With help from martes
, I've spent the last couple of days planting more manzanita plants on the hill. Lots of dirty, muddy work. I wanted to get them in while the ground is still saturated from the rains.
Good news: a lot more plants survived than I had originally thought. Several desert mallows and matalija poppies are still alive (including one that I dug up, before I realized that though the top was quite dead, the root ball was still wick and creating new shoots). About 2/3's of the manzanita survived as well. Ironically, the new 1-gal plants I got were probably from the same planting as the ones I got last year, as they're larger than the ones I got delivered and about the same size as the ones in the ground already.
Two new trees to be excited about: I got a pair of Mini Royal Cherry trees
and a pair of Surinam Cherry trees
! I'm very excited about both fruit trees.
Angelenos-- ever notice that there are no fruiting cherry trees in SoCal? That's because cherry trees need around 800 hours of freezing temperatures to stimulate them to fruit. The Mini Royal is a cherry tree that will fruit even in areas that don't get any days of freezing temperatures! They also fruit fairly early, with fruit similar to a bing cherry. Finally, a cherry tree in my backyard again!
The Surinam cherry is a tree I've been meaning to get for a while now. Their fruit is neat: it looks like a cherry-sized lantern, with vertical ridges and colors from a bright red to almost black. They grow wild in Florida, apparently, and are often used as hedges there. Ever since I tried one, I've wanted a tree of my own and now I have two!
Talk about a lot of muddy, exhausting work: up steep hillsides, clinging on with a digging tool to keep from sliding down, mud and more mud. I'm not sure why I find this so enjoyable, but I do. At least this time I didn't injure myself. The dogs helped by digging huge holes where they weren't needed...oh, and I hate gophers and squirrels more than ever: aside from the huge erosion and landslide risk they create, they also have been chewing through the drip tubing. I had to make at least two dozen splices where the evil things chewed through them. Much thanks to Roz for the needed help! She'll make a fine ditch-digger someday.Spider-haters, read no further!
PS, I found the largest black widow spider I've ever seen on the hill.
Remember, I've seen a LOT of black widow spiders. SoCal has tons: they really have adapted well to urban environments, unfortunately. This one was HUGE: I had turned a rock over to check the drip-tubing it was holding down and she was right there, somewhat torpid (thankfully). I took pictures, then stuck her back under her rock (if this was in a building or heavily trafficked areas, then squish-- but out there where she belongs? Shrug.) I purposely put her under a link-cut to spare my arachnophobic friends the *horror*. Oh, and this is why
you shouldn't make decisions when you are not clear of thought (like, using my own finger for size reference instead of a quarter because I was tired and not thinking...)