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Saturday, March 13, 2004

Surprise, surprise

You would think, after 8 years in this garden, I would cease to be surprised. The Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) surprised me this morning, though, with a host of spiky, purple flower clusters. I hadn't noticed any the other day, but this morning, while pulling the vines off the telephone, electric and locust tree, I spotted one, then another. The more I looked, the more flower spikes I found. There are about 20-30 more buds which will flower in the next week or so, too.

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Discuss Gardening

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Two very different books with a similar theme, a recollection of a garden throughout the changes of the year.

Verlyn Klinkenborg's The Rural Life is a collection of previous work from the New York Times and other publications. It is a philosophical and touching series of memories from the farm life he grew up with and later re-created again after time in the city.

A Year at North Hill : Four Seasons in a Vermont Garden by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd is a month-by-month analysis of one garden, including the plants included, care information and more.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Starting to Pop!

The heat has really caused things to start moving in the garden this week. I was sitting on the back patio this morning reading the newspaper when a flash of red caught my eye. The sun was backlighting the Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum), and you could see new leaves sprouting from its thin limbs. I have no idea what variety this tree is, as we inherited it with the garden, but it us one of my favorites. It has blood read leaves at both the beginning and ending of the season and a "weeping" habit that makes it move wonderfully in the breeze. It has an interesting trait, too. Instead of dropping all of its leaves each Winter, many hang on until their are literally pushed off the limb by the growing buds and emerging leaves.

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The Freesia bulbs that are scattered around the garden are now in bloom, too. They look a little forlorn as there is not nearly enough sun for them. Their foliage flops over unceremoniously, although their flower stalks usually stand up for a while. Some are purple, some yellow and this thriving example is a bright pink among the spent leaves of the Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) .

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Finally, the Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) has started showing its small, waxy leaves. This tree also suffers from too little sun, but the flowers it manages to put out cheer that corner of the garden, so it stays. I suppose if I was more of an arborist, I would ball and burlap this small tree and move to the front garden where it might better thrive. I hadn't really thought about that before, but that might be just the thing to try. Hmmmmm.

Monday, March 08, 2004

What happened to Spring?

Southern California has issues with Spring. This is the only way I can rationalize the whiplash-inducing change in seasons over the last 3 days. We have gone from daytime temps in the 60's and 70's to upper-80's and 90's almost overnight. I was hoping we could hold on to Winter/Spring for a few more weeks, but early heat waves, such as this, usually mark the end of the rainy season. We might be looking at a very long, hot summer. I guess that item on my To-Do list (Check all irrigation systems) just got moved up a level in priority.

It will be a bit disappointing if I have to start watering so soon in the season. The best year my garden ever had was the El Nino season a few year ago. It really showed what the garden could be if I didn't worry about pouring my life savings (in water) into the ground each summer. I will keep my fingers crossed for more rain, but I won't be holding my breath.

Discuss Gardening