Category Archives: Gardening

Navel Orange and the Citrus Leafminer

Earlier this year I killed another tree.

For the usual reasons – it didn’t put out (fruit or flowers) and I just didn’t like it.  It was a non productive member of society – a slacker if you will.  Plus the grass wouldn’t grow under it and it only provided shade to my patio cover…. which has a shade cover….  That’s like giving someone an umbrella when they’re already wearing a raincoat.

I called in the help of an arborist in an effort to save my navel orange tree and to have him take a look at some of  the other trees.   The orange tree is still hanging in there but I didn’t know if it would ever bear fruit again.  I needed some professional advice.  He diagnosed that the navel orange and meyer lemon had citrus leafminers, not enough water and not enough food.  He also conveniently diagnosed the slacker with root rot and a split trunk.  The root rot is curable – the split trunk is not – eventually the two will halve and come crashing down on my back wall and patio cover.  That’s all I needed to hear.

The navel tree’s been outfitted with a leafminer pheromone trap and a healthy dose of citrus food.  With plenty of water, the tree is doing better.  Here’s a tiny little naval orange.  Last year, many of these dried up and died.

Let’s see what happens.

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What I Did Last Summer

Now that the kids are back in school, I’ll update the badly neglected blog with the requisite back to school assignment “What I Did Last Summer”

1)       Went to Maui.
Hate on me all you want, but I had a free place to stay and a free car to drive (that probably didn’t quell any hatred).

Here’s what we did…

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Sun Rising Over Haleakala July 4th 2013

Nakalele Blow Hole

Nakalele Blow Hole

Got sprayed by a blow hole (standing safely FAR from the hole)

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Warning Sign at Nakalele Blow Hole

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Honolua Bay

Snorkeled with turtles, seals,  and beautiful fish

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Seven Sacred Pools in Hana

Drove the back way into Hana and fulfilled a life time dream to swim in the Seven Sacred Pools….

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Nothing Sacred About these Pools

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Walked through a Bamboo Forest

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Enjoyed the food and festivities at First Friday

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Jumped off a cliff to a cheering crowd of 8 year olds who put me to shame
That’s Thing 2 who also put me to shame.
So did Thing 1 and Dr. Malibu.

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Walked through a Lava tube

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Tiki Torches at Sunset

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Sunset at the Four Season in Maui

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Sunset on the Lanai

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Handstands in the sands

Enjoyed 8 nights of Sunsets

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Snuck into a Luau

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Gave my kids the experience of a life time!

2)      Grew tomatoes.
Buckets of tomatoes.  Cherry, Roma, I picked bowls and bowls of tomatoes.  I made pasta sauce, after sauce, after sauce, and salsa, and salad after salad and tomato soup.  They are still producing.
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3)      Went to Alaska
Dr. Malibu had never been.  He’s such a fan of Hawaii.   I knew he would love Alaska.

In four short days we went to:  Anchorage, Gridwood, Whittier, Seward, Wasilla and Palmer.

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Alyeska – I spent a lot of my childhood here

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Ferry in Whittier

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Fireweed at Hatchers Pass

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Dr. Malibu Catches a Silver!

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Alaska Railroad

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He’s ready to go back.  So am I.

4)      Fostered puppies
While they all found good homes, I bonded.  The broken bond needed to be mended.

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Four Pit Brindle Puppies

Thing 2 and I went to the Van Nuys Shelter and found this girl.  She was 6 months old and ready for a real home.  We call her Maui.

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Jacaranda June

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Jacaranda June

The last few months have been exhausting.  Thing 2 had her appendix removed.  There were lots of school end activities.  I have quite a few posts that need to be caught up on.  This blog has been neglected.

But this month is June and is June is my favorite month in Los Angeles.  It’s the month when the trees turn purple.  Yes, the Jacaranda’s are in full bloom the month of June.   The blooming starts and May and they are pretty much done by the end of July.  When the Jacaranda’s bloom, their entire foliage is purple.  And these are big, big trees.  They make a bigger statement than Liberace.

Growing up in Alaska there were pretty much only two types of trees – birch and  pine.  I don’t remember any flowered trees.  Maybe that’s why I love Jacarandas so much.  But I can’t be the only one.  In Los Angeles, there are entire streets lined with these Jacarandas.  My kids are sick of me pointing out “purple tree” along our drives through the city.  But the contrast of the brilliant purple against the azure skyline is magical!

When I bought the Lake Balboa Bungalow – I spied that the owner had planted a Jacaranda right in the front.  It was a very good sign!  I’ve waited impatiently for it to bloom this year.  It’s just started what will be a long, long life so it’s a very slight and slim tree right now.  But by the beginning of June, I had my first purple foliage burst out.

Enjoy the color of June.  Soon the purple will be gone and the days are going to get hot.

Orange Blossom Perfume

The orange tree in my backyard looked dead.  The neighbor to my right said it was a shame – that it used to grow wonderful navel oranges.  The neighbor that lives directly behind me concurred.

But I saw small signs of growth (hope) despite the mass of dead, dry branches.

The tree was watered and fertilized.

It produced one lone orange which a squirrel or possum stole away with.

Right after the New Year though, I began to wonder and doubt.  The tree wasn’t looking so good.  Would it make it?  If the tree wasn’t able to produce fruit – it might be better to cut it down – I could plant two new trees in its place.

Dr. Malibu was the first to notice the explosion of blossoms.  Tiny flowers have filled the branches that are still alive.  At dusk, the air is so sweetly perfumed by these blossoms that the scent lures you out to the backyard like a sirens song.

Then the bees came – roly, poly, big, fat bumble bees, loaded to the gills with pollen.  Go bees go!  As Dr. Malibu would say – they were down with the struggle!

We may have navel oranges yet!  In the meantime, we’re enjoying the fragrance of hope!

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Naval Orange Blossom