May 24, 2019

Today I rescued the border garden between the back porch slab and retaining wall, weeding and scratching.  I turned over the remnants of mulch from last year to enrich the soil.  I added four cubic feet of new mulch over the top and soaked it in.

The transplanted society garlic is aromatic and thriving; the barberry is a monster.  The gooseberry (ribes) is almost too tall, with branches shooting out two to three feet tall.  It has become a focal point above the retaining wall.  The correopsis is healthy.  I remember it bloomed  in late June last year and greeted me when I returned home from my trip to Europe.  

I trimmed back the lavender off the porch  on one side and off the osteopernum on the other.  The lavender-scented  blooms are lasting much longer than I expected.  I will try to keep it from getting woody around its base.

I will need to check water lines and repair sprinkler heads.  The border garden is under the shade of the two valley oaks that also shelter the porch.  Less water is needed but still a continuous source.  In my never-ending I quest, I cleared the thistle between the retaining wall  and the valley oaks, about a two to three foot perimeter.  At least reaching the spigot is now more comfortable.

Not a particularly hot day, high of 76, but I still managed to soak through my t-shirt.

Half penumbra 1.05, Sunset 8.14.  The half penumbra is an important measure because at that time of day the herb garden begins to receive full sun.

I was talking to Judy on the back porch while watching the sun set over the land.

May 23, 2019

I morning I laid 4+ cubic feet of mulch on the large planter box.  I think of the box as a kind of sampler.  All the plants are thriving but Bermuda grass persists.  I also mulched the citrus box and the large crape myrtle box and attached a new sprinkler head to the line that feeds the large crape myrtle.  It thrived on a drip last summer and bloomed splendidly.

The plants in the deep terra cotta planter appear to be receiving sufficient water.  The scarlet geranium is an eyeful, and it makes a statement against the natural landscape of the foothills behind it.

I went to Lowe’s, thinking about ornamental grasses to fill a hole in the front slope garden.  The ceanothus or cotoneaster that previously occupied that spot did not survive last summer.  The grasses in stock were too water dependent, with instructions such as “best near or in a water feature”.   I moved to the next aisle over and found in Succulents a plant called senecio.  The plant is native to South Africa, requiring minimal water after the first year.  My only concern is that it is not hardy below 35 degrees. 

Mulch was on sale, five 2 cubic feet bags for $10 – who could resist?  I spread two bags of mulch from the royal blue salvia to the deep pink geranium that anchors the eastern of the front slope garden.  This was my Promontory Point moment – the front slope is fully mulched end to end, the culmination of a project that began on Holy Saturday, April 20.  

I planted the senecio just as the thunder storm started, and applied Plant Starter on the senecio, the new yellow lantana and the silver and green euonymus.  Mr. Squirrel and I dove for cover under the eaves when the rain really started to come down.

May 22, 2019

A telephone conference with stakeholders on electronic wills legislation absorbed the morning.  Bright sunny days are forecast for the rest of the week, highs only in the 70s.

I cleared the last section of the front slope garden up to the royal blue salvia and cleared my head of electronic will legislation.  I am deadheading the geraniums already – the blooms are prolific.

Lizards and tree frogs jump out from everywhere,  I saw the jack rabbit again – surprised to see only one.

I decided to have a lazy afternoon and went exploring.  I took the truck up the Municipal Utility District road across Pardee Dam and down through Campo Seco.  Looking at the local map later I saw that I had made a large three-quarter circle to end up back on Buena Vista Road where it connects the Burson Road.  The foothills are beautiful country to ramble trough on a lazy spring afternoon.


May 21, 2019

I stopped at the Berkeley Hort on my way out of Oakland.  My faithful search was rewarded. A shipment of one gallon containers of matilija poppies was in, and I bought two to add to the slope.  In theory, the poppies will spill down the slope and take out everything else, specifically the thistle.  The matilija poppies should all have the fried egg, sunny side up, blooms.

As i passed through Lockeford, I saw a truck load of flying pink elephants in blue tutus.  No clue what that was all about, but a slice of small town America nonetheless.  I came through the vineyards on Jackson Valley Road, now posted for local traffic only. The purpose is to route all the Casino traffic down Buena Vista Road.  I believe I qualify as local traffic.

The clouds in the valley and up into the foothills were dark and heavy with high winds.  Still only intermittent showers through the afternoon.  I sat with Awol a few minutes and admired the oleander that is responding well to last week’s feeding.

Out of the car and into the yard, I planted the two new poppies, clearing thistle as I went.  I also placed a ring of stones down slope from the new plantings to hold off erosion of water and soil.  The three poppy triplets are Mattie, Leah and Matilda.



May 18, 2019

Early this morning I was turning over and scratching the next section of the front slope garden up to the second creeping rock rose and purple lantana. Weather was  threatening so I started early.

I found gopher baskets at the Ace Hardware in Jackson, for the next round of planting.  The garden aisle had a section devoted to eliminating pests and discouraging various animals.  On the eye-level shelf was a hand printed sign: “Gopher baskets in Aisle 6”.  They knew I was coming.

I ran to Lowe’s for five bags of mulch and a golden lantana.  This lantana is a trailing variety, different from the purple shrubs that seem to thrive here.

While I was in town, I might just as well take a run at the Wal-Mart garden department.  My faithful search was rewarded.  I found a lovely silver and green euonymus to replace the barberry that has not thrived at the western end of the front slope garden.  The range of euonymus varieties continually surprises and delights me, all drought tolerant and slow growers.

The rain held off except for few sprinkles, leaving me time to plant the lantana down slope from the purple shrub.  Planting included a gopher basket and a generous application of plant starter, followed by a chaser of two bags of mulch.

PG& E recommends keeping trees six feet off the ground.  Two large valley oaks shade the western end of the front slope garden.  I trimmed the low-hanging branches with loppers and a tree saw and hauled off the debris – on the ground, in the overgrown grass and in my hair – up to the wood pile.  Perhaps the start of a new mulch project with Mike’s chipper.

I finished the day by tucking in the new euonymus, gopher cage, Plant Starter, mulch and all.  The little guy is on his way.

May 17, 2019

Today was a break in the unseasonably wet weather, cloudy in the morning and warming to bright sunshine. More rain is due tomorrow.

Penstemon sprawl is ended for now.  I trimmed in both penstemons for a compact center to each plant.  We will see how long the blooms take to come back.

I cleared more grass just beyond stone border that marks the edge of the back lawn.  The citrus planter box is now free.  As I dig up huge clumps of grass, thistle and overgrowth, I shook the dirt off the roots into the planter box.

The coral yarrows are blooming, and I can confirm that the blooms are coral.  The carpet roses in the summer house boxes are showing lots of delicate white blossoms.

Checking in on Awol is part of my daily routine for two weeks.  Lots of deep purring.  Mike inherited an oleander in a pot from Judy.  I cut off the dead wood and added fertilizer spikes to the container. Mike’s tomatoes are progressing nicely.

I spent a quiet afternoon weeding the next section of the front slope garden.  I pruned both creeping rock roses from the bottom, removing the overgrown and dead wood from underneath.  I scratched out the section of the garden to allow rain water to penetrate.

A full moon tonight that I see from my bedroom window.

May 16, 2019

Rain fell through the night.  In the early morning I took advantage of a window of a few hours between the storms, weeding like a maniac.  I mulched the next section of the front slope garden, past the manzanita and lantana to the two deep pink geraniums.  Spots received a treat of spent geranium blooms.

I cleared more dead wood that had fallen into the driveway overnight.  I will speak with MJ about removing the low-hanging oak limbs from the top of the driveway where it meets the road.

During the rain break I went Into Ione for potting soil.  I planted the crimson purple dianthus on the upper level replacing the wind blown Marguerite daisy, and the cream color marigold in the container on the mezzanine level.

An afternoon thunder storm interrupted the mulching past the coleonema.  I toweled down, found a dry and warm shirt and waited it out for twenty minutes.  The lemon tree is looking healthier, hopefully benefiting from continual drip irrigation and citrus fertilizer.

Two turkeys wandered around the garden after the thunder shower.  In the tradition of Humboldt, I wondered what was their ecological contribution to the garden.  Scratching the soil for worms perhaps.

Penumbra 10.34, Sunset 8.11  The low cloud cover made for a gorgeous golden sunset, just behind MJ’s line of trees along the western ridge.