Saturday, March 28, 2020

Signs of life in the pond!

Last year, the pond was beautiful! So far this year, it's mostly been quiet... but signs of life underwater are starting!

the tropical water lily is waking up!

the hardy one too (i swear - just above center is a leaf!)

and the new plant is starting to grow...something?
I have to remember that i can't buy more waterlilies this year... but i do need to get some new underwater plants, and maybe an extra marginal plant. Oh, and all 7 fish are still alive! And the water is still clear...

Here is to hoping that 2020 is another great year for the pond!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tell the Truth Tuesday: Pruning help needed!

As much as I'm happy to chop some plants, i think i need help/advice with this one. This is Leucadendron 'Rising Sun', and it's the first leucadendron i've ever had survive. It's also growing sideways:

very sideways
 It used to be smothered under the Palo Verde. Winter took care of that problem, but now it looks even weirder than before:
the plant branches and colors are gorgeous!
 Do i just chop some of the branches off? Will it grow more straight if that i do? Or will i kill it? The branches get fairly thick near the bottom:
close up - will new branches sprout from this wood if i cut it back?
Any advice? I've been looking things up on the internet, but nothing beats experienced gardeners advice!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Six on Saturday & Saturday Pruning

This might seem like a strange plant to "prune", but my Opuntia ficus-indica 'Burbank Spineless' has become really overgrown. Some of the pads are so heavy, they break off the plant. Last year, it bloomed noticeably less than before. This is what it looks like now:
the yellow & brown patches are in part due to the snow & water
 It's kind of all over the place, as you can see from this side:
more wide than tall
I really want it to grow like some of the larger ones at the Huntington - woody at the bottom, and more tall. So a few hours later, i was very happy that this plant has no glochids, and had this:
a little better?

Still a bit unbalanced from this side.
Looking at these pictures, i may go pull out a bit more, and see if i can get it a bit more up-right looking. I also want to see what new pads will grow this year. I'm not worried about this plant coming back from this pruning, since it usually grows pretty quickly

And here are two other pretty pictures to close out this "six on saturday":
new rose buds and foliage on the plants i pruned back a month ago!

i also uncovered the stairs on the hillside again!
That last picture has some ugly bare spots, but that's because of our cold winter... the ground cover should grow back quickly now that Spring is (almost!) here!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: Pretty pictures

Just some pretty pictures that don't involve gophers...

new flowers!

all the yellow in the front garden

camouflage at 100% 

are those flower buds?

peach tree flowering (a bit later than normal)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

O you beast! I’ll so maul you and your toasting-iron, That you shall think the devil is come from hell (0)

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers gophers"1

I like agaves - they are pretty, they come in many shapes and sizes, and they usually do fairly well in the desert. I'm not picky - agave-like plants are also welcome!

I do not like gophers. However, gophers do like agaves and agave like plants. This winter was especially horrendous. Since my words when i was doing this clean up were not very "family-friendly" (but did involve the letter F a lot), I had to resort to Shakespearean insults for the gophers for this blog post.

We start in the back garden, on the hillside. There were 2 Agave 'Green Goblets" there.  Now, thanks to the crusty batch of nature2 there are zero:
that does not look good

This one is ok?
Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade3

looks, they are deceiving
 Thou art unfit for any place but hell.4

Not content with just 2, i noticed that my Agave 'Crazy Horse' was looking sad. A tug on the leaf core produced:
You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! 5

Bloody, bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! 6
This next one really, really hurt. I have (had) a giant furcraea in the front garden. Here it was a few weeks ago:
easily 7-8 feet across
 But then...
Thou hateful wither’d hag! 7
 The three-inch fool8 dug a tunnel into the heart of the plant:
You are as a candle, the better burnt out. 9
It gets worse... I'm seeing bad signs for my favorite agave:
Whoreson caterpillars, bacon-fed knaves! 10
I haven't had the heart to go pull on it... maybe next weekend. I don't know if it was a combination of our snow and gophers, or just extra hungry gophers, but this was a horrible winter. I think any new replacements will be getting gopher cages/collars.

That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?11

I do desire that we may be better strangers. 12

0. King John, Act 4, Scene 3
1. Henry VI Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2
2. The History of Triolus and Cressida, Act 5, Scene 1
3. Measure for Measure, Act 3, Scene 1
4. Richard III, Act 1, Scene 2
5. Henry IV Part 2, Act 2, Scene 1 
6. Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2
7. Richard III Act 1, Scene 3
8. The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 1
9. Henry IV Part 2, Act 1, Scene 2
10. Henry IV, Part 1, Act 2, Scene 2
11 Henry IV Part 2, Act 2, Scene 3
12. As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Wednesday vignette: daffodils!

There aren't a lot of spring bulbs that do well in the desert. I learned this the hard way - many that i've planted over the years only come back one year, sometimes two. Daffodils are usually among the best for coming back. There's a small patch in the front garden that pop ups every spring. This year, they're a bit late.

they are the yellow ones

some more getting ready to bloom
This year, i noticed one very odd thing - about 10 feet away from this patch, in the middle of a bed of wood chip mulch, is growing this:
baby daffodil?
I don't know how it got there, but i think we'll blame it on the gophers. Now i'm curious whether it will come back again next year also? This also reminds me i need to check on the white daffodils in the back garden. Everything does seem to be popping up a bit later this year, probably because of our colder-than-normal winter. But Spring is almost here!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

6 on Saturday: pretty pictures

Spring (well, late winter) cleaning continues. I hate gophers. Instead of focusing on that though, here are some pretty pictures of the garden:

the first acacia to bloom this year!

finally an in-focus grevillea (lanigera, but more pink that the one in front garden)

the almond tree is blooming (late)

the new foliage on these roses is very green

the fact that these two pots of succulents aren't dead is a small miracle

it starts: the first new pond plant!
Now i will get back to cleaning up the hillside. And looking up insulting names for gophers... Happy almost Spring!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Tell the Truth Tuesday: how you know you're a boring adult

Alison at Bonney Lassie used to do this thing called "tell the truth tuesday" about the not-so-pretty parts of your garden. I'm not sure if she's still doing it, but seemed like an appropriate theme for this very exciting pair of pictures!

I present to you: GARBAGE CANS!

very exciting - there are 2 grey ones!
The grey ones are for yard waste, and the green one is for recycling. Because that color coding makes total sense...
the new green one comes with this thing called a "lid"
Why am i so excited about garbage cans? Because they had been broken (the green one) or insufficient (the grey one) for a long time. All the way back in November of last year, i finally figured out how to get the city to bring me more/new cans, and after that the saga/waiting game that involved 5 phone calls and dragging empty, broken cans to the road each week, started.

I joke (mostly), but this is very exciting (sorta). It has taken me months to get the city to provide additional yard recycling containers, and a non-broken recycling container. And just in time to finish all the pruning and soon to be arriving plant containers.

It is kind of strange what I can get excited about these days...