I was out watering the back yard plants before breakfast, including what has become the container herb and vegetable garden. A Worship Committee meeting took up the morning, and I could not work in the heat of the day. I managed to deadhead the new osteopernum and all the pink and white geraniums, a treat for Spots.
Mike and I examined the trees that are crowding the house at the back and overhanging the driveway. PG&E recommends that trees be trimmed at least six feet off the ground. The tree in the corporation yard shades the back of the house but it almost reaches the back wall. We will ask the tree contractor advice on cutting the tree unevenly to remove the branches most at risk on one side.
Full sun 3.27, Sunset 8.50
I left Oakland and traveled across the Delta into the San Joaquin Valley. When I hit the valley, the temperature gauge registered 92 degrees and continued to climb. I watered the circle garden on the way in, my new procedure. Both weeds and intentional plants are thriving on the irrigation drip. I waited for sunset to survey and water the front slope garden.
The house was a reasonable 74 degrees. I pulled down a fan from upstairs to cool off the house tonight and to give me better sleep. Opening the doors at either end of the house creates its own wind current, assisted by the fans. The house mostly holds the cooler temperature throughout the day.
I applied Dr. Earth Pure Gold liquid fertilizer to all the established plants and soaked all the new plants. I expect to be away for a few days with no rain in the forecast.
The yarrows are blooming but they could benefit from mulching. I broke open the ground and soaked it, added mulch and soaked the mulch. That corner of the garden only has irrigation to the two oleanders, and I will need to add feeder lines to the yarrows. I am drawing from the rain barrels for supplemental water. The gutter was redirected into that corner in February, and it should have had the benefit of several months of rain building underground water.
I fertilized the roses. Two weeks ago I pruned back the overgrowth and am waiting for the next wave of blooms. In my new career as handyman, I mended the cordless weed whacker and finished the back yard edging.
On the way back to Oakland I decided to reverse direction up Route 4 out of Stockton onto Marsh Creek Road. I often travel that road coming out from Oakland but rarely travel the other direction. It was an interesting experience crossing the valley and seeing Mount Diablo looming larger and larger until I disappeared into the canyons. The road has also been repaved for a pleasant drive.
A few months ago I filled a tub with of surplus scrap lumber as part of the ongoing effort to clean up the corporation yard. Then it continued raining for three months and that tub filled with four of five gallons of water. Never one to waste captured rain water, I hauled the tub to the back yard and applied quality aged rain water to the crape myrtle, yarrows and ice plant.
Penumbra 10.13, Sunset 8.19 However, because of the angle that the sun is now traveling it reached only one-half of the large planter box at 10.13. The half of the box nearest the back porch and the herb garden are still sheltered by the house, probably for a few more hours.
I spent the early morning watering the back yard. The front half of the large planter box benefits from overachieving lawn sprinklers, including the Bermuda grass that seems to spread everywhere. I will keep the Roundup dispenser handy and spray with abandon.
I moved the pots with the aeonium and the agave to the back yard, in front of the terra cotta planter. While I was there, I watered the daisies and the aptenia. Without the benefit of a long ramp up, the aptenia nonetheless seems to be taking hold and spreading. Not as fast as the weeds and crab grass but still spreading.
The bulbine crowds that section of the garden and is growing profusely. In the fall I will transplant it on the other side of the crape myrtle planter box.
I was delighted to see the irises growing up among the alyssum in the triangle garden. They did not make an appearance last year, and I thought they were gone altogether. That corner of the triangle garden is furthest from the house wall and receives the most sun. I will try to keep the irises in good health with supplemental water. After all, they are growing right next to the rain barrels.
Senecio has an odd feathery bloom, much like a dandelion. Eventually it should produce a yellow flower if the plant label is to be believed. The licorice plant is showing many buds and will bloom profusely this year. I was promised a red straw flower with a yellow center.
I made the run to Lowe’s for a hose box and rose fertilizer spikes. I an tired of unwinding and rewinding 100 feet of hose, releasing crimps and having the hose loop into itself.
Today was mostly a working day, watching the garden from the office window. The dry season has officially started but is not excessively warm; the house retains cool nighttime temperatures.
I came down yesterday by way of Liberty Road and North Camanche Parkway, along the high road above Camanche Reservoir. From that height the road yields a panoramic view of the reservoir, spectacular and worth a little slow traffic in the village. The alternate route to the ranch was no longer in terms of time.
Awol dropped out of a tree to greet me and scared me half to death. I trimmed the dead blooms from Mike’s roses and supplemented the water to his tomatoes and cucumber. I appreciate the long lingering days that allow watering and weeding the front garden at sunset.
Full sun 3.21, Sunset 8.15
Terry is 69 today. We spoke over breakfast, and I heard about his retired life playing golf and learning Spanish.
I watered and weeded all the beds after breakfast, soaking in the mulch. Rain is expected to start tonight and continue all day tomorrow. I also added coffee grounds to the home-made mulch pile, and applied the enriched mulch around the camellia and the rhaphiolepis in the triangle garden. That garden is mostly sheltered by the house and suffers less from the intense summer heat.
I gathered and placed a few stones to shore up the manzanita on the downward slope. It has received rain and supplemental water regularly over the past few weeks and was recently fertilized. The stone border is intended to prevent erosion of water and soil amendment down the hill.
I finished the week by mowing the lawn and pulling crab grass and Bermuda grass as I went. I also soaked both planter boxes and all the back yard plants and the vegetable garden. The lamium is waterlogged because the pot does not drain, and it may not survive. I set it out too early but did not expect the rainy season to continue through May.
I pruned the unproductive branches off the lemon tree. No blooms this past spring and no fruit now, but at least the tree is looking healthier. I may need to winter over after the transplant. Lots of limes next to it to act as encouragement.
My final chore was breaking up branches for kindling and adding them to the kindling box. In another eight months the box contents should be well seasoned.
Penumbra 10.15, Sunset 8.15