New Years Day status report

It's sunny today, but there's a storm system moving in on Thursday. It carries enough rain to bring us up to "normal" for this time of year. I think San Francisco is currently at 70% of normal.

In the meantime, I have a list of garden tasks, large and small.

I thinned the bamboo a bit. I can use these mostly straight poles to build a teepee for sugar snap pees this spring.


Do you see how this goes cobble-grass-cobble?


Well, until yesterday it used to go cobble-cobble-grass, which made it hard to do this.


I'm not sure how I managed to do that in the first place, because this is one of my favorite places to sit and observe the garden.


This is one view I have when I sit in that chair. The camera has a way of making everything seem in yo face, so please try to imagine a less cramped feeling.


This patch of plantless dirt is the site of my future grassy transect, an idea I stole directly from the garden of my guru in Menlo Park.


Once upon a time, California had thousands of acres of native prairie grassland, but 99% of it has been lost to agriculture and development. I have in mind a scrim of native perennial bunchgrasses and wildflowers. I'm growing it all from seed right now, and my scrim will start here.

And when I buy my swing chair in a few weeks, I can put it here, in view of my grassy transect.


I have Miner's Lettuce currently growing under site of future swing. I want it to spread. It's fairly weedy hopefully it will do that. If not, I have more seed.


I've decided that I don't like to grow greens in my garden as an actual crop. I'd rather dedicate space for more interesting vegetables and let the greens grow like weeds. I have purslane too, but it seems to like a sunnier location. Miners lettuce likes shade.

I found a gift certificate to a local nursery in my Christmas stocking, and I used it to buy a rose named 'Honey Bouquet'.


It's honey-colored, and has a powerful fragrance. I suppose it's possible that I might come to appreciate a rose with a light or mild fragrance at some point in my life, but I'm not there yet. Why have something mild when you can have something powerful? The honey colored roses will look nice near the yellow-striped bamboo and I like to see roses growing near vegetables. Also, Guy calls me "honey bunny" so I like the name "honey bouquet".

Speaking of the brugmansia, some animal's been climbing it. It's all scratched up and I've found some broken branches.


Likely culprits (in order of likeliness): a cat, raccoon, or possum. My fence serves as a sort of corridor for wildlife. When I can't sleep, sometimes I visit the garden at night and I will occasionally see animals utilizing the fence in their nocturnal travels.


I bought this pitcher plant yesterday too. Isn't it cute?


This is some species from the genus Darlingtonia, commonly called Cobra Lily. You can see why.


California has a native Darlingtonia, but I'm not sure about this plant. So I'm on the carnivorous plant bandwagon. Now I have to find some sundews...

I had to buy peat for the pitcher so I added some to the dwarf blueberry ('Top Hat') to get it ready for spring.


I re-caulked my rain barrels and they seem to be water tight now.


And I'm keeping up with the diurnal temperature fluctuation on my seeds. It's 12 hours outside, and then 12 hours on the heating pad, covered with row cover. I execute the shift change every day around 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. It's a lot of work, and I hope I will be pleased with the results.


It's just January, but spring is springing...in my back 40 (feet)!


Anonymous said...

Welcome... Congratulations... Mazel Tov... Bon Voyage... Wonderful stuff!

Anonymous said...

Your new name works for me. Congrats on the "new digs." You have a lot of plans for 2008; I can't wait to see them come to fruition. And, yes, that new pitcher plant is just too cute. I want one!

chuck b. said...


This name works better for me too.

I should have said that pitcher plant (Genus Darlingtonia) was *darling*. D'oh! Missed opportunity.

JvA said...

I can't wait to see how your grass transect works out! How tall do you think it will be?

Like the new name, though you may want to consider capitalizing "feet" in the parenthetical.

Happy new year!

chuck b. said...

yeah, otherwise it's like, "(and feet!)", huh?

I changed it to capital F, but it's not showing up that way when I load the blog. In fact, it's all lower-case in my browser, which how I first did it before I went back and capitalized M and B.

Annie in Austin said...

What a great way to start the new year - new blog, new name and a new rose that promises to be gorgeous.

The animals don't go after the Brugmansia, but the squirrels knocked off a third of the plumeria leaves using the plant as a staircase. I hope your Angel trumpet is okay.

Congratulations Chuck - Happy New Year to you and Guy,

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christopher C. NC said...

The Back 40 eh? I get it. I'll always think of you as a whore to culture though.

Germinating seeds, its like I have to re-learn the whole process and make them ready on some sort of a schedule. It really messes with my highly developed procrastination skills.

Frances, said...

Now a name that won't need a hyphen on my favorites list, yea! Still love the same old writing, photos, topics though. Honey.

lisa said...

I like your plans! LOVE the pitcher plant! Heh...now that you're on the carniverous plant bandwagon, does that make us "carnies"? I'm with you on the roses-big fragrance all the way! Feel the power!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Chuck!

I guess I'm the only one who LOVED the old blog title - it always made me thing of the old Dorothy Parker quip :
"You can lead a Whore to Culture but you can't make her think..."
- which is what you were referring to, I imagine.

Also - I like provocative brattiness!
But your writing is always fantastic and entertaining and informative, no matter what the title!
I'll get your new title on my blogroll as soon as my editor gets back in the office (the perils of blogging for a magazine!)

lisa said...

BTW...the only change you made that I don't like is how comments don't open in a separate window anymore, now I have to do it manually. This is no big deal except when looking at older posts, cuz' then when you hit the "back" arrow it takes you to the first page, and not where you left off. And the entire thing is only an issue because I am really, really lazy. :)

Annie in Austin said...

I'm glad Lisa mentioned the comment set-up and thank you for changing it, Chuck. I prefer the pop-up window, too... that way you can still see the original post as you write the comment.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

lisa said...

Yea...thank you for changing the comment back to pop-up. Yay!

mmw said...

D. californica: Darlingtonia is monospecific. Also, it's technically precarnivorous: doesn't produce enzymes to digest the bugs, but depends on the bacteria floating around to do the job.

Guess who got the new carnivorous plants book for Christmas? (and I made the dumb pun for you when I got mine).