Friday, May 22, 2020

Projects, big and small

Well, actually most of the projects I've addressed in the past ten days or so have been relatively small.  The biggest project in my household was launched by my husband: removing the weeds growing between the paving surrounding the house.  I remove weeds here and there all the time but only occasionally tackle an entire area.  In contrast, he approached the project like a military campaign.

This gives you some idea what we contend with.  These paving stones surround the entire house, make up both our back and side patio areas AND fill our driveway.

I'd estimate he's cleared more than half the paved area, scraping out the weeds by hand, vacuuming them up, then filling in the cracks with a special sand intended to seal them


My projects have been both smaller in scale and more varied.

The clumping Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'  (left photo) I planted at the edge of this bed adjacent to our small south side patio years ago looked alright when the dwarf Agonis flexuosa shrubs covered most of the bed but, once those shrubs were pared back, the Aloes just looked sloppy to me.  I dug them out and replanted the area with cuttings of succulent Aeonium 'Kiwi'  to extend the edging already in place to the right.  They'll take awhile to fill in.

The gopher that took up residence in an area of the front garden on the southwest side hasn't decided to leave of his own volition.  Following advice by some commentators, I tried filling his main tunnel with dryer sheets but that didn't work.  Still hoping to push him out rather than set traps, I'm trying two repellents, granules soaked into the ground and four solar-powered sonic stakes than emit 5-second pulses at 20-second intervals.  The stakes have been in place for a week now but I'm only on day 2 with the granules.  They're added at intervals in one area after another to "push" the animal to move along.  We shall see if the combined impact yields results.

Cool season flowers still occupy significant space in the raised planters that make up my cutting garden but, as the weather gets warmer, the seeds of my warm season annuals need to be sown.  Several dahlia tubers are already in temporary plastic pots and this week I resurrected the self-watering plastic tub I bought more than a decade ago to grow tomatoes in my old garden for use in starting sunflower and zinnia seeds.  At least one piece of the plastic tub was missing but I hope it'll serve its purpose anyway.  I noticed the first sunflower seed breaking the surface this morning.

I've planted a few things here and there elsewhere in the garden as well.  Clockwise from the upper left: sunflower seedlings coming up through flats laid over the soil to protect them from critters; Ammi majus 'Dara' picked up on a whim on a brief stop at a nursery to hand off plants to a friend; and Lavender 'Anouk', a 'Purple Beauty' pepper, and an 'Early Girl' tomato picked up on my visit to Armstrong Garden Center 3 weeks ago.


In addition, I've been on a tear deadheading and cleaning up the garden.  Spent succulent flowers were a major focus this week.  The bees love the flowers of Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi' and 'Kiwi Verde' but the top-heavy stems had toppled all over the garden and most of the flowers were looking scruffy so it was time to move on. 

I didn't take an "after" photo of the 'Kiwi Verde' succulents but this before shot taken in early May gives you an idea of what I started with.  These succulents are spread all over my garden.


I also cleaned up the front bed torn asunder during last year's remodel.

Here it is, ready and waiting to be planted.  All that was missing was plants to fill the space.


Those arrived at last, late this afternoon.



So I'll be spending Saturday planting.  I hope you find something pleasant to occupy your time this weekend too.



All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

16 comments:

  1. I prefer to tackle (and finish) small sections of the garden as well (i.e. weeding, mulching, edging one bed before moving to the next) otherwise it seems as I'm never completely "done" anything.

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    1. Well, even with that approach, I still never feel I'm really done with anything in the garden, Margaret. As soon as I complete one round, it seems I have to start it all over again!

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  2. I actually find spring garden prep to be therapeutic but those darn weeds in the pavers are a nuisance! I hope you enjoyed your planting!

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    1. Weeds are never fun. The only upside to drought is that it keeps the weeds down. Two years of decent rain in a row and I'm having a weed explosion this year!

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  3. You’ve been busy Kris, and must feel pleased with what you’ve achieved. I haven’t managed nearly as much during the lockdown, didn’t even clean my oven, which I intended to do. It will be fun planting your new purchases, always the best part of gardening, I think.

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    1. I got all those new plants, and a few I'd dug up from elsewhere in the garden, in the ground yesterday, Jane, so I am pretty pleased. That doesn't always happen on a timely basis.

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  4. What a great husband you have to do all that work for you!!! Does he hire out? I do my own driveway and it is just broken blacktop. It is no small task, and it's not nearly as much as you have.
    I use a tool for my cracks that is called a kirpi. I heard about it from Monty Don and when it comes to weeds in cracks, there is no better tool. It is made in India and I bought mine from the UK. I tried to find a link for you to purchase it, but they all led no where.
    Hope you solve you gopher problem. Critters of any sort are always a problem in a garden. Don't you wish they'd go live in the yards that don't garden?

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    1. My friends ask that about my husband all the time, Cindy...He's always a great all-around handyman and, since he retired, he's more readily available to help out, something our neighbors have also discovered. Thanks for the heads-up on the kirpi. I looked it up and it's actually fairly similar to what my husband's using, which was a tool from his workshop I can't identify by name.

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  5. It's so helpful to get weeding assistance, lucky you. Generally, I find it difficult to stay focus on one project and tend to meander and get distracted. After a mild winter and a wet spring weeds are so robust... but getting them before they go to seed is my number one goal.

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    1. I'm easily distracted by other tasks every time I work in the garden too. Even cutting flowers for the house this morning took hours, as I kept getting side-tracked by plants that needed deadheading, things that needed water, and weeds...

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  6. I love seeing your latest projects, Kris. I'm always curious about what others are up to in their gardens. Who doesn't love the satisfaction of a before and after shot? :) I don't seem to think about taking photos during my own projects. I'm pretty erratic out there, a bit ADD, haha!

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    1. I'm usually terrible about taking "before" shots too, Eliza. I generally just start something and think about the big picture afterwards. However, under current circumstances, I've had more opportunity to be deliberate about just about everything!

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  7. I like the idea of using those overturned crates/trays to keep varmints from stepping on or digging up your newly planted seeds etc. You do keep busy with projects. It is that time of year. We have to get out there before it gets too darned hot. I hope you get rid of your gopher. I think they are tenacious about standing their territory. Best of luck.

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    1. I'm told that it's very difficult to get rid of a gopher, Lisa. My next door neighbor has battled them for years. I've been wondering if her gopher is now my gopher? My husband rolled his eyes at my non-lethal approach. A friend gave me the name of a service that traps them. I wonder what they do with them once trapped but I may end of contacting them...

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    2. Kris, I bet it depends on the outfit that traps them. Some may be re-homed or possibly eradicated.

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    3. It's hard to believe that the company has created a whole community of re-homed gophers far from populated areas in Los Angeles County but we shall see what they say when contacted. Actually, there's a nearby golf course I'd be happy to suggest as a prospect but I suspect that's a no-go.

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