Showing posts from January, 2022

The not-so-good, the bad, and the ugly

♫  Suggested musical theme for this post ♫ We need to talk about some bad things today. I usually focus on the prettier sights in the garden, but, as I'm sure you know only too well, life isn't all roses and rainbows. Sometimes it's rats and hollowed out oranges: What you see above is what our entire orange tree looks like this year. My wife managed to rescue three (!) oranges from the voracious teeth of “our” roof rats. They're a problem all over town—the City of Davis even has a page dedicated to roof rats on their website—and I was far too naive to think we could coexist with them. I don't mind letting them have a few oranges, but not an entire crop! Next year, I'll be much better prepared. UPDATE:  A friend thinks squirrels could be the culprits, too. Or a combination of rats and squirrels. We do have plenty of gray squirrels, so anything is possible! Speaking of bothersome animals with sharp teeth, the *$※⁉⁂s aren't satisfied with a fruitarian diet. I

Warmer January days enjoyed by plants and people alike

January 2022 has been dry (only 0.18" of rain so far) and increasingly warm. Yesterday, January 25, we hit an afternoon high of 69°F. The sun feels good to people and plants alike. According to the calendar, spring is still months away, but the air already has a hint of spring in it. Seeing how winter is my least favorite season, I welcome any sign of spring no matter how small or faint. Sidewalk bed Let's take a look at some of the plants in the garden. After all, they're the focus of this blog. Plants may not have “feelings,” but they respond enthusiastically when the going is good. The aloe bloom is still in its early stages. As always, Aloe 'Moonglow', a fantastic hybrid by South African breeder Leo Thamm/ Sunbird Aloes , and Aloe petricola  lead the charge. Left: Aloe petricola   Right: Aloe 'Moonglow' Left:  Aloe petricola   Right:  Aloe  'Moonglow' Aloe  'Moonglow'. The agave on the bottom left is Agave macroacantha Back:  Aloe  '

Another morning walk in the UC Davis Arboretum

I don't usually post about the same place twice in a week. However, Stella and I just had another wonderful morning walk in the UC Davis Arboretum and I want to share some of the photos I took. Unlike last Saturday when it was misty, this time the sky was a deep blue—California blue, as my mother likes to call it.  UC Davis water town as seen through the fine filigree of a majestic valley oak ( Quercus lobata ) The area inside the magenta rectangle is what is covered in this post. Map © UC Davis. Another view of the UC Davis water tower, with a Brahea armata on the right and a large clump of spineless prickly pear ( Opuntia ficus-indica ) on the left While most deciduous plants are still bare, there are some early signs of spring. One my favorite acacias, the pearl acacia ( Acacia podalyriifolia ), has started to flower: Pearl acacia ( Acacia podalyriifolia ) Pearl acacia ( Acacia podalyriifolia ) In recent years, the Arboretum staff has planted many agaves, including Agave ovati