Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Angel’s Trumpet-Official name of genus is now Brugmansia. Many SoCal gardens have them as the flower is beautiful and night-scented. First saw them in the Getty Gardens, trimmed to a parasol shape, dripping with flowers, looking like they belonged in a Rousseau painting (Le Douanier.) Enchanted, secured one for the garden. Discovered over time the way to achieve the parasol effect with lots of pendant blossoms was to prune the sucker heavily, as it blooms on new wood. Such a pretty plant.
However,according to the what's left of the L.A. Times, the latest teenage turn-on in South L.A. is the Brugmania flower which ingested, is hallucinogenic. (Social Notes From All Over Dept.) The police in L.A. would like you to get rid of the plant if you have one flowering in your garden.
Haven’t had any trouble with drug-crazed teenagers harvesting my flowers, but was bemused to find the name Angel’s Trumpets might signify the crack of doom summoning you to the next world……
The Reader is warned.
See W for chapter and verse on varieties, more pictures, directions for cultivation if you are a drug-crazed teenager or,equally crazed, an obsessed gardener.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Here's my neighbor's lavender trumpet vine making a get away into my yard. .
Got back to the original source of the pictures from the Inca calendar--O Internet.....blessing upon your inventors (and Al Gore.)
The original document was written for the edification of the Pope, by Poma de Ayala in 1580. Only one copy of the manuscript exists, ( the Pope never got it) and it's in a library in Denmark, and posted on the Internet.
The Inca agricultural calendar is a window on a lost world. The growing season for their major grain crop (maize) seems so much like our growing season in SoCal. Their maize (zara) was an irrigated crop, grown in parterres, on terraces, planted in the late summer. Seems to mirror our growing season, despite the difference in altitude, and reversal of seasons below the Equator.
Inca agricultural practices were so efficient they managed to feed a large urban population, the Inca himself, his court, the nobles and themselves. It’s been said if their terraced, irrigated agriculture were re-instated in the Andes area, poverty and hunger could be erased in that part of the world. Worth a look? Here's August again since, thanks to translations of the ms.. it is clearer what's happening here.
In the Inca Calendar, this is the Time of Opening the Land
The story begins with (left to right) a representative of the Inca with his official costume on, with an empty seed bag in his left hand. He is the only person in the picture wearing sandals, he’s wearing a ceremonial head dress and an outfit that appears to picture the lay-out for the 2 crops these farmers are going to grow. (Reminiscent of the purpose of the stained glass windows in medieval churches—directions for the illiterate.) He’s a walking graphic lay-out.
The 2 crops are maize,(zara) in parterres at the bottom of the slope and potatoes (pope) at the top of the terracing in linked small beds. It’s c. 1580 but we can still “read” the story.
Four big parterres of maize. One for the Inca, one for the nobility, one for the bureaucracy --- priest/astronomers/ record keepers whose observatory turns up in a later month--- and one plot for the farmers.
(The Inca had to pay for a lot of servants out of his share, but I suspect the aristocracy were responsible for the roads and possibly the irrigation in their “district”. The whole story is rather like the serf system in Europe. It’s even more like the Chinese* system of government in the middle ages, in which the mandarins oversaw things like keeping the canals repaired for flood control). Irrigated terracing has to be carefully tended. Very labor intensive.
Back to our August story: there are 3 men with digging, cultivating and harvesting tools—the farmers. The one wearing a head dress 4th in the line will appear in several other picture stories wearing his head dress (perhaps he’s a local priest/shaman/medicine man) but his major job is keeping the birds, foxes, skunks and parrots from eating the maize seed, and crop—let’s call him the Animal Control. To the right is a well-dressed lady—the quoy’s representative— a stand-in for the actual Inca Queen (the quoy) who has the seed to hand-out. At the bottom are the 3 “land girls” who are going to plant and tend the seed. They are singing. The text over the heads of the 4 men gives the song which is a kind of hymn of praise to the queen (the quoy). The girls indicate they understand the directions for planting and tending.
The sun is at the center looking very strong (it’s hot) of the picture, and there are no streams on the mountains.It’s the dry season—no rain until January, Feb and March. No Moon. The actual planting doesn’t begin until September, just as we would do it here.The whole scene pictures a minga—a gathering of the collective for some purpose under the Inca system. August was a much loved month--- a kind of "everybody takes a vacation time" -- Paris in August.
Note: If you want to see the ms. yourself, go to W, put in Poma de Ayala and follow the yellow brick road!
Chinese. According to Archeology Magazine's articles on recent DNA info---: all the MesoAmericans originated in China and spread downward from the Artic land bridge, drifting South as far as Terra Del Fuego.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Had no idea the Inca practiced a sophisticated and highly bureaucratic form of agriculture before the Conquest . The workers were given the grain, showed how to plant it, cultivate and store it -as is happening here. There's someone with a hoe on the right, parrots flying above the corn, another female worker carrying cut corn to a store house.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
He caught her with egg on her face! This femme fatale has been eating the eggs of the 3 other hens.
The level of information on the misbehavior of hens is sadly lacking on the Internet. Wikopedia has failed us. Is this what chicken maevens call "cannibalism"?
Look at that unrepentant face. She planning her next eggsecution. What to do? Isolation? Rehab? Debeaking?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
If you look to the left you can spot the Christmas tree lights that not only saved the life of the Key lime but encouraged it so much that it bloomed profusely for the first time in its life. It appears to be setting fruit. Stay tuned!
Let's hear it for UC Davis (blog 12/18/2009) and their excellent advice for keeping tender citrus warm.
Bitter sweet report on the poppies (same blog.) All came up, were thriving, growing madly when a huge piece of plywood squashed the whole bed flat. (The house was being painted---workman don't pay attention to things like seedling.) Did a very late sowing of California poppies to compensate. A good rain today should get them started.
The local urban garden ( Food Not Lawns) is is definitely working. The hot chicks( blog 3/10/2010) have turned into hip hens and are producing 4 eggs a day.
The blog is late and brief this week-- the sirens called:
However should have done my homework on betting the maidens.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Nothing to it, right? Might be a little challenging to translate to plants, but not without interest for a rainy day......
But we are pressing on into less exotic territory with parterre’s to be created of succulents. Formal patterns work well for parking strips---of which there are far too many strips covered with thirsty grass all over So Cal. Or, even less inspiring, strips that are barely covered with expiring annuals and weeds.
It is not easy to plan an informal succulent parking strip that isn’t going to look like nobody understands it. You could try the Gertrude Jekyll approach to borders for ideas. However, a formal pattern merely requires 2 0r 3 3 different succulent ground covers of warm and cool greens:
See Vesey plan above Fig. 2
Or this This is a plan Verey did for a low water parking strip in Florida. It would work in SoCal just as well.
Or you could go to a design based on repeating this pattern :
from Debra Lee Baldwin (op cit). We are not talking box hedges here but plants sold by the flat at around five to seven dollars retail at all the Big Box garden centers: ice plant, freeway daisies, gazanias, sedums. Not a major expense; parking strips are not enormous. The average around here is 6 ‘ by 24’.
Low-water plants in formal patterns are well within the competence of maintenance gardeners. All the pattern needs is an occasional weed removed and maybe a little clipping . No sprinkler systems required.