December Highlights

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December is the height of the gardening season in California, yet looking back over what I have posted this month there is little on what I am doing in my garden. I’ve written about what’s blooming and fruiting at Rancho, disease attacks walnut trees, visit to Station Fire burn area of the San Gabriel Mountains, the unfortunate incident of the plant slayer’s attack in my garden, guacamole, and one, just one, post on December 2nd of what’s going on in the garden. So here are some of the things that have kept me busy in the garden.

Garden Chores around the Yard

  1. Prune toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Remove stems crowding the paths.
  2. Weed petty spurge, chickweed, dandelions, swinecress.
  3. Pinch back new Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii).
  4. Cut back canes of Mexican sage.
  5. Sow seeds in garden: Clarkias (Clarkia purpurea, C. amoena, C. amoena ‘Rancho Lavender’, C. bottae), globe gilia (Gilia capitata), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), leafy stem coreopsis (Coreopsis calliopsidea), arroyo lupine (Lupinus succulentus).

Packets of wildflower seeds ready for the garden.

Front Yard Work

  1. Lawn abatement – remove a bit from front lawn near sidewalk to put in more flowering perennials.
  2. Remove spider plant from base of deodar (following removal from avocado tree in September).
  3. Plant flowery things for spring: Monkeyflowers (Mimulus), De La Mina verbena (Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’), Margarita BOP penstemon (Penstemon heterophylla ‘Margarita BOP’), Island Pink yarrow (Achillea millefolium ‘Island Pink’).

Back Yard Work

  1. Sow seeds in pots: Clarkia amoena, C. amoena ‘Rancho Lavender’, C. purpurea, C. bottae.
  2. Make cutting: monkeyflowers (Mimulus).
  3. Cutting from Soquel Orange monkeyflower; noticed aphids so washed cuttings in dilute soapy water and rinsed; placed in pot with potting soil of garden soil/compost/perlite; covered pot with Trader Joe cookie carton to keep cuttings hydrated.

  4. Plant in pots: monkeyflowers (Mimulus), De La Mina verbena (Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’), prickly poppy (Argemone munita).
  5. Remove deck, rake area and lay mulch.
  6. Milo lying in bit of sun under avocado tree where deck used to be.

  7. Veggie garden:

Plant new bibb lettuce and sugar peas.

Vegetable garden with lettuces, herbs and newly planted sugar peas.

Harvest swiss chard, cilantro, parsley, chives, sage, spinach, arugula, Meyer’s lemons, mexicali avocados, remaining lettuce and green tomatoes left over from the summer.

Mexicali avocados on back porch. Roger’s Red grape in back.

Pretty Fruits and Flowers

  1. Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) berries
  2. Roger’s Red grape (Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’) foliage
  3. Lester Rowntree Manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Lester Rowntree’) flowers
  4. Pink flowers with deep blush contrast with gray leaves on Lester Rowntree manzanita

To do:

  1. Prune hard Baccharis ‘Twin Peaks #2’
  2. Relandscape backyard
  3. Continue sowing wildflower seeds
  4. Irrigate annuals for long bloom period
  5. Finish planting perennials
  6. Weed
  7. Relax and enjoy the garden

9 thoughts on “December Highlights

  1. &quot;Relandscape backyard&quot;. Ah, yes, that minor project. Funny…<br /><br />Same here though, too busy to blog much. Besides, who wants to see photos of the way past its prime Cal Fuchsia, and the 1 inch stubble left after the work ;-&gt;

  2. lostlandscape (James)

    Have you done a scientific study of which Trader Joe&#39;s cookie containers work best for cuttings? (Secretly I hope it&#39;s the Dunkers.) Your December has been much more garden-involved than mine, though the rains have brought all sorts of seedlings–mostly unwanted–so there are a few months of weeding ahead. After you&#39;ve done most of what&#39;s on the list be sure to do lots of #7!

  3. Yeah, &quot;relandscape…&quot; does seem a bit ambitious for a to-do list. James, as far as a scientific study on cookie containers, in fact I have done one, and you are right on – dunkers are it.<br /><br />Happy new year to all.

  4. susie

    Wow, you are waaayyy ahead of me in planning for next year. I have just begun to think about it! I guess you need to though with the wedding &amp; all. Those avocados look amazing!

  5. I was coming here to make the same snarky remark as Town MOuse – how funny. &quot;Relandscape back yard&quot; is definitely not in the same realm os Prune the Baccharis! – I do that also, to do lists with items from the minute to the monumental.<br /><br />I was actually coming here to congratulate you on your article in Fremontia on the nature park. Good job all round! BTW re the article

  6. Darn, everyone&#39;s beat me to the snarky comments! James has me cracking up with the Dunkers comment. Congratulations on a fruitful 2009 (pun intended) and good luck on 2010- I can&#39;t wait to see the progress!

  7. CM, Christine and others with snarky remarks… thank you, I needed them! Not only do I go from the absurd to the ridiculous on my to-do lists, I – and now I am making a confession – even add things to the list after I have done them. May have to go for to-do list counseling. <br /><br />And Dunkers is the best container – they taste great as James knows and they are deeper, so eat up with no

  8. I only snark because I have the same to-do list issue. sometimes I need to include &quot;make to do list&quot; just to get me started…

  9. Christine, you&#39;ve got me beat. I&#39;ve never included make to-do in my to-do list. Excellent.

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