Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the Trail

Zimmerman Trail to be specific. This is one of the trails which the developers of my community have hidden like little jewels in each of the neighborhoods.

My frustration is that they don't link and provide a way to explore the whole place.

This trail, I just stumbled on this morning on my walk. I was trying to get to the edge of the community without taking the main thoroughfare. It looked like it might do it but instead on continuing on the perimeter,it looped back to stay within one section of the development.

I was happy to find it nonetheless because it now provides me another alternative route on my walks. The pictures are actually backwards because I failed to capture the trail sign where I entered and so you see the sign where I exited.

Along the way you see the oaks and pines (mostly oaks) which form clusters on the hillsides. There will also be sycamores in the creekbeds. In February all the slopes are green but that changes to gold by May and stays until the rains start.

The last picture is an example of the oaks. This one is a particularly handsome one.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July Blahs

This is perhaps the most attractive corner of my garden this week and it underwhelms.

July is not the best of months in California's central valley foothills. It is hot. (Last week we had temperatures over 100 degrees) This week has been relatively pleasant with temperatures in the lower 90's. Nights are usually in the 60's.

My wife and I took two days to go the San Francisco during the 100 degree spell. It was nice to have the cooler weather and get away from the smoke from the 100's of fires in the state - from which all the smoke seemed to gather at our house. We visited art museums, rode cable cars and enjoyed some good food before returning to find the smoke even worse than when we left.

Taking those two days, I got careless about having our son water the plants. I lost one plant and severely stressed my three brugmansias that were just beginning to look healthy.

Anyway this picture shows my Graham Thomas rose (upper left) with tiny, nearly white flowers that turn crispy after they open. Agapanthus in the upper right and cleomes which happily reseed and grow ever since I planted some small plants my first summer in the house.

Raised Bed Progress

Or lack therof.

My three tomatoes have achieved some size and one has set a tomato. I clearly need to stake them since they are beginning to sprawl over the other vegetables.

The pepper and eggplant have not grown very much although they seem to be getting ready to bloom.

In the front you can see string beans that seem to be stuck at 6 inches high. I probably need some fertilizer because I filled the bed with mostly bagged compost and a little topsoil.

The other thing I need to do is to secure the corners to the 2 x 6 side timbers.


This year I planted some new summer bulbs. I hoped that bulbs would prove more resilient and long-lived than the perennials with which I have been trying to fill the beds around the flat area of my back yard.

I had never heard of galtonia candicans but it was described as big and fragrant so I bought 12 bulbs and put them in different parts of the yard to see what would happen.

This is the flower stalk. It is about 3.5 feet tall and attractive. I don't find any smell. The stalks look rather lonely since I planted them about 1 foot apart as suggested. I suppose that they will form a clump over time and provide a stronger presence.

I photographed an isolated galtonia spire and one that has been overwhelmed by an agastache which burgened way beyond my anticipated size when I planted it.