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My Garden Diary

March and April 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

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.

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
28 Mar

Mostly cloudy, occasional hazy sun, and cool

Temp: 43-62
Winter chill: 294.0
Humidity: 50%
Wind: 2-12

Two days ago, a tree service trimmed the valley white oak (Quercus lobata) and Japanese zelkova in front and The Tree in back. They also trimmed the coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis) at the top of My Hill and removed the dead Australian tea tree (21 Mar) from the teardrop bed. Today, I repaired the unavoidable damage to the rosemary bush (Rosmarinus officinalis) in front and the roses in back.

Cut away more deadwood from the dwarf lemon tree (19 Mar).


Rain —
This rain-year: 12.18
The past week: 1.32

21 Mar

Scattered storm clouds, mostly sunny, and cool

Temp: 47-64
Winter chill: 262.4
Humidity: 55%
Wind: 0-8

Rain —
This rain-year: 10.86
The past week: 1.15

This morning's forecast from the National Weather Service indicates rain is definite for tomorrow night. I thus fed much of my garden:
  • With one exception, I used a 6-9-6 commercial rose food that contains systemic insecticide on all the roses, front and back. I did not feed the new 'Violet's Pride' (19 Mar) in front. I never feed a rose the first year it is in the ground because fertilizer might promote flowers and too much foliage for traumatized roots to support. However, I do dig bone meal into the soil before planting a new rose because the phosphorus in the bone meal does not readily dissolve; instead, it must be placed where new roots will find it. The phosphorus does promote flowers, but it also promotes root growth.
  • I used a 10-4-10 commercial citrus food plus added zinc sulfate on my dwarf tangelo and navel orange. The dwarf lemon has a tiny new shoot (19 Mar)!! Heeding warnings not to feed damaged plants but wanting to promote growth of that shoot, I gave the lemon a very small amount of fertilizer.
  • I also fed the gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides 'Veitchii') with the citrus fertilizer and zinc sulfate. Since it is a long-establish plant in the ground, I gave it more fertilizer than the citrus.
  • I fed the west, rose, and east beds with a generic 27-0-6 lawn food, avoiding the roses (which I already fed) and the Camellia sasanqua (which will be fed when they finish blooming).
I will feed the circular and camellia beds when the azaleas (Rhododendron indica) there finish blooming. I will feed the teardrop bed after the dead Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum, 15 Feb) is removed. Of course, I must feed the back lawn and the perennials growing in it, perhaps next week.

While feeding the potted navel orange, I lightly pruned it to keep the top growth from exceeding the ability of its constrained roots to provide moisture and nutrients.

23 Mar: Yes, rain fell. Between 4:00pm yesterday and 7:00am this morning, 1.32 inches fell.

19 Mar

Cloudy, gray, and cold

Temp: 43-58
Winter chill: 259.4
Humidity: 67%
Wind: 0-14

Rain —
This rain-year: 10.85
The past week: 3.60

Yesterday, pruned just a few branches on the dwarf lemon to see if that would prompt new growth. The dwarf orange and tangelo already have new shoots, but they were not affected by the frost and lack of moisture. (See my Dwarf Citrus in Containers.)

Over a week ago, a bare root 'Violet's Pride' floribunda rose bush was delivered. I really wanted 'Simply Marvelous', but that floribunda variety is not available. 'Violet's Pride' is about the same color and growth habit, so I will see how well it does. Ongoing rain prevented me from planting it in front until today. The soil was still quite wet, but I added some very dry potting mix to improve the workability. I also added a generous amount of bone meal. Just as I finished, it started to drizzle (not enogh to measure).

While winter chill is still accumulating, it might be too late. A relatively warm February resulting in my peach tree (Prunus persica 'Santa Barbara') now in full bloom. I fear the ongoing rain might discourage bees from pollinating the flowers, giving me a very small crop of peaches.

Finally finished clearing the paths in back of leaves from The Tree. There are still mounds of leaves on the patio.

6 Mar

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 58-78
Winter chill: 220.3
Humidity: 29%
Wind: 3-10

Rain —
This rain-year: 6.82
Days since last: 13

The dwarf ivy (Hedera helix 'Hahn's') cuttings (21 Feb) already developed roots. Strangely, the roots were along the stems above the potting mix; and none were in the mix. Nevertheless, I planted them under the mailbox (17 Feb).

Trimmed the pink clover "lawn" (Persicaria capitata) along the driveway. Much more trimming is needed along the public sidewalk, the brick path to the front door, and away from the shrubs.

Pruned the 'Black Monukka' grape vine on My Hill. The 'Perlette' vine already has some leaves. I will have to prune that one very soon. Because of some orthopedic problems, I was unable to climb My Hill any earlier.

1 Mar

A few scattered clouds, mostly sunny, and cold

Temp: 46-59
Winter chill: 212.8
Humidity: 49%
Wind: 1-13

Fed the front yard with a 27-0-6 lawn food. I droped two handsful of this fertilizer down both vertical irrigation pipes for the Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata) in the parkway.

Cleared the leaves from the path between the back lawn and the rose bed.

The loquat tree appears to be setting a bumper crop of fruit. I will have to get some new aluminum flashing to wrap around the trunk for discouranging squirrels from stealing the fruit.


Rain —
This rain-year: 6.82
Days since last: 8

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.
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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