Weekend update

I made steady recovery from the mother of all colds this weekend. Saturday was the farmers' market and a visit to the local outpost of Penzey's Spices, then mowing the grass which has gone to seed and so desperately needed to be mowed last weekend when I was flat on my back ill. When I think of all those little unmown seeds heads broadcasting their progeny to my garden beds I get a little irritated. Unfortunately I was so sick that I was winded after pulling one bolted cauliflower, so I decided that the seeds could wait. Before the big mow event on Saturday, I noticed that the birds which now visit my yard do seem to like the longer grass, which they use as cover when foraging on the ground. I'll probably have some native grasses next year, which I will allow to grow.

Sunday the big activity was more pruning on the Brazilian Pepper. I pruned from the neighbor's yard over the back fence. One of his dogs is named Nasty but it's a little dog, so how nasty could it be? It certainly is loud. I wouldn't put my cat in the nasty category, but he's certainly dirty. A large fraction of the dirt on my floors I am convinced comes from him. Here he is after a dust bath.

I think that I managed to do justice to the tree, mostly by following the usual tree pruning rules, my intuition, and trying to reveal the character of the limb I'm pruning. Here I'm cutting out water sprouts, the stub ends of previous poorly pruned branches, and little crappy branchlets that have no hope of being a positive contribution.
View from the neighbor's yard towards mine. I try to use the tree to screen the tops of his storage. I worked mostly above the storage units today. A problematic straight limb ends in the uncut branches at the right in this picture. Next weekend, perhaps.

There are challenges both philosophical and pragmatic remaining:

Philosophical: I still must prune a long straight limb with no character whatsoever terminating in a tangle with the phone and cable wires. The branch is useful because of the visual balance it brings, but I'll be considering its singular merit quite closely since it has so little else to recommend it.

Pragmatic: I have to prune the part of the tree that hangs over the yard of the neighbor who doesn't speak to me. It's not even a passive sort of not speaking, it's quite an active thing for him. It could get ugly.

Long, problematic, straight, branch is at left heading up at 45 degree angle in this view from my back yard. Neighbor's storage units are visible here.

Other tasks accomplished: Dug soil amendments into the garden. Got my first sprouts from seed of Green Zebra and Sun Gold tomatoes. Lovage, Italian parsley, and Miner's lettuce are also among the seeds that I'm trying to start, but no signs of them yet. Planted nursery starts of Celebrity and Early Girl tomatoes and some gifted boysenberry plants.

Douglas Iris is blooming.

Even considering the laundry, vacuuming, dish washing, marketing, cooking, visits from parents, quality time with Juli, etc. that happened this weekend, I'd have to say I didn't get much done.


  1. I had that cold, and I had that Iris too! It got smothered under a buckwheat. Maybe it's still alive under there.

    Be really careful pruning your tree... It's a dangerous job and even professionals end up with serious injuries.

  2. Thanks for the safety warning. My personal statistics suggest that cleaning gutters is far more dangerous than pruning trees ;-)

  3. I haven't seen a doug iris of that color. Is it a cultivar?

  4. You're right to spot the odd color - it's not an artifact of odd color balance settings.

    Perhaps I've mis-id'd the plant, but my memory says that this is the species, not a hybrid. I doubt that I have good enough records to make that determination any more accurate, however.