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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?
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|
Clear, sunny, and mild
|Yesterday, bought six wax-leaf begonias: green-leaf in red, white, and pink and bronze-leaf also in red, white, and pink. Alternating leaf and flower colors, I planted them today in the holes in the concrete blocks framing the raised bed for the tangelo (20 Sep), using some of the left-over potting mix from planting the kumquat (22 Oct).
The nephthytis cuttings (13 Sep) were ready. After trashing the parent plant, I spent several minutes with a mallet and screwdriver chipping accumulated minerals from the flower pot. I then used some more of the left-over potting mix to pot up this house plant for the greenhouse window in our breakfast room.
Trimmed the cinquefoil (Potentilla neumanniana) and pink clover that had growing out of the rose bed and was taking root in the decomposed granite of the adjacent walkway.
Clear, sunny, and warm
|Although the wind is not roaring, the weather definitely reflects a Santa Anna condition.
Removed the shade cloth from the greenhouse window. The morning sun is now far enough south that very little reaches this almost-north window.
Trashed my old kumquat and planted a new one (29 Sep). First, I broke apart the redwood tub in which the old one had been planted. I salvaged the potting mix from the tub. I used about half of the old mix to fill in around the tangelo and stirred the other half into the fresh potting mix that I had already made (18 Oct).
As I removed the old mix from the bottom of the tub, I noticed that the drain holes had become plugged with roots. Apparently, the old kumquat died from soil that had become too soggy. I had covered the drain holes in the old tub with very small, inverted flower pots. For the new container, I used a larger "bulb pan" flower pot with a larger drain hole.
After tying copper wire around the terracotta pot (5 Aug 04) where the new kumquat would be planted (to keep snails away), I moved it into place. Potting the new kumquat took almost all the mix I had prepared. I have just one bucket full, which I will use to plant wax-leaf begonias in the holes of the blocks I used to frame the raised bed for the tangelo (20 Sep).
Clear, sunny, and mild
|Prepared a very large batch of potting mix for my new kumquat (29 Sep). I hope to plant it this coming weekend.
Although it still seems to be growing well, one of the azaleas in the circular bed in back is yellowing. I gave it a small dose of commercial azalea and camellia food with added sulfur, iron sulfate, and gypsum.
Tomorrow, my red fescue (Festuca rubra) lawn in back will be mowed. While this ornamental grass really does not require mowing, I can't rake the autumn leaves from it when it is long. If I don't rake the leaves, they smother the grass and create dead patches.
Braided copper wire to wrap around the trunk of my newly planted dwarf tangelo (29 Sep) to keep the snails from climbing the tree. Now I have to find out how to wrap it loose enough as not to cut into the bark but tight enough to stay in place.
High thin clouds, hazy sun, and warm
|Yesterday, I bought a 'Mineola' tangelo and a kumquat, both semi-dwarf citrus.
This morning, I added potting mix to the raised bed (20 Sep): left-overs from when I potted the Dracaena from my son's condo (2 Sep) and from flower pots where plants had died (mostly unreplaced annuals). Then, I planted the tangelo. Its root ball is above the level of the concrete blocks that frame the bed with a mound of soil that is below the level at the edges. As the soil settles, I plan to fill the bed with other left-over potting mix from other planting efforts. A likely source will be the old mix from when I dispose of the old dying (dead?) kumquat.
Clear, sunny, and warm
|Pulled seedlings from The Tree and other weeds from the smaller part of the font lawn, the part between the brick walkway and the driveway. The pink clover (Persicaria capitata) in the area near the house and next to the walkway has grown so well, I actually had to trim it away from the walkway and from the stepping stones that connect the walkway with the driveway.
Added more material to the raised bed where I want to plant a tangelo in back (20 Sep). I then dug it thoroughly. When I was finished, Cleopatra (our tortoise) tried to climb up into the bed. She almost made it. Now, I'm concerned that my idea of planting begonias in the holes of the concrete blocks might not protect them from Cleopatra's appetite.
Clear at first, changing to thin clouds; sunny, sometimes hazy; and mild
|I've been inquiring at various nurseries about when to plant citrus. They all said I can plant now, so I'm preparing for planting a dwarf 'Mineola' tangelo (a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit).
Today, I bought 8 concrete blocks — plain on one side and split-face on the other. I arranged the blocks in a square, two blocks on a side, at the end of the west bed in back, near where the bed meets the patio (where the Eucalyptus ficifolia used to be, 16 Apr). This will form a raised bed for the tangelo, which would otherwise suffer in my heavy clay soil (especially with the watering needed by the other nearby plants).
Into this square, I put a large amount of the wood chips from having my trees trimmed last April, a bucket of coarse sand, not quite as much peat moss, a generous amount of gypsum, and a couple of handsful of superphosphate. Then, I started digging these amendments and nutrients into the soil. Finally, I watered it very well. In a few days, I plan to dig some more. I will have to add more wood chips, sand, and peat to raise the soil level to the top of the square.
I plan to put potting mix into the holes in the blocks and plant wax-leaf begonias. Not only will this frame the tangelo; but it will also keep the begonias away from our tortoise, who considers them a special delicacy.
Laying out the blocks, I had to trim the adjacent star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). This really needs more trimming, but I was getting tired.
Disbudded the potted chrysanthemum (C. morifolium) on the patio. Since the large pot sits up on bricks, this was a job I could do sitting down.
Thin clouds or high fog, hazy sun, and mild
|Last week when it was too hot to garden outside (seven consecutive days over 100°F), I gardened inside. I put up cuttings of the nephthytis (Syngonium podophyllum) in the breakfast room greenhouse window. It was very overgrown and should have been renovated a year ago.
Also last week, Evelyn and I went to an orchid show and sale presented by the Conejo Orchid Society at the Thousand Oaks Library. Evelyn thought they were all so beautiful. While I agreed, I was more interested in seeing what kinds — other than the Phalaenopsis that I have — will grow in my greenhouse window. The only candidate I saw was lady slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum), but I'm concerned that my house might be too warm for that. I'll do more research before next year's show.
Today, I visited two local nurseries (one a tree specialist) to inquire about dwarf citrus. I was told that a dwarf Eureka lemon should live 30-40 years, which means mine might be dying of old age. True dwarfs seem no longer available. Also, small semi-dwarfs in 1 gallon cans are no longer available. To replace my lemon, I'll have to cram a 5 gallon plant into the large flower pot where my old lemon is now.
I was advised to try cutting the lemon back and feeding it. This is about the latest citrus should be fed in this area. Any later will promote new growth that will then be burned by winter frosts. As soon as I got home, I fed all three of my dwarf citrus a mix of commercial citrus food with zinc and magnesium sulfate added. I cut back the lemon; much of the scaffold branches are still green under the bark. I severely cut back the kumquat, but it seems even closer to death than the lemon. I did not cut the Robertson navel orange, which has five green oranges on it and actually shows some new growth starting.
Clear, sunny, and very hot
|This past week, I fed the roses in front with ammonium sulfate. We were so busy with out-of-town visitors for our son's wedding, I just didn't get a chance to update this diary then.
Trimmed the Hahn's ivy (Hedera helix 'Hahn's') growing on the mailbox.
The newly-weds are now living in the bride's condominium. Our son Allen just sold his own condo. Cleaning it out, he didn't know what to do with a large potted Dracaena. The painters who helped prepare the condo for sale left it outside, where it got too much sun. It looked quite distressed. I claimed it. Today, I repotted it and put it in the living room near the fireplace. I'll have to move it when we build a fire.
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 2 Oct 2006 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:
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