October 23, 2020

This morning I pruned back the gold lantana at the upper end of the Front Slope Garden and the companion purple. I may have severed a feeder line, as water has appeared draining down the driveway. I could not trace the feeder because it is lost in the center of the gold lantana.

I laid down preen mulch around the new hebe, flax and kangaroo paws and the transplanted portulaca. The ground around the portulaca was bone dry at the time of transplant, and I will supplement the water for a while, watering until I have gentle puddles.

I applied neem oil on the new deep red oleander. For the first time I saw signs of scale on that oleander. The plan is to prune it back this winter to half its current size and encourage the new growth. Grandmother Oleander is in magnificent splendor just now. Given the severe pruning last winter, she did not recover fully until late summer. Still, all the growth is new and free of scale. I am encouraged to try a severe pruning on the white oleander that has been so afflicted with scale this year. This is also the year to prune back the two oleanders in the back corner garden.

I fed all three camellias with standard Miracle-Gro plant food. The camellia in the triangle garden already has buds. Last year it was the last of the three to bloom.

Two of the roses are coming back to life after being chewed on. The deep crimson rose nearest the back porch is suffering from scale or rust. I applied generic pesticide.

Mike and I raised the hip roof on Spots’s house, sheltering the shade deck. Mike cut and tacked leftover wainscotting onto the lower half of the weather side. The old plywood on that lower area was peeling off in layers and was not paintable. The house also has new trim – in effect a chair rail and the old mock window. We stopped mid-job to watch two hawks circling in a dance in the sky.

I was up at midnight, not unusual, and drawn by the light of a near half moon on the kitchen floor. The moon travels to the west side of the house, and I saw it through the branches of the valley oaks just off the back porch. Quite the sight to gentle me back to sleep.

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