Re: [gardeners] Early onset to fall in an L.A. Garden

David G. Smith (
Wed, 11 Oct 2000 13:28:04 -0400

Ron, your garden always sounds wonderfully exotic.  Any chance we'll get to
see pictures someday?

We had our first frost here in Delaware over the weekend.  It missed the
tomatoes, so we may get a few more, especially if we get more days like
today (sunny and in the 60's).  I brought in all the potted plants except
the snail vine; it's blooming and very pretty.  I did take some cuttings, so
if I lose it I'll have more (I hope).  I never got around to putting in any
fall vegetables, but I do have some 'Romanian Red' garlic to plant.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ron Hay" <>
To: "gardeners" <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 11:53 AM
Subject: [gardeners] Early onset to fall in an L.A. Garden

> Good morning, friends,
> Our weather, locally, has been a virtual roller coaster of late.
> September and October are traditionally our hottest months.
> Well, September started out in fits and starts, with drizzle and a bit
> of rain (almost unheard of at that time of year!), and then the
> temperature skyrocketed to the low 100s for the better part of a week,
> only to plunge again, during the last week, in a rain shower. Our garden
> didn't know quite how to react.
> Then, there was light rain last week, and again last night in many areas
> of the basin, but not in Van Nuys. The snow level was even down to 6500'
> and the Northern Sierra got quite a bit more than a mere dusting; and
> last night, here, we had a low of 52.
> All this is frustrating many plants for which this is supposed to be
> prime time: our pomagranate has 3 lovely ripening fruit, but they are
> not getting any larger. Three may not seem like many, but the tree has
> been in the ground since April of last year and has tripled in height
> and leaf/branch volume, so most of its energy is concentrating on
> growth.
> Our Bearss limes, which are just heavenly sweet/tart and seedless, have
> begun to ripen and fall to the ground, but in numbers far smaller than
> was the case last year. And the rest of the citrus (especially the nice
> crop of Mandarins) is maturing very slowly.
> The Fuyu persimmon, on the other hand, has about 50 lovely fruit, more
> than three times as many as last year's crop, and are even ripening
> early, due, no doubt, to the hot (!) late summer.
> Nectarine and apricot are beginning to show traces of yellow in their
> leaves, and soon the persimmon will turn color....or only tree to do so
> in our yard. Only liquidambers really put on a display in our climate.
> But the artichokes! They are coming back for yet another round, either 7
> or 8; I have lost track. No buds yet, but the plants are shooting up
> again, and will probably fruit by February.
> The tomatoes, aside from the Yellow Pear, which are now up to eye level
> (just under 6'), continue to churn out fruit. And our surprise
> eggplants! When we planted our first garden in '98, we had ordered a
> variety of different veggies from
> Burpee, among which was the Purple Rain eggplant, which we enjoyed and
> then put the scraps and excess seeds into our compost bin...and therein
> hangs the tale. During midsummer, we saw newcomers sprouting in among
> the tomatoes and basil, which turned out to be about a dozen eggplant
> seedlings. Those seedlings have turned into producing beautifully formed
> Purple Rains! I can hardly wait to harvest them, grill the slices and
> enjoy them with pomegranate molasses, chopped walnuts and garlic!
> Among the non-edibles, the Persian fall crocuses are in bloom, very
> beautifully, as are the Birds of Paradise, Princess Flower, ivy
> geraniums and the Mexican Sage. The Mexican Sage has turned out to be
> one of the glories of our yard. The plants are now taller than I am,
> with foot-long purple sprays of flowers, and are overtopping our garden
> wall, in their thirst for sunlight.
> We have had many successes and a couple of failures in the back yard: we
> lost a red abutilon and a purple hibiscus, for reasons known only to
> God. They were glorious during the spring, then, suddenly, irrevocably,
> croaked. What a pity!
> In our front yard, Mac (our macadamia) has tripled its leaf/branch
> volume and is beginning its fourth growth spurt of the year.
> Our bearded irises (irides?) are in full bloom, once again, now that we
> have pursuaded our "gardener" not to trim the leaves down as he does
> with the neighboring fortnight lillies.
> Along the east border of our lawn we hav planted a yellow and a purple
> butterfly bush, interspersed with Mexican sage, all of which are in full
> bloom right now.
> Our callas, both in the back and front yards, are growing mightily and
> will probably flower by January. Our amaryllises have grown enormously
> and have multiplied.
> Oh, and our poor Australian tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia)! The cold
> northerly winds which have whipped up snow in our local mountans, have
> ripped off the growing tip of one of the major stems. Our little
> antipodean buddy had grown so rapidly during the month or so that it has
> been in the ground, that most was green wood and had not yet firmed up
> into hardwood. But it will recover! I can hardly wait to have our own
> source of tea tree oil, nature's fungicide, bactericide, and all around
> blessing for the human skin!
> On the west side of our front yard, the roses are regrowing, after
> having been fried last month. Diana, Princess of Wales, our latest
> addition, is growing beautifully, and will be a true joy next year. I
> attibute our magnificent roses this  year to our "discovery" of Vigaro
> Rose food. Wow! A couple of our roses grew from foot-high stubs in the
> rainy season, to 6-footers over the course of the season. Amazing!
> And, finally, on the east side of our garage, our Poincianas and
> Dianthus are a maze of color, with my cloned Mexican Sage blooming to
> beat the band. We are still trying to beat back the Acanthus, which
> stubbornly refuses to give up, even though we pulled it up in the
> interests of more color. Vincas are a delight, as well, with hundreds of
> new seedlings competing for space with the impatiens and alyssum, which
> have migrated to that portion of the yard.
> Now, before I head in to the office, I will juice out a few cups of
> juice from our passion fruit (which I forgot to mention), for use in
> jello and in a spice cake. With the crop we will have this year, I
> purchased a Passion Fruit cookbook (yes, there actually is such a
> creature!), at the last meeting of our Rare Fruit Growers group.
> Well, gang, it's onwards and upwards, and will get an escrow closed
> tomorrow. I am so glad, for all of our sakes, that the escrow is in the
> next county, because today 47,000 L.A. County employees are out on
> strike...and no escrows can close until the strike is settled, which
> will hang  up thousands of realtors like me....and their client.
> Happy gardening to you all, and enjoy the warm fall sunshine on your
> shoulders:)
> Ron