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Saturday, January 28, 2006


The folks over at Abstractions shows me what a piker I am when it comes to propagation. My poor, pitiful passionflower test is nothing compared to their relative fervor for planting. (SMILE)

It is always good to see others who are interested in gardening. I must admit, I was looking out my office window today and noticing that that lovely Brunsfelsia (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow) would be a nice addition to the south bed. A quick Google search later and I had information on taking cuttings. I think I just might get the propagation fever myself!

Neat & Tidy Propagator

I always grow from seed. I always have the seeds indoors because its warmer. Iím very careful, but Iím told by my beautiful wife that I always leave soil around. Weird.

I found a cheap coldframe/propagator when I was christmas shopping. Its a clear plastic box. I donít like buying plastic but I wanted something that I could move easily between the house and garden without loads of mess and would double as an indoors propogator and an outdoors cold frame....I planted some tomatoes, ganzania and some other thing this evening as you can see. I think I may just get away with it this year!

(Via Abstractions.)

Link: Previous mentions of propagation
Link: Making More Plants: The Science, Art and Joy of Propagation

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How to Go Organic in the Garden

I am not totally organic in my garden, although I don't use herbicides or pesticides to any great degree. I do use a bit of fertilizer for the roses each month or so. I have a compost pile, but need to get it working better.

Still, here are some great ideas on how to move towards organic gardening in your own backyard, or back forty.

How to Go Organic in the Garden Take a proactive stand for the environment by starting in your own backyard. Go organic to make your garden a healthier place for every living thing.

(Via eHow.com: How To Article of the Day.)

Link: Previous Mentions of Organic
Link: The Organic Home Garden: How to Grow Fruits & Vegetables Naturally -- by Patrick Lima and John Scanlan
Link: Other books on Organic Gardening

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January 27th Outage @ WelchWrite.com

If you were wondering what happened to WelchWrite.com yesterday, we suffered an outage at our web host from around 6 pm PST to 2:30 am PST. I haven't heard an explanation from my hosting company, but while the web server was out, email, which is probably hosted on a different machine continued to function.

If you use iTunes to download your podcasts, it may have marked any WelchWrite feed as having trouble. You can tell this by a little grey button (it's actually a white exclamation point inside of a grey circle) next to the name of the feed. If you see this "splat", you should right-click (control-click on Macintosh) and select Update Podcast. This should get things flowing again.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Real-life Tree Huggers?

Well, it had to happen, I guess. Treehugger.com points over to this art project of actual "tree huggers", created out of natural materials. These look really neat and I could even foresee having, or making, one of my own. What a great way of expressing your joy for the natural world.

Another Treehugger Project


After checking with our copyright lawyer and being shocked to learn that we don't own the word, we present the Treehugger project by artists Wiktor Szostalo and Agnieszka Gradzik, who use twigs and branches to make what else- treehuggers. It is "environmental art designed to help us rediscover our relationship with nature at a very personal and intimate level" ::ArtMOCO

(Via Treehugger.)

Link: Treehugger.com

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Japanese Garden Mini-Tour - Video and Photos

As I was returning from a computer training client this afternoon I made a short detour by the Glendale-Higashioska Friendship Garden and Tea Room near the Brand Library in Glendale, California, 1601 W Mountain St, Glendale, 91201 - (818) 548-2051

I used to work near this park and often took my lunches here, enjoying its calming influence before heading back to my cubicle.

Today, I shot some video and put together the first AGN "mini-tour". I will be creating a series of these videos over the next year and beyond. I would love to hear your comments about the video, the still pictures and the garden itself. You can leave your thoughts by clicking the "comments" link below.

To automatically receive future audio and video podcasts, subscribe to A Gardener's Notebook.

Music: Silk Route by Satya

Music for this video podcast provided from the PodShow Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at music.podshow.com.

Link: AGN Mini-Tour 001 - Friendship Garden Video
Link: AGN Mini-Tour 001 - Friendship Garden Photos
Link: Previous mentions of Japanese Gardens
Link: Books on Japanese Gardens

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Pink and White Azalea

Pink and White Azalea
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
The azaleas are blooming and it is a beautiful sight.

Returning from my walk today I spotted 3 different varieties in bloom in the front garden. These were planted by the previous owners, so I have no idea what varieties they actually are, but they are reliable bloomers every year around this time.

I have thought of removing some of them to make management of the front garden a little easier, but they always impress me with their show, so they have survived the last 10 years since we have owned this property.

Once all the blooms are finished it will be time to trim all these azaleas, which are planted in rather formal geometric shaped beds. My arms are tired by the time I am done with the hedge trimmers, but it usually only requires one "haircut" a year.

Click the photo to see a larger version and be linked to additional photos over at Flickr.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Adventures in the Garden

Adventures in the Garden
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Joe had some friends over the other day. They went bug hunting, complete with backpacks and water bottles.

It's nice to know that they can enjoy a little of the outdoors even here in the middle of the city. Scenes like this make me appreciate all the work the garden can sometimes bring.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Passiflora Seed Testing

Sprouting Passiflora SeedsI came across a dried Passionflower seed pod in the garage a couple of days ago. I had taken a couple of pods from a neighbors vine which we pass on our regular walking route through the neighborhood.

I have no idea whether the seeds are still viable, so I decided to do a quick test to see if any of the seeds would sprout. I took 10 seeds, out of the perhaps 50 in the seed pod, spread them out on a wet paper towel and then sealed that in a zip to bag. Ten seeds gives me a quick and easy methods of discovering the percentage of viable seeds that I can expect in the entire batch.

I really like Passionflower vines, but the butterfly larvae seem to love them, too. We can always find 2 or 3 in various stages of their lifecycle. They completely strip the one vine we have right now. I keep thinking the vine is dead, but it seems to come back again and gain.

I will let you all know how many seeds sprout, if any. If so, I will take those and pot them up to a good size before trying to transplant them in the garden.

Link: Previous mentions of Passionflower
Link: Book: Passiflora by Torsten Ulme

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happyflowers from Flickr.com

Originally uploaded by Jacco Noordhuizen.
Wow! I love the colors in these flowers. They are so dramatic against the dark green and bright yellow.

Can anyone identify the species for me?

Event: Winter Botanical Drawing Workshop

Winter Botanical Drawing Workshop

TUE 1/31 11am

Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

Artists of all levels, draw or paint plants while learning about native flora. Group size is limited. Reservations required 323-656-3899. 4hrs WODOC/ MRCA

Link: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Info
Link: How to Draw Plants by Keith Wes
Link: Other books on botanical drawing

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Add yourself to the AGN Frappr Map

Where is your garden? Click below to add yourself to the AGN Frappr map.

What's special about your garden and where your located? Let us know!

AGN 001 - Getting Started - January 23, 2006

Here is the first podcast episode of the A Gardener's Notebook.

After producing my other podcast, Career Opportunities, for over a year now, I wanted to expand my podcasting into some non-technology areas.

I plan on producing an episode of AGN each week, although there might be a few lapses here and there as I get things moving. I might also be releasing short audio and video snippets in-between the regular shows.

I am greatly interested in what is happening in your garden. Send you questions, comments, photographs, MP3 audio comments, etc to agn@welchwrite.com or post them as comment on the web site and they might find their way into a future show.

Listen to Episode 1

Link: Subscribe to AGN via iTunes
Link: Subscribe to AGN via other podcasting software
Link: AGN photos on Flickr.com
Link: Original weekly AGN Columns

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Illuminated flower pots

Light up your garden

I came across these interesting solar-powered, illuminated garden pots. Just the thing for a high-tech geek (like myself) who's also into gardening. (SMILE)

"Hereís a stylish solar way to brighten up your potted plants. The resin Solar GardenGlo planter by Patio Living Concepts uses sunlight to power six LED bulbs, which last 20,000 hours, according to the manufacturer. "

Link: Patio Living Concepts
Link: Garden products at Amazon.com

(Via Treehugger.com)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunset Magazine Online Idea File

Sunset Magazine has some interesting links to previous articles organized by type.

For example, visiting http://sunset.com/path give you list of past articles on garden paths. Similar searches included in the Feb. 2006 issue include http://sunset.com/roses and http://sunset.com/planterbench.

Link: Previous mentions of Sunset
Link: Sunset Magazine Web Site
Link: Subscribe to Sunset Magazine via Amazon.com

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Here is a short video of our regular garden denizens. While we can get quite a variety of birds in the garden, other wildlife is a bit sparse here in the center of the San Fernando Valley. There are almost always squirrels about, and opossums make regular nocturnal journeys, but little else if you don't count the large number of tame and feral cats.

Some people say you can learn to identify individual squirrels as they come back to your garden again and again, but for me they all tend to look the same. Maybe by shooting some video, and getting a better closeup I can start to differentiate them. I noticed that this one has a distinct spot near his shoulder. Tails are also supposed to be a good field mark, as the males often pull at each other's tails when fighting, leaving bare spots and such.

Here is a bit of trivia. The Italian word for squirrel is scoiattolo. I had to look that one up one day when our Sicilian relatives were visiting. They were quite amazed to see squirrels romping right here in the garden, as the squirrels in Sicily are very shy and only populate the forests around Mount Etna. I am guessing that since the urban density is much higher in the big cities, the squirrels don't find hospitable areas within the city iteslf. Too much stone and concrete.

Link: Previous mentions of squirrels
Link: Books about Squirrels

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Eucalyptus Flowers

While waiting for my son at Little League try-outs this morning, I noticed this eucalyptus tree in full bloom. I am not sure how much this might contribute to allergies, but a quick Google Search turned up the fact that some folks are allergic to the leaves and oils of the plant.

Eucalyptus are not native to California, but were planted extensively as a possible source of lumber (for which they are entirely unfit) and wind breaks. Several parks in the area have started programs to remove the eucalyptus to allow native species to return.

Link: Google search on eucalyptus allergies
Link: Previous mentions of eucalyptus
Link: Books on eucalyptus

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