Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I've learned something about myself that I never realised...I either like rampant growing plants... or I have poor judgement...or I like pruning. No, I don't think it is that last one. Strolling through the garden in the cool of the evening or morning deadheading or gathering herbs or a bouquet...that I like. But sawing off branches that break my favorite pole pruner or thinning the arbor and ending up with two piles of branches that are each almost as tall as me and doing all this with the sweat running down my back and face just really isn't that much fun. I know I've complained about the privets but now I find that my beloved wisteria is looked down on as too rampant for most gardens and even the Banksia rose that covers the arbor my Dad built for me a few years ago has been seen out of control over on Deirdre's blog.
Really...the wisteria just needs one good pruning when dormant and the occasional summertime clipping of a wayward tendril. The Banksia on the other hand is a bit "vigorous". I do have to trim it up several times each growing season and give it a good thinning/haircut at least once a year. I chose it because I wanted an evergreen, flowering, thornless vine for my arbor that could take lots of hot Central Valley summer sun. The Banksia has delivered on all accounts. And if it wants to be bigger than I bargained for...I guess that's the price I have to pay!
But the privets? Those I wish could magically disappear and be replaced by some pretty, unknown, evergreen 15 foot tall trees strategically placed right where the privets are to block views from neighboring houses. I don't want anyone watching me waging war with the pruning shears or gathering bouquets...I guess that says something about me, too, but I'll explore that self-realization another time.
Monday, March 26, 2007
The wisteria is in full bloom...I love it at all times of the year...the bare branches, the full bloom before it leafs out and the full green plant with spots of color all summer. I've always picked the seed pods since the seeds are poisonous and shoot all over when they are ripe and dry...I don't want kids or pets eating them. And the immature pods look bean-like...a danger with young children. What I didn't realise for some years was that by picking the pods I was encouraging repeat bloom all summer...payoff for my work!!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Wanting to have a "demonstration garden" for the children in my family child care but not having any more lawn to spare (they have to have some lawn area to play on!) I made the only possible decision...to take out an area of concrete patio area that was at least somwhat unused. After watching the play activity for a few weeks I felt this area really was used mostly for parking bikes and the basketball hoop... but not really needed for everyday play. I've had a vegie garden for years and always had cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant and a few other alternating items that the children have enjoyed but never had space for things like corn or pumpkins. As a result of a conversation we had one day I realised a number of them didn't know what a corn plant looks like...and I decided that couldn't continue.
When we moved here over 26 years ago one of the first things I did was take out part of the patio to plant a Santa Rosa plum tree and a wisteria. This time I decided my 21 year old son was better suited to the heavy duty demolition part of the job and so he began concrete removal two weeks ago.
Last weekend he (with the help of a friend and a cousin) finished the removal and and I began to cultivate the soil that had been trapped for over 26 years...and I was reminded of what the soil here is really like...pretty much hard packed clay. I had to drench the soil and let it soak in in order to get the shovel to stop bouncing off the surface and it has been a long week of working section by section, loosening the soil, smashing clods and mixing in what I hope is a sufficient amount of compost to keep it workable.
Today I finished the digging and now I'm thinking about trellises...I'm planning to put cherry tomatoes (the seedlings are up!) on the fence I've put around the bed to keep bikes and other dangerous things out...but I'm waiting for inspiration on arrangment and type of trellises for pole beans, cucumbers, and a variety of summer squash ( Zucchetta Trombolina) I found from John Scheepers that reminds me of something my Italian grandpa grew years ago...I just couldn't resist. After all...I have all this new space! I do need to allow a nice block for corn so I'm playing with ideas in my mind...I've got a couple of weeks until we can plant. As you can see...I've moved the headboard I was putting in last summer when I decided to try becoming a blogger...one of my traits is I'm always moving stuff. I've learned not to put much permanent hardscape in...I'll just want to change it sooner or later.
In any case...my job for this week is to think about trellises!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Things blooming today....some just beginning, some ending, and some (like the bush mallow) bloom most of the year.
Viburnum Spring Bouquet
Camellia Jordan's Pride
Camellia Chandleri Elegans
Rosemary Tuscan Blue
Lady Banksia rose
Prunus Krauter Vesuvius
Prunus Purple Pony
Prunus Santa Rosa