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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.
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?
Entries 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 refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear unless a different year is given. However, they may refer to entries on prior pages.
|Date and Weather||Observations and Activities|
Clear, sunny, and mild
|Bought more ranunculus tubers yesterday. Today, I planted them in the same location where the old ones had been dug up (27 Oct). While planting them, I found the old tubers laying on the soil surface. Whatever dug them up did not eat them. I planted the old tubers elsewhere in the rose bed.
Dug up the 'Study in Black' bearded iris (I. germanica) in the west bed. Shaded too much by adjacent dwarf myrtles (Myrtus communis 'Compacta'), the iris struggled to survive. I moved three rhizomes to a more sunny location in that bed.
Clear, sunny, and mild
|I neglected my garden recently. My Windows XP PC died, and I have been very busy reconfiguring a new Windows 7 PC and attempting to install the software that I enjoyed using on my old PC. This has been a very frustrating effort since much of that software will not install let alone run, even when I select "Windows XP compatibility". I also found that my scanner — which still worked very well — could not be used with Windows 7; fortunately, I was able to install it on my wife's Windows XP PC.
While doing some minor grooming (mostly removing dead flowers) the other day, I saw two holes where I had planted ranunculus (13 Oct). Examining the holes, I found that the ranunculus tubers were missing. Some creature had dug them up and possibly ate them. I hope to replace them soon, completely wrapped in wire mesh.
Today, I actually worked in my garden. I renovated my compost pile. The pile sat on the ground in the corner formed by the junction of two block walls. When I previously went to stir the compost or shovel some into my sifter, I found many roots growing into the pile. I strongly suspect these roots grew from plants on the other side of the wall, either from the mock orange (Pittosporum tobira) on the side of the front of my house or else from my neighbor's Italiabn cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) growing along the property line between our front yards. I moved all the compost — finished and not finished — well away from the corner, pulling out many roots that I added to the pile. I laid down a doubled ground cloth, which is porous enough for water to drain through it but which prevents roots from growing through it. After dumping some leaves (mostly oak) and wood chips (that I saved from having my trees trimmed, 5 Feb 2012) in the corner, I moved most of the old pile on top. The part I did not move I will sift in a few days. Finally, I put some 50-0-0 urea on the pile and rinsed that high-nitrogen fertilizer into the pile.
Removed the shade cloth from the greenhouse window (21 Apr).
Cloudy and overcast, occasional hazy sun, cool
|Finished trimming along the paths in back. This included the lawn opposite the circular bed, both sides of the path between the lawn and teardrop bed, and the teardrop bed opposite the east bed.
Trimmed the Australian tea tree some more (19 Sep).
Planted two ranunculus (R. asiaticus) in the rose bed, approximately where I planted two last year that did not grow.
Every week, I water my two Phalaenopsis orchids in the greenhouse window. Every other week, I water them and an outdoors Cymbidium with a solution containing a disolved orchid fertilizer. Today while watering the Cymbidium, I saw three small shoots that might produce flowers.
Cloudy, gray, and cold
|After 155 consecutive days without measurable rain, 0.03 inches (0.08 cm) fell yesterday. It was really not enough to wet down dust let alone end the danger of brush fires. In four days, the weather changed dramatically. Compare today's temperatures and noon-time humidity with the readings in my prior diary entry.
The Schefflera arboricola cutting (4 Aug) failed to root, so I discarded it. The variegated pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Aureum') growing in the blue bathroom was becoming too leggy. I took two cuttings of it. For such house plants, I place pots with new cuttings in the greenhouse window.
It was just too cold today for me to do anything outdoors in my garden.
Clear, sunny, and hot
|Santa Anna winds have been blowing the past few days, hitting 31 miles per hour yesterday with gusts to 51. Although the winds are much lighter today, the humidity is still extremely low.
Swept the driveway in front again (22 Sep). This time, there were abundant seeds from The Tree in back. The wind blew them completely over my house. As I was driving nearby yesterday, ash seeds blew against my car, sounding like hail falling. Looking up in the back yard, I still see many seed clusters waiting to fall.
Collected four good acorns the other day. Today, I put them up to sprout, something I haven't tried in several years.
Finished trimming the path by the rose bed (3 Oct), both along the lawn (which required more trimming than the rose bed) and along the circular bed and small brick patio (where only the rose bed itself required trimming).
Mostly cloudy, some hazy sun, and mild
|Fed the dwarf citrus and gardenia with a commercial citrus food plus a trace of zinc sulfate. This is the last feeding of the year. Fertilizer promotes tender new growth, which would be damaged by even light frosts during the coming winter.
While feeding the dwarf navel orange, I found a live snail in its pot. I renewed the snail bait in the various flower pots and around the hollyhocks (Alcea rosea, 22 Aug) in back.
Fed the roses with a commercial rose food that contains a systemic insecticide. Since roses are hardier than citrus, they will get one more feeding at the end of this month.
Trimmed about half-way along the path between the back lawn and the rose bed (26 Sep).
In anticipation of winter rains (I hope!), cleared leaves and mud from the catch basin at the bottom of the down-slope V ditch on My Hill.
Scattered clouds, mostly sunny, and mild
|Planted another Coreopsis grandiflora (11 Aug) at the north end of the east bed in back. There are now three plants there, adjacent to a Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'. I think that is enough since further planting of this yellow flower would conflict with the red Penstemon just to the south.
Among the herbs in back, the potted sage (Salvia officinalis) died suddenly. Today, I replaced it. I added extra coarse sand to the potting mix since sage requires very good drainage.
Started trimming along the paths in back. I did the entire section between the west bed and the lawn.
Clear, sunny, and mild
|Welcome to autumn.
Swept debris from my driveway and the public sidewalk. This was all fallout from my oak (Quercus lobata): leaves, twigs, acorns, galls.
Weeded the brick panel in front where the utility boxes are located.
Trimmed the dwarf English ivy on the mailbox.
Replaced a dead 'Goodwin Creek Gray' lavender (Lavandula lanata × dentata) in the circular bed in back with a rooted cutting that I took about four years ago.
Repotted the rooted artemisia 'Powis Castle' cutting (19 Sep) into a larger pot with a mix that contains some nutrients. Depending on how vigorous it grows, I might have to wait until spring to plant it in the ground.
Clear, sunny, and warm
|Although the daytime high temperature was only 1°F lower than a week ago, it definitely did not seem as hot.
Trimmed the Australian tea tree again (11 Aug). As with the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica 'MacBeth'), this seems to grow more towards the east. The shade from The Tree to the west is a likely cause.
Swept 5 gallons of seeds from The Tree off the main patio. Looking up, I saw many more seeds waiting to fall.
Tied several long canes of the climbing 'Peace' rose to the slough wall at the bottom of My Hill. This time, none of the canes broke (11 Jul). I also tied some star jasmine shoots (Trachelospermum jasminoides) to the vine's trellis, redirecting growth to cover and hide the metal work.
One of the two cuttings of the artemisia 'Powis Castle' (A. arborescens × absinthium, 28 Jul) has roots, but it is too small to plant in the ground. I plan to move it to a larger pot with some nutrients in the potting mix. (I never provide nutrients to a new cutting. Nutrients before roots form can cause the cutting to rot.)
Clear, sunny, and hot
|Fed the dwarf citrus, gardenia (G. jasminoides 'Veitchii'), and Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) with ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfates.
Under the liquidambar tree (L styraciflua) in front, trimmed the dwarf English ivy (Hedera helix 'Hahn's') along the property line. The ivy was just about to start climbing my neighbor's Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), which could eventually kill those trees.
Clear, sunny, and hot
|Fed the roses — front and back — with ammonium sulfate.
After picking up three lemons that fell out of my dwarf lemon tree, I retreated back into my air-conditioned house.
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.
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 amounts are omitted after 60 consecutive days elapse without any measurable amount. Season is the cumulative amount of rainfall from 1 October until 30 September of the following year. Week is the cumulative amount of measurable rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no 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.
The signature line I use when writing messages about my garden includes the following:
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