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update on garden

HI all-

Since I last check in, I've made it Phoenix and back.  Didn't do much (aside
from a funeral), but did get to spend an hour or so at the Desert Botanical
Garden in Phoenix.  It was lovely and fascinating.  All the cacti and
succulents, and the Palo Verde trees with the green bark.  It was really
neat.  Not much was blooming, but that was fine- just very different plants
from at my house.  I bet if I turned off the sprinklers and let all the
grass die, I could probably grow some of those desert plants! (Not that I'm
willing to do this, since I have umpteen zillion other plants already with
water needs.

Also, I have a hummer that has decided spring is coming early this year.  He
was doing his "courting flight" today- thought I was going to loose my head
at one point.  They really are amazing little birds.  My single kinglet, and
warbler are still with me.  They hang out and eat all the bugs out of my
veggie garden during winter.  I just wonder why they come back alone every

I have finished spreading out the soil from the last delivery, around my
garden wall.  I still need more- probably about 4 more cubic yards- that
will bring me to 16 yards total and I think that will do it (I hope).  I did
get the sidewalk out with the jack hammer a couple weekends ago.  Thought I
could get rid of the concrete in a couple loads in the car.  NOT!  I took 2
loads of the small stuff to the dump and gave up.  There is still tons of it
left (well- maybe not tons, but a pickup truck full anyway.  So, hopefully I
am going to rent a truck from U-haul this weekend and get rid of the rest.
At least I have it stacks at the edge of the sidewalk, so i was able to
cover 3/4 of the area with a thick layer of newspaper, some half rotten
leaves, and then poured the soil on top. After I get rid of the blocks, I
can work on finishing the wall. While I still have the pick-up truck, I can
get the rest of the sand, and I will need about 40 more gardenwall blocks.
Then... I need to ask my neighbor to bring home the chop saw to cut the
corner blocks....It's getting there- slowly.  But, considering having
several interruptions, all in all not doing too badly.

As far as what it blooming-  I now have several daffodils blooming!  My
lavendar (french- I think) never stopped blooming (the hummers are very
happy about this- they eat from it everyday).  My new white camellia has a
few more blooms and lots more buds.  A few primulas are blooming too. I just
love the solid yellow ones- they seem to have the most fragrance.  I also
have a very confused Gerbera daisy in bloom.  Oh- and the ladybugs are
hatching!  I saw them on about a dozen or so plants today, just crawling
around in bunches.

What's planting???  I still have some perennials to move around to the new
bed at the gardenwall, but think I need to finish the wall first.  I also
have several roses to plant (I just couldn't resist..)  I did plant another
set of peas, spinach and cilantro seeds.  I put up the veggie ladders (from
Gardener's Supply) that I got for Christmas for my snow peas to climb.  Oh,
before I did all that, I lower one of my raised veggie beds a block.  It was
abundantly clear that raised beds do not need to be 24 inches deep- 18
inches was plenty (the second bed was this height and did fine- even with
tomatoes).  So I lowered the wall one block, dug out a bit of dirt (not much
as it had settled anyway) and then planted the new seeds.  So.... now I have
a bunch of interlocking  cinder blocks to do something new with.  Maybe i'll
make my compost bin larger? We'll see, for now they can all sit in a pile.

Important lesson for the day-  Strawberries will take over the earth if
given time and good soil.  So, I ripped a bunch out- they simply take up too
much room and I don't have that to spare.  I'm sure I'll have to rip the
rest of them out later this year too, but just couldn't bring myself to
ripping them all out right now.  2nd important lesson for the day-
Bottlebrush bushes stay a very nice size and grow gradually for the first
couple years.  Then, in the third winter they grow like crazy.  I should
have moved this plant at the end of last summer, but didn't get to it, in
part because I wasn't sure where I wanted it.  Wanted it near a window to
watch the hummers at it, but didn't want it to shade too much of the veggie
garden.  Well, I planted it originally right next to the veggie garden-
actually before the veggie garden even existed.  And now it it about 8 feet
tall, and I seriously doubt I can dig it up without killing it. So, rats. I
have a hunch that I'm going to end up buying a new bottle brush (a dwarf one
if they exist) and hacking this other one out.

Well, that's all for now.  It's been great hearing about everyone's spring
plant wish list!

Sac, CA zone 8-9

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