First Bulbs Appear In The Garden

First Bulbs Appear In The Garden

First Bulbs Appear In The Garden

Here in Los Angeles, our bulbs — in this case, paperwhites — start to rise in the Winter, usually after our first good rain. Still waiting on that rain though. 

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19 The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

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19 The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello

I was doing some research for my wife’s next book today and came across this book as a source. While I had only planned on mining it for the information I needed, I found myself reading entire sections. It is an amazing history of the agricultural side of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello as a vast agricultural research center, long before anything so called was even imagined. Not everything was successful, of course, and the book lays out all the failures along with the successes.

We visited Monticello many, many years ago (October 1994, according to my notes on the back of the prints) and visiting it again, through the pages of this book, reminded me of how striking the home, the gardens and the farmland all were.

Photos from our trip to Monticello in 1994

Monticello 1

Monticello 2

Monticello 3

Monticello 4

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Lovely Garden House via @rachael_adkins on Instagram

Lovely Garden Shed via @rachael_adkins on Intsagram

Lovely Garden House via @rachael_adkins on Instagram

Learn more about garden houses and shed with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available at the Los Angeles Public Library

14 Garden Arbor | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

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14 Garden Arbor

From Douglas…

We have been meaning to get a trellis for the Lady Bank’s Rose in the front garden for a long time, but it wasn’t growing very fast and we concentrated on other, more important tasks. That all changed this Winter and Spring, though. With the large amount of rain we had — along with the removal of a short fence that was blocking the sun — the rose added a lot of vigorous growth and bloomed quite nicely, even for a relatively small plant. You can see from the photos that it was big enough to cover most of the side of the trellis after we trimmed and tied the main stake to the newly built arbor. 

We need to do a bit more staking to prevent any blow down during our windy days and you can see an ugly remaining fence post that we need to cut off as best we can. it is set in cement and littered with nails so I need to find a clear path through so I can use the hand saw to cut it down as low as possible.

Looking out the window after cleaning up from out work, Rosanne said “It looks like it has always been there” and indeed it does. it blends in well, while also adding a nice decorative touch.

If you are looking for an arbor for your garden, this “Athens” model is all vinyl and no maintenance, something I had to have when I went looking.

Assembly was easy and required nothing more than a power screwdriver to drive the self-tapping screws. I look forward to it being here for many years to come.


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Rhododendron at University of Otago via Instagram

Rhododendron at University of Otago via Instagram

Rhododendron at University of Otago

A late Winter/early Spring rhododendron blooms on the campus of the University of Otago.

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Learn more about rhododendron with these  books

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08 The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

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08 The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden by Johanna Silver (Author), Marion Brenner (Photographer)

If you truly want to know and understand a garden, you need to walk the garden with the owner, the creator, the designer or the head gardener. They can show and tell you small things that you might not notice on your own or explain grand themes and plans which are only subtly visible in the garden but underpin everything. Books like The Bold Dry Garden are the next best thing to walking the paths with the owners and hearing the stories of how the garden was created, how this plant or the other was acquired, the grand successes and dismal failures. You get a sense for all these in The Bold Dry Garden. The author and photographer seek to make the garden accessible to anyone no matter where they might be in the world. Even though I only live 5-6 hours drive from the Ruth Bancroft Garden I had not heard of it and, of course, have never visited. This book has changed that th0ugh. Now I am intimately familiar with creator Ruth Bancroft’s history, the evolving garden design and even particular specimen plants included in the garden.

The Bold Dry Garden begins with “Meet Ruth”. This recounts Ruth’s early history from her childhood to the point where, at age 63, after most of the surrounding farmland had been sold off for subdivisions, she started to build the garden. From this start in 1971, the garden grew and changed until it became part of the Garden Conservancy in 1991. This addition helped to preserve and maintain the gardens for generations to come. The bulk of The Bold Dry Garden is the section entitled “Signature Plants of the Dry Garden.” Here you find detailed accounts and photos of many of the plants in the garden including agaves and aloes, echeveria and sempervivum, euphorbium and crassula. This is a veritable encyclopedia for succulents lovers and an excellent reference book, as well as one to simply read from cover to cover as if you were walking through the garden itself. The descriptions and photographs can give you both interesting ideas and detailed information for seeing how these plants might fit into your own garden.

Now that I have read The Bold Dry Garden, I plan on visiting the next time I am in Northern California. In fact, I will probably go out of my way to visit, even if I am just passing through. A garden like The Ruth Bancroft Garden is always a treat to visit and my appetite has been whet with this amazing, written and photographed, introduction.


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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† This book is available at the LA Public LIbrary

Get these Cactus Garden Totes, Laptop Sleeves, Mugs, iPhone Cases and More!

Get these Cactus Garden Totes, Laptop Sleeves, Mugs, iPhone Cases and More!

Get these Cactus Garden Totes, Laptop Sleeves, Mugs, iPhone Cases and More!

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04 Garden Cloches | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Since so many people order their gifts online and ahead of time, I’ve decided to start my annual Gift Guide fairly early this year. This should allow you to find your favorite gifts — and perhaps recommend a few of your own wish list items to your friends and family — with enough lead time to assure they arrive in time for your holiday celebration, whichever holiday it might be!

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Garden Cloches

Protect your tender garden plants from both cold temperature and pests (like my raccoons and squirrels who want to dig in any freshly planted patch) Choose wire cloches like this for pest protection, plastic cloches for transplant protection or elegant glass cloches for a touch of beauty along with the protection they provide.— Douglas

04 Garden Cloches | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

In the garden, this chicken wire cloche protects prized seedlings, lettuce plants and ripening strawberries from nibbling wildlife and curious cats. Indoors, place it over an arrangement of houseplants, candles or curios to transform them from ordinary to delightful. May also be used as a trellis for small ivies and other vining houseplants. — Amazon


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Growing Pride & Produce via Yakima Herald-Republic

Could your area use a community garden? The answer might surprise you. Here is one excellent example of both the why and how of one small community’s garden. — Douglas
 
 
A few years ago, when Gini asked some residents, “What do you think we need in Buena?” A young woman said she wished they had a garden. Surrounded by orchards and vineyards, it’s ironic that Buena meets the USDA’s definition of a food desert. Residents looking for fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods have to drive somewhere else to shop, since this small community lacks a supermarket. With that wish, a new seed was planted.
Read Growing Pride & Produce via Yakima Herald-Republic

Want to learn more about community gardens and allotments?

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† These books are available at the LA Public Library


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Tower Garden spotted in Stephens College Cafeteria

It was cool to spot this Tower Garden (2 of them, in fact) in the cafeteria of Stephens College on a recent visit to Columbia, Missouri for the Citizen Jane Film Festival.

Tower Garden spotted in Stephens College Cafeteria

I have seen a variety of these systems, but this is my first experience with Tower Garden specifically. I did a little research on the device and the company and included it in the links below.

Tower Garden Web Site

This unit is a bit expensive for most individuals, but there are a host of others available and a wide variety of DIY systems available on the internet. Take a look!