[gardeners] Our beautiful October garden

Ron Hay (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Thu, 11 Oct 2001 08:03:28 -0700

Good morning, friends,

I am glad to hear that you are so much better, George. I'll bet you
change in diet and your exercise regimen contributed to your
much-improved blood pressure.

There has been a sea change from the odd summer we have had here in the
San Fernando Valley. All summer, it has been oddly cool, punctuated by
mercurial rises in temperature, followed by fog and more cool weather.
Now it seems like we are finally settling into a "normal" fall weather
pattern, with hot, dry Santa Anas headed our way this weekend. Here's
hoping the Santa Anas don't bring out any firebugs!!

Most of our tomatoes are over with by now, with the exception of our
yellow pears, which have been the very epitome of fecundity this year,
but eggplants and peppers are coming on stronger than ever right now. I
do think the latter two really prefer cooler days with fewer hours of
direct sunlight than some other veggies.

Our 3 y.o. pomegranate tree has about 35 soft-ball sized fruit on it,
just about ready to pick. And the 6' tall Mexican sage and bright orange
birds of paradise frame the tree just beautifully.

Our limes are better-sized and more abundant, even, than last year. The
Bearss variety, which is seedless, turns yellow before dropping off the
tree, ripe. They are so sweet/tart and wonderful, and make a fabulous
addition to a glass of Squirt or Pepsi, not to mention what they do to a
gin and tonic:)

Last year, since we had such a bumper crop, we made a whole bunch into
lime syrup, which we used on plain yogurt, along with fruit of the
season, for breakfast, as well as in plan seltzer, which makes a
wonderfully refreshing drink.

Our Fuyu persimmon lost two huge fruit to the birds two weeks ago, while
we were visiting Viv's mom in San Diego, but that situation was remedied
by applying bird netting. We were especially annoyed to lose those two
fruit, since our crop is much lighter this year, since, as I have read,
persimmons (at least the Fuyu variety) are  alternate-year-bearing

Now the passion fruit which has taken over about half our roof, plus our
neighbor's fence, is lobbing ripened fruit at the rate of at least a
half dozen a day. It's a pain to juice them out, but the result is so
wonderful!  We use it as a marinade, in passion fruit daiquiries, and,
chiefly, in syrup, for a multitude of uses. This year, since we have a
new 'fridge and a larger freezer, we plan of making juice cubes to be
used ad lib throught the cooler months....even though ouf p.f. vine
produced right up until February, last year, before giving it a rest.

Our roses are holding their own this year, after a particularly
tenacious leaf miner has played havoc with most rose bushes in our
region. Only weekly applications of Orthenex seems to be holding the
noxious pest at bay. This year, I will be sure to apply a systemic
before each rain this winter, so that when the roses grow back from
their severe winter pruning in January, they will have the wherewithal
to combat the pest, should it resurface in the spring.

In our front yard, our 2 y.o. macadamia, which we purchased as a
sapling, is now up to our roof ridge beam! It has again quadrupled its
leaf area this year.....and is still growing! Iit certainly seems to
enjoy residing in the middle of our front lawn, getting deep- watered
once a week during the hot weather.

But the star of our front garden is our Mexican sage. Last year, on
Labor Day weekend, we put in three tiny plants, purchased for 3 bux
apiece at our local nursery, which, along with butterfly bushes, were to
form a hedge against our neighbor's ill-kept lawn, and to act as a
screen. All the bushes have done very well and are a joy to many of our
neighbors! But the sage bushes are simply amazing! Their six foot
branches are loaded with fuzzy purple blossoms that can be seen from a
block away. The butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds just flock to them!
It is really a joy to go out in the morning to see the rising sun
backlighting the purple sage and butterfly bushes, punctuated with one
bright golden butterfly bush,

The callas have awakened from their summer dormancy, and the begonias
are covered with blossoms. And the wisteria continues to look on from
above, contemplating when it will eventually blossom forth at some time
in the next few years.

Our new roses are finally doing ok and enjoying the cooler weather. Only
the portulaca, planted at the foot of the new roses, is about through
for the season. We do hope they will reseed themselves:)

Finally,  our hibiscus and impatiens in our front planter are doing
well. White fly has plagued that area all summer, but Orthenex seems, at
long last,  to have things under control.  I do hate to use pesticides,
but sometimes it is the only way to protect one's investment of time and

Now, if they could only find a way to save our city's eucalyptus, which
have died off by the tens of thousands this past year:(

I find that spending a few hours in the garden each day contributes a
component of sanity in a world which has changed so profoundly, so
quickly. It's a space to relax, unwind and enjoy the beauty of the
earth, and a respite from the constant barrage of  news from South Asia.

May you all continue to find peace in your gardens, at whatever stage
they may be at this time of year, wherever you are.