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Friday, February 03, 2006

Book: Homescaping by Anne Halpin

Garden books, as a genre, tend to lean in 2 general directions. There are the books filled with beautiful pictures, but not much information and, on the other side, are books that are pages and pages of text with little or no design. Homescaping by Anne Halpin proves that a gardening book can be both beautiful and informative.

There are plenty of "Plant Finder" lists, which recommend plants for many different scenarios, but the book never devolves into an endless list of possibilities. Other sections include garden styles, color-coordinating house and garden, landscaping, structures and more.

I found this to be a great book to browse at random whenever I had a few moments. You can easily pick up 2-3 great tips each time you pick it up. After my initial browsing, though, I am now working through the book cover to cover, trying to gather all the good information it can offer.

Link: Related posts on Garden Books
Link: Books on Gardening
Link: Rodale - Publisher's Web Site

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

AGN February Calendar

Although I didn't complete this idea in time for January, here I present the first monthly AGN Photo Calendar.

Each month, I will include a single-page calendar, with one of my garden-related photos, in PDF format, suitable for printing. As I produce more of these I will start to include important events and other gardening information.

Please let me know what you think of these calendars and how they might be improved.

If you subscribe to the AGN RSS feed, you will receive these calendars automatically. Apple's iTunes software allows you to easily view and print PDF files directly in the same way you listen to the AGN podcast.

Link: AGN February Photo Calendar (PDF)

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Gardener's Notebook 002 - January 30, 2006

This week I talk about trellises, tree trimming and more.

I am always 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 comments on the web site and they might find their way into a future show.

Listen to Episode 2

Link: Subscribe to AGN via iTunes
Link: Subscribe to AGN via other podcasting software
Link: AGN photos on Flickr.com
Link: A Gardener's Notebook Blog
Link: Original weekly AGN Columns

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Event: Great Backyard Bird Count Bird Walks

My good friend, Keri Dearborn, writes...

Have you ever wanted to be a field biologist?

If you are between 5 and 95, The Great Backyard Bird Count is your chance.

Feb. 17 - 20, across all of North America citizen scientists, like you, will be counting birds to establish how many birds there are and where they are located. You can participate on your own through www.birdsource.org/gbbc

or you can come out and join me. I will be counting birds:

Friday, 2/17; 3:30 - 5:30 PM at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Refuge
This is one of the best local wetlands for seeing a wide range of birds. There will be lots to see so we will need lots of eyes.

Saturday, 2/18; 8:00 - 10:00 AM at the L.A. Zoo
This is a Bird Walk through the Zoo before it is open to the public. This event is free to all Zoo members by reservation. It is a great opportunity to see birds and the Zoo in the quiet of the morning. For reservations send your name, membership #, and the number of people in your party to lstoneman@lazoo.org.

Sunday, 2/19; 8:00 - 10:00 AM at Serrania Park in Woodland Hills
This is a great place for beginners. The park is small and the birds are many. I saw 22 species there this afternoon; including Northern flickers, cedar waxwings, and thrashers.

This is a chance to contribute to science, have a little fun, and maybe see a bird you've never seen before. When it comes to birding, we are all learning and kids make great birders because they have young eyes. If you'd like to join me Friday or Sunday, let me know, and I will send you directions to the meeting site.

Friday and Sunday locations are open to anyone that wishes to join me, whatever you birding ability.

The best way to learn about birds is to just go out and look.

Happy Birding, Keri Dearborn

Link: Great Backyard Birdcount Web Site
Link: Related info on birds from WelchWrite.com
Link: Books on Birdwatching

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

First Daffodil

First Daffodil
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
The Daffodils are rapidly blooming now.

This was the first one to open fully, but I am counting 1-20 more that are ready to pop.

I am so glad I planted these a few years ago. They are such a nice, colorful accent at this time of year when we can get our grey days like anywhere else.

Click the photo to link to more garden photos on Flickr.

Link: Last Year's Bloom
Link: Previous Mentions of Daffodils
Link: Books on Daffodils

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Tomorrow, tomorrow...

Well, it seems I have finally gotten my act together and started making some major movement in the garden. It will cost a bit of money, but, by focusing on the back garden, we will setting ourselves up for some trouble-free years to come.

First, the dead willow will finally come out. I have been crossing my fingers every time the winds picked up that the tree wouldn't come down on its own. I will not bother having the stump removed completely, as a very vigorous (what I think is a) Sickle-thorn Asparagus (Asparagus falcatus) is already covering the area.

Next, the large eucalyptus and ash trees will be pruned and shaped. Both of these provide significant shade to the house during the hot summers, but they can also shade the back garden a bit much. Eucalyptus is know for shedding large limbs, so I am also trying to prevent any major events in that regard.

The 2 large ficus trees that act as the entrance to the back corner of the garden will be brought back into line by some judicious pruning and shaping. Finally, the locust tree just outside the back door is looking a bit wild. I was going to prune this tree myself, but the price offered by the landscaper was so good that I will let him deal with it and get onto other projects.

Finally, while all this is occurring tomorrow morning, I will be starting 2 trellis projects. One involves replacing our existing wisteria trellis with a new pergola made from 6x6 and 4x4 material. Once compeleted, this should last for the foreseeable future. We need to dig four holes for the new post footings, let them cure for a day and then begin staining the wood and assembling it. The brother of a good friend is organizing the project.

I will also start to strip all the Clytostoma Calistigoides vines off the smaller pergola outside my office. One member has failed due to a knot and subsequent rot, so we will be replacing that 10 foot section. Removing all the vines and leaf litter will also significantly reduce the amount of weight on the trellis, prolonging it life for the next couple of years, at least.

I will be taking lots of pictures and video, and probably recording a complete AGN podcast of all this work. It is rare that so much happens so quickly in my garden, but sometimes you have to take the opportunity to jump on a project when all the aspects come together.

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