Azalea in Bloom…So soon?



Azalea in Bloom, originally uploaded by dewelch.

I don’t remember ever seeing the Azaleas in bloom so early in the year, but the large, mature bush right outside the front door is showing some lovely flowers already. I am guessing the heavy rains we had in December (and continue to have) have convinced them that it is time to wake up and get back to work. (SMILE)

Top Gardeners Notebook Posts for 2010

  1. Event: Tomatomania 2010

  2. Repairing a damaged drip irrigation line

  3. Review: TB57 Lithium Ion Battery Cordless String Trimmer / Weed Trimmer

  4. Casting concrete leaves from/for the garden

  5. Freebies = Free Bees!

  6. Product Review: The Troy-Bilt TB154 Electric Cultivator

  7. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010

  8. Gardening books are friendly, supportive and stimulating companions

  9. Your Urban Garden

  10. The garden is going to the birds!

Don’t dump that Christmas Tree!

This post from LAist.com, How To Trash Your Tree reminded me that I hadn’t made plans to gather up Christmas Trees this year. Here in LA we usually end up with dozens of Christmas trees simply thrown out on lawns and dumped in empty lots. Despite info like this, a lot of people still take the easy way out.

In past years, I had thought about driving around the neighborhood and gathering up any tree we might see. While we now have a big chipper/shredder, but we no longer have a pickup truck. Perhaps I will talk with our closest neighbors and friends and let them know they can drop off their tree here instead of taking the time to chop it up and put it in their green garden bin.

I have been looking to create a large amount of mulch in order to replace the pea gravel on our garden paths. The gravel is difficult to keep in place and makes it difficult to clean up the leaf litter from all our mature trees. It also makes it troublesome to shred those leaves as there is always the danger of gravel among the leaves that will dull the blades.

Make use of your Christmas Tree this year, or take it where someone else can put it to use.

I Like This – December 26, 2010

    A collection of career items I found interesting this week.

  • How To Trash Your Tree – December 26, 2010 – Please share this info so we don’t end up with the usual Christmas Tree “litter” over the next week or so. I now have a chipper/shredder so I might gather up a few to make mulch for my garden paths.

Audio: 5th Annual Live Reading of A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Gift from A Gardener’s Notebook!

Sunday marked our 5th Annual LIVE Reading of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. We had some new voices this year and had a great time as usual. You can listen to the entire show using the link below.

Consider having your own reading of A Christmas Carol, or other favorite story, as a way to gather friends together and share a unique experience. You don’t have to broadcast it like we do, but why not share it with the world!

This year’s show was sponsored by WelchWrite.com, Eclipse-1 Media and New Media Interchange.

Listen to 5th Annual Live Reading of A Christmas Carol

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Enjoy more Christmas Carol in your own home!

Free download of “A Christmas Carol” – Text/ePub/HTML/Kindle versions available

Free download of our reading script of “A Christmas Carol” – PDF format


The audio CD of Patrick Stewart’s one man version of A Christmas Carol is absolutely amazing. We saw the show several times here in LA and met Patrick one evening. His version of “A Christmas Carol” was the driving factor in starting our own yearly reading of the story.

More “A Christmas Carol” on Amazon.com

I Like This – December 19, 2010

Building a Native Bee Box

My friend, Keri, has created an excellent “Bee Box” for her garden. Read the entire article at her site.

Wine box into bee box

I’ve been wanting to do this for over a year, build a nesting box for native bees and other insects. My friend Doug Welch from A Gardener’s Notebook had sent me various plans and ideas. I had a wooden wine box with a sliding lid and it seemed perfect.”

Read Building a Native Bee Box via AnimalBytes

Tip: Let the rain dampen your composter

From the gardenersnotebk Twitter account: A reminder to me by way of a reminder to you. 🙂 – Pop the top on your composter when it rains to give it a good soaking and keep it perking.

If you use an enclosed composter like I do, the next time rain is forecast, pop the top on the composter and let it get a good soaking. Here in Los Angeles it is usually so dry that the compost doesn’t work as quickly as you might like. Rather than wasting water from the standpipe, I let nature do its thing at this time of year. Rain is predicted for the next 4-5 days here so there should be plenty of opportunity.

Here are the composters I have in my back garden…

Garden Gourmet Composter on Amazon.com

Gardening Gift Guide #15: Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

#15 Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

One of my favorite parts of the garden are the birds it attracts — everything form the typical sparrows and morning doves to phoebes and even Cooper’s Hawks. The Peterson Guides are a great way to help you identify the birds in your garden and learn a little more about them. You can also take it on hikes and other outdoors adventures. You never know what you might see.

More Peterson Guides for birds, wildlife, reptiles, trees and more

All Gift Guide Recommendations:

The bulbs have arrived in the garden again

I went out the back door this morning to do some work and was stopped in my track by this first paperwhite of the season. I had noticed the bulb foliage starting to pop up once we got our first rain, but the flowers always seem to arrive unannounced.

First paperwhites of the season

Here is another paperwhite next to the first including several more buds just waiting to open.

First paperwhites of the season

Finally, here are the leaves of a bunch of snowbells which are quick to follow on the paperwhites. Next up will be the big, yellow, daffodils which have started to put on quite a show each year.

Bulbs are growing