June 26, 2020

I was annoyed at the overgrown cotoneaster on the mezzanine level that locked the view of the pink geraniums from the kitchen window. I pruned back half of the plant. The front slope garden has a few more candidates for this treatment.

The large Mexican daisy in the back corner garden has mostly spent blooms.  I cut them back in hopes of another round of blooms.  The California fuchsia is back for a second season.  The delicate pink fuchsia flowers are a joy, and it seems well adapted to its container.

The maida elegans is beginning to bloom and is perhaps not a fall bloomer after all.  The correopsis is at full growth but the blooms are sparse.  Late June should be its time to shine, and it is resplendent in its own willowy way.

June 25, 2020

Today will be the hottest in a string of triple digit high temperature days, high of 102 expected.  The heat is bearable until the early evening just before sundown.  I turned on the air conditioning and ran it for a few hours in the morning to cool down the house.  The insulation and tile floors tend to preserve the cool air efficiently.

Early this morning I pruned the barberry again to preserve the view of the land and Saint Francis.

The white lantana is thriving and starting to bloom.  The concept of white lantana spilling out from the broken and buried pot is becoming a reality.

I buried the used cat litter around the photinia.  I will continue to monitor it, and is shows new green growth.

June 24, 2020

This morning I pruned back the cotoneaster that was cascading over the flagstones and the spigot on the mezzanine level.  Later in the day I saw a family of quail hopping on the comfortable bed of newly cropped branches, maybe looking for berries.

I also pruned the fringe flower again.  I may not be able to keep it under the breakfast nook window.

June 22, 2020

Noting water runoff just below the retaining wall, I decreased the irrigation drip to the Saint Francis rockrose and the barberry.  The California native iris in front of Saint Francis seems to manage well on its drip.  The newest matilija poppy, however, is struggling in the heat.

The licorice plant is in full bloom, with white flowers.  That plant greatly contributes to the project of reviving the mezzanine level, next to the dahlia that continues to give this season.

Little Myrtle of the Far East is the first to bloom and is having a spectacular year.  I am trying to identify the source of the water in that area.  Little Myrtle clearly benefits from a dedicated irrigation drip and may also receive additional water from the lawn sprinkler in that corner.   The deep crimson crape myrtle has new stalk that grew up from the base.

I ran irrigation water into the fire prevention pond overnight, through the system that Mike rigged earlier this year.  While in the area, I cut back spent wildflowers to make room for the second wave.  That packet of wildflower seeds continues to surprise and delight me.

The photinia was munched away.  I found deer-moose-elk repellent in the garage and scattered it around the plant.  I also asked Mike for contributions of cat letter.  The plant appears healthy and well watered and will likely revive if it can avoid being breakfast for roaming animals.


June 20, 2020

The summer solstice for year 2020 in Northern Hemisphere fell at 2:43 this afternoon, Pacific Time.  The longest day had a length of 14 hours, 49 minutes.  The earliest sunrise was on June 12 or 13, and the latest sunset will be on June 27.

I am back from three days in Oakland circulating the Ethics Guide draft.  The extra days allowed time to tend the Oakland garden and begin the process of removing the rose bush.

I was up to work early.  Outside temperature is till in the 60s at 7.00 in the morning.  An early rising gives me a chance to watch the sprinkler and investigate water running down the driveway.  I adjusted rogue sprinklers under the gold lantana and marguerite daisy at the top of the hill.  The photinia is taking root and flourishing.

I devoted an hour to weeding in the back border garden and just beyond the retaining wall, The ground beyond the retaining appears to receive plenty of water, and weeds don’t require much.  Special mimulus is struggling after a spectacular spring.  The replacement bubbler keeps the ground moist, but the plant is dying.

Lowe’s had red stone pavers the exact dimensions of the stock in the equipment yard.   I will have an ample supply of pavers when I rebuild the walk to the back gate and level it.  I will need to mix in pavers by color and weathering.



June 12, 2020

Maintenance mode continues amid high temperatures and final revisions to the Ethics Guide.

I dead headed the front slope geraniums, and emptied the remains of a bag of Preen mulch around the coleonema.

The special monkey flower at the far end of the back garden is sickly.  I changed the flag dripper to a bubbler hoping to direct more water to the plant.  The white lantana seems to be taking hold.  Weeding is becoming my life’s work.

I will sit in the summer house in the mornings and look out over the land.  Just the other side of the retaining wall I saw the first matilija poppy bloom appear, on the newest plant.  I catch the resemblance to a fried egg without straining too hard.

June 10, 2020

I was up early to dig out weeds and Bermuda grass at the end of the flagstones by the gazebo.  The roots roots went all the way to China.  I planted two six packs of aptenia, a dark green variety.  That variety seems to have come back more successfully in Oakland.  The ground in that area was soaked.  I will look for sprayers that are less than 360 degrees or bubblers to replace what is there.

I have settled into maintenance mode for the dry season, checking sprinklers and watching for water runoff.  I gave supplemental water to the dahlia, trailing petunias, special ceanothus and photinia.

I pruned back the purple lantana that was climbing up the house wall. Its mission in life is to overgrow that narrow bed along the house.  I did not find a way to divide it last winter because it is so deeply rooted. The only option may be to dig it out entirely.  I replaced the bubbler to the neighboring ice plant and opened it a little further.

The percallis is still struggling. I supplemented the water, laid down standard mulch, and soaked in the mulch.

The day lily off the back porch has an orange-pink bloom and is a lovely addition to that corner.

June 9, 2020

I was back in Oakland for three days to attend my next to the last teleconference with the California Lawyers Association.  I also knelt and prayed on San Pablo Avenue with members of Saint Columba Parish.  Father Aidan walked down the line of parishioners and distributed communion. My first time receiving communion in three months and being in communion with my beloved parishioners.

On the way out from Oakland yesterday I stopped at the Berkeley Hort to pick up two more six packs of aptenia.  I also found an anisodontea for the Oakland garden to replace the Lion’s Tail that left me after many years of faithful service.  The new plant is a member of the mallow or hibiscus family, and would only thrive in the Bay Area.

I spent a few hours painting the trim at the barn.  The high temperature today was only 82 degrees with cooler weather to come.  I did not even need to open the doors at either end of the house tonight.

June 2, 2020

Temperatures rose at the end of the day.  The family room will not reach inside and outside equilibrium of 75 degrees until 11 P.M. tonight.

I drew water out of rain barrels to spot water the photinia, ceanothus and Experimental Box.  The fringe flower is bodacious, and I pruned it back for shape.  I try to keep it under the level of the window in the breakfast nook where I look out on the garden each morning.