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Pre-Lockdown Visit to the Ruth Bancroft Garden

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    With no rain in the forecast and many Northern California counties on the verge of lockdown, I took a drive to Walnut Creek for a long overdue fall/winter stroll through the Ruth Bancroft Garden. As it turned out the new restrictions that were imposed the following Monday did not lead to closure of the garden. It was a pleasant sunny and cool morning , with some interesting goings on at the garden.    The ladder in the background is staged for staff who would be installing the frost cover over the newley renovated shade structure in the center of the garden. Renovated might not be completely accurate -the old structure which had seen better days was completely torn down and rebuilt .   RBG has also followed the lead of many other botanical gardens in the US with a holiday light spectacle to keep the revenue flowing in winter. I give events like this a pass but at least it gets people into the garden -maybe some who have never visited and might be prompted to return. The large ligh

When You Are Home Every Day Things Get Done

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   The home and garden improvement wave unleashed by the pandemic did not pass me by. With more time at home than I've had in at least 30 years I was reminded daily of the deterioration I had allowed to accumulate here. It became pretty clear in late spring that travel was probably not going to happen til at least fall, and that has turned out to be overly optimistic. So the travel budget was up for grabs. It was easy to pivot funds to home repair.   Exhibit A...The dry rotting white post and beam on the upper right is what remains of a structure that covered this entire patio. It had been deteriorating for quite some time and I gradually disassembled most of it myself and had the rotting lumber hauled away This last part of the structure was not something I would be able to do on my own.    It involved a post attached to concrete and what remained of Rosa banksia lutea. If you look at the green blob of foliage far left center in this photo, it will orient you to the location of  t

Brought to You in Living Color

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 August is an iffy month in my garden. There has been no rain for months, summer color is starting to wane and it can be hot. We have had an extra dose of triple digit days this year and I am not a fan. My trip to the coast at the beginning of the month was a most welcome journey into cool weather. At Mendocino Coast Botanical gardens the borders are not in the least weary- the pacific is just down the path , and it never gets hot-not weatherwise. The heat radiating  from the exhuberant high summer perennial beds was of the most agreeable sort. Lest you think I went a bit mad with the saturation and vibrance  sliders in Lightroom, other than toning down some highlights and a bit of cropping, these images are barely edited.  The combination in this bed of Helenium, Teucrium 'Purple Tails', Verbena bonariensis, and  Rudbeckia with a backdrop of Cotinus 'Grace' was anything but subtle. This Persicaria lives in the bed on the backside of the Cotinus

Dahlia Season at the Coast

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 August Bloomday did not come to fruition for me-3 days in a row of temperatures north of 105 even crisped up the zonal Geraniums. A rude awakening after spending a few days at a quiet inn on the north coast where temps stayed in the pleasant mid-60's . Now that it's not 105 anymore I could actually go outside and trim up the torched plants however now we have the smoke, the ash, the grey and gold horizons all around. Fires are in my county and all counties adjacent so the breeze that blows the smoke away from one direction  blows it in from another.   My Dahlias did not fare well in the c-note temps. And prior to the the heat wave they have been beset with leaf miners that have made a hot mess of their foliage. I have been spending a fair amount of time researching options for control for next year-at this point in the summer the damage is done and I just have to live with the unsightly result. One bit of advice was to pick off and destroy any leaves as soon as they start t