[gardeners] A winterish So.Cal garden

Ron Hay (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Wed, 28 Nov 2001 08:03:57 -0800

Good morning, friends,

Winter, L.A. style, has just arrived. Saturday the rainy season began in
earnest, dumping about an inch in a couple of hours on L.A.

We were not home to experience the rain here, but in San Diego; and on
our way back to Van Nuys on Saturday night, we were hit full-force with
the brunt of the storm, since we were just yards from the Pacific on
I-5. Traffic crawled at 20 mph for miles and miles. The trip to San
Clemente, which would have taken a little over an hour took over 2
hours. The stress of all the idiot drivers trying to outmaneuver others
in the deluge produced an enormous amount of stress, and we were ever to
grateful to stop for a bite to eat and relax, before heading on
home....just as the rain ended.

Short days have really cut into our gardening/maintenance time, and with
church and other social duties on recent weekends, the garden has gotten
a wee bit out of control. The lawn, for instance, has not been cut in 2
weeks, something which I MUST address this afternoon, after dealing with
a client's escrow, and before we get 3" of rain tomorrow.

But despite neglect, the garden continues to flourish, even though the
roses are still battling the leaf miners and mildew, so endemic to L.A.
this  year.

Our macadamia is entering its 4th flush of growth right now, fed with
the calcium nitrate which a subtropical horticulturist with the
agricultural extension service recommended. It won't know what hit it in
Februrary when we feed it triple 15, per his recommendations:)

We will let the roses and butterfly bushes bloom for another month,
before cutting them way back, while we continue to enjoy the spectacular
bloom of our bearded irises.

Iceland poppies, planted last week, will fill in between the roses while
they are only about a foot tall.

The callas are up and a vibrant green, and I would not be surprised to
see blossoms before Christmas

In the back, our mandarins and navels and blood oranges are almost
ripe...another 3 weeks should do it, while the limes continue to give us
about a dozen ripe, beautiful yellow Bearss limes a day, which is a
challenge to keep up with. We make lime syrup out of them, for use in
seltzer in the summer months, and enjoy cooking and baking with them,
along with giving them to friends and colleagues.

And the passion fruit! The few days from noon on Wednesday until Sunday
morning produced about 4 dozen larger-than-golfball-sized, sweet, juicy
passion fruit, which we will have to juice out to use in our various
culinary preparations.

So far the chill (last night was about 35) has not hurt our cinnamon
tree (cinnamomum cassia), curry leaf tree (murraya koenigii) or
Australian tea tree (meleleuca alternifolia), but we are keeping a
weather eye out, in the event we need to deck them with mini Christmas
lights to keep them warm. It's fun being able to grow such botanical
beauties, but it is a tad worrisome when one lives in conditions that
are marginal for them.

Well, friends, I will go out to harvest some more limes and passion
fruit, as well as to harvest some rosemary for tonight's reincarcation
of turkey, before I must head off to work.

I hope you are all sufficiently recovered from Thanksgiving, and ready
either to enjoy your gardens or to plan for spring additions.

Van Nuys, CA