Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ziplock Fig Cuttings. Lively Bees. Geranium Revival.

Posted by PicasaHere is the result so far, of the ziplock fig cutting experiment. basically, fig cuttings were wrapped in moist paper towels, left on high shelf, in ziplock bag. I opened them when I remembered. About a month later, here they are. A bit moldy. Now to transition them to soil & a brighter location. The roots are fragile but it is interesting how easily they rooted. No rooting hormone. This method is popular in the fig forum on the gardenweb.

The Orchard Mason Bees are active and lively. They are using their new nesting box as well as the prior ones. They seem to like sitting in the sun.I will need to make another next weekend. Excellent reference on Orchard Mason Bees: "The Orchard Mason Bee" by Brian L. Griffin (creative title, too).

Daffodils are starting to wilt now. I removed some, to prevent seed heads from forming. Maybe I'll leave a couple as an experiment.

Cherries are in full bloom. Peaches are almost done. Apples have'nt oepened yet.

I saw my first hummingbird of the year, actually heard it first. It was sippin the nectar from flowering quince.

I cut all of the dead leaved from the oeverwintered geraniums, gave them new soil, repotted a couple, pruned off lanky growth that occurred in the dark garage. They ar eoutside now. I gave them some organic bloom food (slow release) and a little fish emulsion for a boost.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Peach Blossoms. Bees. Chilly Nights. Ginkgo buds.

Lots going on in the yard.

The little peach "trees" are in full bloom

The cherries are in almost-full bloom.

The daffodils continue to bloom.

A frost was predicted last night, but the low was 39. I brought in everything tender and left them all inside today.

Article in the Oregonian about honey bee problems, disappearing bees. It describes how dependent our fruit orchards are, on honey bees. I hope that the orchard mason bees can make an impact. Even more, I hope that the honey bees resurge, but it doesnt look like it will happen this year. The orchard mason bees in the "growing greener yard" were active all afternoon on sunday, using their older bee-house as well as the new one that I "built".

The ginkgo tree has green buds. also tru for the cuttings that I stuck into the ground in the tomato patch. I don't know if they have taken root, or are expending their "last effort" on some buds.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


The brugmansia was starting to produce tiny leaves in the garage. I decided to repot it and move it outside. The root ball wasn't as thick and difficult as I had expected. Not at all like what a fig would be, for a similar size tree. I removed as much soil as could be easily removed, about 1/2 of the original soil.
Here it is after repotting and some light pruning. I added some perlite and some Whitney's "Bulb and Bloom" organic fertilizer to the soil. It's now on the south side of the house. Hoping it doesn't get sunburned. This time of year, the sun is still low in the sky.

There were a few prunings left. I stuck them into a glass of water. If they grow, I don't know what I'll do with them.
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Spring here in leaps and bounds

This variety is "Ice Follies". The bunch was ONE bulb, 3 years ago.
Are the "volunteers" or weeds? I ca't decide. Sometimes I pull them up. Most of the time, when they are in an inconvenient place, I move them, otherwise I leave them be.
The grape buds are quickly swelling.
I planted seeds today. These are 3 oz paper cups. They are in seed starting mix. I think that I listed the tomato seed varieties previously. This flat also contains cucumbers, zucchinis, peppers, and cilantro.
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Saturday, March 24, 2007

More Daffodils. Leucojum vernum.

Another rescued daffodil. I don't know the name of this one either. They are multiplying nicely among the strawberries. When the leavs get messy, the strawberries take over.
Yet another unknown variety. I might have planted this one a few years ago.
These are in a warm location. I dug up and divided two bunches from the lawn 3 years ago. Most are not blooming yet. This buch is next to the house. The nearby leaves are Alstroemeria.
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Saturday Projects

Neem Oil. I sprayed the Anigozanthos again. The Kanga Red-Green is looking very sad with inky black spot disease. It might die. The yellow "nameless" is more perky, but I may be risking it by having it outside now. It's raining, but they are in a protected area under the eaves. Since I had some neem mixed up, I re-sprayed the back yard roses and the peach leaf tips. There is frost damage on some of the rose leaves, but most are looking sturdy. The new rose bush (Fair Bianca) is growing a number of shoots. The new bare-root rose (Pascali) is further behind but buds are starting to swell. I suspect that leaf curl will be a problem this year again. The strawberries got another spray of neem as well.
This daffodil was 'rescued' when it appeared in the lawn. There is also a larger bunch. The flowers tend to nod, so it can be difficult to see. It would be nice as a cut flower.
I made another bee house for the Orchard Mason Bees. That's the one on the left. The one on the right was purchased last year. The holes are all drilled out. I hope that they return. I'll leave some mud for them as well. The cherries are starting to bloom. so it's time for the bees to do their thing.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Garden Log. Mar 19 2007.

More accurately, continued from Sunday (Mar 17).

- Pruned Meyer lemon to 3 main branches, more upright. It has new gropwth on each branch tip. It has been outside for 3 days, but brought in tonight due to expected chill.

- Sprayed neem oil (again) on peaches, roses, meyer lemon, strawberries. Neem oil has been my fungicide / insecticide of choice for 3 years. On the roses, it stops black spot and mildew. Same on the grapes. I am not sure if it helps with peach leaf curl, but it seems to reduce the number of affected leaves. It is marketed as not only nontoxic, but actually used in botanical products for arthritis, cold sores, and other topical applications on skin. There is a nice article on neem oil in Wikipedia. Neem oil, sprayed on leaves of roses and strawberreis, also imparts a nice shine to the leaves. My main concern is that I may have overdone it, mixing it up 4 tablespoons per gallon and I sprayed twice. I should have shown more restraint. It rained today, so the oil portion on the surface may be washed off, but maybe some of the Azadirachtin already had a benefit (azadarachtin being at least one of the active agents - again, as explained in wikipedia, azadarachtin is an antifeedant (I suppose that means reduces feeding activity) and growth disruptor for many insects. This site states that neem should be sprayed on a 7-14 day schedule as a preventive (that would make some $$$ to the folks who sell it, but then again, better going to them than to toxic chemical manufacturers). that it has been used to treat head lice, but does not harm bees, butterfles, or earthworms.

-Lilies are coming up. Asiatic lilies are 2 inches tall, nice stout stems.

- Ornamental alliums are 6 inches tall.

- Lilac leaves are about the size of a squirrels ear (I guess).

- I also sprayed the anigozanthos with neem oil. I'm frustrated that the one from Lowes has inky black leaf disease.

-It's supposed to be cold tonight. I brought the Meyer lemon, anigozanthos, and most of the geraniums back inside.

Comments on Chickens.

Ning has his new chickens. 2 little Rhode Island Reds. I dont know what the other 2 are - something "blue" - I'll have to look up photos for identification when they are grown. They will be raised fo eggs (and pets, I think)

What's green about chickens at home?
- not raised in massive chicken farms, little environmental impact.
- chicken poop / is great for compost.
- they eat insects and grubs, reducing pests in the garden without chemicals.
- they connect us to a source of or nutrition, providing a mental link to earth as our provider.
- they eat kitchen scraps, providing another way to recycle food waste.

Apparently, chickens are allowed in most urban and suburban communities. However, not roosters. The numbers and locations have some limitations depending on individual city codes.

We bought a book on this topic from a local author. I may quote from it later (I've misplaced it tonight but it can't be far).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Antiwar Rally, Portland OR 3/18/07

Posted by PicasaToday in Portland. Interesting - a lot of gray hair at this rally. Why is that? (I know this is off topic for the blog but it IS where I spent the afternoon today. )

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Unknown Soldier 1907

There is no identification on the photo. It was taken in San Francisco, probably 1907. Look into his eyes. It's haunting.

I don't know why I've been posting these photos. Some are at least 100 years old. I dont know the people in them, not even their names. They do something to me.

The soldiers, in some of the photos, may not have survived another year after their photos were taken. Or they may have lived 65 years more. No way to know. I like the photos of people with their favorite shrub, or in their garden, because they remind me of... me. Actually, the same with the soldiers, too, since I was one (over 30 years ago).

To some extent, I look at these and think, their lives were not so different from our lives today. Then I think, yes they were, it's a different world entirely now. Then I think, what about tomorrow? If we waste the gift of this green earth, who will be there to remember those who went before? Will it matter?

Nothing to do with gardening, maybe a little about being greener - a protest against the Iraq war is planned for downtown Portland tomorrow. I wonder if an old veteran like me should be there?
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Garden Log March 17 2007

Geranium Overwintering Experiment. These are scented leaf geraniums. The brown sticks were kept "dormant" in the garage. The smaller, but leafy plants were cuttings taken from the plants behind them, last fall, and kept in the bathroom windowsill with minimal watering. Unless the "dormant" ones start to do something, I think I know which method "wins" for these varieties.
Back Yard, Strawberry bed and Chinese Chive Barrel. The Chinese chives were fertilized wtih granular "Alaska fish" fertilizer, then about 1/2 inch leaf compost added. The strawberries were thinned to about 1 plant every 18 inches or so. The thinnings were planted elsewhere. The daffodils add character and in the summer, the strawberries fill in when the daffodil leaves die down. There are some iris bucheriana. Slugs love it. The white spots are Sluggo which claims to be safe and organic, and works very well. I added some overwintered Tradescantia pallida for color, and some variegated "society garlic" Tulbaghia violacia for color and in hopes of deterring pests (even in the truck that plant is stinky! like garlic only more so)
Some overwintered Chinese Celery among the heirloom potato onions. I think there are finally enough potato onions to start eating them in large amounts at harvest this year, instead of saving all of them. I though they were dead - only a few grew last fall. Now it looks like they are all alive.
Even more daffodils, These are in about their 3rd year. Next to them is a daphne - barely seen flowers, but they make the entire yard smell like fabric softener. Yum.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Daffodils

No such thing as too many daffodils to tell us Spring is here.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Church Ladies (unidentified place and date)

Probably Quincy, Illinois, 1920's or 30's. I'm only guessing that it's a church.
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"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most" - Mark Twain, via

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Overwintered Geraniums and Spring Gardening

Here's the geranium as it came out of the pot. This one was left in the garage without watering. Most of the scented-leaf ones look REALLY dead-looking, brown and crunchy. One, a "pine scented" (more like turpentine) does continue to have green leaves. They were all cleaned up and watered. We'll see if they grow.

In another container, a wooden planter, was a zonal geranium , a geranium called "Vancouver Centennial", the pine scented geranium, some sweet alyssum, and a Tradescantia pallida. I cleaned this up as well, but left them all in the original container. I watered it and will leave it outside. The zonal and the Tradescantia look alive, in addtion to the pine scented geranium.
Pruned, watered. Since it's in the 60s today, I think it is OK to leave outside now.

Other gardening:
Ning planted a short growing cattail for his pond.
Ning planted seeds for ornamental grasses, in flower pots.
A rose (Golden Showers)was moved.
A large bunch of Miscanthus sinensis zebrinus was moved from the back yard to the front, where it will have more room. Last year it grew to about 8 feet tall (the label stated 4-5 feet). It went into the spot vacated by the Golden Showers rose.
A new rose was added, this one a David Austin rose, variety "Fair Bianca". As with hybrid teas, I like some English roses, and others just didn't perform. I hope this one does, since I haven't had a lot of luck with white roses (JFK, a hybrid tea, was a fungus magnet and died, Glamis Castle, another English rose, didn't perform well at all. There wasn't room for the old garden rose, Mme Hardy, and anyway it only blooms one yearly (although I would have kept it in a larger yard).
An Anigozanthos (Kanga red and green) was potted up. I didn't want to yhet but it kept drying out too fast and wilting.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spring Flowers

Daffodils are starting to bloom.

The amaryllus might seem out of place, but it chose the time more than I did. This is its second or third year.Posted by Picasa