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Maintaining Your New California Garden: Life-friendly Fall Pruning

  Mother Nature's Backyard in November: illustrating life-friendly fall pruning. Late fall and early winter are important prun...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Planting Day - 2/25/12

Hard to believe it - we've got the garden mostly planted.  CSU Dominguez Hills greenhouse volunteers Karen Schaffer (with husband Dick), Celina Henderson and Connie Vadheim moved the plants from the Biology Dept. greenhouse to the garden on Friday.  After placing the plants, they watered the planting holes in proparation for Saturday's planting day.

There still was too much decomposed granite (DG) in the pathway; but other than that we were ready for planting.

Planting day was refreshingly cool. Joaquin Berazza and Kelley Dawdy worked on laying the mortarless brick pathway.

Beginning to lay the brick

At the end of the day

Our planting team started in before 9:00 a.m. with the large central 'Gardena heritage/habitat garden' area.  The plants in this area are primarily those that once grew in the local area.

Celina Henderson and Rosalie Preston planted the rain garden - mostly rushes and sedges, but including a few other wetland species like Sweetscent (Pluchea odorata) and Seep Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus).

Bob Newcomb and Evelyn Mendoza (CSUDH) worked on the shade area, planting Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea [Sambucus cerulea], Catalina Perfume (Ribes viburnifolium), Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea), Snowberry (Symphoricarpos mollis) and other shade-loving natives.


Fortunately, we have plenty of good wood chip mulch from the City of Gardena.  While Fran Woods brought loads of mulch, Amanda Ceballos and others carefully spread it between the plants.

Yannick Nga and Ricardo Arechiga converted the mountain of decomposed granite into a pathway, one wheelbarrow load at a time.  Many thanks to them for finishing this tough - and dirty - job.

Mary Hollifield, Karen Schaffer, Rick Nolan and Carol Roelin continued planting into the afternoon.  Along the wall the team is planting a native hedgerow with Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia),  California Coffeeberry (Frangula californica [Rhamnus californica]), Chaparral Whitethorn (Ceanothus leucodermis) and Lemonadeberry (Rhus integrifolia).

Soaker hoses were placed, then the entire area covered with mulch

By the end of the day, about 3/4 of the garden was planted.   Karen Husmann and Connie Vadheim carried many loads of brick to the bricklayers, making their job go more smoothly.  

Many thanks to all our hardworking volunteers!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hardscape = Hard Work: Second Big Work Day - 2/18/12

Kelley and Connie started the fence post holes during the week.  Alas, there were huge concrete chunks right where the garden entry posts need to go!!  Too big to remove, so it was back to the drawing board.   We ended up setting some post anchors (CB-44s) in cement.  we'll show you the completed posts in our next blog post.

With the help of several strong volunteers from CSU Dominguez Hills, all of the fence posts were set on Sat. morning.  Now you can actually see the outline of the garden.

Kelley and Joaquin Barraza first worked on the brick planter. This will be a focal point of the garden - and ultimately have a bubbler fountain.

Satchi helps to smooth the mortar

Volunteers placed benderboard to edge the brick paths...

...while Joaquin laid a drystone wall on one side of the rain garden - nice touch!

Karen and Connie planted three trees ('Anna' Apple, Hollyleaf Redberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia) and Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)) that will be espaliered along the block wall.

There's still some topsoil to move into place.  But all will be ready by next Saturday (2/25/12), which is the big planting day.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Big Work Day - February 11, 2012

February 11, 2012 was an important day for Mother Nature's Backyard.  On Friday, supplies of lumber and a load of fill dirt were delivered.

Early Saturday, work continues on the pervious pathway. Our garden will demonstrate 5 different ways to make pathways that allow rainwater the infiltrate the soil.

Kelley and Joaquin (master mason) lay sandstone path

 Roof beams were placed thanks to an ingenious small crane - the donation of crane time and manpower made this work go suprisingly quickly.

While the roof was framed, the rest of us did some serious earth-moving and landscape work.

Preparing the pathways was serious work - our soils are not the easiest to work with. Thank heavens the weather was pleasantly cool.

CSU Dominguez Hills students David Budde and Alan
Schwindt working hard on the pathways

Friends of Madrona Marsh Board President Bill Arrowsmith
did some heavy pick and shovel work

At the end of the day, our hard work paid off.  Mother Nature's Garden is beginning to look like a real garden, thanks to the help of many dedicated volunteers!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Trenching, Irrigation & Finishing the Porch Deck - Jan. 30 - Feb. 4, 2012

We spent some hours digging trenches for the irrigation system this week. Hard work - no two ways about it!     Our soil is mostly clay - and has chunks of old asphalt, bricks & concrete.   We all are sore.

Kelley ponders an irrigation question

The best news is that Rob, Andy and Jim finished the deck - and it looks pretty nice.

The pathways are progressing as well.  The part of the pathway shown below is made of 'urbanite' (pieces of recycled concrete paving) set in decomposed granite.  It looks pretty nice, is inexpensive and lets rainwater infiltrate into the soil.  The next section of paving - as well as the patio area - will be made of sandstone (see above on pallets).
Close-up of 'urbanite' pathway

'Urbanite' pathway with planter/seats of the same material