[gardeners] Spring in a Van Nuys Garden

Ron Hay (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 21 Mar 2000 07:51:13 -0800

Good morning, friends:)

Spring with all its vicissitudes has arrived with a vengeance, including
a spate of cold Santa Ana winds which have ravaged many areas of
Southern California with 50+ MPH winds, scattering trash cans, lawn
furniture, 18-wheelers and uprooting trees and downing power lines. Of
course, when I had time to spray for the nasties, mentioned earlier, it
was windier than all get out! They say the winds will abate by
tomorrow...not a moment too soon.

Last week, we had a taste of early summer, with temps in the high
seventies and low eighties; this week, we are back to the sixties with
humidity down around our ankles (14% at 5:30 this morning).

All of our citrus is coming into bloom right now, which is always a
delight. When the winds died down for a bit in the early evening,
yesterday, the scent wafted into our dining room every so enticingly.

Last year's variously-colored calla lilles which we obtained from Burpee
(which didn't do much last year) are coming up like gangbusters....as is
the growing patch of supermarket ginger from a root planted last spring.

Our Turkish crocuses and red daylillies are also coming up, too. But the
plants that tickle me most are the Easter lillies that I bought the day
after Easter the last couple of years for about a buck a piece in the
supermarket. One plant came back last year with 8 babies, and this year
there are 13 more from that one plant. And, having told friends in my
office about the "used lillies," 4 people gave me theirs, all of which
have resprouted resplendently.

Our Mexican sage is once again blooming, cheek by jowel with the bird of
paradise and purple hibiscus, which are both right next to the
burgeoning baby pomagranate.

Adding to that section of the yard, I went to the nursery last Saturday
and purchased 8 new and lovely varigated pelargoniums. Some of them were
just so lovely and delicate that we planted them in pots on the patio;
the majority, however, in the ground.

The nectarine and apricot have started blooming, too. The nectarine is
just amazing, since it has been in the ground only a year and has grown
to about 9 feet, and has a wealth of blooms. We may even get lucky and
have a couple of fruit this year. The apricot, on the other hand, seems
to be in an off-year, with only a few blooms. That tree is 2 years old
and last season grew to a height of about 12-14 feet.

The Italian parsley which grew in abundance over the cooler months, is
just about to bid us adieu and go to flower. Tiem to plant more, I
guess, along with basil, marjoram, Greek oregano and thyme.

The cole crops are fighting valiantly against all manner of pests. When
the wind dies down, I guess I will give them a dose of insecticidal

Three varities of shallots are also up, and the boysenberries are about
to pop.

We had 5 artichokes from the one plant that divided into two this year,
and have 3 small ones remaining; on the other plant that divided, the
large chokes will be ready next week, with 6 more small ones to follow.

Our asparagus patch is now in its second year, so we are being kind to
it, and lettiing it get a start, so as not to wound it by ovepicking.

Still no sign of last year's rhubarb.

And there are the everbearing serrano chiles. 600+ from 4 plants last
year and this, enough dried to fill half way up a 5 gallon jar. And now,
the plants are beginning to grow again and blossom. Watch out world!

Passion fruit anyone? The last few are falling off now, some hidden in
the leaves were knocked off by the high gusts. Time to make West African
chicken Yassa again with the passion fruit as marinade/ Yummmmm! Sure
beats using lemon juice!

Well, friends, it's time to get ready for the office. Have a wonderful
day and enjoy the vernal equinox!


Roses are beginning to bloom outside our bedroom window, which is always
a delight, and volunteer marigold seeds from last  year have sprouted.

Going round to the front yard, the macadamia has grown an amazing 3
inches in the last two days! This makes one full year in the ground for
it, and will eventually reach a height of 30'. I wonder how much it will
grow this year, given the fact that we didn't have a single night of
frost this season so far.

The callas! Since feeding them last year...probably for the first time
in years, some are now up to my  shoulder....and I am 6'!!

The bearded irises are starting to bloom and the African daylillies and
gazanias are a panoply of color.

The only plant to disappoint us so far is the bleeding heart. Nary a
trace yet.

Round about Mac (the macadmia) our lobelia, sage, alyssum and
raununculus are a riot of color....much to the delight of the
neighborhood hummers.

This year, we will probably put in 3 butterfly bushes on the east side
of our mini lawn, both to act as a kind of break between us and the
house next door, and to attract more bees, butterflies and hummers.

I must say, both of us derive great pleasure when we drive up to our
house and see our lovely yard.