Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brush Cherry Update

The Brush Cherries appear to be bouncing back.  This is one of the anemic one's in a previous post.  I have been hitting them (figuratively, not literally.  Hitting them would cause them to fall to pieces.  Really, try and keep up) with a combination of fish emulsion, the insanely stinky crap and Super Thrive.  Now, I'm not sure if Super Thrive is organic, but it's not filled with chemicals, so the definition I'm keeping means it's ok.  Plus, the Brush Cherries are growing.  Unfortunately, they're growing so quickly, I now need to get the gate up in order keep from digging through roots once I do get the gate up.  Christ, if it's not one thing, it's another.

On a separate note, I, unfortunately, must go on a business trip to Washington D.C., and won't be posting until Memorial Day.  The day, not the weekend.  I know both of my followers will miss me, but duty does call.

In the meantime, I'm going to send a link to a post on the Art of Manliness, which I found very poignant.  It talks in some respect about finding one's calling, which honestly, I am starting to think I have found.  Thank God for the blogging outlet to help release it.  If Brett over there would like to send me something for free for sending my reader, I won't argue.  Great site that one is.

Lastly, go plant something.  Preferably, prickly.  I'm in that kind of mood.  We do have a White House tour scheduled, so I shall ask the first lady for a tour of the garden.  Since that won't work, I might try the run like hell to it before you get caught approach.  Anyway, I hope to have some pictures.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The World's Biggest Weed

Cortaderia Selloana, aka Pampas Grass.  From the Sunset website:

"This well-known landscaping form ofCortaderia—like its truly weedy and noxious cousin C. jubata—may send its seeds into the wind under certain circumstances to germinate and grow wherever they land. For that reason, nurseries in some areas no longer sell Cortaderia at all. Many horticulturists recommend against further landscaping with C. selloana and suggest removing it from gardens that border wild lands. Be sure to grub out volunteer Cortaderia seedlings whenever they appear."

We will be removing this.  Gladly.  What they fail to mention is that it will also become home to every piece of vermin in existence.  My lovely wife called me at work the other day to inform me that the noxious bush must go, as it currently has the permanent lovely aroma of urine.  I'm honestly frightened to tackle it.  It currently stands about nine feet high and just as wide.  Every year is spent removing the volunteers, which normally needs to be done with a shovel as they grab hold quickly.

The City has even sent flyers to the citizens specifically asking them to no longer plant this.  I don't blame them in the slightest.

Addendum, May 25:  We tackled this over the weekend and a little advice, long sleeve shirt and tape or tuck your trousers to your boots.  I'm not sure how, but the full length of a few grass blades made it the full length of my trousers.  Let me tell you, the blades contain cerrations, or teeth, or whatever you want to call them.  Horrible pulling those things out.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tools of the Trade: The Truck

This past weekend was not much for getting work done.  Between barbeques, spring cleaning and children being sick, no time was left for anything else.  I'm going to take the opportunity to introduce another essential tool, in my humble opinion, if you really want to get work accomplished on the homestead.  And, of course, keep peace with your lovely wife who's car you get dirty, smelly and several other unpleasant adjectives that escape me at the moment.

A truck is an essential piece of equipment for our lifestyle.  This is our latest addition.  A 1972 International Harvester Scout II.  International Harvester was, and still is, in the business of making tractors, although they now go by a different name.  Tractors...gardening...gardening...tractors...get it???

You can fit at least a cubic yard of soil back there.  Of course, assuming all the parts that fell off on the drive home weren't in the back, already.  I'm kidding.  All those parts fell off long before I got my hands on it.

Lastly, the other nice thing about this truck is that it is a convertible.  That will make it easier to haul various items around, such as lumber which can be up to 16 feet, depending on what one is using it for.  There is no carpet, the inside is all rubber, allowing one to clean the inside using nothing more then a garden hose.  Not to mention that I can smoke a cigar in it without stinking it to high heaven!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Love This Plant!

Lantana.  This is my kind of plant.

Yes, it's growing out of a railroad tie.  Months ago, I pulled a railroad tie from the slope above to mark the border between a planting bed and the children's play set.  (Crap, it has a weed growing in it.)

This is where the railroad tie was pulled from.  That parent plant, I guess that's the right term, was pruned far back this year, as it was getting quite leggy.  The baby Lantana in the railroad tie gets no a) water, b) fertilizer or c) care of any type.  Yet, it grows.  That's my kind of plant.  Now, if only tomatoes could be like that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


We planted (sowed?  seeded? inseminated?) peppers this past weekend.  Well, we took the seeds from the packet and put them into pots.

This was a mix my lovely wife picked up and sowed.  I think sowed is the proper term as now that I'm reading the packet, that's what it says.  This mix consists of Anaheim Chili, Jalapeno, Hungarian Wax, Long Slim Red Cayenne and Serrano Chili.

Here's the dirt.  We planted them in the pots you put directly into the ground.  After watering them, I'm don't see how these pots will last the few weeks they need to remain indoors.  We'll see.  Supposedly, someone smarter then us has tested these pots and they work.  If they're going to end up as big piles of mud, please let me know so I can put them in something else.

From what I understand, we are a little late in getting these started.  However, I'm hoping the living in California phenomenon (whatever that may be) graces us with peppers.  For the life of me, I don't know when the "last frost date" is.  I'm sure it's in an almanack.  I'm not even sure we have a first frost date.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Flowery Viney Things

'Scarlet Pimpernel' Dipladenia.  A really little one.  The flowers look pink, but they are much more red and actually turns a deep scarlet as the plant matures.  This is another that we had in our house in Huntington Beach.  Don't worry, I've think we've run out of plants to duplicate here.  It wasn't a very big house.

This one we are going to train to go up a pyramid trellis, which you can't see in this picture.  That's because it's still sitting at the nursery waiting for us to come purchase it.  But fear not, loyal reader, for we will be happy to share once we get it.  These, I think, grow fairly quickly, so that purchase had better be made soon.

P.S.  I failed to mention, due to my refusal to relive it, that our beloved Tottenham Hotspur fell to relegated Burnley last Sunday.  No matter, as Arsenal won, so there was no possibility of third.  We still finished fourth and qualified for Champion's League, which Spurs have never done before.  Congratulations to the lads from the west side of the big land mass west of the pond.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weekends Plantings

This past weekend, in addition to the Mother's Day festivities, we were able to make it to the nursery to start on the back planting bed.  One of these days I'm going to make an actual diagram of the yard, because I'm finding we tend to jump around all over the place.  It goes hand in hand with my having the attention span of a gnat.

Anyway, we first started with some Cuphea Llavea 'Flamenco Samba'.

Hmmm.  Too much sun.  This was the flower a few posts ago whose name I couldn't remember.  We have had this plant at our last home and it was gorgeous.  It does have a tendency to get a bit leggy, but can easily be trimmed back in the winter and bounces right back again the following spring.  It will get about two to three feet in all directions.

Next up is Helichrysu Petiolare 'Limelight'.

This is one of my wife's favorites.  We also had it at our home in Huntington Beach before moving.  It was mixed in with the Flamenco Samba and looked quite stunning.  This one does creep and the foliage will start to gray in the the center.  We found keeping it constantly trimmed and removing the gray matter regularly kept it looking tip top.

This is how the initial set up is.

We currently have seven of the Flamenco Samba's and three of the Limelights.  Some of the Samba's are a little small.  We bought five of them a few weeks back and they were ravaged by the dog we were dogsitting.  They're fighting back, though.  The dog is gone, so we felt safe adding more.  I don't mean gone as in with his maker, I mean back with his owners.  The hope is to create a meandering line of the Samba's with the limelights in between.  In the back (to the right of thg bottom picture) we're going to squeeze in items with height, as we would like to enclose the garden in some. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blooming Onions!!!!

We have blooming onions!!  Ok, they're not chopped and deep fried, but they're on their way.

It's not much, but it's the first thing we've ever grown from seed.  And, I'm really hoping it's an actual onion and not a blade of grass my wife propped up as a cruel joke.  At this point, it's 50/50 either way.

There is a second one, though.

You really have to squint for that one.  And imagine.  Imagining helps.  A lot.

These are the yellow onions we planted about a week ago.  I think it was a week.  Again, a journal would come in handy.  Then, actually writing things in it would need to follow.  Don't hold your breath.

Lastly, Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there.  We'll be having a fun filled day wine tasting in the Temecula Valley, which is our local wine region.  Only fifty miles away, so if we ever become hundred milers, we at least have the wine covered.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May I Introduce......Lawn

Finally, it's completed.  The backyard no longer looks like the vacant lot of a crack house.  Now, it looks like the well groomed lot of a....  Anyway, we put in Fescue, and it seems to be doing well, at least in the hours it's actually been around.

Now, on to bigger and better things.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Tottenham Hotspur 1, Manchester City 0.  Fourth place is ours!!!!!!!!!!  Win on Sunday, plus an Arsenal loss gets us third!!!!  No matter!!!!!!  Glorious day!!!!!!!  More gardening tomorrow!!!!!!  Just football today!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Plants, What a Concept!!

Ok, not exactly plants, but an attempt!!  This weekend while buying PVC pipe for the new sprinklers, I saw that daylillies were on sale for a buck!!  So, I bought a couple.

El Desperado and Siloam Ury Winniford.  We got them into pots right away, considering I think we've missed the California planting window.  Now, the package said to plant them "point side up".  There was no point side.  There was a disc and some tentacles that resembled the hair of Predator.  I planted hair side down, although in retrospect, I probably should have planted one in each direction just to be safe.  Although, I wouldn't have written down which end was up, so I would have been at a loss anyway.

The daylillies are the three smaller pots on the left.  The larger pot on the right consists of an unknown amount of onions.

I say unknown, because my son helped me plant them.  There are three rows of them, and we plan on thinning them should they actually sprout.  This is our first attempt at seeds and, I must be honest, the seeds looked like sand.  My son's first reaction was "seriously?  Those look nothing like onions."  I couldn't disagree.  But, when I showed him the onion rings on the package, he couldn't plant them fast enough.

In the meantime, we have the compost down for the lawn.  I would have taken pictures, but it's now dark and the India Pale Ale requires me to not get out of my chair.  I should be able to take picture tomorrow during the day, because...

...the most important game of the season.  Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City from Manchester.  A win and we capture fourth (combined with an Arsenal loss and a win on Sunday and we get third!!  Lasagana revenged!!!  Look it up.)  A draw is fantastic, as we will remain in fourth.  A loss, and it becomes 98% we get fifth.  Not good.  Let me explain for the Americans:

The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the Champion's League.  This is equivalent to the NCAA basketball tournament where all the Champions from all the leagues of Europe (and every country has one) play in a months' long tournament next year.  If we finish fifth, we qualify for the Europa league, which is the equivalent of the NIT tournament.  Do you know who won the NIT tournament?  I didn't think so.  Needless to say, the money is monumentally different between the two tournaments.

Therefore, I am taking a half day tomorrow from work, so I can be home by noon PDT to watch the game on ESPN2.  I expect ALL of you to do the same.  Ok, both of you.  Also, it's Cinco de Mayo, and my lovely wife gets to celebrate her Mexican heritage.  I get to drink Pacifico and watch the English Premier League.  Win-win in my book.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Back Lawn Update

So far, so good in the back.  Here's some of the progress:

Here is some of the trenching for the additional sprinkler heads required.  The zones for the previous lawn were broken into two halves.  We removed one half when we added the play set, which is shown below.  Unfortunately, that left about a quarter of the remaining lawn without water, so we need to add three heads to one side.

Here's my son helping out.

Below is where we're currently at.  We need to drop a couple of inches of compost and till it in, then we'll be ready for the sod.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Complaint: Fish Emulsion

Honestly, it 's one of two fertilizer's I use, does it need to smell for a month????????

I'm not complaining about the brand.  It's fantastic, as the plants (even the ever increasingly irritating me Brush  Cherry's) are responding in spectacular fashion.  Does it need to smell more than two days after I use it?  And, yes, I follow the instructions and I'm sober 78% of the time I use it.  I'm just asking.  If the answer is yes, then I'll shut up.