December 11, 2020

The berry patch is now planted: southern high-bush blueberries and heritage raspberries from the East Bay Nursery, blackberries from the Pine Ridge Nursery. I mixed clay-breaking soil amendment and acid soil mix with the ground inside and outside gopher baskets. The soil was more forgiving when I dug closer to the fence – the soil around the blackberry bush had to be dug out with a pickax to a hole two feet deep and three feet wide. Drainage in each of three planting holes was moderate on top of the rock shelf. I covered the three camellias with the leftover acid soil mix. I also hauled in more hay and grass from Spots’s pen for more mulch and added acid to the soil.

I finished laying the flagstones on the mid-walkway this afternoon just as the rain started to sprinkle. The path is meant to leave a way to reach around one side of all three berry bushes. I expect the rain will set the paver sand tonight.

The cactuses from Rancho Murieta are blooming on schedule. The potted succulents appear to be thriving under the shelter of the house, either on the front porch or at the back of the Main Box Garden in the back. The outdoor kalanchoe appears to have buds promising pink flowers. Greenie, my favorite in the back yard, having survived multiple overturns and deracinations, is showing new growth.

Cutting back all plants for the winter will be a several day, if not week, project. I cut the established lantanas back to bare stalks, and showed more restraint on those that have not had a winter over. I also cut back the firecracker plant to a few core branches. The maida elegans worries me as it does not appear healthy. Wait for the spring. I shoveled up the oak leaves and other organic debris and spread it onto the beds, hoping the coming rain will tamp it down.

At Lowe’s I found a flowering quince (chaenomeles Texas scarlet) for the Circle Garden at the barn. Not only clay tolerant and drought resistant, but unappealing to deer and rabbits. I will look for scarlet flowers in the spring and summer. I can only hope the tough ad thorny stems may not appeal to my friendly neighborhood jackrabbit. The blue salvia in the Circle Garden appears to be recovering.

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