Category Archives: Gardening

The grass is always greener

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Daffodils

It’s been a cold winter here in la la land.  I’ve actually scraped frost off my windshield twice just recently but lately it feels like Spring!

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All the bulbs are blooming

The Daffodils are in full force.  Every day another 10 or more of these floral rays of sunshine burst open.  The freesia buds are forming and soon they will be following suite.

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JD loves to lie in the grass

Look at the backyard!  The weed infested dirt patch has been transformed into a lush, velvety green carpet.  NO one loves it more than JD.

Well, Farmer Malibu does.  He’s the one in charge back there.

Originally I had no plans to grow grass back there.  With a brand new house, the yard was not on my short list.  Dr. Malibu took over – roughing up the soil, amending it with manure and seeding the soil.  After endless rounds of sweeping up tracked in dirt, I finally caved and had my friends over at The Sprinkler Tech come and install sprinklers.  Plus I knew all this work would be for naught if the yard didn’t get regularly watered.   I was also motivated by the addition of a few new roses.

Dr. Malibu did apply a retail brand weed and feed to the lawn but special precautions were made to ensure that JD didn’t get sick. Despite the instructions that say you can allow pets on the lawn a day after it’s applied and watered – JD waited a full week during a rainy period to ensure that everything was dissolved and absorbed into the soil.

Everything and everyone is now thriving.  Going forward – the soil amendments will be organic as I don’t want to add more chemicals and disrupt the healthy eco system in my soil.  The clay rich soil in my back yard has a very good worm population and I want to ensure those little guys are happy!

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Happy Little Daffodils!

Speaking of worms – one of my birthday gifts was a worm farm!  I’ve promised Judi Barker my first batch of worm poo –she is thrilled…

Daffodils up! Big Tree down!

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Miniature Daffodils

LOOK at what’s coming up in Lake Balboa Bungalow yard!

I’ve been waiting and waiting to see what these where going to be.  I asked the gardener that tended my house before I bought it.  He told me they were daffodils and I don’t know why, but I didn’t believe him.  I knew they were going to be tiny but I didn’t know there was a variety of daffodils this small!

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Blooming Asian Magnolias

Look what else is blooming!  The Asian Magnolia!  Asian Magnolias are one of my favorite trees and I was thrilled to find it hiding in the corner of my yard.

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Bulls Eye

It was almost hidden by that ugly tree I wanted to take down.

It took another weekend of Thing 1 avoiding the dreaded raking of leaves that led to its demise.   He would rather cut down a tree than rake.   The bullseye tree was pretty big.  Thing 1 cut off two large branches and I told him to stop there so we could fit it all in the green bin that recycles lawn material.  Two rounds of garbage pick up came before it was all gone.

The rest of the limbs and trunk remained a problem as they leaned slightly over the garage.  How do I get this tree to come down without damaging the roof?

Get on the roof and cut them down?
Get on a ladder and saw them down?  Perhaps.

Thing 1 axed the trunk about three quarters through then we used a saw to cut the remaining connection.  The tree held firm.  The weight of the upper branches preventing it from falling.  I got up on the roof and trimmed away smaller branches so I could safely access the trunk of the tree.  I carefully shoved the upper trunk away from the garage and down it fell.

You can see the video here.  Well kind of.
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Paperwhites

Remember these?
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Guess what they look like now!
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Yup – the paper whites are blooming!

I used to “force” paper whites in vases filled with decorative stones.  After the blooms were spent I couldn’t bear to toss them away.  Instead, I planted them in my yard.  It took about two years for them to recover (naturalize).  I had long forgotten where I put them but then they would send out their white fragrant flowers every December.

This little border strip is going to provide fun and color all year long.  The bulbs were all planted at the same time but they each have their own clock.

The Naked Ladies are just starting to grow but they won’t bloom until the summer.  They might require another season to get acclimated to their new home.  The freesia and allium have also made progress but we won’t see anything out of them until the Spring.  We won’t see the daffodils until then either.  It’s really nice to see some immediate results from all that hard work.

Now compare the side yard – I’m ready to start digging that ugly up….
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The Fall of Ficus

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Too many trees

Normally, Thing 1 shirks away from the household chores…. But I’ve figured out if there’s a pick axe involved, it will get done…..  There was a ficus in my front yard and I told my son to cut it down.  (please note that I suck at taking “before” pictures so I retrieved this image from google maps which makes my house look like it was built by Dr. Seuss).

Yes, I’m a tree killer.  Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE trees – but when you have a small yard – every inch real estate is valuable.  If a tree lives in my yard – it better put out – citrus or flowers.  The whole “providing shade and oxygen” thing doesn’t cut it.

The ficus was most likely an overgrown house plant that they stuck out in the yard (biggest clue here was that it was still growing out of a broken pot that was embedded in the earth).  The main problem (other than it being a ficus) was that it was planted right next to the garage and too close to the water and sewer lines.   Sorry ficus, your days were numbered.

So Thing 1 had a great time chopping down the ficus.  He texted me a picture of his accomplishment!

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Felled Ficus

But I had to tell him to hold off on cutting down the other half (there were two trunks) as the remains wouldn’t all fit in the green bin.  It took three rounds of garbage day pick up to dispose of.

Dr. Malibu came over last weekend and started up the chainsaw.  He cut down the remaining trunk and cut the pieces small enough to fit in the green bin.  Except the pieces deemed firewood worthy…. which were added to my wood pile.

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Then he spied the unfinished section of my border.  Heh heh. I showed you my lovely planter border – but I hid from you the remaining unfinished 15 feet.

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Remaining 15 feet

 He thought Thing 1 should have a shot at helping, and the opportunity to again wield a pick axe won him over.  In short work, they had the remaining 15 feet of my border dug out to the proper 8 inches.  Dr. Malibu and I then amended the soil with bone meal and added some new (weed and clay free) garden soil.   More daffodils were planted, layering with more soil and adding the alliums and freesias (which need to be planted 3” down).  Again a topping of soil and mulch was applied.  We also planted poppies and dragon snaps to fill out the bed until the bulbs start growing.

Here’s the ficus free spot!
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Looks a little bare right now but the stump still needs to come out.  But the space won’t remain empty long.  The spot next to the garage offers a lot of shade (mostly from the 3 OTHER trees crowded in that corner).  Hydrangea’s, lilies, hastas and ferns all would work well here.

Notice the tree next to it?  It’s got a bulls eye painted on it too.  It’s right next to an Asian Magnolia which would love a little breathing room in order to bloom.

Dr. Malibu questioned me on the amount of work involved digging out the border and removing all the dirt (this was the point where the green trash can flipped over from the weight when I tried to move it).  Removing all that clay dirt (and the weeds that called it home) was a one time event.  Now, the border has yummy, nutrient rich soil.  It will only need an occasional topping of compost or mulch.

I’m going to let the dragon snaps and the poppies settle in before I post another picture.  I think we all need a little rest.