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Saturday, January 11, 2003

A little bit...

Well, I got a little bit done in the garden today, but not nearly as much as I should have. Isn't that the case with all gardens, though?

First thing this morning, after a quick cup of coffee, of course, I go those 2 languishing lantana plants into the ground. With this addition I should start seeing a movement to my purple and gold theme along the street. I am alternating the colors (the purple variety is already well established and spreading) as well as the habit. The yellow lantana has a more vertical habit, where the purple variety is a low spreader. This should be nice contrast of structure and color, once the yellow ones become established.

The existing planting is doing exactly what I hoped on the nut grass suppression front. Nothing seems to kill this grass and it appears anywhere that there is water. The lantana is heavy enough that it chokes out the grass, eventually. This new planting should also allow me to remove the 2 varieties of dusty miller that I transplanted from the back yard years ago. It was put in as a stopgap originally, but it has taken me this long to get replacements in the ground.

I also hacked up our Christmas tree to use as mulch around the garden. It had been sitting outside for the last 2 weeks, but a few minutes with the pruners left me with a pile of boughs suitable for a decorative ground cover and a long straight trunk with my wife likes to use for edging the beds.

Of course, this time of year always drives me nuts, as most people in LA have no idea what to do with their Christmas tree once the holidays are over. Starting the day after Christmas you find trees littering front yards, alleyways and every conceivable public area in the city. If I had a chipper/shredder I would probably go around collecting the trees so I could mulch them, but no such luck.

The final job of the day involved fixing the latch on one of our garden gates. The high winds last week stressed the latch so much that the bar broke off. A quick trip the hardware store and a few minutes with the drill finished that project and got one more item off my to-do list.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Gardening After Dark

Although I can usually make my own schedule, the last several days I have been arriving home after dark. Computer clients have kept me hopping all week and the lantana I bought over a week ago still languishes on my front porch.

Despite Rosanne regular (and only half joking) threat of installing lights in the garden so we can work at night, I am not sure when I will get to some very important tasks. Planting needs to be done, for sure, but rose pruning needs to happen soon. I wouldn't even try to do that in the dark, though. I get torn up enough when I can see clearly.

Lights would certainly help, though, even in the summer. During the height of the heat here in SoCal it doesn't cool down at all until the sun slips below the horizon. No one wants to be out working when it is over 100, no matter how pretty the garden or how necessary the work.

Do you garden at night? How do you fit in all the work when the real world enroaches on your time? Drop me a line at: douglas@welchwrite.com and let me know your secret.

This weekend should bring a few spare moments, I hope. I am determined to spend some time digging.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Improper use of tools

Many gardening tools have a variety of uses, but extending pole tree trimmers have a rather limited range of operation. Someone who lives near me, though, seems to have found a new use for these tools.

For the last three days, our telephone and/or cable lines have somehow disconnected themselves from the utility pole in our rear garden. We have several days of blustery Santa Ana winds, so we first thought that was the culprit. Two more days of disconnects had us searching for other answers, though. Unable to catch the cables in their act of spontaneously disconnecting we had a few ideas what might be happening.

After several visits from SBC, our local phone company, and Adelphia, our cable provider, and the LAPD, we were back in business here at the AGN home office.

That is....until this morning.

My wife arises early with my 5-year-old son most mornings. She checked the telephone...still working. She checked the cable TV...still working, much to my son's joy! He can finally watch Cyberchase again.

She then goes into the back garden to hang up some laundry on our handy-dandy, and "oh so declassé" clothes line. There, hanging from the telephone wires, is a pole tree trimmer, with saw attachment. "Hmmm....interesting," she thought, and quickly went to call the utility companies, again, along with the police.

I make no claims as to understanding the motivation of this person, but I think you will agree that using a pole trimmer to cut phone and cable lines, is probably not the designed use for this tool, especially when the electrical lines are on the same pole.

I felt it was my duty to pass along this important safety tip to all AGN readers.

Click the picture for a larger version

Monday, January 06, 2003

Garden Photos

A few shots from a bright and blustery day here in California. It is unseasonably warm today with a big Santa Ana wind pushing temperatures into the high 70's. I can't imagine what the plants think of this.

Template Trouble

I am having a bit of trouble with my templates over at Blogger.com, so the look of the page may change and you may see some errors on occassion. Please bear with me. -- Douglas

The AGN mailing list is back!

In order to give you a chance to comment on blog items and discuss gardening topics among yourself, I have restarted the AGN mailing list through YahooGroups.

You can subscribe directly by entering your email address in the "Subscribe" box at the top of the right-hand column or by visiting Yahoo Groups directly.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Descanso Gardens

Sunday Jan 12 - 8:00 AM

Learn the Birds of the Gardens

Descanso Gardens is a wonderful place to view the different varieties of birds that visit Southern California. Experts from the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society lead free, instructional bird walks every second and fourth Sunday of the month. Meet at 8 a.m. at the Center Circle.

Free Admission for early birders. The tours are led by Karen Johnson or Nancy Knode.

For more information call Karen at 818-790-1687 or email lv2bird@aol.com

Free With Garden Admission