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The Plantings of 10,000 Bulbs

October 15, 2014

DSC00573_edited-1DSC00569_edited-1DSC00571_edited-1A few days ago, I joined a group of volunteers to help plant 10,000 daffodil bulbs at the Vista Point Improvement Project in Jackson.

A 25-foot plot of ground had been rototilled, divided into 5×5 foot sections and marked with color-coded stakes to coordinate with hundreds of bagged bulbs also color coded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I teamed up with master gardener Tim Jelsch, and was I glad! The dirt was dry, dusty, and hard beneath  DSC00562_edited-1DSC00574_edited-1the shallow tilled layer. Tim dug out the sections we had chosen. I tossed in the bulbs, scattered them evenly, and made sure each one was upright. Then we backfilled over the bulbs and carefully raked the soil even. We planted eight sections (750 bulbs), enjoyed a free lunch, and called it a day. A new crew will complete the planting this coming weekend.

 

 

Note: Examine your bulbs and toss out those that are soft or decaying. Plant spring-blooming bulbs in the fall before the ground freezes. Daffodil bulbs should be planted six inches deep and six inches apart with the pointed end up.

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The Great Pumpkin Debate

October 6, 2014

Fruit-Vegetable Gallery #5:

The name “pumpkin” originated from the Greek word “pepon (for large melon). The French changed pepon to “pompon” changed by the English to “pumpion,” changed to “pumpkin” by yours truly, the Americans.

According to Extension Specialist Tim Hartz, UC Davis Plant Science Department, pumpkins can be classified as a melon (fruit) or a squash (vegetable). Hartz says categorizing the pumpkin depends on who is defining the terms. “To a botanist, a pumpkin is a fruit because it is a ripened ovary containing seeds, just like a melon or tomato. To a chef, pumpkins and squash are usually thought of as vegetables because of how they are used in cooking.”

In other words, no one truly knows the proper category for pumpkins. So look at it this way, whether you call a pumpkin a melon or squash, fruit or vegetable, you will be correct every time!

 

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Transplanting in Autumn

October 2, 2014

Autumn is the best time to divide and plant vegetation, and to transplant. There are several reasons for moving a plant from one location to another:

  1. The plant has outgrown the space (poor planning—been there!).
  2. The plant is “struggling” to grow in the wrong exposure (been there too—didn’t read the tag or I simply wanted it where “I” wanted it!)
  3. The soil drainage or soil type is all wrong for the plant’s root system.
  4. Sometimes the plant just doesn’t look good with its neighbors. (Hmm, that reminds me of decorating a room!)

Why transplant in autumn? Here are the benefits:

  1. Cooler weather reduces stress. Reduced stress helps the plant’s roots become well-established.
  2. The ground is still warm from the summer heat. Unlike the cool spring ground, warmer ground encourages more root growth and more time for plants to establish a sufficient root system.
  3. Planting in autumn is also about the gardener having more time. Spring is usually a mad rush for gardeners to get the grounds cleaned up, babysit seeds or seedlings, prepare the soil, and plant.

What did I transplant?

Below are six “Evergold” Carex in my front yard. One year ago, each Evergold was the same size when planted twelve inches apart as instructed on the plant tag. As you can see, the three on the right are not doing well. Since all six Evergolds are receiving the same Eastern exposure and water, I suspect it is something in the soil.

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To save my three struggling Evergolds, I transplanted them under a covered area with southern exposure. Now, I just have to wait for spring to see how they are going to react.

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A Look Into Autumn

September 17, 2014

I am thinking about autumn and what it will bring.

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The obvious is shorter days, longer nights, gentle breezes, and cool temperatures.

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The world will shrink as birds migrate, insects overwinter, and deciduous plants and trees transform from intense hues to bare limbs. Backyard gardeners will plant winter crops or put their beds to rest until spring.

Rest sounds good to me.

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This is the time of year that I want to be lazy, but as it happens every fall, I will be raking acorns and oak leaves through December.

So much for rest . . . the work has just begun.

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Hidden Blossoms

September 2, 2014

Fruit Gallery #4:

The most fascinating feature about fig trees is the blossoms. You’ll never see them because they grow inside the fruit to produce tiny seeds creating a crunchy texture.

Some of you have read the story about my fig tree. After the tree was nearly destroyed three years ago it made a comeback. But it is mostly suckers and produces more foliage than fruit. The figs that do grow are tiny. I’m not sure anything can be done to correct the problem, but it makes a nice deciduous shrub. It appears the squirrels are getting more figs than the birds; the oak stump beside the tree is littered with dried fig skins. For sure, it is the hidden blossom-produced seeds that they love.

For information on growing fig trees go to:

http://www.almanac.com/plant/figs

 

 

 


 

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I have finally completed my author website. Please feel free to browse through the pages and while you are there be sure to subscribe. As time goes by, I hope to post an occasional blog or updates on Ashley’s Gift and the sequel I am writing.


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The Alarm of Summer’s End

August 25, 2014

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 I stood amongst the potted garden

delighted with summer’s hues and scents,

when overhead the sound of honking geese astonished me.

To my surprise, the alarm of summer’s end had arrived.

 

In the coming weeks, from time to time,

I will watch the crimson sunset with my love,

recall the season’s nights and days,

the work, the play, the rest,

then question which of these had we done the best

and which should we have done the least?

 

I will most likely sigh, the long slow sigh

that signals it is time to prepare my soul

for the passing of time,

the pulling back of dead blossoms and faded dreams,

the unfinished feats I pledged to self,

to others, and my love.

 

But I will ponder on these for a moment only,

then praise my love’s encouragement

for booming hues in tubs of clay,

where we will sit next year once again,

delighted in summer’s potted garden.

  © 2014 Dianne Marie Andre

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Summertime Potluck

August 17, 2014

This time of year, delicious fresh produce and good company are the highlight of summertime events. Potluck means a variety of seasonal dishes and fruits and vegetables.  For me, though, I savor the gardens over the food (not the company, of course), especially when the yard is as pretty as this one owned by Bill  Goff and his lovely wife, Noreen, who is a master gardener.

 

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Yarrow (Coronation Gold)

Yarrow (Coronation Gold)

Overlooking part of the vegetable garden

Overlooking part of the vegetable garden

unknown pink floribunda rose

Unknown pink floribunda rose

Iceberg rose (floribunda)

Iceberg rose (floribunda)

Coneflower

Coneflower

Coneflower

 

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