Saturday, October 30, 2004

Meet Annie and Dan... They are a 12-week-old rat terrier/chihuahua brother and sister we just adopted from the S.P.C.A. They are the sweetest, silliest, most playful and affectionate little puppies!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Bulb Log

Making progress with my bulb planting... In the ground so far: Species tulips (Tulipa saxatilis), Dutch iris 'Blue Ribbon', Anemone 'Blue Poppy', Allium 'Gladiator', Freesia 'Double Blue', and 'Angelique' tulips. Still mulling over where to put my 'Apricot Beauty' tulips (leaning toward a container) and still waiting for one more mail order bulb shipment.

I'm experimenting with not chilling my "chill-requiring" bulbs this year. I always have in the past, but remember reading... in Sunset Mag. I think... that unchilled tulips, etc. will still bloom without chilling but will be shorter and smaller. We'll see.

Looking forward to my antique bulbs order! One of the lilies I ordered, Black Beauty (1957), can grow to 8 feet tall!!! The bulbs are coming from Old House Gardens.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Annie's Annuals Appearance at Bushnell's

Annie Hayes of Annie's Annuals spoke at Bushnell's today. Great turnout and fun talk! Annie specializes in seed-grown 4" potted annuals and perennials that do well in Mediterranean regions like Sacramento. Bushnell's provided chairs, hot drinks and cookies (Annie munched while she talked). Even though it was alternately misty and raining, we were comfy and dry under Bushnell's large awning.

I took notes on plants Annie said were her favorites and/or do well in our area:

Echinops (globe thistle)
Aquilegia caerulea
Aquilegia chrysantha
Salvia patens (full shade)
Deschampsia flexuosa (bright shade)
Tanacetum (chartreuse variety)
Rudbeckia occidentalis (no petals, some shade)
Viola corsica (longest-blooming)
Wine cups (Callirhoe involucrata... loves heat, great groundcover)
Dianthus superbus (evergreen)
Cheddar pinks (dense groundcover, long-blooming)
Dianthus barbatus nigrescens 'Sooty Black' (part sun, smells like CHOCOLATE)
Eriogonum giganteum 'St. Catherine's Lace' (buckwheat, great for no water, full sun areas)
Lupinus 'Morello Cherry' (some shade)
Tellima grandiflora ("fringe cups", heuchera-like)
Verbascum chiaxii (must-have)
Campanula primulifolia
Heuchera pilosissima
Silene regia
Silene dioicia
Scabiosa atropurpurea
Centauria atropurpurea

The plants offered for sale were scooped up before, during and after Annie's talk, so call Bushnell's if you want to know when they'll be restocked. Now's the IDEAL time to be planting soooooo many plants. Check out They even sell mail order!

Friday, October 22, 2004

seedling trays and 6-packs from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
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Just getting going with some cuttings and seedlings that were cooped up on my kitchen counter for too long.
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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bulb Auger works great!

With this break in the weather, I wanted to get some of my tulips in the ground using my new bulb auger. It took a few tries before I got the hang of it, but now I'm a bulb-plantin' fool! I think having a powerful cordless drill helps. I don't, so I borrowed a nice Makita. Did I manage to hit drip tubing with the auger? Yes. Several times. I have a knack for killing my drip system. With me, an auger becomes more of a drip system sensing device.

The important thing is, now I look forward to bulb planting instead of dreading it. One word of caution. The recent rains probably made the soil a lot more penetrable than it usually is. Don't try the thing in dry, unamended soil.

Just checked Gardener's Supply and they're sold out on the augers! Glad I got mine when I did...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

It's raining!

Looks like fall is really here... I managed to get my California poppy seeds sprinkled just in time. This year, instead of my usual wildflower mix, I'm going with 'Mission Bells' and 'Apricot Chiffon' California poppies. It'll be interesting to see if any of last year's wildflowers that went to seed come up in spring/summer.

Now that I have a greenhouse, I've been ordering more seeds. There are so many fun things to grow that you just can't find in our local nurseries. Plus, it's waaaaaaay more economical. Ok, not so if you count the cost of the greenhouse. Oh, nevermind.

In the garden, my tomatoes are winding down, but in the greenhouse, they're just getting going. We'll see if I can manage to produce some winter tomatoes. I think I remember Farmer Fred mentioning on his radio show that he had trouble with whiteflies on his greenhouse tomatoes. I'll be watching out for the little buggers. I grew them in the greenhouse in one of my classes at UCD on these really cool vine supports. We did a lot of pinching and tying, so they really did act like vines and only took up about a square foot of soil.

I'm behind on my bulb planting. Wishing very much that I'd gotten them in the ground before the rain. Oh well. Because I hate those bulb planter thingies, I ordered a bulb-planting drill bit from Gardener's supply. I'll let y'all know how it works.

More later...

Saturday, October 02, 2004

View from patio
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Saucer magnolia, penstemon, white echinacea, Chinese ground orchids (Bletilla striata), Salvia (labeled 'May Knight', but could be another... it's dark purple anyway) and pansies.
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Veggies are growing nicely. Sugarsnap peas are sprouting. I was disappointed to learn that my 4 4" scallions were in fact 1 scallion, 2 Walla Wallas and one leek! They all looked the friggin' same when I bought them and the first one was labeled "Scallions." I made the mistake of assuming the others were too. My bad...
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More progress... ignore the plethora of chairs. They're leftovers from a big party and I'm too lazy to do anything about them just yet.
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