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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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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Succulent Closeup 2 vis My Instagram

Succulent Closeup 2 vis My Instagram

Succulent Closeup 2

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

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Pink Hollyhock via My Instagram

Pink Hollyhock via My Instagram

Pink Hollyhock

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Succulent Closeup via My Instagram

Succulent Closeup via My Instagram

Succulent Closeup

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

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