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compound interest

Image found here I don’t have a lot of botanical vocabulary at my fingertips anymore, but I do know a compound leaf when I see one*, since I’ve always had a pronounced weakness for them. If you’ve got a potted Fatsia japonica tucked in against the baseboards near a south-facing window, chances are [...]

elephant season

A few tropicals in pots can be a fine sendoff to summer. Here about a mile from the ocean, the big-leaved tropicals like colocasia, the “elephant ears,” bide their time until the temperatures start to really feel uncomfortable. By the time we’re whining about the heat in August, they’re in their element, coolly unfurling the [...]

staining concrete

One of the more excruciating projects this past summer involved the tiled patio on the east side of the house, photo taken 10/3/10. The indoor tile left over from a friend’s DIY project was a mistake the day we laid it down almost two decades ago. It was the right price, as in free, but [...]

the learning garden at Venice High School

I’m late posting about the Learning Garden, a garden stop on the May 2012 Venice Garden & Home Tour, and today the LG offers a class open to the public on vermiculture/composting, a deadline I had been hoping to beat. Late notice is better than none, I suppose, and there will always be more classes [...]

summer notes

Though I’ve been practicing lots of garden math — some addition but mostly subtraction and a little light division — the garden still seems almost unchanged and very familiar this summer, and I haven’t decided yet if that’s necessarily a good thing. The Amicia zygomeris is back, still robust and healthy. Evergreen in a zone [...]

Bike to Work Day

Today, 5/18/12, is Bike to Work Day, which I heard over the car radio stuck in traffic. So I have no cycling adventure to recount, but it’s the perfect opportunity to share this very cool photo of Humphrey Bogart cycling on a Warner Brothers Studio backlot circa 1945. The photograph comes from The Philadelphia Inquirer [...]

saturday’s clippings 5/12/12

Quote of the week: “I can’t believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus,” philosophized a 26-year-old woman who torched a 3,500-year-old bald cypress known as The Senator last January, one of the 10 oldest trees on earth, while smoking a meth pipe in the tree’s hollow trunk. Orlando Sentinel story here. Update on [...]

Carex pansa

“Somewhere out there in nature, he reasoned, there had to be a grass…that would be naturally low-growing, drought-tolerant, evergreen, and trampleable: a natural lawn grass.” – The New Yorker, August 19, 1996, “The Grassman.”

Carex pansa, the California meadow sedge, as seen in a garden on the recent Mar Vista garden tour, blanketing the backyard [...]

friday’s clippings 4/6/12

I trust we’ve all safely arrived at the doorstep of this spring weekend relatively intact. My car is in the shop from a minor crash a few weeks back, my first since I can’t remember when, and the rental has taken some getting used to. After decades driving a manual transmission, I’m probably one of [...]

fertilizer and its discontents

My dainty coronilla reminds me of Cytisus battandieri a little bit, which is another member of the vast legume family. All legumes have the ability to convert and “fix” atmospheric nitrogen, making it available to plants as a natural fertilizer.

“Although it is the most abundant element in the atmosphere, nitrogen from the [...]