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My Garden Diary

November and December 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
July-August 2005
September-October 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.

Dates refer to other entries in the same year (but perhaps a different page) as the entry in which they appear unless a different year is given.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
29 December

Clear with occasional clouds, sunny (sometimes hazy), and cool

Temp: 47-63
Humidity: 50%
Wind: 0-16

Rain —
Season: 1.79
Week: 0.15

By this time last year, we already had over 10 inches of rain for the season.

Finished pruning the second of four major limbs on the peach tree, and started pruning the third. The third limb will take a lot of effort since it has some of the largest of the old branches I want to remove.

Raked leaves into large piles on the patio and walkways in back. I've already mulched the beds thoroughly and have a growing compost pile. But I must keep raking the lawn. Otherwise, the leaves from The Tree will smother the lawn and cause large dead patches. In the meantime, many leaves in The Tree are still quite green.

24 December

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 66-83
Humidity: 26%
Wind: 2-21

Rain —
Season: 1.64
Days since last: 22

Caught a squirrel in the trap yesterday! The first squirrel that I caught, I drowned (13 Jul). Afraid that it might escape if I removed it from the trap, I immersed the entire trap in a trash barrel full of water. That took too much water. This time, I drove five miles to Paramount Ranch (part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area on the opposite side of U.S. 101) and released the squirrel there. It should find abundant natural foods (especially acorns from the many oaks) and also hungry, grateful predators (I hope).

Pruned the peach tree some more. I'm removing some really large old limbs that are being replaced with new growth that is more vigorous. This requires a lot of "elbow", working the pruning saw.

22 December

Partially cloudy, hazy sun, mild

Temp: 40-53
Humidity: 40%
Wind: 1-14

Rain —
Season: 1.64
Days since last: 20

Moved the pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum) cuttings (12 Oct) to a full-sized flower pot in my greenhouse window. Only one of the three actually had roots. Another one had a new shoot, and its root nubs were swelling. The third cutting died and was discarded. I even put a "pole" in the pot for this vine to climb. I made the pole by forming a cylinder of 1/4-inch galvenized mesh packed with potting mix. As the pothos climbs, it will be able to support itself by sending roots into the pole.

Took cuttings of the penstemon growing in the back yard. If they root, these new plants will replace some of the older penstemon that have been there for three years.

Began pruning the peach tree.

21 December

Partially cloudy, hazy sun, mild

Temp: 63-78
Humidity: 24%
Wind: 1-12

Rain —
Season: 1.71
Days since last: 19

Things are slow right now. I've been removing dead flowers, pulling a few weeds, and raking leaves. However, I will soon begin winter pruning of my roses and peach tree. I've already started examining the peach to see which old limbs will be removed.

While raking leaves in front today, I saw five squirrels running back and forth in front of the house across the street. When three of them crossed the street, I baited the squirrel trap.

I still need to get a larger trap for raccoons. One of my three oranges disappeared just as it was getting ripe. I also see many signs of raccoons digging in both the front and back.

I did pick one orange. It was tasty but not at all juicy. The remaining orange is still a bit green. Now that whatever was bothering it (10 Aug 04) is corrected and now that it has recovered from repotting (14 Nov 04), I hope to get a much larger crop in 2006.

The sage (20 Nov) seems to be reviving on the patio. It has several new shoots. Perhaps its flower pot got too much sun out in the garden and over-heated its roots. Early in the coming spring, I will move it back into the garden but in a place where it will get more shade.

25 November

Partially to mostly cloudy, hazy to no sun, and mild

Temp: 56-68
Humidity: 61%
Wind: 0-9

Rain —
Season: 1.64
Days since last: 15

Planted spring crocuses in the corner where the camellia bed meets the patio behind the barbecue. For many years, crocuses repeatedly bloomed near that location. However, they were severely disturbed when the patio was rebuilt after the 1994 earthquake and never recovered after the adjacent walkway was installed in 2003.
20 November

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 64-81
Humidity: 15%
Wind: 3-14

Rain —
Season: 1.64
Days since last: 10

Planted some wax-leaf begonias, to replace those chewed to the ground by Cleopatra (our tortoise). Cleo favored the begonias with red or white flowers, ignoring those with pale or dark pink flowers. Since she is now hibernating until April, I planted a red and two white begonias.

Trimmed the edges of the teardrop bed.

My latest attempt to grow sage (12 Oct) seems to be another failure. However, this might be a result of the heat and low humidity we have had for over a week now. So I moved the pot onto the patio, where it will be in constant shade.

14 November

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 64-86
Humidity: 27%
Wind: 2-29 (gusts to 36)

Rain —
Season: 1.64
Week: 0.28

The Santa Anas are back. We apparently had strong wind during the night while I slept, and more wind tonight is expected. But while I worked in the garden, the air was almost calm. (The following day, gusts to 50 mph were recorded; and in the day after that, the relative humidity stayed below 20%.)

Raked even more leaves. Now, most of the leaves in front are from the oak (Quercus lobata) along my driveway, with some zelkova (Z. serrata) and liquidambar (L. styraciflua) leaves. Since oak leafmold is possibly the best compost of all, I've been adding the leaves to my compost pile in back. First, I moved the old compost to one side and piled the leaves in its place. Then, I covered the leaves with the old compost. Today, I piled even more leaves on top and then added a generous amount of fertilizer to speed the process. Finally, I watered the whole pile. I had leaves left over, which I used to replenish the mulch in my front yard.

6 November

Cloudy, gray, and cool

Temp: 59-76
Humidity: 35%
Wind: 1-12

Rain —
Season: 1.36
Days since last: 12

Repotted a Phalaenopsis. When I originally potted it (13 Jun), I didn't get it straight. As a result, a new root was starting to grow up into the air.

The parents of one of Evelyn's pre-school students gave her a nice planter. It had an indoor palm, two variegated Philodendron, an African violet in bloom, and a Schefflera. I repotted each plant separately. The greenhouse window in the breakfast room is now quite full.

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 is in inches. Rain amounts are omitted after 60 consecutive days elapse without any measurable amount.
Season is the cumulative amount of rainfall since the start of the current rainy season, which began on 20 Sep 2005 with the first measurable rain, until noon on the indicated date.
Week is the cumulative amount of rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no 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.

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)

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

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