Saturday, May 2, 2009
More found art. The playground at my son's school was recently repainted--rather garishly, but the uprights of the basketball hoops and tetherball poles and the brightly painted surfaces create some interesting abstract compositions. Truly art all around.
A couple days ago, the local Whole Foods store starting featuring Mexican beer and salsa ingredients with this eye-catching display. Onions, hot peppers, cilantro, garlic, salt, avocados, and lime juice does it for me--although I prefer white wine with my salsa.
When I lived in Japan and came home for annual visits, I would always stop at a supermarket on the way home from the airport just to look at the mountain ranges of fruits and vegetables. The bounty in American supermarkets continues to amaze me.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Finally some rain today. We've had 0.65 inches so far this afternoon. I hope it rains all night. Two or three inches would be a real help. Last time I checked, we were still nearly 10 inches below normal for this time of year. The downside is that I'll have to re-spray the grapes with sulfur after everything dries out. (There was more rain overnight. By the morning of May 2, we had had 0.85 inches. By the end of May 3, when the rain stopped, we had had 2.05 inches--a big help.)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
First blooms of the year today on the white rose bush near the ginmokusei and on the yellow bush lupine (Lupinus arborescens).
I'm particularly happy about the lupine. It's been about 8 years since I first saw (and smelled!) these growing on the bluffs at Bodega Head. I remember seeing a wedding up there timed to coincide with the blooming of these plants and the height of the perfume they release. I collected seeds a number of times, but never got any to grow. Plants I purchased all turned out to be the blue variety, which is more common and perhaps more robust as a garden plant. I'm very pleased to finally have one of these now. I found it at one of the big plant sales at the Strybing Arboretum, at Golden Gate Park, last spring. Speaking of which, I believe the next sale there is this coming weekend. This is also referred to as Lupinus arboreus. I don't know which is correct.
Woolly blue curls (Trichostema lanatum) also began to bloom today. The buds had been swollen and purple for quite a while, but not until this morning did any of the flowers open and the first of the long curled stamens push out. I love the smell of this plant--sort of a melange of rosemary and grapefruit rind.
Forgot to mention that I stopped by Annie's Annuals, in Richmond, yesterday. It's an amazing place. I think it's probably the best nursery I've ever visited. It will probably be familiar to anyone who lives in the area. As a wholesale nursery, the place supplies just about everywhere in the bay area. You've probably seen their tags.
What makes the place special (besides the rather odd location in a fairly run-down industrial section of Richmond) is the selection. If they don't have it, it's probably not available without going on line. Well worth a visit. The only disappointment was that the prices are not much better than the same plants from Annie's Annuals at other nurseries that carry them (notably Cottage Gardens in Petaluma). As this has the feel of buying direct from the wholesaler, I had been hoping for a little more of a discount.
Still, I picked up some unusual California poppy varieties, several hard-to-find echiums, the Franciscan wallflower I've been looking for, several unusual varieties of Godetia, Lewisii in colors I've never seen before, and much more--including several attractive plants I'd never even heard of.
Finished shoot thinning, checked placement of the drop wires, and did an initial sulfur spray of the vines this afternoon. Next spraying will be in two to three weeks. The shoots are now from about two to 18 inches long, so this was a bit late to start, but the weather has been cool and dry. I don't anticipate any problems with mildew.