A Gardener’s Notebook: The Guilty Gardener  – 2 in a series – Progress? A Little!

A Gardener’s Notebook: The Guilty Gardener  – 2 in a series
Douglas E. Welch

As I had hoped — but hadn’t really expected — writing the first piece in this new series actually got me motivated to do something in the garden.

Who would have “thunk” it?!

One point that helped to get me moving was a recent 3-day sale at our local Armstrong Garden Center. They were clearing out inventory with 30%-50% all glazed pots as well as some similar sales on various plants. I usually try to visit this shop every couple of weeks or so, just to check out what is new and what might be blooming so I can collect a few new photos for my Instagram feed.

On this trip, we found some great deals on a couple of larger ceramic pots for transplanting our patio coleus and some geraniums that Rosanne grew from neighborhood cuttings.

Glazed pots

You’ve probably noticed that the larger of these pots has a significant chip out of the rim. Knowing that this would most likely be covered by the plant and not be seen, we were able to get this one at 50% off instead of 30%. A little frugalness never hurts, you know! 

We also found some new plants on rather amazing sale, including some clivia, which normally seems waaaaay over-priced. I picked up 3 of these for the back garden and Rosanne spotted a pink-flowered abutilon that called out to her.

I am always one to install new plants as soon as we get them so they don’t languish in their pots — especially during these hot summer months — so all three of these projects were completed on Sunday. The coleus was installed in its new “permanent” glazed pot…

Coleus

Coleus in its new pot

Clivia

Clivia installed

…the 3 clivias were planted in the back “woodland” garden (in an effort to green up that area). I also took the time to expand the newly replaced soaker hoses in this area to include the clivia…

Clivia location

Overview showing location of new clivia

…and the abutilon was installed in the same bed were our recycled pumpkins are growing. My hope there is that once the pumpkins are gone it will start to fill in this area.

Abutilon

Abutilon “Watermelon Pink”

More projects and request for recommendations

Even after finishing these smaller projects I was still looking out over the garden at all the remaining work to be done.

One larger, and more expensive, project is the replacement of our small, plastic, greenhouse with something larger and more robust. We knew that this inexpensive greenhouse probably wouldn’t last long, having paid only ~$50 for it, but we wanted to try it to see if we would truly make use of it. Over the last 2 years, we have done just that. It has been instrumental in protecting new cuttings and plants from our digging squirrels and also kept a higher humidity environment that seems to have helped a variety of plants get started and stay healthy.

Greenhouse overview

Greenhouse roof

What would you recommend for our next greenhouse?

I have been looking at a variety of greenhouses and here are a few that caught my eye. I think the polycarbonate construction would hold up much better and the added size would still fit in basically the same location as the existing greenhouse. The inclusion of a better door and also a purpose-made roof vent also looked good.

Palmram greenhouse 1

Palmram greenhouse 2

What is your experience with polycarbonate greenhouses?

Pros? Cons? I’d love to hear about your experience and any advice you might have.

There is still so much to do in the garden, but I must say that I feel a bit better about actually getting things done there.

Historical Garden Books: The Joy Of Gardens By Lena May McCauley – 3 in a series

Archive.org has a host of old gardening books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas

Historical Garden Books: The Joy Of Gardens By Lena May McCauley – 3 in a series

Historical Garden Books: The Joy Of Gardens By Lena May McCauley - 3 in a seriesHistorical Garden Books: The Joy Of Gardens By Lena May McCauley - 3 in a series

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FOREWORD

ANY book about gardens, written for the pleasure of writing, must have its sources in dreams. The visions of gardens beautiful and retired hover before the imagination, and no real garden, however humble, but is invested in celestial light of cherished hopes of what it may become in fragrant flowers or what it might have been had fortune been kind.

The facts and the fancies of this book were discovered in various gardens, some centuries old, fruitful of memories of those whose hands have long since turned to dust, others in the joyous public gardens with parterres, and the most precious of all in the quiet gardens of my friends.

“Gardening,” said a wise writer, “is among the purest of pleasures,” and one tossed on the fretful world knows that there is no purer delight than that which comes to the human heart with friends in gardens. To many friends, far and wide, I owe whatever inspiration lives in these pages.

The illustration of the book was an afterthought carried out in the desire to suggest the art of landscape gardening. Credit is gratefully recorded to those who aided with the pictures, and especially to Jens Jensen, Jessie T. Beals, Mary H. -Northend, J. Horace McFarland, W. H. Rau, Henry Fuhrman, E. L. Fowler, Alice Enk, and Mode Wineman.

More information on this book:

Publication date [c1911]
Topics Gardens
Publisher Chicago : Rand McNally
Collection cdl; americana
Digitizing sponsor MSN
Contributor University of California Libraries
Language English

Learn more about gardening history with these books

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Repotting the coleus via My Instagram

Repotting the coleus via My Instagram

Repotting the coleus

A bit of transplanting in the garden yesterday. 

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Tasty Strawberry from the container garden via My Instagram

Tasty Strawberry from the container garden via My Instagram

Tasty Strawberry from the container garden

We beat the squirrels to this one! Yum!

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Bee on Passionflower (Passiflora) via My Instagram

Bee on Passionflower (Passiflora) via My Instagram

Bee on Passionflower (Passiflora)

Spotted on a walk through the neighborhood. 

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A Gardener’s Notebook: The Guilty Gardener  – 1 in a series

A Gardener’s Notebook: The Guilty Gardener  – 1 in a series
Douglas E. Welch

It has taken me a long time to write the piece. Frankly, I am embarrassed and don’t really want to share that embarrassment publically. Still, I think it is important to do so and perhaps, just maybe, you can help me get back on the right track…in the garden.

In the past, I have written columns about being a “lazy gardener” and how my garden survives on benign neglect. Due to a few health issues over the last couple of years, though, my neglect has become none too benign and laziness has turned to guilt. I look out my back door, or into the front garden as I drive away and feel deeply guilty that it looks so bad. I am so guilty, in fact, that this is yet another way that I feel even more guilty each time I do.

Click for larger versions

I often say that it is much easier to enjoy someone else’s garden as you aren’t constantly noticing all the unkempt plants, the un-done projects and the improvements you have always meant to do. There is no guilt to be found in someone else’s garden. It is pure joy.

That said, I am hoping to break out of the gardening guilt over the next few months and I am enlisting your aid in the process. Since I seem unable to meet my own self-imposed deadline, perhaps with some urging and help from you I can make some progress in the garden. What do you say? Are you up for the challenge?

A few projects to address

One of the first projects and probably the largest and most troublesome is all the deferred maintenance that has piled up. With all the large trees on this fairly small property, the leaf litter is overwhelming. I used to be able to keep on top of it a little better, but we need some dramatic action, I think. One possibility is bringing in a small crew to clean out the entire garden in a day or two and give us a much needed “reset” from which to grow.  I have a chipper, although it has remained unused for some time, and would like to use the shredded leaves to mulch around the garden, but I haven’t been able to make the effort yet.

If you have a lot of leaf litter, how best do you deal with it?

Another project, among many, is to find some ground cover that can thrive under a canopy of trees. This dry shade area of the garden, while feeling wonderfully like a tiny bit of woodland here in urban Los Angeles, needs something to make it greener and more inviting. I have read more books on shade plants than I care to admit, but I haven’t seemed to find anything that has a reasonable chance of success and that I can locate locally. There are a few natives that might meet my needs, but this probably requires a trip to San Diego County to find a source. Still, if you could offer a few recommendations, it could be worth the trip.

Guilty garden 3

Dry Share Area of the Garden Looking Souttheast

Guilty garden 1

Dry Share Area of the Garden Looking Northeast

What do you use as ground cover in dry shade areas underneath mature trees?

Now my guilty complaining doesn’t mean we haven’t had some successes. The Brunfelsia I planted along the wall in this dry shade area have both done well and even bloomed this year. We also rescued a host of small plants (society garlic, spider plants, agapanthus) from a new neighbor’s front yard and these have helped to green up another area in the back garden.

Brunfelsia

Brunfelsia (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow)

Rescued Plants

Rescued plants

In the front garden, our 3-year-old pomegranate tree is doing well, although one item on my to-do list is to prune this into more a shrub than a tree to allow for easier harvesting. Our neighbor has a lovely, much older pomegranate tree, but its size makes it difficult to get the fruit at the very top. Beneath the pomegranate is a native buckwheat that is doing amazingly well. We had to give it a good trim when we installed the wine bottle edging around this bed, but it is already growing back steadily.

There is is, then. Lots of challenges and a few successes. I’ll be highlighting more guilty secrets in future columns. I hope you can help me with some suggestions and, perhaps, some friendly nudges to get back out into the garden, guilty feeling or no, and make it, once again, a place I love.

 

Orange flowers on an unidentified plant via Instagram

Orange flowers on an unidentified plant via Instagram

Orange flowers on an unidentified plant 

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Historical Garden Books: Flower Gardens by Henry Sherman Adams (1913) – 2 in a series

Archive.org has a host of old gardening books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas

Historical Garden Books: Flower Gardens by Henry Sherman Adams (1913) - 2 in a seriesHistorical Garden Books: Flower Gardens by Henry Sherman Adams (1913) - 2 in a series

Download in EPUB, Kindle, Text, PDF, Single Page JPG, TORRENT

FLOWER GARDENING
BY H. S. ADAMS

Author of ” Making a Rock
Garden,” “Lilies,” etc.

NEW YORK

McBRIDE, NAST & COMPANY
1913

Copyright, 1913, by
McBaiDE, NAST & Co.

Published, April, 1913


CHAPTER I
FLOWERS AND THE HOME

BACON, in the famous essay that is an eternal joy to the flower lover, maintains that a garden is “the Purest of Humane pleasures.” Certainly all will agree that it is among the purest.

In the nature of things it can be such only by so close an association with the home as to be “part and parcel” of it, as they say in New Eng- land. And the more intimate this association the more nearly does the garden approximate the Ba- conian estimate that it is “the Greatest Refreshment to the Spirits of Man.”

There must be gardenless homes in these days, more’s the pity. But wherever the garden, meaning more particularly the garden of flowers, comes into human life the first thought of all should be its affinity with the home. Unfortunately, this is only too often the very last thought; worse yet, many go on to the end of their existence without realizing the supreme experience.

More information on this book:

Publication date 1913
Topics Floriculture, Gardening
Publisher New York, McBride, Nast & Company
Collection cdl; americana
Digitizing sponsor MSN
Contributor University of California Libraries
Language English

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Sage Flowers via My Instagram

Sage Flowers via My Instagram

Sage Flowers

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Succulent Closeup 3 via My Instagram

Succulent Closeup 3 via My Instagram

Succulent Closeup 3

Up close and person with succulents in my friend’s garden. 

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