Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Euphorbia bicompacta

aka African Milk Bush

A great drought tolerant plant known by many names and introduced to me as an African Poinsettia.

I initially did not have a lot of success with this plant, but since planting it under a live oak, where it gets Summer shade and Winter sun, it's been thriving so long as I water it regularly.

Its leaves look soft but are oddly rubbery to the touch. It can be grown into a small bush or is suitable for container planting. It's also easy to propagate by rooting cuttings taken in Spring or Summer.

This plant has many common names. What do you call it?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Lawn in July?!! In SoCal?!!

Can you say "out of touch"?

New sod being put in a Northwest Pasadena residence being reno'd-to-flip
My jaw literally dropped this morning when I saw pallets after pallets of sod being delivered to a neighboring house currently being reno'd-to-flip.

It's not that I'm anti-lawn, but lawns are pretty big water wasters, not to mention the toxic-cocktail-upkeep they require to look nice. But this is Southern California in the middle of its worst drought in history?!! Give me a break!

Putting in a brand new lawn is hard enough to justify in this area, but putting one in on July 23?!! It's not only carelessness, it's borderline insanity. This is the time of year where the sun is at its hottest and where our average temperatures are at some of their highest (around 90ºF/32ºc). And they will continue to climb all the way through the end of August (to almost 92ºF/33ºc) and stay very high well into September. That's VERY HOT weather to be putting in new sod...

How they will be able to water it without breaking the city's ordinance will be interesting to see because the house is not occupied and the only permissible form of watering is by hand... Sprinklers can only be used twice a week and only either on Tuesday or Saturday... with no runoff...

Friday, June 26, 2015

At first birds ate all my fruit, then stopped...

About six Brown Turkey figs in the past few days.  Hooray, the birds are finally allowing me to eat some of my own fruit. Thank you Birds!

In all fairness, I think that in this part of SoCal, there was a shortage of food (in nature) this Spring especially to feed the little ones. My fruit production is several weeks late this year, across the board. I think this may be a phenomenon caused by our very warm winters these past couple years, but especially this year, as well as the drought. If everything is late, there could have been less foods than usual when the eggs hatched and the little ones needed to be fed. 

The problem went away by itself in the past week or 10 days. No netting or other anti-bird measures required. 

I do strongly believe that gardening is a partnership. We do not do all the work so we should not reap all the rewards. I love birds and they take care of a lot of pests. 

Better pay the birds in kinds than giving our hard-earned cash to Monsanto, Bayer, Dow Chemical and the likes. 

Maybe I romanticize the whole thing a bit, but at the same time, I really want to give my new ecocentric method a good try. And so far, so good. Even though the year had not started too well, I think we may be back on track.