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My Garden Diary

September and October 2016

Copyright © 2016 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.

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

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

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
27 Oct

Cloudy, gray, and warm

Temp: 66-83
Humidity: 30%
Wind: 0-9

Rain —
This season: 0.28
Days since last: 10

Yesterday, I found the Camellia sasanqua that I planted this past Sunday (23 Oct) ripped out of the ground. I reset the plant in its hole and tamped down the soil. This is a recurring problem whenever I plant something with bone meal in the planting hole. Bone meal is an excellent mild source of phosphorus, which promotes root growth and flowering. It seems, however, that the bone meal attracts either oposums or raccoons, which smell it and think there is meat buried under the plant. Five other plants that I recently planted also have bone meal under them. I hope the rain that is expected tonight discourages further varmint vandalism.

Fed the roses today with a commercial fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide. This is the last time I feed the roses this year as I do not want to promote new growth at the end of the year when I prune them. I will resume feeding in the spring when new growth begins.

23 Oct

Cloudy, gray, and mild

Temp: 62-78
Humidity: 27%
Wind: 7-18

Rain —
This season: 0.28
Week: 0.26

We had several brief showers this morning, but the total rainfall was too little to measure.

Over the past week I bought more plants to replace those that died. Today, I planted them in back.

  • 2 false heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia) with white flowers in the rose bed
  • artichoke (Cynara scoymus) in the lawn
  • columbine (hybrid Aquilegia) in the east bed
  • Camellia sasanqua 'White Doves' in the rose bed
16 Oct

Cloudy, gray, and cool

Temp: 59-65
Humidity: 70%
Wind: 2-17

Rain —
This season: 0.02
Week: 0.02

Rain! After 171 dry days, we actually had some rain last night. However, 0.02 inches is barely enough to wet dust.

Planted two camellias in back, replacing those that were struggling or dying. I planted a C. japonica 'Nuncio's Gem' in the camellia bed to replace a very sad-looking 'Thomas D. Pitts'. Both have formal, white flowers. I then planted a C. sasanqua 'Yuletide' at the north end of the east bed to replace a dying 'Yuletide'. For both, I stirred a generous amount of peat moss with gypsum and bone meal into the planting holes, enough that I could plant the camellias slightly above grade for enhanced drainage. After mulching both with output from my office shredder, I watered them, both to settle the soil and to mat down the mulch.

14 Oct

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 52-77
Humidity: 40
Wind: 1-9

Rain —
This season: 0.0
Days since last: 170

October is the optimum month for planting most plants. When the days start to cool, the soil remains relatively warm. This reduces the stress on foliage while promoting root growth. Thus, yesterday I bought a number of plants for my garden.

Today, I planted blue fescue () in the rose bed in back to replace a plant that was dying. On My Hill, I planted a bush anemone (Carpenteria californica) to replace one that was already dead. (There is a second dead bush anemone on My Hill, but I could find only one at my favorite nursery.)

Potted a magenta cyclamen (C. persicum) and placed it in the greenhouse window in the breakfast room.

The "mother" lavender in the brick panel between the sidewalk and curb in front is dead. I called it the "mother" plant because it was the only one I bought. All the other lavendar plants in my garden were from rooted cuttings from that one or from other rooted cuttings originally from that one. I put up two cuttings from one of its descendants.

3 Oct

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 53-76
Humidity: 29%
Wind: 4-12

Gave the dwarf citrus and gardenia their last feeding of the year. I used ammounium, iron, and zinc sulfates. I also fed the Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum), omitting the zinc. The next feeding for these will be sometime in March.

Rain —
This season: 0.0
Days since last: 159

28 Sep

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 69-91
Humidity: 23%
Wind: 0-8

Rain —
This season: 9.08
Days since last: 154

Fed the roses with ammonium sulfate.

Refreshed the bait in the squirrel trap. The squirrels have been avoiding the trap. I have not caught a single squirrel this year. Where is a hungry hawk when you need one?


Rain —
This season: 9.08
Days since last: 154

16 Sep

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 58-87
Humidity: 23%
Wind: 4-9

Rain —
This season: 9.08
Days since last: 142

Fed the dwarf citrus and gardenia (G. jasminoides 'Veitchii') with commercial citrus fertilizer plus a small amount of zinc sulfate. There will be only one more feeding of these plants, early in October.

Tied down a new cane on the climbing 'Peace' rose.

A cane that was new this year on the 'Color Magic' rose died. The plant seems to be struggling.

The 'Goodwin Creek Grey' lavender (Lavandula lanata × dentata) cuttings all seem to have failed, and I do not know why. I will try again in a few weeks. If that attempt fails, I will wait until next spring. This is a plant for which cuttings are generally very successful.

This past week, I gave my oak and rosemary thorough soakings.

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. Season 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.
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


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