Planting Bare Roots in the Spring

gardening

I ordered a bare root Rheinland Astilbe this spring. When I got it, I was a bit tired and put off planting it until the next day. It looked like a dried up root with bean sprouts protruding from the other end. Not too attractive. I read the instructions and put it in the soil and gave it a drink.

The next few days left me worrying about my plant. It didn’t look very happy. The bean sprouts were drooping and I did not think it would make it. However, I kept watering it.

One day, I went out and the bean sprouts had turned to beautiful green leaves! Wow! How did that happen? I won’t ask questions, I’ll just be thankful it is thriving. Now, every day it grows a bit taller and a few more leaves are growing.

I should have taken pictures in the beginning. But anyway…here is what it looks like today…

If all goes well, it will have beautiful pink flowers in early summer. As always, Happy Gardening!

Lavender Makes a Comeback

gardening

I posted earlier about how the bunnies thought my two young lavender plants were a salad bar. I then put up fencing around the lavender and gave the plants some extra loving care. They started to grow back and look healthy. Yesterday, to my great surprise, one of the lavender plants had produced it’s first lavender flower! Not quite in bloom yet but will be very soon. That is the amazing thing about gardening, the big changes from day to day. As always, Happy Gardening!

Spring 2020 – Our Bluebirds are Parents!

gardening

I’ve been keeping an eye on the bluebird house. If you’ve caught my earlier posts, you will know that we have a bluebird house that attracts families each spring. This spring is no exception. Today, I spotted the cutest little baby bluebird poking it’s head out the hole.

My son loaned me his tri-pod and I set my camera-up and took more than a few baby pictures and videos. I hope you will enjoy looking at a few of my favorite bluebird baby pictures… Happy Spring!

Friday Was Not JUST Another Day With Julie

gardening, life

If anyone noticed, Another Day With Julie did not post on Friday. Why? Well, Friday was not just another day with Julie. But regardless, it was quite a day!

I was having quite a lovely morning. Went outside to tackle some weeds. I was almost finished and decided to spray a few weeds with vinegar out back, near the garden shed. That’s when I saw something move to my left, right by the shed. A long, slithery, striped green and yellow thing. EEK!!!! I ran shrieking into the garage, shut the door and entered the house, never looking back. I do NOT like snakes (or mice for that matter)!

picture of a Santa Cruz Gartersnake, credit Dawn Ellner, Flickr
photo from: greennature.com/california-snakes Of course I didn’t stay and take a picture!

Now, feeling quite safe, I went about my business inside. I decided a bit later to watch an episode of This is Us that I had missed when it aired earlier. So, I sat down to watch it and then after a bit got thirsty and went to get an iced coffee. When I came back into the room, I saw something looking at me in front of the sliding glass door. Oh great! There is a lizard in my house!

This is not good. Living in Southern California, we are used to lizards. However, I do not like them in my house. We have had them in the house before and they are VERY hard to get out. They are tricky little guys. They are fast and not only can they run, they can climb. So if you corner them, they will just climb up the wall. They can also get injured pretty easily if one tries to place a container over them.

Since we are all home due to the Covid-19 restrictions, I have helpers. And I need help. This is not a one person job by any means. However, two of my potential helpers are in phone/internet meetings. Luckily, my son (while doing homework) was available.

I backed slowly out of the room so as not to scare the lizard. If it got away, who knows if we would ever find it. I then ran into the kitchen and got an empty yogurt container. Luckily, I had just washed one out, saving it for some practical use. This was it. Then I ran to my son’s room and gathered him. He was none too excited but was my hero and came to help.

The plan was to chase the lizard out the sliding door. First however, the door had to be opened without freaking out the lizard. Then it would have to be chased out the door. Easy enough or so one would think.

My son was armed with the yogurt container in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. My job was to go outside and move the screen door out of the way and then when given the signal open the sliding door and close it after my son chased the lizard out. One may think I had the easy job. Ok. Remember the snake? He was still out there somewhere now wasn’t he?

So, I make my way cautiously to the sliding door which is not so far from the garden shed. I open the doors and all is going to plan. My son chases the lizard. I start to shut the door. The lizard gets spooked and back in he goes. So, I too head back into the house through the other entrance and help the troops fight the battle from inside.

The sliding door is open. When I was outside I saw a lizard crawling on the side of the house. I am praying he doesn’t decide to come in as well. But back to the lizard on hand. My son and I talk strategy. I grab a large drawing board and position it so the lizard can’t get through my side or into a pile of boxes in front of the door. My son tries to get the lizard to go out. It is now in the corner. One turn and it could be free but it starts to climb the wall. My son stops him and we start making noise. Doesn’t work. The lizard is playing dead. Finally he moves ever so slightly. My son is able to scoop him up into the yogurt container and the lizard, container and all are tossed out the door. The door is slamed shut and locked. We have won the battle!

Lizard on side of house. Not the guy who got inside.

The whole episode took an extremely long time. I was exhausted. Apparently, we were a bit loud in our capture. Both husband and daughter heard our ruckus and wondered what on earth we had been up to.

After all that, I finally did get to finish my show. However, I just couldn’t be in that room anymore. So, I moved the laptop to the living room and watched from there. I have returned to the room now and as I am writing this, I am wondering if the lizard might have followed me inside when I ran in from the snake. Hmmmm…..

Getting Rid of Earwigs (Pincher Bugs)

gardening

Earwigs (or as my kids refer to them) Pincher Bugs can be a pain. They can eat plants in the garden. My daughter recently found some in the house and unsuccessfully tried to drown them. They are tricky little buggers. So how does one get rid of these creepy, little pests? Safely…

The answer seems to be with oil. I used canola, however, any type is sure to do the trick. I poured a small amount of canola oil into two containers (disposable food containers…a shallow yogurt container and a plastic container my cookies came in). We have two garden sheds and they both have pincher bugs in them. So I put a container of oil in each of the sheds, just set them down on the floor of the shed near the spot I saw most of the pincher bugs and shut the door.

As pincher bugs are nocturnal (although I still see them during the day, especially if they are disturbed), like dark places or moisture, I let them have at it over night. When I opened shed number one in the morning…Success!! Dead pincher bugs were floating in the oil. On to shed number two…again Success!!

Earwigs (pincher bugs) floating in oil in cookie container

This method of eliminating the pincher bugs was super easy and was very effective. As I like to use household ingredients that are not poisonous to me in and around my home, this was a good solution. Once the outdoor infestation is toned down, I will asume they will not be making their way indoors either. As always, Happy Gardening!

Spring has Arrived and the Bluebirds are Back!

gardening

Ah what a glorious day it is! The kids and I just got back from a walk and my son noticed a bluebird on the birdhouse. Looks like another family is moving in. My husband confirmed this is indeed the case, as the birdhouse door was ajar and a nest was inside. As not to disturb the nest, but to keep the door shut, he made a quick fix with some twine. I can not wait to meet the next generation of bluebirds!

The flowers are also thriving in the yard. Such beautiful colors right now. My favorite time of year for our front yard plants as everything is blooming, budding, and brilliant.

The orange and lemon trees are full of fruit. That means plenty of orange juice and fresh lemon pies! I picked 25 oranges and it does not look like I touched the tree!

Happy Spring!

Peter Rabbit and the Lavender

gardening

I should have known better. I let my guard down in the garden and Peter Rabbit (or one of his buddies) made a smorgasbord out of my young lavender plants. Oh no!

I have two other lavender plants that are always in bloom and the rabbits never touch them. I had not thought that lavender would need protecting, however, I suppose the younger plants were more to the liking of the bunnies. I have since constructed a couple of wire fences to protect my two young lavender plants and staked them in the ground so they will not blow away.

As can be seen in the photo, the weeds are making a come back. I guess I’ve been slacking in more than one way in the garden. I have recently purchased a three-pack of new garden gloves as I had worn holes in the fingertips of my old pair; and the weather is gorgeous so no more excuses. Happy gardening!

January in So Cal

gardening

It may be winter, but in Southern California the sun still shines. It is mid January and the daffodil bulbs have popped making it look more like spring. The lavender is constantly in bloom as are many flowers. The orchard is a buzz with bees excited by the blossoms. Oranges and lemons are ready to be picked. My husband often brings in some lemons when they are ripe. Is he hoping for a lemon meringue pie? That does sound good!

Making Garden Sleeves

gardening

I can not stand to be hot when I am gardening. For this reason, I do not like to wear long sleeves in the warm seasons. However, this is not always a good thing.

Not wearing sleeves when gardening has caused me to get into some itchy situations. Some plants can irritate the skin and it is best to wear sleeves when working around them. Hence, the idea of garden sleeves.

Garden sleeves can be made by cutting an old shirt slightly above the elbow, turning it under to sew a casing, and adding elastic. If there are no old shirts to be had, or a specific material is desired, a sleeve can be made by using a pattern piece from a sewing pattern for a shirt. Genius! I happened to come across a pattern in my stash for a garden sleeve (Butterick 5506). I had bought the pattern with the intention of making the hat, which I never did. So now, I will use the pattern to make my garden sleeves.

Completed Sleeves

The sleeves can be removed when the itchy task is complete. In this way, one can keep doing their gardening without changing clothes or overheating in a long shirt. Happy Gardening!