Viewable With ANY Browser

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

Unrated

My Garden Diary

September and October 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
July-August 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 October

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 68-93
Humidity: 13%
Wind: 0-12

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.35
Days since last: 13

Divided the 'Wenatchee Skies' bearded iris (I. germanica) and replanted three of the rhizomes. I will give away the remaining good rhizomes.

Trimmed more dead growth the 'George Taber' azaleas (8 & 21 Oct). While I did not remove all of the dead growth, the hedge looks much better now. I will defer further trimming — and removing dead growth from the Camellia japonicas — until I prune them in the spring. I am beginning to doubt whether I will get any flowers this winter in the camellia bed, winter being the prime bloom time in my climate for both camellias and azaleas.

24 October

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 62-84
Humidity: 33%
Wind: 0-7

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.35
Days since last: 11

Applied gypsum to the west and rose beds in back. I also put some on the two 'Pride of Dorking' azaleas, which have a bed of their own at the edge of the main patio.

Examined the 'Illumination Flame' foxglove cuttings (14 Sep). One has the start of a very tiny root; the other shows no sign of any roots. Since both cuttings are still quite green and alive, I will leave them alone. I will check them again in about 2 months. This plant is a sterile hybrid; that is, it does not form seeds. Thus, it can only be propagated by cloning, which I hope includes cuttings.

21 October

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 62-84
Humidity: 20%
Wind: 1-15

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.35
Days since last: 8

Applied gypsum to the camellia, teardrop, and circular beds in back. I also applied some gypsum to the raised bed where the dwarf tangelo tree (Citrus reticulata × paradisi) is planted and to the adjacent star jasmine. While I normally do this gypsum treatment only once in two years, the camellia bed gets it every year because both the C. japonica and the azalea hedge in front of them require excellent drainage.

Trimmed the edges of the bed of dwarf English ivy (Hedera helix 'Hahn's') that surrounds the liquidambar tree (L. styraciflua).

Trimmed away dead growth from another 'George Taber' azalea (8 Oct), growth that was "fried" during the early July heat wave.

18 October

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 67-83
Humidity: 12%
Wind: 4-17

Fed the roses with ammonium sulfate. As with the earlier feeding of my dwarf citrus (5 Oct), this is the last feeding until new growth starts next spring. Since roses are much more hardy than citrus, new growth resulting from a later feeding is less likely to be damaged by winter frosts.

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.35
Week: 0.34

17 October

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 64-82
Humidity: 10%
Wind: 2-18

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.35
Week: 0.34

Yes, we had real rain — slightly more than 1/3 inch late last week.

Spread a generous amount of gypsum — more than 60 pounds — in the front yard.

The Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (A. arborescens × absinthium) cuttings (22 Aug) failed. Since this is a plant for which cuttings are usually successful, I suspect I tried them at the wrong time of the year. I will try again in the spring.

12 October

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 56-79
Humidity: 32%
Wind: 0-12

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.01
Days since last: 7

Lightly trimmed the eugenia (Syzygium paniculatum) closest to the garage in front. It was interfering with opening and closing the overhead door. Next spring, I think I should severely trim all the eugenia in that area.

Trimmed a 'Goodwin Creek Grey' lavender (Lavandula lanata × dentata) in the circular bed in back. It was encroaching on adjacent plants.

Planted two white Cuphea hyssopifolia in the rose bed (8 Oct).

Despite my efforts to block her, Cleopatra re-excavated her tunnel under the Sprenger asparagus (A. aethiopicus 'Sprengeri', 22 Aug) and decided to hibernate there. This time, she dug even farther. If we get any serious rain this winter, the tunnel would fill with water; and Cleo would drown. I carefully dragged her out. I placed her in the tortoise house I built, and blocked off the doorway to keep her in and keep unwanted visitors out.

In back, there are clumps of variegated society garlic (Tulbaghia violacca 'Silver Lace'). I noticed two clumps had some green society garlic. I pulled out the green intruders, but I am not sure I got the roots.

8 October

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 56-78
Humidity: 49%
Wind: 5-11

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.01
Week: 0.01

Yesterday, I went garden shopping. I bought gypsum, iron sulfate, and soil sulfur. I bought a 'George Taber' azalea (Rhododendron indica) to complete the hedge around the camellia bed, a Kalanchoe daigremontiana (also known as Bryophyllum daigremontianum) for the greenhouse window, purple-leaf sage (Salvia officinalis purpurescens) to replace the potted sage that died, a pink Cuphea hyssopifolia to replace a dead one in the teardrop bed, and two white C. hyssopifolia to replace plants in the rose bed that are not thriving.

The Kalanchoe came in a tiny 1-inch plastic pot. I repotted it in a 2-inch clay pot. A number of years ago, I had one of these. From time to time, I would root a cutting and replace the parent plant, which had become overgrown. The last time I did this, however, the rooted cutting died after I potted it.

The camellia bed used to include a Camellia japonica at the north-east corner of my house. Since the house is not square on the compass, the north side gets several hours of morning sun in the summer, which proved fatal to any Camellia japonica I planted at that corner. I finally decided to extend the low hedge of 'Geroge Taber' azaleas to that spot, which I did today.

The existing azaleas in that hedge have started to recover from the extreme heat wave we had early in July. I trimmed some of the dead growth from the plant next to the newly planted azalea.

Potted the purple-leaf sage in a clay pot that is smaller than the pot used for its predecessor. As recommended by the nursery where I bought it, I want to examine the root development before I move it to a larger pot. Although sage is supposed to be perennial, none seem to survive among my other herbs — several of which are Salvia relatives — more than a year. The root growth or its lack might provide a clue as to why sage always seems to die in my garden.

Also planted the pink Cuphea hyssopifolia in the teardrop bed. Then, I ran out of energy.

5 October

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 56-83
Humidity: 33%
Wind: 1-13

Rain —
This rain-year: 0.01
Week: 0.01

A new rain year began 1 October, so the reported cumulative rainfall was reset to zero. However, 0.01 inch fell early this morning, not enough to wet dust.

Trimmed some of the more wild shoots of the star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides).

Fed the dwarf citrus and gardenia with ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfates. This is the last feeding of these plants until new growth starts next spring.

I planned to plant the rooted cutting of a 'Simply Marvelous' rose (4 May) in the ground. When I checked, however, its root mass was not yet sufficiently developed.

30 September

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 59-89
Humidity: 13%
Wind: 3-13

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 104

Something — probably squirrels — flattened the potted Alstroemeria in back. The large oblong pot sits on one of the paths. It appears that the plants are recovering.

Divided the Cymbidium orchid and repotted two of the divisions. This had become so dense that I had to use a pruning saw to make the divisions.

Also divided two pots of Hippeastrum. These were easy. I was able to gently pull the bulbs apart. For each pot, I repotted one bulb.

I will take the excess orchid divisions and Hippeastrum bulbs with me when I go to Gardens of the World for my next docent shift. There, I will share them with the other docents.

21 September

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 60-90
Humidity: 40%
Wind: 0-7

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 95

The artichoke (Cynara scoymus) in the back lawn went dormant during one of the heat waves last month. Now, it has started to send up new shoots.

Fed the roses with a commercial fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide. Since the insecticide is harmless to warm-blooded animals — including humans — I also gave the artichoke a small dose to prevent spider mites and aphids, which it seems to attract.

The dwarf lemon has been attacked by leaf miners. While that is not a risk to full-sized citrus trees, it can kill young and dwarf citrus. I drenched its potting mix with a systemic insecticide.

14 September

Clear, sunny, and very hot

Temp: 67-98
Humidity: 10%
Wind: 0-15

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 88

Fed the dwarf citrus and gardenia (G. Jasminoides) with a commercial citrus food. I also gave each citrus two pinches of zinc sulfate and the gardenia a more generous amount of the zinc.

Potted the cactus cuttings (12 Sep) in a rooting medium that is a 50%-50% mix of coarse sand and peat moss. I also put up cuttings of the 'Illumination Flame' foxglove (Digitalis purpurea × canariensis) growing in the west bed in back. I immediately potted these latter cuttings in the same rooting medium. Only cactus and some other succulents should be allowed to dry for a few days before potting.

12 September

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 59-85
Humidity: 39%
Wind: 1-13

There are three non-desert cacti on the patio shelf outside the kitchen window: two epiphylum (likely in the Hylocereeae tribe) and one Christmas cactus (also known as zygocactus, Schlumbergera russelliana × truncata). The epiphylum are both quite overgrown in their pots. I divided the Christmas cactus earlier this year (24 Jun), but now the main shoots seem to be breaking away from the rooted base. I took cuttings of all three today, but I did not pot them. The recommendation is to allow the cut end to dry for a few days before potting.

Rain —
This rain-year: 7.14
Days since last: 86

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.
July-August 2018
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