Garden Alphabet: Grape (Vitis vinifera)

Garden Alphabet: Grape (Vitis vinifera)

These grapes were growing on a neighbors fence along our usual  evening walking route. There are a few others, but this one seems to be producing best. It is always great to see food products growing in the neighborhood, but also a bit of a disappointment when they go unharvested. These look to be well tended, though, so I assuming the homeowner is planning on this bounty for their own table.

Garden Alphabet: Grape | A Gardener's Notebook with Douglas E. Welch

Grape (Vitis vinifera)

Vitis vinifera (Common Grape Vine) is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran.[1]

 It is a liana growing to 35 yards tall, with flaky bark. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, 5–20 cm long and broad. The fruit is aberry, known as a grape; in the wild species it is 6 mm diameter and ripens dark purple to blackish with a pale wax bloom; in cultivated plants it is usually much larger, up to 3 cm long, and can be green, red, or purple (black). The species typically occurs in humid forests and streamsides. –

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Interesting Plant: Agastache ‘Aztec Rose’

Interesting Plant: Agastache ‘Aztec Rose’

Agastache aztec rose

Discovered via Pinterest User, Sage Gardening Coaching

Lovely dark and striking colors, along with double-petaled blooms in this Rudbeckia.

Agastache (giant hyssop) is a genus of 9–12 species of aromatic flowering herbaceous perennial plants in the family Lamiaceae, native to eastern Asia (one species) and North America (the rest).[1]

Most species are very upright, 0.5–3 m tall, with stiff, angular stems clothed in toothed-edged, lance shaped leaves ranging from 1–15 cm long and 0.5–11 cm broad depending on the species. Upright spikes of tubular, two-lipped flowers develop at the stem tips in summer. The flowers are usually white, pink, mauve, or purple, with the bracts that back the flowers being of the same or a slightly contrasting color. Leaf tips can be eaten and made into teas.–  Wikipedia

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Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Container Garden Update 40: Raccoons digging, egg carton growing and more

The raccoons were spotted in the garden and I think it was they that dug up seedlings and scattered pots on the potting bench. Also, a second try at using egg cartons for seedlings and more.

See what was happening in the container garden last year at this time: Container Garden Update 5

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My Favorite Garden Things for August 2013 – Douglas E. Welch

My Favorite Things

As always, let me know what types of interesting items you would like to see and I will keep an eye out for them especially. — Douglas

Garden Alphabet: Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Garden Alphabet: Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Behold the modest Marigold. I see them everywhere and I am sure you do, too. Still, they do bring a certain kind of exuberance to the garden and are easy-as-pie to grow. These examples come from a neighbors circular, brick, planter, where they plant a regular succession of annuals in their from yard.

These marigolds are a good reminder that even those “common” plants and flowers can bring a significant splash of color to the garden, even if others might think them a bit cliche. 



Calendula officinalis (pot marigoldruddlescommon marigoldgarden marigoldEnglish marigold, or Scottish marigold)[1] is a plant in the genus Calendula of the family Asteraceae. It is probably native to southern Europe, though its long history of cultivation makes its precise origin unknown, and it may possibly be of garden origin. It is also widely naturalised further north in Europe (north to southern England) and elsewhere in warm temperate regions of the world.[2][3][1]

t is a short-lived aromatic herbaceous perennial, growing to 80 cm (31 in) tall, with sparsely branched lax or erect stems. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 5–17 cm (2–7 in) long, hairy on both sides, and with margins entire or occasionally waved or weakly toothed. Theinflorescences are yellow, comprising a thick capitulum or flowerhead 4–7 cm diameter surrounded by two rows of hairy bracts; in the wild plant they have a single ring of ray florets surrounding the central disc florets. The disc florets are tubular and hermaphrodite, and generally of a more intense orange-yellow colour than the female, tridentate, peripheral ray florets. The flowers may appear all year long where conditions are suitable. The fruit is a thorny curved achene.[2][1] –

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Video: In the garden…August 28, 2013: On the iPhone and in the garden with beans and carrots

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Recording with the iPhone today, as part of a demo for the Dog Days of Podcasting 30 Day Challenge. I wanted to show how you can use it as your video recorder if you don’t have anything else.

We check in on the beans, carrots and green onions we planted in the newly raised bed on the north side of the front garden, pull some grass and more!

Part of the “Dog Days of Podcasting” 30 Day Challenge -

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Watch all past episodes of “In the garden…” in this YouTube Playlist

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“In the garden…” is a series for A Gardener’s Notebook highlighting what is happening in my garden, my friend’s gardens and California gardens throughout the seasons.

Interesting Plant: Rudbeckia hirta Moreno

Interesting Plant: Rudbeckia hirta Moreno

Rudbeckia moreno

Discovered via Pinterest User, Rachel Ottenberg

Lovely dark and striking colors, along with double-petaled blooms in this Rudbeckia.

Wonderful, free flowering dwarf Gloriosa Daisy with deep chocolate colored petals that radiate to bronze to orange to yellow at their tips. Rudbeckia Moreno has a very compact (12″) branching habit producing an abundance of flowers. Pronounced center cone adds to the beauty of this flower. In fall and winter, finches and chickadees adore the ripened seed heads. Combines well with Perovskia (Russian Sage).Bluestone Perennials

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Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Video: Container Garden Update 39: Soakers are soaking and radishes are growing

As part of the Dog Days of Podcasting (http:/ I am showing off a wide variety of podcasting styles and methods.

A quick check on the radishes, carrots and the potting bench. The soaker hoses seem to be working well and everything is growing well, even with all the heat we are having. It does make it difficult to keep things growing on the potting bench, but as the temperatures drop I plan on working there more.

See what was happening in the container garden last year at this time: Container Garden Update 5


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Garden Inventory: Carrrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides)

Garden Inventory is a series where I begin an inventory of all the plants and trees in my garden. Along with some of my own pictures, I will link to various sources of information about each plant and tree so we can learn a little more together. As part of the Dog Days of Podcasting, and in order to expand the videos available on my YouTube Channel, this installation of Garden Inventory includes a companion video.

Garden Inventory: Carrrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides)

When we purchased our house back in 1996, it was over planted with trees, including probably 10 of these Carrotwood. Over the years, I have edited out 5 or 6 of them to help open up the back garden to more sunlight and reduce competition among the trees. Throughout that process, I have usually kept the carrotwood as they are low to no maintenance and seem to do well whether we are having a wet or dry year. These are quite common trees here in the San Fernando Valley. I often see them as landscape and street trees, especially in new developments. I would imagine this is because they grow fairly quickly.

Carrotwood has a fairly dense growth, but less than the Ficus benjamina, which I also have the in garden. The leaves are similarly heavy and waxy, but there are fewer on each stem, so the overall effect is less heavy.

In most years, Carrotwood will flower and fruit, although this year there seemed to be less. I would guess it depends on the weather and also the pollinators available. I had noticed that trees only a few streets over were heavily fruited, as mine have been in previous years. It seems that there isn’t much wildlife that eats the seeds here, although I have witnessed mockingbirds carrying seeds away in the past.

Carrotwood can be single or multi-trunked, although most in my garden are single. As you might be able to see in the video, the branches in my trees are fairly unkempt and tangled, which I think is mainly due to poor maintenance when they were younger.

Overall, the information on this tree seems to be “DON’T PLANT IT!” Pity I have so many on the property. Hmmm….

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Video of Carrrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) with closeups of  leaves,  growing habit, and flowers.

Cupaniopsis anacardioides, with common names tuckeroocarrotwoodbeach tamarind and green-leaved tamarind, is a species offlowering tree in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, that is native to eastern and northern Australia. The usual habitat is littoral rainforeston sand or near estuaries. The range of natural distribution is from Seven Mile Beach, New South Wales (34.8° S) to Queensland, northern Australia and New Guinea.

C. anacardioides is an invasive species in some parts of the United States, primarily Florida and Hawaii.[1]

It is small tree with attractive foliage, growing up to ten metres tall with a stem diameter of 50 cm. The bark is smooth grey or brown with raised horizontal lines. The bases of the trees are usually flanged.

Leaves are pinnate and alternate with six to ten leaflets. These are not toothed, and are egg shaped to elliptic oblong, 7 to 10 cm long. The tips are often notched or blunt. Leaf veins are evident on both sides. The veins are mostly raised underneath.

Greenish white flowers form on panicles from May to July. The fruit is an orange to yellow capsule with three lobes. There is a glossy dark brown seed inside each lobe. The seeds are covered in a bright orange aril. Fruit ripens from October to December, attracting many birds including Australasian FigbirdOlive-backed Oriole and Pied Currawong.

Germination from fresh seed occurs without difficulty, particularly if the seed is removed from the aril and soaked for a few days.

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Garden Alphabet: Tomato

Garden Alphabet: Tomato

During a recent neighborhood block party, these tomatoes were on-display for produce swapping. I understand they were scooped up quite quickly. No surprise there. (LAUGH)

Garden alphabet tomato


The tomato is the edible, often red fruit of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. Both the species and its use as a food originated in Mexico, and spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Its many varieties are now widely grown, sometimes in greenhouses in cooler climates.

 The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes (as well as by the United States Supreme Court, see Nix v. Hedden), which has caused some confusion. The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.

 The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual. An average common tomato weighs 102–105 grams.[2][3] –

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