February 8, 2020

My day began with the sight of a great blue heron circling in the sky above the fire prevention pond.  My third siting this year and a remarkable event that I hope continues.  Perhaps the word is out that the ranch is a comfortable nesting ground.

After the Men’s Breakfast at church I repaired to Lowe’s for a two gallon sprayer, and a gallon of vinegar from the grocery store.  Frank Tortorich ran a nursery business in a former life, and he recommended a weed killer of vinegar. detergent to bind the vinegar to the leaves of the weeds and salt. It is a combination for soil that you never will plant again.  I plan to use it to treat the weeds growing between the flagstones, avoiding pulling up decomposed granite with the weeds.

MJ closely pruned back the large oleander last week, found damage underneath and applied Sevin dust.  On the garden tour last week Del identified the damage as scale, a type of insect deposit similar to aphids.  He recommended neem oil on the leaves as a treatment, effectively it smothers the tiny insects.

I scratched the ground around the grandmother oleander and watered, added new topsoil with fertilizer and watered, mulched and watered.  In accordance with Del’s comment, I removed all the dead oleander leaves. As last year, I applied prune sealer to the larger exposed cuts.

I cut back the dead growth on the neighboring pentstemon, which was almost equivalent to the entire plant.  I thought or hope I was exposing new growth underneath.  I fertilized and watered the entire area.  If nothing else, I hope to save the roots and to wait for new growth when the warmer weather comes.

I cut back potato shrub in the front border garden to new growth at the bottom, and watered it in.  At least there was new growth.  Gold and radiant lantana also took a hit, and the aptenia in back yard is looking frigid. The gazania is still blooming like a champ, and I think the crown of thorns euphorbia will survive. I weeded and watered all around.

I have turned on the irrigation water, twenty minutes on a daily basis in the back and front yard.  No rain expected for the next two weeks,

Mike brought up his cordless drill and bits, and drilled a drainage hole in the blue ceramic bowl that sits at the end of the stone border edging the back lawn.  The same bowl where the lamium drowned last year.  He also drilled holes in the two pots at the summer house, where the sweet pea and jasmine climbers are planted.  We tied the plant wires through the holes in the pots to anchor them more securely.  Heavy winds are expected this weekend, at least in the Bay Area, and the anchored wires should hold more securely.  While I have not experience high winds at the ranch, I have seen the porch swing blown off the two chairs that support it on either side.






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