March 19, 2020

Today was a bright sunny morning.  A few California poppies have come up in the wildflower patch I planted along the driveway, and what I believe is snowdrift, a cover of small white flowers.

The ladies came to clean the house this morning.  I had paper towels and nitrile gloves for them.  In this time of social distancing,  I remained outside filling in the last section of the new border garden up to the citrus planter box, mixing topsoil with organic amendment for raised beds and topping off with a layer of Mike’s mulch.  The soil that I turned over in that last section is heavy clay and very damp, needing pavers to support the retaining wall beams.  I might think about plantings there that need average water.  I also added additional soil for the bare patches in the (imagined, contemplated, hoped for) lawn bordering that garden, a running theme this year.

In the afternoon I dug out the coleonema on the  mezzanine level.  After cutting back all the branches, the core was not as rooted as I thought it might be.  The coleonema removal opened up a large planting space, room for two smaller shrubs.  The lower coleonema will stay for now.  Though still huge, it reacted better to pruning perhaps because it is more shaded under the valley oaks along the driveway.  I turned over the heavily compacted soil and mixed in organic soil amendment.

One purple lantana in that area was crowded between three large shrubs: bottle brush, surviving coleonema and sunset rockrose. Always looked junky, sprawling into and over the shrubs in high season.  While I had a shovel handy, I dug it out. There is still plenty of purple lantana in the front garden. It was more deeply rooted and much harder to remove, but I made an eventual success of clearing the area.  The sunset rockrose responds well to pruning, and I have hopes for the bottle brush in trimming back the outgrowth.

The spring equinox this year occurred at 8:49 tonight.  In the Northern Hemisphere the spring equinox falls when the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north. Apparently, the celestial equator is a great circle in the imaginary celestial sphere on the same plane as the equator of Earth.  Thank you Google search.

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