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My Garden Diary

July and August 2022

Copyright © 2022 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 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
September-October 2018
November-December 2018
January-February 2019
March-April 2019
May-June 2019
July-August 2019
September-October 2019
November-December 2019
January-February 2020
March-April 2020
May-June 2020
July-August 2020
September-October 2020
November-December 2020
January-February 2021
March-April 2021
May-June 2021
July-August 2021
September-October 2021
November-December 2021
January-February 2022
March-April 2022
May-June 2022

Diary entries for 2004 through 2014

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.

Unless a different year is given, dates refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear, including entries on prior pages for the same year.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
7 Aug

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 69-99
Humidity: 10%
Wind: 5-12

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 107

Checked the Philodendron that I am trying to root. The rooting soil mix shows no signs of roots, but I saw two air roots. I added some more mix to the pot. I will check it again in a few weeks.

Letting garden hoses run very slowly, I soaked the dwarf Rhaphiolepis indica in front and the 'Illumination Flame' foxglove (Digitalis purpurea × canariensis) in back.

Shut off drip irrigation emitters under the living room windows in front. The rooted holly (Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii Nana') cuttings that I plant there apparently did not have sufficient roots to withstand the extreme heat of summer; they died.

Pruned another limb of the loquat tree (29 Jul). Several years ago, fireblight attacked the tree. I successfully fought it by pruning the infected branches, cutting well away from the infection and dipping the pruning shears in bleach after each cut. I sent an E-mail to the Ventura County Master Gardener program to find out if I could prevent future infections. They responded that I should limit my pruning to the hot months of summer since the spread of the disease is greatest during more mild temperatures. I have not seen fireblight again.

31 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 67-96
Humidity: 34%
Wind: 0-14

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 100

Swept the main patio in back, removing a large amount of seeds and other debris dropped by The Tree. I must do that again because I see many, many seeds hanging from the branches.

Trimmed flowering shoots from the potted oregano (Origanum vulgare). If it drops seeds outside of its pot, I will never be rid of oregano coming up all over the back yard. Trimming it also reduced the amount of foliage, which means reducing the amount of water it requires. For that reason, I also trimmed the potted peppermint (Mentha piperita), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), and bay (Laurus nobilis).

Pruned another major limb of the loquat tree (29 Jul).

29 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 64-97
Humidity: 28%
Wind: 2-12

Started pruning the 'MacBeth' loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) in back. I want fruit to ripen within my reach without me using a ladder. I also want to eliminate growth that blocks the paths around the tree's circular bed. So far, I have worked on two major limbs.

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 98

27 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 60-91
Humidity: 28%
Wind: 0-14

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 96

Each rose bush in front has a drip emitter on one side. For some of the roses, the soil is moist on that side but dry and hard as concrete on the other side. Today, I hand watered (permitted by drought restrictions) three of the roses on their dry sides. I also hand watered part of the pink clover lawn in front, along the edges of an area into I want it to spread.

Fed the dward citrus with small ammounts of ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfate. I also fed the gardenia with slightly larger amounts.

A significant limb in the dwarf orange tree died. I had to use a pruning saw to remove it. Also, some branches in the gardenia looked poorly, and I removed them.

10 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 65-94
Humidity: 27%
Wind: 5-11

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 79

Fed the roses with a commercial fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide.

With current drought-imposed restrictions on irrigating my garden, it is necessary to ensure that all sprinklers are operating effectively. I ran the sprinklers in back for very short intervals. Two zones — areas each irrigated by a valve — required that I trim a shrub. When I started a third zone, one of the shrub heads shot a gyser into the sky. That head was chewed away, possibly by a squirrel seeking water. It cost almost $5 to replace the head.

8 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 61-89
Humidity: 28%
Wind: 3-13

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 77

Fed the dwarf citrus with a commercial 10-6-4 citrus fertilizer plus a pinch of zinc sulfate. I gave the gardenia (G. jasminoides 'Veitchii') a more generous feeding with the same.

As usual while feeding the citrus, I did some corrective pruning, primarily removing dead twigs but also eliminating some crossing branches. I have to be careful not to remove too much foliage since the bark of citrus trees is easily damaged by too much sun.

While the use of sprinklers is limited to once a week and not more than 15 minutes per valve, hand watering is not yet restricted. I watered the dwarf citrus*, gardenia, herbs*, Cimbidium orchid*, Alstroemeria*, and lawn with a hose. (Items with asterisks are potted.) I also watered the potted plants on my patio and the adjacent 'Pride of Dorking' azalea (Rhododendron indica), but these always need hand watering because the garden sprinklers never reach them.

One of the two variegated pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Aureum') cuttings that I potted in the hanging pot in the breakfast room (20 Mar) failed. I snipped a cutting from the pothos in the blue bathroom, dipped the cut end in rooting powder, and inserted it into the hanging pot in the breakfast room. Generally, this plant will readily root. Thus, I am not covering it with a miniature greenhouse.

One of the two Philodendron growing in water in a dark-blue glass bottle in the blue bathroom had developed a long, looping stem. While checking it several weeks ago, the stem broke. I put the top in a small glass of water and left the bare stem in the bottle. The top developed new roots as expected with Philodendron. In the meantime, the bare stem started to develop new shoots and small leaves. Today, I removed the plants from the blue bottle. Their roots were so entwined that I could not separate them, so I cut away the bare stem. I put the remaining plant plus the rooted top back into the bottle. Then I put up the piece of bare stem with its new shoots in a small pot with a rooting mix. If it does indeed root, I will keep it in a pot in the greenhouse window.

4 July

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 56-81
Humidity: 41%
Wind: 5-11

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 73

Removed the all-green pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Jade') that was in the breakfast room greenhouse window. It was far too overgrown and threatened to break the string supported it as it reached a hook in the ceiling. The two cuttings I took (20 Mar) had roots and even put out new leaves. After dumping the old plant and its potting mix, I potted the cuttings with fresh mix. It might be a while before the new plants grow sufficiently to train them on a fresh string.

The two dwarf hollies (Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii Nana') in front — well-rooted cuttings from hollies in back — are dead. The soil is moist from drip irrigation, so I suspect that unseasonal heat in June is what killed them. I decided to try buying three to plant under the living room window.

3 July

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 54-80
Humidity: 40%
Wind: 3-14

Rain —
This rain-year: 11.90
Days since last: 72

Water restrictions because of the drought mean that I am allow to run my garden sprinklers only once a week with not more than 15 minutes per valve. (I have 7 valves.) Much of my back lawn of red fescue (Festuca rubra) looks shabby or even dead despite allowed hand-watering. The pink clover (Persicaria capitata) ground cover that forms my lawn in front seems to be doing slightly better; it is somewhat drought-tolerant and gets much shade.

I am very concerned about My Hill, which I had been watering every third weekend, 35-45 minutes per valve on both Saturday and Sunday. While that is less often than once per week — twice in three weeks versus three times in three weeks — I was using more water than allowed. (I suspect bureaucratic convenience that prohibits once every three weeks.) If the ground cover on My Hill dies, I will be in violation of the grading permit issued by the county when My Hill was repaired. If the surface soil gets so dry that it cracks and allows the first rain storm to penetrate to the subsoil, My Hill might fail again, bringing my neighbor's swimming pool at the top of the slope into my back yard.

Cut down the artichoke (Cynara scoymus) that grows in my back lawn. Unseasonably hot weather in June caused it to go dormant early.

Although it seemed to set a good crop, I could not find a single peach in my peach tree (Prunus persica 'Santa Barbara') today. It is too early for the fruit to have ripened, so I am unsure whether the fruit fell victim to squirrels. If it was indeed the fault of squirrels, I hope they all got bellyaches from eating unripe fruit.

Noticed leaf miner damage on my dwarf lemon tree. I treated it with a systemic insecticide drench. The amount of insecticide is determined according to the height of the tree. I trimmed a foot off the top, not only to reduce the amount of insecticide but also the amount of water the tree needs.

Trimmed the weeping Chinese banyan (Ficus benjamina to remove some branches that extended more than halfway across the front porch.

Pruned more of the dwarf Rhaphiolepis indica (8 May & 5 Jun) in front.

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 2022
March-April 2022
January-February 2022
November-December 2021
September-October 2021
July-August 2021
May-June 2021
March-April 2021
January-February 2021
November-December 2020
September-October 2020
July-August 2020
May-June 2020
March-April 2020
January-February 2020
November-December 2019
September-October 2019
July-August 2019
May-June 2019
March-April 2019
January-February 2019
November-December 2018
September-October 2018
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

Diary entries for 2004 through 2014


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