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Spring Clean for the May Queen

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I've been busy cleaning over this gorgeous warm weekend.  My focus Saturday was around the raised garden beds.  I also managed to get this rain chain planted out with succulent cuttings, they'll be in dappled shade when the birch tree leaves appear.  We will see if this ends up being cute. I filled a brass one as well for the front of the house, attached to the gutter - I think I like the black better? Anyway, they will both look better as they fill in. You can see I've got clutter everywhere to put away, embarrassing! Well, I'm just going to show the whole mess of it.  Here is the before.  This is definitely the "junk drawer" of my garden.  But it's about time to put tomato plants in so I need to get cleaning.  I'm waiting on a few more cauliflower before I clear those beds.  There are also radishes & carrots that are delicious right now. Last year I struggled getting to the tomatoes because of a too closely planted rose, Princess Alexandra of Ken
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 Rise up! I believe this is the first dry bed I attempted in the back.  And of course, I didn't pile up enough soil as I should have.  Time for a boost.   Wanting to add a couple of the Phylica pubescens here really moved this to priority #1, meaning better drainage.  As I was digging deep under (to add pumice & gypsum) I was reminded what soil I started with - pure clay.  That's not a rock, it's a clunk of clay I gently squeezed together.  YUCK!  After digging some good chunks of clay out and adding pumice/gypsum, I amended with 4 bags of sandy loam, gravel, handful of sulfur and a basic cactus mix - most importantly, no phosphorus.  So we will see how this experiment turns out.  If the Phylica don't make it, at least the bed is prepped for cacti and/or protea family.  What a little baby, I wish it was bigger.  Hopefully I get to see the tips of the branches glow in the sun someday. I tried to restrain myself from filling this area, very difficult for me.  I did ra
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 I had a spontaneous outing to Richmond yesterday.  My initial purpose was to get some bagged sandy loam from Acapulco Rock & soil.  Each 3/4 cu ft bag is $8.15.  If I could go back in time, I definitely would've had a yard or two of this delivered and mixed it into planting beds.  And then I stopped at American Soil & Stone (about .5 mile down the street from Acapulco) to grab some small boulder/rubble.  I've removed a few sad soggy agave from this bed, I need to build the bed up to provide better drainage so I don't have to worry about the rain.  Although this year we haven't had flooding, it will just be great to have this "done right". I REALLY missed having Ivan at American Soil & Stone, I needed his strength!  He can pick-up some massive boulders I cannot possibly lift or get into the car.  I'm already planning a trip to go back with him & Sophia to help me get my hands on some larger stone. And I ended up having time to spare before
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 Spring is in the air!  A week of blue sky & sunshine is very welcome. The Abutilon "Talini's Pink' flowering maple has some nice clumps of blooms opening.    I know rosemary is common, but the early purpley-blue flowers make it a keeper.  Plus it's fabulous with crispy potatoes & garlic. Does the flower look purple to you, or more blue?  I think people tend to not quite agree on what is purple & what is blue.   String of Pearls making some cute blooms, hanging from the cherry tree. And lots of clean-up this time of year.  The older I get the harder it is to sit and/or squat for hours.  My hip!  My fabulous idea of a "ribbon" of black lava rock picks up lots of needles, and the rock is lightweight I can't just use the blower - it's blows everything! Better. I'm not meaning to complain, it's GREAT to be outside! Moss rock sprouted a nice spot of moss :) Blue barrel cactus have sprouted their cute circus tent looking buds. I adore th
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 Looks like we are headed into a nice drying out period.  Livermore didn't get too overloaded with rain, thankfully.  I'm going to share some more pictures of the Aloes that are beginning to wake up, some of these blooming for me for the first time! Aloe mutabilis  Aloe ferox x capitata -blooms a little damaged from being moved/planted but still that nice fluffy capitata look. It's raining now, but these are so bright it's joyful to look out the kitchen window and see the blooms.  Aloe munchii a little behind but should be open soon - along with A. tangerine  I like this little vignette (by the AC unit) - this area used to hold a too big for the planting bed Bay Laurel.  I liked the laurel, but too tight quarters.  I planted it, I'm the problem it's me.  Ivan helped me get the base of the hefty roots out.  Although I'm seeing the pedilanthus is absolutely NOT taking off against the house.  Which is ridiculous, this is a sweet spot. A. Tatangerine's have