Project: One Board Birdhouse

I made a few of these with my son and they are a great project to do with kids or with any group. You could even make a fundraiser out of this where the kids build and then paint/augment the design.

Due to its design you don’t really need any power tools at all, although a jigsaw and electric screwdriver make the job easier.

Birdhouse for Beginners

With its classic good looks, this one-board birdhouse will fit anywhere.


While this birdhouse is as simple as it gets, it has a lot going for it. It can be made very quickly…uses minimal materials and tools…and boasts a sleek look that will make any budding woodworker proud to say, “I built it all by myself!”.

Read the entire article at Birds & Blooms

News: UCLA’s plans to sell Japenese garden stirs un-Zen-like uproar

I would hope that some arrangement could be developed, but the property is worth so much money that it is difficult to see how it can be maintained in its current state. A great loss after so many years brought on by the governmental stalemate but state wide and nationally.

UCLA’s plans to sell Japenese garden stirs un-Zen-like uproar

The decision by UCLA to sell the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in Bel-Air stirs anger by garden conservancy groups and Carter’s family, although the sell could net $15 million for the university.

Read the entire article

Photos: Today in the neighborhood

Whenever we take our usual walk through the neighborhood I the my camera with me, just in case we see something interesting. Today turned up the fruit and plants below including grapefruit, figs, and a couple of neat looking trees.


Pepper tree (not culinary pepper, though) Figs Fig Love the shape of this pine tree Grapefruit Grapefruit

Are you a big user of Google+ or Facebook. You can join the Gardener’s Notebook discussion there, too!

A Gardener’s Notebook on Google+

A Gardener’s Notebook on Facebook

I LIke This in Gardening for January 21, 2012

Interesting gardening items I found in the last 2 weeks…

What I’m Reading…Fermentation is your friend

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by  Sandor Ellix Katz

Description from…

“Bread. Cheese. Wine. Beer. Coffee. Chocolate. Most people consume fermented foods and drinks every day. For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed the distinctive flavors and nutrition resulting from the transformative power of microscopic bacteria and fungi. Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods is the first cookbook to widely explore the culinary magic of fermentation.”Fermentation has been an important journey of discovery for me,” writes author Sandor Ellix Katz. “I invite you to join me along this effervescent path, well trodden for thousands of years yet largely forgotten in our time and place, bypassed by the superhighway of industrial food production.” The flavours of fermentation are compelling and complex, quite literally alive. This book takes readers on a whirlwind trip through the wide world of fermentation, providing readers with basic and delicious recipes-some familiar, others exotic-that are easy to make at home.”

Photo: Snowbells

Following close after the paperwhites each year are the snowbells. These grow in small clumps all over the garden and were planted by the previous owners. I am thinking that I might augment these bulbs with some new ones for the coming year.

I love the little green dots at the ends of the white petals — almost like a little painter came along and dotted each one once it was open.


Snowbells (click for larger image)

Other blog posts about Snowbells on A Gardener’s Note

Photos: Daffodils Arising

My labor a few months ago of planting 75 new daffodil bulbs is starting to bear fruit. As I walked out the front door the other day I noticed the daffodil bulbs throwing up nice strong leaves from among the leaf litter in the beds.

It looks like these new bulbs are going to bloom earlier than the existing ones in the garden, so this should mean for a longer overall bloom of daffodils this year and hopefully in future years. Here are some shots of the new growth “springing” up.

Daffodils Arising

Daffodils Arising Daffodils Arising

More AGN posts about Daffodils (Google Search)

Photos: Seedlings and roses

The seasons are always a bit wonky here in Southern California, so I present these two things which would be considered strange to nearly everyone else in the US at this time of year — seedlings and roses. The kale seedlings need to be started now as kale, and many other leaf crops, will bolt to seed as soon as the temperatures rise. I’ll try to get a better shot of the seedling when they aren’t in the shade. I only remembered to grab this one when I cam home from school pickup.

Kale Seedlings

Kale seedlings just popping up


JFK Rose JFK Rose

The roses are rejoicing, I think, with the new sunlight available now that a pine tree was removed along the southern property line. They are still shaded quite a bit, but not nearly as much as they were before.

The leaf cleanup never ends!

My garden is filled with leaves. It only makes sense since it is totally surrounded by mature trees of many varieties. Even more, the deciduous trees drop their leaves only to start a completely new set almost immediately. Even worse, I really don’t like cleaning up leaves. Oh woe is me! (LAUGH)

Leaves in the garden



Today, though, I bit the bullet and pulled out our behemoth of a chipper shredder. It is so large I don’t feel like it is worth using most times, but when we are buried in leaves (and limbs) like today, it was time. I hadn’t used the gas-powered chipper shredder is quite a long time, so I was also dreading the fact that it might not start at all. While I learned how to repair gasoline motors and all sorts of things growing up, mechanics was never my strong suit. I left that to the amazing skills of my father, who seems able to make anything work no matter how worn or abused


Imagine my surprise when the chipper-shredder started with one pull. Granted, I had remembered to run it completely out of gas the last time I used it, but you can never tell what might happen when something sits unused for months. So, now that the gardening planets appeared to have aligned, it is time to shred leaves for the next 5 or 6 days, I would guess. We filled out green gardening bin today for pickup, but I have instructed everyone that the main gardening job right now is gathering leaves and depositing them next the shredder so that I can make regular visits — between the blogging and the podcasting and the consulting — and get rid of this years crop eventually.

For the next few days the compost and leaf mold piles will be overflowing.


I Like This – Wine Crate Gardening

This ended up being a very, very popular “pin” on You can find my “pins” on my personal Pinterest Page.

The link will take you to the original source of the photos and ideas at the Fennel and Fern blog from the UK. This idea has made me start looking at every cool container I see as a possible garden bed. (LAUGH)

Source: via Douglas on Pinterest