[gardeners] This weekend in our garden

Ron Hay (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 03 Apr 2000 08:12:01 -0700

Good morning, friends. Spring continues to gallop with wild abandon!
We've had 4 days now in the low 80s with 14% humidity or less. Kinda
makes ya want to immerse yourself in Eucarin lotion after about an
hour's time. It's  so dry that one load of clothes dries on the line
while the other is still in the washer. That certainly does give a new
perspective on the term "coastal desert."

Our tomato plants have been in a week now, and the warm weather has
really made them set out flowers, which we have nipped off, in the
interest of helping the plants to grow. Our haul from Hortus Nursery
includes: Omar's Lebanese; Mortgage Lifter; Black Krim; Sungold; Yellow
Brandywine; Amish Paste and Yellow Pear, plus a couple of Toma Verdes
and an Italian sweet pepper, the name of which simply escapes me at the

We are being very careful this year to keep things watered properly, and
have tried sinking square plastic carry-home nursery pots into the soil
by each plant, and filling each with water, to be sure that the roots
receive adequate moisture on these bone-dry days.

Our back yard is a-buzz with honeybees as they pollinate our Blenheim
apricot and Panamint nectarine, Bearss lime, Sanguinello blood orange,
Robers navel orange and Satsuma tangerine. It smells heavenly just to
step outside, especially in the early morning and early evening, when we
get home from work.

Our purple hibiscus has flowers larger than any I have ever seen
anywhere else: they must be a full 4 inches across of royal purple silk.

Last year's colored callas which died back, and which we had give up on
are making a dramatic entry. And so has the hunk of supermarket ginger
which we planted last spring, and which now has 5 stalks growing

Our Easter Lillies will not make it for Easter this year, but we should
have about 30 blooms from the 4 "used" lillies that have multiplied over
the rainy season.

The Fuyu persimmon has really shown us a growth burst, and incipient
flower buds have formed.

This week, I will give the passion fruit vine a major haircut, in order
to reach the interior of the foliage mass, which I was unable to reach
with the first spraying. I have no fear that that rain forest weed will
more than make up for the somewhat severe pruning I will give it.....or
have to hack my way out of our patio with a machete!

The roses outside our bedroom are gorgeous! Since we found them in place
when we bought our home, we are really not sure of what kind they are.
Some are enormous red blooms and others are equally enormous yellow,
some tinged with pink blush blooms the size of saucers or larger.

Speaking of enormous, the artichokes we picked this weekend certainly
fit that description: one weighed in at a full pound, and the one from
the companion plant weighed in at 3/4 pound. And the side chokes on
those two plants are the size of run-of-the-mill supermarket artichokes.
Amazing! And even as they first two plants, which we harvested over the
course of the last month die back, new plants are springing up for our
fall delectation.

The serranos are, once again, in bloom, warning us of their impending
fecundity! I don't know what we will do if we have another 600-700
chiles from those 4 plants!

Out front, our roses are growing like topsy, growing the average of
about 4-6 inches a week. Speaking of growing like topsy, our macadamia
tree may just take over the world this  year. In the last two weeks, it
has grown 10-12" on the tip of each branch, and has set no fewer than 20
new branches. We may not see a crop of nuts this year, but the growth
will be phenomenal, and I am told we can expect a similar flush of
growth in the fall, at which time the trees usually flower and set
fruit. Well, we always said we wanted a shade tree on the front lawn,
and now we will have a beautiful and productive one, as well.

And the callas: at last count, we have 49 calla blooms in the front
yard, plus various and sundry ones on the east side of the house and
south side, along our wall.

This week we will plant the flowering sweet potato vine seeds which we
received some time ago from George (thank you very much), plus a several
chile varieties with which gardening friends have so kindly supplied us.
Then, in a few weeks, once the cabbage and cauliflower are done with, we
will have space to plant the styrian pumpkins. Since frost is not an
issue here (usually!), they can continue to grow until the rainy
season's start in November/December. Thank you for those seeds, Mr.

Bees! A couple of years ago bees were very scarce in our neighborhood,
possibly as a result of el nino; but this year, the neighborhood is
simply a-buzz, which is a good thing.

What is NOT a good thing, however, is the increase in squirrel births.
They are simply overrunning the place; and this year, they have
discovered, for the first time, how to hop from the block wall
surrounding our yard, to the compost bin, and onto the lawn. I have dire
fears that they will wreak carnage on our tomatoes this summer, which
they have never done in the past. Any suggestions?

Well, dear friends, it's time to head off to the office, recharged after
spending some time in the garden, but most of it working, showing
property and holding an open house. Hope to be able to spend some time
in our garden on Wednesday, which is usually a "down day" in L.A. real

Happy gardening and enjoy spring!

Van Nuys, CA