Thursday, October 30, 2014

Obligatory Fall Color Pictures

Fall in Sacramento isn't all that special and we're always way behind most of the rest of the country when it comes to changing colors.  Things are just now starting to change colors for the season.  Here are some shots from my yard tonight.



Looking way up into the crown of a Liquid Amber

Another Liquid Amber.  I think the impact would be greater if more of the tree changed at the same time.

A black-stemmed hydrangea.

We went to a pumpkin carving party with kids and their families from my daughter's school last weekend.
It was fun getting messy and then shaking hands with people we hadn't met yet.  


Harry, on the right, has been a family tradition for about 4 years now.  Every year he gets a makeover with either black or green mondo grass. and then that grass gets planted somewhere in the garden.  Bones, on the left, was a new addition this year.



Acer palmatum 'Orangeola' just beginning to revert back to its namesake color.  

Japanese blood grass hasn't developed that blood red color yet, but it is starting to fill in a bit more.

This fall color is making up for the fact that the birds beat me to all the blueberries on this young bush.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Something's Gonna Pay For This


I was minding my own business tonight after work.  I wasn't looking for a fight.  I was just taking a bag of garbage out when I saw something unusual.  Back by the compost bin I noticed something dark brown on the ground where it was usually light brown.  That light brown is what we drought-stricken Californians call "the new green".  

The picture below is almost too embarrassing for me to share.  It looks so splotchy and gross.  But this is what happens when you can't water your lawn.  The little bit of green you do see is probably just from the veggie garden's drip irrigation.  

At any rate, the dirt you see on the ground just to the right of the fence shouldn't be there.  A closer inspection was necessary.


And this is what I found.  Around the base of my active compost bin, something had been digging.  I have been composting for years and all this time I've been adding kitchen scraps, rotten fruit, and even the occasional dead bug and I've never had anything go after my compost bin other than worms.  

The back side of the compost bin

The front side

A somewhat closer view of the front.

I tried to get a picture of the claw marks I saw.  They looked fairly large but because they were up inside
I couldn't get a clear picture.  
Now I've been having issues with squirrels lately (more on that in the near future) but this doesn't seem like the work of the evil nuisance and bane of my gardening life.  While scratching my head (literally) I happened to notice a hole by the fence line not three or four feet away from the scene of the crime.

Gophers?  Moles?  Voles?  Squirrels?  What do you think this is?  I didn't see any telltale mounds or tunnels because this opening is right at my fence so it's possible that their are mounds or tunnels on the other side.

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Maybe I'm overreacting but I'm suddenly worried that two mysterious plant deaths in my garden weren't just unfortunate and untimely demises.  Perhaps they were sped along their way by some underground spawn of evil?


Monday, September 8, 2014

Trouble Brewing

The other day I was in the back corner of my property taking a closer look at some of the late summer growth on several Japanese maples.  My neighbor's property line boasts several mature trees whose branches stick out over my side of the fence.  This doesn't bother me - it's borrowed green as far as I'm concerned.  But I did notice that it was causing my maples to grow at awkward angles to reach more sunlight.  

While taking a closer look at the branches coming over the fence line I noticed what I believe to be a wisteria vine growing along the electrical lines.  I'm fairly certain the picture below contains my neighbor's cable line.  Perhaps I should tell her about this?


You have to admire the tenacity of the wisteria.


This picture makes it apparent that it's probably not just my neighbor's cable that could get strangled by the exuberant vine.





And here's just a couple pictures of something I've been working on.  I've got a long stretch of boring fence that I need to do something with.  I am working on killing the grass and I spent part of last weekend installing the dry-laid brick mow strip to outline what will be the new bed.  Hopefully everything will be ready in time for fall planting which is still about a month and a half away in Sacramento.




I hope to post more in the coming weeks.  This summer has been very busy and, truth be told, not very interesting from a gardening standpoint.  There's only so much I can do when it's 95-100 degrees every day.