First Rain, and Dead Grass

For all of you wondering where we have been, school started back up, and there was some business travel in there, too.

Anyway, we had our first rain of the season yesterday evening, a nice healthy one, too. All the Bay Area house/garden bloggers were gushing and giggling and doing all the silly things we all do when it starts to rain here. It was terribly exciting. And this morning, I turned off the sprinklers for the roses. They're on their own until spring. I also walked all over the garden seeing who needed work and what was holding up to the rain. The catchment basin won't come into play until the ground saturates in a couple months, but at least it seemed to hold up well to this rain.

Rainwater in the sink

In the last week I finished the sump hole for the greenhouse, carving a couple stairs into the ground next to it in case anybody fell in before we covered it up. So far, so good, and there are a bunch of tiny weeds sprouting at the bottom that are in for a rude surprise.

The greenhouse pit

One thing I had hoped to do tonight was sift some of the dirt pile, to get the rocks out. But that is not likely to happen as sifting wet sand is not terribly fun, nor does it work very well. On the other hand, there are lots of other things I can do should I feel like working in the dark.

Dirt pile

Another fun activity of late has been killing the Bermuda grass. A couple of applications of Roundup, some patience, and this is the result. Our neighbors have offered to help us break up the concrete along the side of the sidewalk where I want to put in more drought-tolerant plants.

Dead Bermuda

At the same time, I've been killing Bermuda grass in other planting areas, like this corner in the front where I wanted to put in a taller shrubby thing, or maybe a dwarf tree.

More dead grass

And back behind the rose hedge, I'm planning to move the roses further apart and extend the hedge back, so I'm also killing the grass there. And it suddenly occurred to me this morning that I'd been planning to order a pile of compost and a pile of mulch in early October, and it is, in fact, early October right now. So maybe I will do that this week, too.

Dead dead dead

On the plant front, things have started arriving for fall planting. I'm terribly picky about my plants, so when I decided to plant hydrangeas, I had to have a particular variety (called "Ayesha," so I think you can understand why I wanted it). I bought it and three other types from Vintage Gardens in Sebastapol. I had them shipped because I hate driving up there, and UPS ground from Sebastapol is basically overnight.


I think they look very nice. They're "bands," so I'm going to pot them up in one-gallon pots sunk into the ground where I plan to plant them, at least until they are grown in enough to handle the ground itself. Then if I don't like the location, I can move them easily. I got eight bushes, to make a nice big fluffy hedge out in front of the bay windows. One of the mistakes people make with hydrangeas, I think, is planting them singly. The effect of several in a row is much more impressive.

And more hydrangeas

And finally, a small gloat. Last weekend we made a brief trip to New York (Noel on business, me on a quest for good donuts and a brunch that does not bludgeon you over the head with its healthfulness), and at a Japanese department store on Fifth Avenue I found these nice garden shears. It's not like we can't get them here, of course, on account of how much closer to Asia we are than New York is, but they were a) the good quality shears, not the cheap ones, and b) cheaper than I've seen them here. I took them out for a deadheading/cutting back expedition in the dahlia bed today, and they are a dream to work with, although I may have to pad the handles to fit my hands better.

New shears

Anyway, that is about two weeks of updates. With school taking so much of my time and the sun going down annoyingly early, I'm not sure how much I can get done outside during the week. I may actually have to get back to work on the front parlour.

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posted by ayse on 10/05/06