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My Garden Diary

May and June 2020

Copyright © 2020 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 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

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
6 Jun

Mostly cloudy and overcast, hazy sun, and warm

Temp: 59-84
Humidity: 29%
Wind: 1-21

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.21
Days since last: 14

Trimmed the edges of most of the pink clover (Persicaria capitata) in front along the driveway, public sidewalk, and brick path. I did not trim all of the edges because the two Rhaphiolepis indica remaining to be pruned are in the way.

Removed some of the inward-pointing new growth on the dwarf kumquat. While citrus should be allowed to have dense top growth to prevent the branches and trunk from getting sunburn, that is not a problem with my citrus. The Tree provides them with shade during much of the day.

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

30 May

Scattered clouds; some sun, often hazy; mild

Temp: 53-75
Humidity: 48%
Wind: 0-19

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.21
Days since last: 12

The weather was just right to move the potted dill (16 May) from the patio to among the other herbs.

Yesterday, bought three wax-leaf begonias to replace some that failed to survive the winter. Today, I planted them in the cinder blocks forming the raised bed around the tangelo.

While roaming the back yard to remove faded flowers, I found a small, partially eaten rabbit at the edge of the circular bed. I stongly suspect it was left by one of the many owls I have seen in my garden this year.

Lightly trimmed another lavender in the circular bed (7, 9, & 19 May). This will have to be an ongoing effort since the lavender in this location grows quite vigorously. The alternative would be to do major pruning after adjacent azaleas (Rhododendron indica) and daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids) are already suffering from being crowded. (As with removing faded flowers on all plants, I will no longer be reporting this ongoing effort.)

Finished pruning the Rhaphiolepis indica (25 May) at the foot of the driveway. I still have to prune the two that flank the brick path from the front door where it meets the public sidewalk.

25 May

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 60-94
Humidity: 27%
Wind: 0-15

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.21
Days since last: 7

Hope springs eternal. Despite earlier failures, I once again put up cuttings of dwarf Burford holly (Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii Nana') and weeping Chinese banyan.

Removed a major limb of the rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in front. The limb was about 3 inches across and was sticking out over the public sidewalk. This removal was something I planned about two years ago. I waited to see how well the bush responded to other pruning before performing "major surgery".

Started pruning the Rhaphiolepis indica located where the driveway meets the public sidewalk.

23 May

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 53-74
Humidity: 22%
Wind: 3-10

Sprayed herbicide on the paths in back to eliminate the grasses and other weeds. I had some of the spray mixture left over, so I sprayed the brick panel in front on the far side of the driveway between the sidewalk and the street and also some patches of pimpernel (Anqagallis arvensis) in the east bed in back. Although it tends to be low-growing, pimpernel can grow quite dense where it gets water and crowd out other low-growing plants.

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.21
The past week: 0.19

21 May

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 59-87
Humidity: 14%
Wind: 2-15

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.21
The past week: 0.19

Citrus leaf miner — in which the grub of Phyllocnistis citrella tunnels between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves — can severely damage new citrus leaves and even kill young and dwarf citrus trees. Since both my lemon and kumquat dwarves were entirely leafless earlier this year, all their leaves are new and susceptible to this problem. I have been closely examining both plants quite frequently and have not yet seen any signs of leaf miner. I could apply a systemic insecticide drench to prevent leaf miner, but that would harm any bees that come to pollinate lemon and kumquat flowers. Thus, I must wait until I see actual damage.

In the meantime, I fed the citrus and the gardenia today with ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfates. I also fed the roses with a commercial fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide. I am less concerned about bees visiting my roses since the initial bloom period has passed, and flowers will be few.

All three chrysanthemum divisions (9 May) have survived and now have new growth.

19 May

Mostly clear with occasional clouds, mostly sunny, and mild

Temp: 59-67
Humidity: 42%
Wind: 0-20

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.21
The past week: 0.19

Yes, we had rain.

All of the old branches in the dwarf lemon now have tiny shoots if not actual new branches and leaves. I trimmed away some more of the old branches to further direct the new growth (3 May).

Severely pruned the two Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (A. arborescens ' absinthium) that I did not prune while trimming the edges of the path between the back lawn and west bed (25 Apr).

Raked the paths in back to remove the debris from trimming their edges. I also raked the small brick patio between the rose and east beds, which required further trimming of the edges of that patio. I had planned to spray herbicide on the paths after they were raked, but there was a wind. To avoid damage to my landscape, I can spray herbicide only when the air is still.

Pruned another lavender in the circular bed before it became grossly overgrown. It was already starting to crowd the adjacent plants.

Ate loquats from my tree for lunch. Yum!

At least one of the chrysanthemum divisions (9 May) is doing quite well, and one other looks like it might have new growth. On the other hand, the rooted weeping Chinese banyan cuttings in their new pot (11 May) have lost all their leaves and look very sad. Since this is common whenever this plant's environment changes, I cannot tell whether they have died. Indeed, the parent plant lost all its leaves last year when I gave it a small amount of fertilizer; but now it is growing quite vigorously.

16 May

Clear with some high, very thin clouds; sunny; and hot

Temp: 59-89
Humidity: 29%
Wind: 2-12

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.02
Days since last: 34

Two days ago, I went to my favorite nursery and bought four plants:
  • Christmas heather (actually a heath, Erica canaliculata 'Rosea')
  • two Cuphea hyssopifolia, one pink (almost magenta) and one white
  • dill (Anethum graveolens)

Today, I planted the heather in the teardrop bed to replace the dead Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) that was removed (15 Feb). Right now, it is a tiny thing from a 1-gallon nursery can. Eventually, it should grow as tall as the tea tree, as much as 10 feet tall. However, the heather will not spread as wide as the tea tree.

Also planted the pink Cuphea in the teardrop bed, replacing one that died. I then planted the white Cuphea in the rose bed, also replacing one that died.

Potted the dill. For now, it stays in the shade on the main patio. When it is fully established, I will move it to be with the rest of the potted herbs.

13 May

Mostly clear with a brief mid-day heavy cloudiness; mostly sunny, sometimes hazy; and mild

Temp: 51-73
Humidity: 41%
Wind: 0-14

Trimmed the path between the teardrop bed and the lawn. I also got part-way along the path between the teardrop and east beds before I was exhausted.

The potted basil (Ocimum basilicum, 25 Apr) appears to be well established. I moved it from the patio to where the other potted herbs are located.


Rain —
This rain-year: 15.02
Days since last: 31

11 May

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 54-78
Humidity: 42%
Wind: 1-16

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.02
Days since last: 29

Yesterday, I tied down some new canes on the climbing 'Peace' rose. Also, the potted tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) was infested with ants, so I gave it a drench of malathion.

Today, ran twine inside the breakfast room from the greenhouse window — adjacent to the all-green pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Jade') — to a hook in the ceiling near the family room. Then, I tied the shoots of the pothos to the twine.

The weeping Chinese banyan (Ficus benjamina) cuttings (11 Apr) have rooted. I potted them up together, placing the pot in the living room to replace the dead Schefflera arboricola (24 Dec 2019) that used to be there. Although the cuttings were from plants outside, they should also survive indoors.

Climbed My Hill to check a leak in a sprinkler pipe. I needed to see what the damage is so that I could go to a nearby hardware store tomorrow to get supplies to repair it. Think again! There is an established sapling tree (possibly some kind of elm) growing right over the leak. It would be impossible to remove it without further damage to the sprinkler system. I trimmed away all new growth from the tree. When it sprouts again, I will apply an herbicide. I will have to wait, not only for it to die but for its remnants to decompose. Fortunately, the leak is not major.

I really hate to climb My Hill unless I can accomplish at least two tasks; so while I was there, I groomed the 'Black Monukka' grape vine. I tied some new shoots — especially those with immature grapes — to the supporting wire, headed back other shoots, and completely removed several shoots that sprouted from the trunk.

9 May

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 59-87
Humidity: 22%
Wind: 1-11

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.02
Days since last: 27

Now that the heat wave ended, I took the spoon-flowered chrysanthemum (C. morifolium) out of its pot, divided it, and potted up three young shoots with fresh potting mix.

Went back over the areas where I already trimmed the edges of the paths in back and trimmed ground cover away from the blue fescue.

Trimmed the edges of the path between the back lawn and the circular bed. This included lightly trimming another lavender. I also trimmed the lawn's red fescue (Festuca rubra) away from two clumps of variegated society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea 'Silver Lace') that are growing as accents within the edge of the lawn.

An owl has been roosting in The Tree for a few months. As I work in the back yard, I often find the regurgitated remains of its meals. I do not mind this because the owl feasts primarily on rodents. I just hope it remains in my garden — to keep the squirrels away — until I have harvested the various fruits I am growing.

7 May

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 73-97
Humidity: 13%
Wind: 0-15

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.02
Days since last: 25

Trimmed the edges of the path between the rose and circular beds in back. I also did it half-way around the small brick patio that separates the rose and east beds.

Cleopatra was a real pest while I was working in back. I had cut fading rose blossoms and given her the petals, which she really enjoys eating. However, she then followed me around, seeking more rose petals and getting in my way.

While trimming the edges of the paths, I also remove weeds from the paths. I cannot get all the weeds, however; so I will have to use an herbicide. That will wait until I have trimmed the edges of all the paths, and then I will wait for a windless day.

I lightly trimmed a 'Goodwin Creek Grey' lavender (Lavandula lanata dentata) in the circular bed. No, it had not yet overwhelmed adjacent plants. I should do this more often because it is much easier than doing a major pruning less frequently.

5 May

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 68-94
Humidity: 13%
Wind: 0-14

Partially divided an overgrown clump of blue fescue (Festuca glauca) in the rose bed. Instead of digging up the entire clump, I only dug a portion, which I used to replace a dead clump also in the rose bed.

Finished trimming the path between the back lawn and rose bed, finally reaching the intersection with the path between the lawn and circular bed. Next, I will continue along the path between the rose and circular beds.


Rain —
This rain-year: 15.02
Days since last: 23

3 May

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 57-78
Humidity: 40%
Wind: 2-14

Rain —
This rain-year: 15.02
Days since last: 21

Yesterday, I removed the rest of the deadwood from the dwarf kumquat (30 Apr). Today, I trimmed some of the greenwood from the dwarf lemon in order to direct the new growth.

Significantly trimmed the star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) in the west bed in back. From its trellis, shoots were growing out over the walk on the side of the house. As a ground cover, it was blocking a sprinkler, encroaching onto the raised bed for the dwarf tangelo (Citrus reticulata ×' paradisi), and growing several inches out onto the patio.

Fastened aluminum flashing around the trunk of the 'MacBeth' loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) in the circular bed. The fruit is beginning to ripen, and I want to discourage squirrels from climbing the tree and stealing my fruit. I also hung compact discs from some of the branches. With even the slightest breeze, they will turn and flash sunlight to discourage birds. The fruit should be fully ripe by the end of this month. I will then move the aluminum and discs to the peach tree for the same purposes.

Continued trimming the edges of the path between the lawn and rose bed (30 Apr).

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.
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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