2017-01-20

Broken hoe

I like the design of this hoe.  I had a memory that it might be called a skiffle hoe, but I probably made that up.  "Scuffle hoe" actually returns search results using Google.  In any case, it does a far better job at weeding than a standard hoe due to the way the angle of the blade glides in the top layer of soil as opposed to digging down into the soil.


broken scuffle hoe with young California poppy
It's broken now after several years of service.  I'll be looking for a replacement since the rain has brought up all sorts of weeds and this is just the sort of tool to demolish them when they are young.  The one drawback of this hoe was that the spring steel of the blade wasn't sharpened and it didn't take an edge easily. The one I have resembles the "Luster Leaf WW100 Original Winged Weeder" which is said to be sharpened, but mine wasn't sharp; the blunt edge worked well enough to break off weeds, but there's other triangle and diamond-shaped hoes with a similar cutting angle that seem appealing so I might give those a try. 

Alternative designs like a "hula hoe" aren't the right tool for me based on prior experience.

2017-01-18

Eat your heart out, Mexican feather grass!

Aristida purpurea 'Chino Hills' at RSABG with monolith in background.
Aristida purpurea 'Chino Hills' at RSABG
This is Chino Hills purple three awn. I think it's a bit strange to have a grass selection, don't the prolific seeds dilute the original selection after a few years? What do I know.
Aristida purpurea 'Chino Hills' at RSABG
San Marco growers notes "Originally collected by Dylan Hannon (RSABG) in Tonner Canyon (Chino Puente Hills-Orange County near LA County line)"

2017-01-17

Rain 1.16"; season total 9.40"

12 Jan 2017 1.16"

Quite a bit of rain, with more on the way.

Of course the news has been full of receding drought concerns.  A secondary news item that sometimes follows is that the drought is defined by surface water.  This is the most important caveat.

Ground water usage and replenishment are not well measured, tracked, or inventoried, and what you don't know you have you can't keep track of.  Measuring by ground level subsidence, we've kept withdrawals well ahead of replenishment for many years, a fact that is only now coming to light.

Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-01-16

Aesculus califonica (Buckeye) at RSABG

Here's an Aesculus Californica at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. This seems to be one of their favored trees, since I saw more than just the two in this blog post while wandering the trails on Jan 4. The one below was particularly striking from this angle with the agave in the foreground.


2017-01-15

Repetition in the color purple

Repetition is one of the fundamental building blocks of gardening, yet sometimes I find it hard to get right.

Here's a couple repetitions in the color purple that I happened to notice recently. In neither case do the purples exactly match, but that doesn't seem to matter for their impact, which I have to admit is better in person.  Perhaps this has to do with the color punch being small in the field of view when there in person versus dominant in the field of view in the photos.

The first photo is from RSABG.  You'll have to imagine the salvia when it's larger, but to my eyes there's a clear visual link between the butterfly garden ornament and the flowers that enhances both 
The second of photos below is from my back yard.

2017-01-11

"Normal" comments enabled again

I had some feedback that the Google comments that I had enabled were not optimum, so I've switched back to more normal comments that don't require a Google sign-in.

Rain 0.35"; season total 8.24"

11 Jan 2017 0.35"

This makes the season total 8.24" at my house.  I (and most of the state) are above average by all measures as you probably already know if you read the news. 

Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-01-10

Beautiful native grapes

Here's a beautiful way to plant native grapes that was brought home to me in stunning color while I visited Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens on Jan 4.  The juxtaposition of leaf colors in these native grape hybrids or cultivars takes this to a whole new level.

1.05" rain; 7.89" season total

9 Jan 2017 1.05"

Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-01-06

Rain 0.8"; season total 6.84"

5 Jan 2017 0.8"
This has been a banner year for rain, so far. More is on the way as I'm sure anyone who has a pulse in California could tell you. Wildflowers are going to be good this year!
Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-01-03

Rain 0.02"; season total 5.99"

31 Dec 2016 AM 0.02"

There's more on the way later today according to the weather forecast. Our total to date this season is well above typical, but our heaviest rains are usually in February, so keep an eye on the weather and don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

Sent from my iPhone at great expense