January 22, 2019

Near freezing temperatures this morning.  MJ and Judy are making the return trip to San Diego in two stages, stopping the night in Bakersfield.  We had time for hot breakfast and coffee before they left mid-morning.

Judy noticed the valley oak that was growing into the the pergola.  I pruned it back and applied pruning seal.  The branches of this same oak poke me every time I water the border garden between the porch slab and the retaining wall.  They will now poke less.

I addressed the dwarf oleander again, removing the suckers at the base and trimming back to three leaf clusters. I read that the flowers grows from those clusters, and that reading made sense when I examined the growth pattern on the oleander.  I overlaid and scratched in new topsoil around the base, enriched with 10-10-10 fertilizer, and watered generously.  The oleander is partly sheltered by the eaves on the roof, and I suspect it may not benefit entirely from the rain we have had.

I removed the suckers and outliers and trimmed the height of white oleander by the front porch.  The same pattern of trimming back to three leaf clusters.  I hope to encourage it to grow up and not out.  I also brought in new topsoil with 10-10-10  fertilizer.

Next task was to trim back the fortnight lilies.  Gardening websites recommend a range of pruning heights, from ground level to eighteen inches.  in the end, the thickness of root cluster determined the pruning height of the two larger lilies.  I could trim all the outliers and cut down the core to about twelve inches.  The limits on the two larger plants determined the pruning height of the two smaller ones.  I will see how the lilies respond this year, and perhaps next I will dig up and thin out the rhizomes in that dense base.

I added new top soil and soil amendment to  the rose bed.  The bed seems to erode down during the year.  I amended the soil during the dormant period last winter and the roses seemed to responded well.

I watered all the front plants thoroughly.  No rain is forecast for two weeks, and the plants are rejuvenating after their winter pruning.

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