Viewable With ANY Browser

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


My Garden Diary

July and August 2005

Copyright © 2005 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. So here it is.

Also see What's Blooming in My Garden Now?

April-May 2004
June-July 2004
August-October 2004
November-December 2004
January-February 2005
March-April 2005
May-June 2005

Entries 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.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
22 August

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 66-95
Humidity: 22%
Wind: 1-11

Finished trimming the lawn and beds along the walkways in back. I hope to spray the walkways — and selected other areas — with herbicide by the end of the week.

While trimming along the teardrop bed, I also cut back some of the longer branches of the Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum). The tree (still a young shrub) developed many long, weeping branches that hung over walkways on either side of the bed. While I removed some of the branches, I merely headed most back to a shorter, upright branch.

One recent evening, I saw a small raccoon scurrying through my back yard. This confirms my suspicions that a raccoon is responsible for all the digging in my beds and the droppings on my lawn. I might get a larger, raccoon-size trap.

14 August

Partially cloudy, sunny (sometimes hazy), and mild

Temp: 57-81
Humidity: 53%
Wind: 2-11

Trimmed the walkway along the rose bed. After I trim along the circular and teardrop beds, I should be ready to spray herbicide (12 Aug).

The peppermint (Mentha piperita) looked puny. I trimmed it and gave it a large pinch of ammonium sulfate, both of which should prompt new, vigorous growth.

Now I know why only four of the six begonias that I planted (29 May) survive. I had to shoo Cleopatra (our tortoise) away. She was trying to chew the most vigorous of the survivors down to the ground — flowers, leaves, even the stems.

My second attempt this year to grow sage (Salvia officinalis) failed. When I pulled the dead plant out of its flowerpot, it looked as if the roots never grew out of the original root ball from the nursery container. This is strange since it seemed at first to thrive and put out new growth. The golden thyme (Thymus vulgaris 'Aureus') and bay (Laurus nobilis) are both doing quite well, while the basil (Ocimum basilicum) is almost a large shrub. All four herbs (including the sage) are in adjacent flower pots (almost touching each other), receiving identical care and environment. I will try sage again, soon. The sage that was in that flowerpot last year had been growing in a container in my back yard for several years.

12 August

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 59-89
Humidity: 46%
Wind: 1-11

This was the first day since 9 July that the temperature did not reach 90°F.

For the first time in weeks, it's not too hot to work in the garden. And the garden does indeed need some work.

Fed the dwarf citrus and the gardenia with commercial citrus food and a bit of zinc sulfate.

The red-flowering gum (Eucalyptus ficifolia) — which has never flowered — looked slightly chlorotic. I fed it with ammonium sulfate and a small amount of iron sulfate.

Replaced the Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) in front with French lavender (L. dentata).

In back, weeds in the decomposed granite walkways are too tiny and too numerous to remove them all by hand. I want to spray herbicide. This means I must first trim the lawn and beds along the walkways so that the grass (red fescue, Festuca rubra) and ground covers (pink clover, Persicaria capitata, and cinquefoil, Potentilla neumanniana) don't hide weeds along the edges. I was able to trim the entire walkway between the west bed and the lawn today.

24 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 65-95
Humidity: 44%
Wind: 2-12

What a heat wave! In the past 12 days, 11 have had temperatures at or above 95°F, with two days reaching 100°. It's been far too hot to do any serious gardening. I've limited my activities to watering plant containers and moving the hose as it trickles in areas that don't seem to get enough from the sprinklers. I've also removed dead flowers and done a limited amount of trimming of plants away from the public sidewalk in front.

Some plants such as my gardenia (which gets some shade) seem to thrive in the excessive heat. But my dwarf lemon has dropped all but one of its ripe fruit. The lemon is still holding on to its green fruit and is getting ready for another round of flowering.

I juiced about eight lemons, freezing about a pint of juice. Evelyn thought she would use several for a batch of lemon bars made from scratch, but just one large lemon had enough juice for the entire batch. Yum! She said that the effort was significantly greater than using a packaged mix, but she agreed that the quality of the result more than justified the effort.

Four lemons still sit in a bowl on the kitch counter. It's time for whiskey sours. Then I won't notice the heat.

13 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 67-97
Humidity: 27%
Wind: 0-13

KrrCHUNK! I finally caught a squirrel in my trap! The strange thing is that I had not rebaited it after the last bait was stolen. I won't upset my readers by describing how I disposed of this rodent.

I then rebaited the trap with peanut butter spread on a half-eaten peach that one of the squirrels damaged, the last peach of a very short season.

Other than adjusting some of the sprinklers in back, it's just too hot for any serious garden work.

11 July

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 60-91
Humidity: 32%
Wind: 1-10

The squirrels are still driving me crazy. They fail to trigger the cage trap, but something is still stealing the bait. They jump from The Tree to my roof with a loud thump. And I think they are responsible for destroying at least three peaches from a very small crop.

Fed the dwarf citrus, each with a small handful of ammonium sulfate and a large pinch of zinc sulfate. I also gave the same to the gardenia (G. jasminoides 'Veitchii') and the tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum).

Fed the roses in front with two handsful of ammonium sulfate each.

Trimmed the eugenia (Syzygium paniculatum) in front of the garage so that I can more easily reach the hose bib these bushes hide.

4 July

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 55-86
Humidity: 35%
Wind: 1-12

Rain —
Season: 32.60
Days since last: 57

Yesterday, Evelyn and I shared the first peach of the year from our tree.

Today, I picked some fresh rosemary, a few sage leaves, and one very young bay leaf to season a pork roast that I then barbecued on the gas grill on the patio. Yum!

Weather data are from the Cheesebro (CHE) weather station, a little less than 1.2 miles ENE of my house.

The high temperature (°F) is daytime for the indicated date; the low temperature (°F) is for the night ending on that date.

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 then end of the day).

Rain amounts are omitted after 60 consecutive days elapse without any measurable amount.

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.

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)

May-June 2005
March-April 2005
January-February 2005
November-December 2004
August-October 2004
June-July 2004
April-May 2004

Valid HTML 4.01