Viewable With ANY Browser

Note: My Web pages are best viewed with style sheets enabled.

Unrated

My Garden Diary

July and August 2018

Copyright © 2018 by David E. Ross

Many years ago, when I first started my Web site, I created an online diary of my gardening activities and observations. However, with work and the commute from Hell, I was often so tired I had to choose between maintaining my garden and maintaining my diary. Sometimes, I did neither. In 1998, I stopped my diary and removed the pages from my Web site. 7

Now I am retired. I am well-rested and have plenty of time to both garden and maintain a diary. This diary is primarily for my own benefit, so that I can look back upon what I did and when. But I thought others might also be interested, so here it is.

Also see What's Blooming in My Garden Now?


January-February 2013
March-April 2013
May-June 2013
July-August 2013
September-October 2013
November-December 2013
January-February 2014
March-April 2014
May-June 2014
July-August 2014
September-October 2014
November-December 2014
January-February 2015
March-April 2015
May-June 2015
July-August 2015
September-October 2015
November-December 2015
January-February 2016
March-April 2016
May-June 2016
July-August 2016
September-October 2016
November-December 2016
January-February 2017
March-April 2017
May-June 2017
July-August 2017
September-October 2017
November-December 2017
January-February 2018
March-April 2018
May-June 2018

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012

Entries below are in reverse order (latest at the top). Daily, I might stoop to pull a weed or use a hose to water some potted plants; however, I don't consider those significant gardening activities. Thus, you will not see daily entries. Also, I might accumulate a few entries before updating this page on the Web.

When plants have well-known common names, their scientific names are given only the first time they appear on this page (entry closest to the bottom). There, the common name is in bold or appears as a link to another Web page.

Dates without years refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear — including entries on prior pages for the same year — unless a different year is given.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
26 August

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 59-85
Humidity: 39%
Wind: 3-13

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 69

The valley white oak (Quercus lobata) in front started dropping its leaves early, possibly the result of the excessive heat we have had. I raked the leaves and used them as a mulch in some of the bare places in the front lawn.

Fed the dwarf citrus and gardenia with ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfates. I also gave a tiny pinch of ammonium sulfate to some of the wax-leaf begonias that are around the tangelo and a trace of it to the potted Alstroemeria, which is recovering nicely from the July heat wave.

Lightly trimmed the star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), which was beginning to encroach on the tangelo and patio. I also lightly trimmed the climbing 'Peace' rose, which was interfering with two sprinkler heads.

Severely trimmed the Sprenger asparagus. For this, I wore leather work gloves as the shoots have nasty thorns. I hope Cleopatra is discouraged from burrowing there again.

22 August

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 62-93
Humidity: 30%
Wind: 0-12

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 65

The cuttings of the all-green (non-variegrated) pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Jade') were well-rooted. I discarded the parent plant, potted the cuttings, and put the pot in the breakfast room greenhouse window. This now means there is no vine stretching from the greenhouse window to the ceiling, but the plants should grow fast enough that a new vine will soon be there.

Cleopatra has long enjoyed napping under the Sprenger asparagus (A. aethiopicus 'Sprengeri', previously known as A. densiflorus) in the east bed in back. Lately, however, she has been trying to create a home for herself there, digging a burrow. I was concerned that, if she were to hibernate there, she could drown if the burrow flooded during a winter rain. I moved Cleo to the patio and gave her left-over 'Perlette' grapes (12 Aug). After filling the burrow with a mixture of the soil she removed and pea gravel, I then wet it thoroughly and pressed bricks into the top of the resulting mud. Cleo has a perfectly fine house on the other side of my house, slightly raised to keep it dry.

Put up cuttings of Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (A. arborescens × absinthium) to replace two that died.

19 August

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 65-92
Humidity: 39%
Wind: 0-12

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 63

Cut down the artichoke (Cynara scoymus) growing in my back lawn. It finally went dormant, which usually happens earlier in the summer.

Fed the roses with ammonium sulfate. I gave the new roses only a small amount. I also gave the potted plants on the patio small pinches of ammonium sulfate.

Tied up the potted chrysanthemum (C. morifolium) on the patio. I have a length of steel rebar in the middle of the pot as a stake.

While all other plants (other than the cuttings I was trying to root) survived the extreme heat at the beginning of last month (13 Jul), I thought the 'Goodwin Creek Grey' lavender (Lavandula lanata × dentata) in the pot on the brick walk in front was dead. Most leaves were drooping and crisp. No leaves showed any green. Nevertheless, I continued to water the pot every Sunday. Today, I saw fresh growth! It indeed survived.

12 August

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 67-94
Humidity: 30%
Wind: 0-12

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 56

Climbed My Hill to groom the grape vines, which meant tying some shoots to a supporting wire and trimming other shoots. While I was up there, I cut down some volunteer seedling trees and trimmed some of the Rhaphiolepis 'Majestic Beauty', both of which were interfering with the sprinkler system. The extreme heat this summer (e.g., 13 Jul) ruined my grape crop. I got one partial bunch of 'Perlette' and none from 'Flame' or 'Black Monukka'.

Finished pruning the loquat tree (3 & 8 Aug).

The severe pruning I did to the pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana, 24 Jun and earlier) caused the bush to produce dense clusters of new shoots. Many of those shoots were where I do not want new growth; indeed, most of them were where I removed branches. I pulled away large handsful of shoots, especially those that would result in new growth towards the center of the bush. Pulling instead of cutting was appropriate because cutting the shoots would leave stubs that would sprout again.

8 August

Clear, sunny, and very hot

Temp: 68-100
Humidity: 12%
Wind: 0-20

Some of the columbine (hybrid Aquilegia) seeds that I scattered (6 Jun) have sprouted and are growing in the east bed in back.

Pruned more of the loquat tree (3 Aug), quitting only when the heat drove me back into my air conditioned house.


Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 52

3 August

Clear, sunny, and very hot

Temp: 69-97
Humidity: 27%
Wind: 1-10

Fed the dwarf citrus and gardenia with commercial citrus fertilier plus pinches of zinc sulfate.

Started pruning the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica 'MacBeth') in the circular bed. With the extreme heat, I was warned not to do any significant pruning. I was also advised, however, that pruning a loquat during the heat of summer reduces the likelihood of the tree being infected again with fireblight (27 May).


Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 47

29 July

Clear, sunny, and very hot

Temp: 68-98
Humidity: 31%
Wind: 0-11

Two days ago, I finished raking the paths in back (22 Jul) and also raked the main patio. Because of the heat — 103°F at 2:00pm — I had to retreat into my air conditioned home without doing anything else.

Today, I trimmed the back lawn along the main patio. Then, I swept the patio to collect the smaller debris that escaped the rake. Although it was very hot again, most of my work was in the shade of my house or The Tree.


Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 42

22 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 66-92
Humidity: 32%
Wind: 2-16

Trimmed the edge of the teardrop bed opposite the east bed. That completes my trimming along the paths in back. I still have to trim along the main patio.

Raked the paths to clean up the trimmings I did not get with my hands. I covered all paths except those around both sides of the teardrop bed. I had to stop because the green trash bin for the county's composting program was full.


Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 35

20 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 67-90
Humidity: 46%
Wind: 3-14

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 33

Fed the roses with a commercial fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide. This time, I fed the new roses that I planted this year (1 Apr). The two in back have been attacked by a leaf chewer, and the one survivor in front has already been blooming. Thus, I decided not to wait until next spring to start feeding the new roses.

Trimmed the edges of the path in back between the lawn and teardrop bed. I also trimmed around the sprinkler heads in the lawn, around the potted dwarf navel orange (Citrus sinensis 'Robertson'), and around the various perennials growing near the lawn's edge.

Moved some of the potted herbs to make room for trimming the edge of the lawn. I discovered a swarm of ants for which I placed an "ant stake", a small container of poison ant bait on the end of a short plastic stake.

18 July

Partly overcast, occasional sun (sometimes hazy), and hot

Temp: 62-93
Humidity: 64%
Wind: 4-13

Fed the dwarf citrus and gardenia (G. Jasminoides) with ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfates. I also gave very small pinches of ammonium sulfate to the rooted 'Simply Marvelous' rose cutting, valley white oak (Quercus lobata) sapling, and Hippeastrum, all of which are in containers on my patio.

Trimmed the edge of the back lawn along the path adjacent to the circular bed.


Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 31

13 July

Clear, sunny, and very hot

Temp: 67-95
Humidity: 34%
Wind: 0-14

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 26

My wife and I visited our daughter's family in Canada the end of June and beginning of July. We returned to California at the tail end of a record-setting heat wave. From 5 July through today, the daily high at the nearby Cheeseboro weather station exceeded 90°F. Four days had highs above 100°. On 7 July, the temperature hit 115°, exceeding all other highs since I began recording daily temperatures in 2006 and breaking last year's 12-year record of 112° set on 30 August. As a result:
  • The 'George Taber' azalea cutting, which already had some roots (22 Nov 17), and the Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (A. arborescens × absinthium) cuttings were quite dead. I will buy a 'George Taber' azalea in the fall to extend the hedge that surrounds the camellia bed. When the weather cools, I will put up new Artemisia cuttings.
  • The Tree dropped many leaves. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, some trees dropped even more leaves.
  • Many shrubs appear as if they were hit by a flame thrower. Suffering significant damage were my Camellia japonica, C. sasanqua, and 'George Taber' azaleas (Rhododendron indica). However, all still have some green leaves; and I expect them to recover.
  • The black bamboo shoot that I am trying to root (26 Jun) might have died. Whether it survives depends on what is within the potting mix, but the above ground portion is clearly dead.

Finished trimming the edge of the rose bed (20 Jun).

Weather data are from the Cheeseboro (CHE) weather station, about 2 miles ENE of my house.

The high temperature (°F) is daytime for the indicated date; the low temperature (°F) is for the previous night.

Winter chill is the cumulative hours of temperatures at or below 45°F from 1 November through 31 March. It is reported during that period and through April.

The relative humidity is at noon. (In my garden, it is likely higher than reported, a result of regular irrigation.)

Wind speeds (mph) are average (not peak) low and high, midnight to midnight (subject to later correction for diary entries posted before the end of the day). I also indicate peak wind gusts parenthetically when they are significantly high.

Rain is in inches. Rain-year is the cumulative amount of rainfall from 1 October until 30 September of the following year (our "rain-year"). Week is the cumulative amount of measurable rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no measurable rain fell in that period, Days since last is reported.

Characterization of the weather (e.g., Clear, sunny, and warm) is purely subjective; for example, "warm" might occur with higher temperatures than "hot" if the former occurs with lower humidity and more breezes than the latter. Also, a day that would normally be characterized as "mild" might instead be "warm" if the immediately previous days were quite cold. Finally, such characterization reflects when I was actually outside and gardening and ignores changes that occur while I am inside.

The signature line I use when writing messages about my garden includes the following:

Climate: California Mediterranean
Sunset Zone: 21 -- interior Santa Monica Mountains with some ocean influence (USDA 10a, very close to Sunset Zone 19)
See also My Climate.
May-June 2018
March-April 2018
January-February 2018
November-December 2017
September-October 2017
July-August 2017
May-June 2017
March-April 2017
January-February 2017
November-December 2016
September-October 2016
July-August 2016
May-June 2016
March-April 2016
January-February 2016
November-December 2015
September-October 2015
July-August 2015
May-June 2015
March-April 2015
January-February 2015
November-December 2014
September-October 2014
July-August 2014
May-June 2014
March-April 2014
January-February 2014
November-December 2013
September-October 2013
July-August 2013
May-June 2013
March-April 2013
January-February 2013

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012


Valid HTML 4.01