2008-02-19

Monday tasks

I was outside all day on Monday, with the exception of a short brunch with Juli, and accomplished at least two things on my pressing To Do list.

I dug up the three large Morea plants (Fortnight Lily, now known as Dietes iridioides, but formerly in the genus Moraea) in front of the porch and planted Salvia apiana (White Sage) and Salvia apiana x leucophylla "Desperado". We'll see which one I like best and then pick a loser with a shovel. That point's at least a year or more off, so I have the best of both worlds for now. I've scattered some of last year's Phaecelia seed in the bare spots, so hopefully I'll have a tall and colorful screen for summer while the sage grows up and out.

The front porch entry, now free of congestion, is fully available for me to apply some of my new and hard-won design intelligence. The future entry path will be separated from the driveway and of different materials in order to better define both it and the entry to the house. I'm thinking brick, since I have so much at hand, but custom concrete pavers are a possibility too. This will leave room for a planting (on trellis?) next to the garage that will soften the whole "giant blank door facing the street that looks kind of industrial/medieval" thing I have going on now. This part goes on the To Do list for later.

With the exception of the Mexican Sage and a salad citrus tree (multiple citrus varieties grafted on one tree) the entire front yard is planted in California natives.

I scattered seed in the back yard too: Goldfields (I see one in the front already has a flower, so perhaps a bit late) and Clatonia. My son, with instructions to scatter the Caltonia perfoliata (Miners lettuce) sparingly, managed to use all the seed up in about 3 yards.

I planted four 4" containers with Linum lewisii (Blue Flax). This might give me a nice contrasting element amidst all the Yarrow in the meadow. If not, I'll find room elsewhere. I also planted four 4" pots of Dodecatheon clevelandii, and some year old Lavatera seed from a plant that is the descendant of seeds taken from one of the islands in the early 1900's by a neighbor's family. A quick check of the web indicates that the Dodecatheon might need cold, damp stratification to do its best. I just scattered a few seeds per container in my usual shotgun approach. This web site suggests moving to the freezer if no germination in 3-4 weeks.

I ran the string trimmer in the back yard and finally, I stuccoed around the new electrical box. My previous efforts were sub par at best - I was able to scratch the previous patch out with a wooden stick. So I removed it, painted with concrete adhesive, and re-patched the hole. I decided that I didn't need to bother with a scratch coat, and did it all in one pass, using stucco patch mix straight out of the bag but adding perhaps 20% more by volume of portland cement. Finish texture was matched with a wet sponge. This attempt is setting up nicely. Hopefully it will be OK through our coming rain.