the program. The car wash plans to give away 200 trees during the Saturday program.

Where: Fashion Square Car Wash, 4625 Woodman Ave., Sherman Oaks

When: 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Event Dates: This event takes place on 4/21/2007.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

10-Minute Gardener Update

I took my own advice and talked a couple of 10-minute projects today.

First, I swept the leaves from one portion of the driveway area. The wind piles up the leaves in this particular sector, so this had a lot of effect for fairly little effort. I am still dealing with a lot of leaf litter throughout the garden, but the next step is probably a complete "blow" of the garden using the electric leaf blower. This takes a but more time and energy on my part, though.

Second, I repaired the geranium pot that hangs from the eaves of the front porch. A few weeks ago, one of its rope supports gave way and it had been sitting on the stoop since then. A little rope from the leftovers in the garage, though, and I had it back in its rightful position in about 10 minutes.

Both of these projects are the perfect type for the 10-Minute Gardener. They were discrete little actions that needed doing -- that I could complete in about 10 minutes. Tomorrow, I need to do the same thing -- and the next, and the next and the next.

Previously in the 10-Minute Gardener Series
Removing Friction
Today's 10 Minutes in the Garden
Introduction

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Elsewhere Online: How to Make a Garden Feel Welcoming

I received in this excellent article today as part of the Fine Gardening newsletter. It has the warm feeling of someone giving you a tour of their garden, something I always love.

Great ideas, too.

How to Make a Garden Feel Welcoming by Gordon Hayward

Use furnishings to create familiarity, invite lingering, and give a sense of coherence

Objects and structures can make a garden feel inviting and personal. A weathered birdbath (B on Site plan) passed on from the author's grandmother enhances a hosta bed.

Every time I walk past the 75-year-old birdbath in our garden here in southern Vermont, I recall when I first saw that cast-stone ornament as a boy in my late grandmother's garden near Oyster Bay, Long Island. It sat in the center of a boxwood-edged rose garden that was crisscrossed with crushed-oyster-shell paths. While visitors to our garden don't know what associations I hold with that birdbath, they can tell that it's old, that it anchors the broad curve of a hosta bed, and that birds do surely visit it. Objects such as this, rife with history and meaning, make our garden feel personal, anchored, and peaceful.

(Continues)

(Via Fine Gardening.)


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Friday, April 06, 2007

Don't let your garden water go down the drain....

LA Frog makes note of one of my pet peeves, wasted water in our desert environment and provides a bit of the history of Los Angeles and its water.

I, too, hate when I see sprinklers watering sidewalks and driveways, and watching all that liquid gold run down the street into the nearest storm drain. This is one reason why, when we bought our house 10 years ago, I converted 95% of the irrigation systems to soaker hoses and drip systems. Both if these put the water right where it is needed. This also helps to reduce weed growth, since paths and such receive no water, expect from our infrequent rains.

I only have one traditional sprinkler system -- an old set of retrofitted lawn sprinklers in the front garden. We run it as infrequently as possible and most of the plants there mainly azaleas -- have naturalized enough to not need much supplemental watering.

If only I could convince others to get rid of their lawns and the water they require, we would all be better off.

California Water Wars When I drive through residential neighborhoods, and I see water flushing the streets from the garden hosing systems, I sometimes wonder if people even remember that the true nature of Los Angeles is to be a dry, desert land. And that bringing water to the city came at stupendous costs.

It's impossible to summarize the history of the Los Angeles aqueduct -- and the subsequent water wars -- in a

(Via LA Frog.)


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Friday, March 30, 2007

AGN Video: Windy

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Repairing a damaged drip irrigation line



Frame from drip irrigation videoWhile the rest of the family was out on an excursion with Nonna to see the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, I finally get a garden project completed to prepare for the quickly approaching Southern California Summer.

In this video, I show the repair of the drip irrigation line in one of my rose beds. This line has been in place for over 10 years, so it isn't surprising that it needed a little refreshing.

Link: Repairing a damaged drip irrigation line video

Pop It At popcurrent.com



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Sunday, February 11, 2007

What I'm Reading...



Readymade is from the folks over at Readymade magazine, a great monthly available via subscription or on the newstand.



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Elsewhere Online: Essential monthly gardening tasks

When you are a hobby gardener, like myself, fitting in gardening among everything else in your life, a monthly schedule like this can really come in handy. Everyone needs a few good reminders in their life. (SMILE)

Essential monthly gardening tasks

The Garden Helper has a practical monthly schedule of gardening tasks, green thumb or otherwise.

(Continues on original site)

(Via Lifehacker.)

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Elsewhere Online: Koreatown Sidewalk Garden

A little garden patch in the midst of urban LA. Check it out!

Thanks to Annika for pointing it out.

Koreatown Sidewalk Garden

Annika Barranti:

Today while I was out walking with the baby I came upon this unexpected garden at Kingsley and 5th. Three more photos behind the cut.

Continued reading Koreatown Sidewalk Garden...

(Continues on original site)

(Via Blogging.LA.)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cold weather, frost damage, and the 10-Minute Gardener Introduction

by Douglas E. Welch, agn@welchwrite.com
Reader/Listener Line - 206-338-5832


Listen to the Podcast


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

Pop It At popcurrent.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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