legless-lizards-1-BLL-Head

Critters

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Ive lived in the foothills of the Los Angeles Crest Mountains for about 12years. When I first bought my teeny tiny home, my priority was of course my garden. Digging in the sandy Rocky soil, led me to find some odd items and critters; an empty bullet casing, beautiful glass bottles and porcelain toys that I can only imagine were remnants from the legal back yard burnings of the day. Apparently, prior to my ownership, my whole neighborhood was shut down while the bomb squad detonated a live grenade in my yard….. something which was NOT disclosed in the final sale of my house! As for critters, while digging in my potentially explosive soil, Ive come across the wonderful sci-fi looking Potato Bug, Aka. Jerusalem Cricket, more formally known as Stenopelmatus Fuscus…. but I digress. My tale today is to relish in the wonder of the Blind Legless Lizard. Quite…

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phytoremediation

MY AGING BRAIN

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As mentioned before in my blog “On how to procrastinate for a Green Roof Exam” I have been preparing to become a certified GRP (Green Roof Professional). I have been in what seems the eternal task of stretching my poor old brain, through the act of studying. I have come to embrace that I am a poor student. Well perhaps not poor student but rather I am not “studious” or brilliant at test taking. It fills me with anxiety and guilt. Anxiety that I will fail, guilt that I am not studying enough. But I think I have finally reached that point where information is taking hold and memorization is becoming knowledge. I find myself dreaming about roofing membranes and the composition of growing media. Words like ‘endoplasmic reticulum’, phytoremediation,‘rhizodegradation’ and my favorite ‘merristems’, float about my brain. Sloshing around my brain with roofing terminology, mixing the “green arts” with…

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My New Obsession

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How to avoid studying for a green roof exam! Convert your bedroom into a dinning room and obsess over every detail. Find objects and furnishings for said new dining room. Get distracted by shiny objects, mostly metal and mirror. Realize that a terrarium is a must have item. Get overly excited by carnivorous plants. Find abstract objects to put in terrarium. Get obsessed with fussing and spritzing terrarium and hunting aphids to feed carnivorous plants in said terrarium. Damn it!! Where is a bloody aphid when you need one?

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Manduca quinquemaculata.

Manduca quinquemaculata.

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The dreaded Tomato Hornworm; loathed by tomato growers everywhere, yet magnificent in its transformation from horned caterpillar, to the lovely sphinx moth. Bright green in colour, blending like a chameleon into the tomato plant itself, they are often not noticed until the damage is done. These voracious eaters can destroy a tomato plant in a mere day. Tell tale signs of the caterpillars arrival is the disappearance of leaves, stems and even parts of immature fruits. Another dead give away is the frass (caterpillar poop) scattered about the plant. Now the hunt is on! Start by searching immediately on the underside of the leaves above the frass. These guys are difficult to see when small but they are pretty daunting and hard to miss when fully mature. While ferocious looking, these ‘horned’ caterpillars are harmless. Yes, you could just throw them in the trash or in soapy water for a…

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Her quiet resolve & thoughtfulness

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Her quiet resolve & thoughtfulnessHer calm & ease of beingHer true concern & love of humanityHer compassion, her joyWe miss you & your generosityYour absolute commitment to community & familyIf only all of us could even be a bit like you, the world would be a better place.Kathy we miss you.In dedication to our favorite client Kathy who passed away this March of Lung Cancer. She was a dedicated & respected nurse who never smoked a day in her life. Kathy was passionate about public service, conservation & environmental stewardship. She was a friend and a great companion in the garden.For all those interested in charitable giving, lung cancer is greatly misunderstood as a “smokers disease”. 20% of lung cancers in women occur in individuals who have never smoked. Please give generously to the cancer society for research into curing lung cancer. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancer/index

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Magic of Mushrooms!

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These Lovely specimens appeared one day by Denise’s pond. Denise is Hort Inc’s office manager extraordinaire! A gardener in her own right, Denise has a beautiful 15 acre spread in Acton California. A breathtaking place at a base elevation of 2490ft. Morchella, the true morels, is a genus of edible mushrooms closely related to anatomically simpler cup fungi. The common names include dry land fish, hickory chickens, merkels or miracles and sponge mushrooms (for obvious reasons). They grow abundantly in forests which have been burned by a forest fire. The higher the intensity the fire, the higher abundance of morels. So what’s the connection in Denise’s garden you may ask? Well back in the day when “burning trash” was not considered rude or environmentally unsound, a few home fires were started by her husband David. David has since left this world but in his wake of brush clearance, the perfect…

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Oyster Mushroom Project

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I have always been interested in Mycology. Mushrooms are such a fascinating thing. Edible, medicinal, and sometimes lethal both to humans and plants; AKA the dreaded plant disease Armillaria Mellea or Oak Root Fungus. While deadly in the landscape, it too is an edible; perhaps bitter and sour but relished by some. But I digress. My mushroom saga starts from a simple box kit. Soak for 12 hours and watch the magic happen!!

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Horticultural Care Snails

Snails

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Snails: The Ugly Truth S – slimy N – nasty A – abominable I – insatibable L – loiterer S – spumous Snails: Architecture in Motion S – spectacular N – nautical A – animal I – intricate L – lover S – survivor

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Terrorist Squirrels

Squirrels

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So seemingly disarming with their fluffy tails & chipper banter but under this transparent disguise, lies a terrorist! From tree to tree like manic trapeze artists they fly, stealing fruit with abandon. And yet, so fickle, this one wont do! ” Too hard, too soft, but this one looks better” and on they go leaving a trail of half eaten food like Goldilocks & her porridge.

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Tabebuia Aurea Los Angeles

Look What’s Blooming Now!

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On my usual weekend saunter to the Montrose Farmers market two weeks ago, I was stopped in my tracks by this golden beauty Tabebuia aurea. But what’s wrong with this picture? Tabebuia blooming in early February? Seems like our warm winters are LA’s new normal. Wondering what this season will bring us? Lets hope for rain and do a collective dance under the beauty of all our Spring flowering trees blooming in Winter.

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