Ricocheting Around the Back Yard

I have a new rule, which is that all fall-planted bulbs must be bought in person at the nursery, in order to avoid what appears to be persistent over-ordering on my part. Somehow, the fact that I ordered about 1,000 bulbs from various sources over the summer didn't really sink in until I was standing there with a third of them, wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with 50 ranunculus corms.

Well, the ones that have arrived so far are all planted, though I think I planted the freesias too closely. It will be like a freesia conference.

Also going in the ground this week is a new brugmansia (double white). I now have four of these: two in the ground (this double white and the pink one) and two in pots (both 'Charles Grimaldi'), which might be a bit of overload. I may give one of the 'Charles Grimaldi' to a friend.

New brugmansia

Noel has been working on the electrical wiring going out to the shed/greenhouse foundation. We decided to run a few circuits out there to take care of lights in the shed, some garden lighting (the little solar lights are just barely good enough for basic navigation and not much else), and operating the chipper or other outside tools.

To that end, we've been trying to get this roll of non-metallic conduit to relax and straighten out for the last few days. It's doing much better, but it's still really curly.

Non-metallic conduit

As the first stage of this wiring work, Noel ran an outlet to the back of the house and then we had a joyful hour of shredding trumpet vine trimmings from the brush pile. We managed to jam the thing a couple of times, mostly because yours truly is a bit impatient with the feeding of stuff. But this tiny pile of chippings was taking up half the brush pile, so I am quite satisfied. Later this week I will try shredding magnolia leaves from the front.

We've been chipping

In other fall-like activity, I've been trying another method for killing Bermuda grass in back (where the dogs make Roundup inadvisable). Cardboard weighted down with chunks of concrete (of which we have plenty). I don't know how well it will work; I put plywood on Bermuda grass for three months back in Berkeley, and it kept growing underneath. One thing I've been thinking lately is that maybe I could spray it with Roundup, then cover it with cardboard to keep the dogs out, and see how well that works.

Killing Bermuda grass is a lifestyle

The neighbors on the East side and I have been cackling and chortling over our plans to take this wisteria to the ground this winter. At the same time, my Cecile Brunner rose is ready for its first big pruning. I think I may leave three large branches on it and take everything else off.

Wisteria out of control

And speaking of pruning, I think the quince is large enough now. One of those leaders is coming off this winter.


Finally, I think the garden is ready for Halloween. The best part is that in order to take this picture I had to rip my Passiflora edulis 'Frederick' off this poor potted willow bush.

Drowning in a potted willow

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posted by ayse on 10/10/06


I need to do that buy in person thing, too. I got an order today from early summer (after they stopped shipping) and still have an order of bulbs coming next week, I think!

I'll "give you a hand" with healing that potted plant, if you want!

Aaaaah! I guess I was asking for that one.

(And I am impressed: I've never crossed seasons that dramatically with my nursery purchases.)

I hope you have a fishtape, because you'll never push the wires through that conduit without one. (I just tried a couple weeks ago... on the plus side I invented some new curses).

My double white brugmansia is extremely floriferous, but the flowers turn brown almost instantly. I would hang on to the other ones -- you may end up preferring them.

Oh, and I'm jealous of your chipper.

We do have a fish tape, thank goodness. I can see how trying to fish without one would lead to some interesting developments in the field of profanity.

That's odd about your double white brug: my friend E. has one in Berkeley and it doesn't exhibit such anti-social behaviour (proving that the brugmansia purchase was an impulse buy: I could easily have taken a cutting).

The chipper is making me very happy, even though I admit that its cheapness is entirely evident, and it seems to jam awfully easily. Nonetheless, it is helping reduce my little problem out back. My brush pile had been entirely out of control, and now it's the season where I sneak around after dark and steal leaves from the neighbors (only because the sun sets so early; they are quite happy to have me do this in broad daylight), so I will have some nice chopped leaves for my compost and for mulching. Mmmm.

Because I have two cats who used to use our yard as a salad bar, and I actually like the cats, I was reluctant to use Roundup on the bermuda grass in our yard. What I ended up doing was hand-tilling my front yard, then sifting through every clump of dirt to get out all grass, underground roots, shoots, etc. We shall see how successful this ploy is.

It may amuse you to know that I periodically thought about you and your war against bermuda grass as I tilled and sifted and filled up the green bin. I had previously maintained that clover was the Alameda city plant, but I'm beginning to suspect that bermuda grass is.

Also, what is it with mail-order catalogs and bulbs? White Flower Farms, you are an enabler!

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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