Good luck with that

What you see is an approximate 8" gap between two cinder block walls with a Brazilian Pepper growing between them.


"clean-coast economy"

An apt phrase, but new to me.  I'm just taking note of it here since it seems to capture a lot of ideas in a simple phrase.

As seen in the LA Times in this opinion piece by Steve Lopez.

“I think California’s clean-coast economy is hanging on by a thread right now,” said Ocean Foundation senior fellow Richard Charter, who has worked for decades to protect coastal waters from offshore oil and gas drilling.

Google's Ngram viewer doesn't have enough results to graph "clean-coast economy" or its variants, suggesting that it's a newer term of art and a few directed searches for the phrase "clean-coast economy" suggest that it's a newer term.

Never underestimate the power of a well-made turn of phrase to capture the zeitgeist of the moment.


Sanctuary garden design

Originally introduced by Juli, I've met Terry Hershey before but in early November I had the opportunity to get to know him better as I participated in a workshop he gave in San Diego. You can visit Terry's web site (www.terryhershey.com) to find out more about him, but in case you are not so inclined, here's a snip from his biography. 

TERRY HERSHEY—author, humorist, inspirational speaker, dad, ordained minister, golf addict, and smitten by French wine. He divides his time between designing sanctuary gardens and sharing his practice of “pausing” and “sanctuary,” to help us do less and live more. Terry’s book, The Power of Pause, offers the permission to slow down and to be gentle with ourselves, in a world that demands More-Bigger-Faster. Most days, you can find Terry out in his garden–on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound—because he believes that there is something fundamentally spiritual about dirt under your fingernails.
The workshop focused on the idea of sanctuary -


Rain 0.8"; 1.91" total for the season

11-26 0.70"
11-27 0.10"  at 11am

This brings the total rainfall to 1.91" for the season, which is near the median rainfall at this time of year for my area of Southern California.  Our usual rainiest months are still ahead of us.

Sent from my iPhone at great expense


0.75" rain; 1.11" cumulative rainfall this season

20 Nov 0.75"measured in my back yard.

Sent from my iPhone at great expense


Plants that didn't make it

This Coffeeberry (Rhamnus of unknown species, but intended to be californica) languished on my back slope for years. This one was the success story. One or two others died off earlier.

It could be that the roots were stunted right from the pot, or it could be that they grew that way.
I often bury plant stakes in the vicinity of the plant.  Here's a couple.  I had hoped that Ericameria ericoides (Mock Heather) would be happy enough to self seed.  The two that I planted grew for a while but I think they were shaded out.
Coreopsis gigantea was a winner for a couple years, but I think the soil didn't drain well enough and it turned into a pile of mush this year.  I'll try again this year in a new location with better drainage and no summer water.

Erysimum capitatum (Western Wallflower) was one I tried as well.  It didn't self-seed, though I think it bloomed well enough.



Back slope California native garden plan

Here's a Google map of our back yard with the planting plan indicated on it with scaled circles. The plantings fill a steeply sloped hillside that flows down to the right and ends at a path that borders a property line fence.

This plan derives from one originally made by Ric Dykzeul and executed by me.  Some of the plantings were successful and others were not, for reasons that I try to capture below.  After the break is Ric's plan and my comments.


Spa equipment enclosure

Southern California Edison was doing work overhead and knocked down the side of the spa equipment enclosure.
It was just termites holding hands inside, and I didn't have the heart to take them up on their offer to pay for repairs. Original design was poor, but like a lot of things on my house I guess it got the job done for the prior owner.


0.36" rain this season

Our rainy season started off with a nice nearly 0.2" of rain that fell overnight

17-Oct 0.19"

This was then followed by unseasonably hot temperatures for a few days.

Then a nice cool-down.

23-Oct 0.03"
30-Oct 0.14"

Current conditions for the drought are captured here: http://www.californiadrought.org/drought/current-conditions/, which mostly speaks to the water year(s) just ended:

...the 2012-2015 period encompasses the driest four consecutive water years in California since 1895, with statewide precipitation at only 62.2 inches. The second driest four consecutive years was 1917-1920, with 63.1 inches of precipitation, when California had a much smaller population and far fewer acres of farmland.
The forecast for the 2017 water year is still uncertain. The weakened La NiƱa conditions offer the possibility of a wetter year ahead, but forecasters remain wary. It will take a long time before the end of drought finally arrives as the state needs multiple, consecutive wet winters, and ideally cooler years, to increase soil moisture and allow the mountain snowpack to accumulate....


I'm 10b, definitely 10b. ...or is that 23?

I'm talking about USDA Zone 10b.  You can find you own garden zone using the interactive map provided by the government.  There's helpful street and satellite map overlays, which I chose not to show below, but it's clear enough once you get to the web site.

Zone 10b has low temperatures in the range 35 to 40 F, so it's supposed to never get below freezing.  That seems about right.  The zone system is a bit simplistic if it's the only criterion that is applied to guide plant purchases. Apparently this is more a problem in the west than the east, since our secondary growing factor is water.

Sunset Magazine takes this and more into account and says I am in Sunset zone 23.

ZONE 23: Thermal belts of Southern California’s coastal climate 
One of the most favored areas in North America for growing subtropical plants, Zone 23 has always been Southern California’s best zone for avocados. Frosts don’t amount to much here, because 85 percent of the time, Pacific Ocean weather dominates; interior air rules only 15 percent of the time. A notorious portion of this 15 percent consists of those days when hot, dry Santa Ana winds blow. Zone 23 lacks either the summer heat or the winter cold necessary to grow pears, most apples, and most peaches. But it enjoys considerably more heat than Zone 24—enough to put the sweetness in ‘Valencia’ oranges, for example—but not enough for ‘Washington’ naval oranges, which are grown farther inland. Temperatures are mild here, but severe winters descend at times. Average lows range from 43 to 48°F (6 to 9°C), while extreme lows average from 34 to 27°F (1 to –3°C).

I'd say they pretty much got it dead to rights.