2017-12-25

Moving along in the garden

Moving along in the garden with purchase of five iris 'Wilder than ever' for the front.  For the back, mostly seeds right now except one 5 gal Monardella odoratissima which lives up to its name with a powerful and wondrous wild mint scent 



Brent - via iPhone

2017-12-22

Pope's genius of place


Alexander Pope is credited with the phrase, "genius of place" in the context of garden design.  Much like wines have terroir and architecture has regional aesthetics, gardens can have this sense of regional belonging too.  I think that genius of place is what I would call a sense of place, regionally appropriate, scale appropriate, and in the natural service of its design principles.  Pope may say it better, below.

See this web page for additional commentary on the Earl of Burlington and Pope: https://misfitsarchitecture.com/2015/03/18/architectural-myths-16-genius-loci/


Moral Essays Epistle IV.
Of the Use of Riches
To Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington


ARGUMENT The vanity of Expense in people of wealth and quality. The abuse of the word Taste. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is Good Sense. The chief proof of it is to follow Nature, even in works of mere luxury and elegance. Instanced in Architecture and Gardening, where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it. How men are disappointed in their most expensive undertakings for want of this true foundation, without which nothing can please long, if at all; and the best examples and rules will but be perverted into something burdensome and ridiculous. 


In all, let Nature never be forgot.                      50
But treat the Goddess like a modest Fair,
Nor overdress, nor leave her wholly bare;
Let not each beauty everywhere be spied,
Where half the skill is decently to hide.
He gains all points who pleasingly confounds,   55
Surprises, varies, and conceals the bounds.
Consult the genius of the place in all;
That tells the waters or to rise or fall;
Or helps th’ ambitious hill the heav’ns to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the vale,               60
Calls in the country, catches opening glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,
Now breaks, or now directs, th’ intending lines;
Paints as you plant, and as you work designs.


-Alexander Pope 1688–1744


"In classical Roman religion, a genius locus (plural genii loci) was the protective spirit of a place" - Wikipedia
Genius plur. Genii - the superior or divine nature which is innate in everything, the spiritual part, spirit
lŏcus   - a place, spot; loci - single places; loca - connected places, a region.


I previously posted about a Garden Sanctuary design exercise / talk that I attended.  This blog post seems to be in a related vein of meta-design or something for which I have yet to identify the appropriate concise description, so I'm filing it under garden design.  Other possibilities: design philosophy, meta-design, motivation, design underpinnings.  The list goes on.  Since I'm more of a "here's an example of how to do it" person, I'm having trouble finding an description that works for me.

2017-12-21

0.01” rain; 0.31" rain for the season

11/2/17 0.01" just a guess - it was a small amount
11/3/17 0.13"
11/5/17 0.15" overnight rain
11/21/17 0.01" trace overnight
12/20/17 0.01" 

We would definitely have more rainfall by this time in a "normal" year, and there's still plenty of time to make it up, provided the recently-reformed ridiculously resilient ridge (RRR, a high pressure ridge over the Pacific ocean that forces storms to the north)  resolves into a more favorable weather pattern.

For more commentary on the RRR see the California Weather Blog

Brent - via iPhone

2017-12-20

Forgotten garden TO DO list that I just stumbled across

All of these have been done already, or are overcome by events (OBE). Go TO DO list, go!!

~Clematis ligusticifolia (Virgin's Bower or Yerba De Chiva) located on front fence.  Confirmed purchased from Annie's in 2013 as "Western White Clematis“ Move from the front fence - needs shade to part shade.  Move to S side yard by fruit trees? By Western Redbud?

~Erigeron glaucus (Seaside Daisy) from pool area where it doesn’t thrive to another area (slope by hot tub? Rose garden? Adjacent to fr. lawn path?).  Don’t know what selections I have.  Generally seems to have adaptable soil, moderate to regular water, and part shade (inland).  Shade and water is probably the issue.  Even though I’m not that far inland, it’s very exposed in my back yard, I water infrequently, and the soil is poor where they are located.  10/22/16: Juli agrees that we can try it in the rose garden in front, providing I'm willing to move it again if it doesn't work out (no doubt by her definition).  I agree.  I watered this one well 10/23 & 24 prior to digging it up for the move.

~Heteromeles arbutifolia, (Toyon) 8-15' H x 10-15' W per TPF.  Move from container to neighbor’s yard just past N fence gate.


~(some at TPF 10-27) Fragaria (Strawberry) for rose garden ground cover. Species Name: Fragaria chiloensis 'Green Pastures'. Common Name: Green Pastures beach strawberry


~Sisyrinchium bellum (Blue eyed grass) for rose garden ground cover.  Two of the species acquired from PVLC on 10/22/16 at their sale.

10-25 at TPF: Sisyrinchium bellum                  1G     Blue Eyed Grass     50     $9.00

~Rhus integrifolia (Lemonade berry) - Got one from PVLC sale on 10/22/16 with the intention of using it where the salt bush is, completely throwing away my idea for Malacothamnus fasciculatus or Dendromecon harfordii.   In the light of the next day I think I should go back to M. fascicualtus as a replacement for the salt bush plants.  Juli indicated that she wanted a climbing rose on the pool equipment iron work, and I didn't agree with this given the differing water needs for the rose versus the rest of the hillside.  She was still insistent.  Now I have to rethink everything in light of competing water and light issues.

2017-12-18

A reason for poison ivy (and oak?)


"What we see in the data is that poison-ivy often trades understory dominance with knotweed. That is, when knotweed isn't the big boss, poison-ivy usually is. The difference is that whereas knotweed knocks everyone else out of the system, poison-ivy is more of a team player. Many other native plants can co-occur with it and it even seems to create microhabitats that help tree seedlings get established."

Brent - via iPhone

2017-12-14

Water consumption in the presence of leaks

water consumption


The whole house was replumbed Oct 28-30 due to numerous obvious leaks that I found and plugged.  From the data I conclude that there must have been 12 hundred cubic feet (hcf) of water lost over the previous 3 months due to leaks, since my baseline usage is about 7 hcf.

All of that went into the soil under the house which happens to be be quite porous, fortunately.  Too bad the leaks didn't occur during winter when they would count towards my baseline consumption for water allocation purposes, a touchy subject with me since my normal 6-7 hcf/month is already at the low end of local usage.

2017-11-27

Rain 0.15; season total 0.29”

11/2 0.01" just a guess - it was a small amount
11/3 0.13"
11/5 0.15" overnight rain
11/21 0.01" trace overnight


Brent - via iPhone

2017-09-29

A tree’s genetics picks its fungus

From Ars Technica, an interesting study about the Pinyon pine and its fungal associations.

...
Researchers took seeds from drought-tolerant and drought-intolerant trees, then exposed them to soil containing fungal communities from both drought-tolerant and drought-intolerant roots. Even when grown with the opposite soil, the seeds ignored the local fungal community; both drought-tolerant and drought-intolerant seeds still cultivated the same species of fungus as their adult forbears.

It turned out that the inheritance of the fungus is what actually made the different trees drought-tolerant or drought intolerant; seeds from drought-tolerant mothers only grew larger than their drought-intolerant cousins when in the presence of their attendant fungi. The tree’s genetics simply helped it recruit specific species of fungi.
...

2017-09-22

Pima Country Public Library circulates seeds too

"In addition to books and DVDs, in 2012 the Pima Country Public Library system became one of the first in the nation to circulate seeds. Aspiring gardeners can look up varieties electronically, put seeds on reserve and check out 10 packs at a time. Availability changes with the seasons: By mid-September, tomato seeds are long gone, but many other seeds — including dill, arugula, cucumbers, the flat white teardrop shapes of squash seeds, and the small dry beads of tepary beans — rattle in paper envelopes. Participating branches offer support as well as seeds, such as gardening classes, brochures, and, of course, books. The greenest beds flourish with flowers, herbs, vegetables and an idea: That public libraries can be resources for local food growers as well as local readers."

See more High Country News (http://www.hcn.org/articles/communities-tucsons-seed-library-fosters-food-sovereignty-in-a-desert).

2017-09-21

0.03" rain so far in September

We've had a couple rain events so far this month.

9/3/2017 0.02" rain
9/21/2017  0.01" rain

I'm not taking this as a harbinger of a wet water year and you shouldn't either.  Still, it's nice to settle the dust and in some cases help with brush fire control.

2017-05-10

0.2" rain; 25.72" season total

The forecast was for 10 to 20% chance of rain.  This time of year in LA that usually translates to no meaningful rain.  However, this time was different and we got 0.20" in a series of showers over my back yard.  Mountain areas had unexpected snow as well.

Given recent history, I feel reasonably confident that the graph below is about all that Nature has to offer us until the start of the next rainy season. As you can see, rain has been plentiful this year, particularly in comparison to previous years' low rainfall.  While the state has declared the drought over, I'm not convinced that it is; entirely due to the large previous overdraft of groundwater that doesn't really get counted in the state's assessment of drought.


2017-04-10

0.27" rain; 25.52" total rainfall

9 Apr 2017 0.27" rain last night.

Another storm is slated to hit the area Thursday, but the lights are starting to go dim on this winter.

Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-03-28

Weed cloth always fails

http://chanceofrain.com/2017/03/weed-cloth-always-fails/

Check out Emily's article, linked above.  

I have to admit that I used a permeable cloth between a sand + gravel + paver walkway and the underlying soil. I don't remember where I got the idea to do so, but in that situation the idea was to keep the lower sand bed of the walkway from intermixing with soil.  The hope was that it would extend the life of the pathway.  There was little area to grow weeds and I don't know well it worked, since I moved from that house. However, I never had the expectation that it would be weed-free.

Emily responded in another forum and stated that she might be the source of that erroneous advice.  Currently, and based on studying paths over their life, she didn't recommend weed cloth for that use. 

I've pulled up enough failed weed cloth used in other more "standard" applications that I would never use it with its original intent in mind.   I can also imagine that any path repair involving a prior application of weed cloth would be many times worse than if weed cloth had not been used in the first place, so I'll let the expert lead here and agree that I [now] can't see any use for weed cloth.

My photos of failed weed cloth look strikingly similar to Emily's - rather crappy for a "garden".