December Highlights

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With so much discussion about the Arcadia Oak/Sycamore Woodland it was nice to get into the garden where I am Master of the Universe. Actually, it is more of a cooperative relationship between me and the garden. As you can see from the picture of the lettuce patch – I don’t always win. Anyway it is time for Garden Highlights of the month.

A while ago I planned to write these monthly highlights to report on what’s happening in the garden – a kind of garden journal. I started about a year ago with the first December Highlights. January and February followed, and then nothing. There are plenty of posts about garden chores and what’s looking special, but nothing that summarizes the month. So here I go again with a new effort to be organized. I really, really am going to try to post monthly on what I’m doing. what I plan to do, and what is happening in the garden. I will post garden porn (flowers, berries, etc.) each month on the 15th as part of the May Dreams Gardens blog, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Garden Chores

  1. Cut back perennials: sage (Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’), California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea).

    Before and after picture of cutting back pearly everlasting. Milo worked hard.untitled-1_600px_

    Looking neater. Milo is pleased with his work. (And yes, those are pumpkins still sitting on the front step. There were four at Halloween. One was carved and rotted within a week. I cooked one and made it into a creamy soup that we had tonight. Yum.)

  2. Sow wildflower seeds: globe gilia (Gilia capitata); poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
  3. Plant: Bountiful seaside daisy (Erigeron glaucus ‘Bountiful’); monkeyflower cuttings (Mimulus cultivars)
  4. Weed: oxalis, petty spurge
  5. Hand water new plants

Veggie Garden Chores

  1. Remove spent basil plants
  2. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around plants eaten by slugs
  3. I spent the month watching as slugs devoured all of the lettuce save one, and most of the Swiss chard. This morning when I went out to see whether the ring of death (diatomaceous earth) protected the remaining head of lettuce I noticed that there was a slug inside the ring. I will have to check everyday to make sure it is safe.

    It is sad to look at the newly planted greens in this picture taken in November – such promise! Notice that the arugula plants (in front of the peas) were not attacked. I think that they are not really safe, they will probably go when the tastier -to slugs, that is- greens are gone.

  4. Sow mizuna seeds inside a protective ring of diatomaceous earth.

Plans for the future

  1. Clean up crushed plants in the parkway. Last week construction workers repaired broken sidewalks on my block. While making the walk next to the parkway garden smooth as a baby’s back-side, they stomped on my plants – one of the hazards of parkway gardens. Other than Winifred Gilman sage, nothing important was hurt, and this will push me to cut back some pretty messy looking buckwheat.
  2. Prune branches of the California Glory flannel bush that are leaning on the garage.
  3. Rake out dear grass.
  4. Weed!
  5. Sow wildflower seeds in some pots.

Tomorrow I’ll post pretty pictures from the garden. Not a lot of natives in bloom, but always something.

5 thoughts on “December Highlights

  1. RV

    I enjoy your blog. I never really thought about putting native annuals in pots. I'm going to do that today! BTW, is that diatomaceous earth safe for you, since I noticed it wasn't food grade DE. It looks like you have the DE used for pools.

  2. Thank you for your comment, RV. As for the diatomaceous earth, yes it is sold for swimming pools and isn't food grade. I didn't know there was a food grade d.e. I can't imagine why it wouldn't be safe. If it splashes on the lettuce it will get washed off. Anyone else with info on this???

  3. sima

    Hi Barbara,<br />I have 3 questions. How exactly do I cut back the buckwheat? It looks so pretty right now with both rust and white flowers. Very natural, I think. Also, what trees/shrubs can I plant in between the buckwheat plants?<br />And when do I rake the deergrass?<br />Love the blog. <br />thanks, sima

  4. Hi Sima,<br />Last question first. You can rake the deergrass whenever you want. The landscape rake will thin out the dead blades, leaving the green ones. I do it in mid-spring right before the plant puts on its summer growth but anytime is fine. You don&#39;t need to do this with young plants, but it won&#39;t hurt either – unless you pull them out, of course.<br /><br />As for the buckwheat –

  5. sima

    Hi Barbara,<br />Thanks for the help. I live in Canyon Country near just north of Placerita Canyon Nature Center. The trees would be facing SE and getting full blast of sun all summer all day. It gets up to over 100 degress in the summer. They would be planted along the side of the driveway–it&#39;s a long narrow space–I guess I would like a screen of some sort and to attract any birds. The

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