A new blog for a new year.

I've mentioned before that I don't like my blog name very much, and the URL address comes from an older conception of a blog that I never really enacted.

This being New Year's Day and all...it's a fine time to bid adieu to whoreticulture.

Henceforth, this blog will go dormant, except perhaps for comments.

From now on you can find me blogging in My Back 40 (Feet).



"I'm getting really nervous for our feathered friends. In this endless campaign, what if more candidates get in on this? Will pheasants be on the endangered species list by November? I'd like to personally plead with Hillary: Don't even think of picking up a rifle. And please, Barack, we don't want to see you in an orange vest and a hat with ear-flaps … not a good look for you."


The Rainy Day Garden


After today, it should be clear for a few days. We're having perfect winter weather for the Bay Area: a few days of rain, followed by a few days of dry and sunny, followed by a heavy storm, followed by a minor winter "heatwave" where it's 75 degrees F for two weeks, repeat.

Except that we haven't had the major storm yet; I think that's coming next week. Me, I'm looking forward to the heatwave. All the temperature weights in the Galileo thermometer have floated to the top this morning.


I don't think it's much colder than 50 deg F. Maybe 45.


Anyhow, the rain we've had is sufficient to bow the bamboo.


And many other plants.

Tibouchina urvilleana

And some are just decorated with beads.

Echium wildprettii

Cerinthe major

Including these little moss body parts on the birdbath. I used to know their names.


I can see why people would be excited about having a moss garden. (Loved the one at the Bloedel Reserve.)


The Hardenbergia violacea is very pretty in the rain.

Hardenbergia violacea

So is the manzanita in a container next to it. This is Arctostaphylos rudis 'Vandenberg'. It's a young plant. In a few years, watch out.

Arctostaphylos rudis 'Vandenberg'

I don't like spiders, but I'm learning to live with them because 1) they eat pests, and 2) birds eat them.


Something's been chewing on my lemon.


Probably some moth caterpillar or leaf roller (or both). I saw a lot of moths last summer and fall.

This is another common insect in my garden.


I saw two without even looking. It looks like a walking stick, and it could be something in that order.


As a kid I was fascinated by walking sticks, reading about them in books. I spent hours in my backyard searching for them--for years--but I never saw one. Here, they seem to be everywhere.

I see signs of spring in leaf buds. This is Symphoricarpos, but the Ribes are leafing out too, and I have daffodil leaves poking up here and there.


Cymbidium orchid. Very slow process with this plant. But these flowers should open soon.

cymbidium orchid

No sign of the foxglove flower stalk. I keep looking for a sign.

Digitalis purpurea

Really, I ought to be thinking about what I'm going to replace all the foxglove with after it flowers and dies. Because I have quite a bit and its sudden absence from the small garden will certainly be noticeable.

Maybe I've sown something I can use, but I doubt it. I'm pretty sure most of those containers have seeds for full-sun plants.


(The Lilium pardalinum on the bottom shelf could work, but they're still very young and they're dormant half the year.)

These wildflowers are ready to be planted out.


The finer-foliaged plant is Platystemon californica (Cream Cups), and the coarser one is Layia platyglossa (Tidy Tips). I've learned the Cream Cups can go out small and will thrive, but something likes to eat Tidy Tips when it's young. Wait until the plant has at least three inches before planting it out.

I sow flats of wildflowers in succession--a new flat every couple weeks.


I don't remember what seeds I tossed in the hanging baskets, but they're doing fine. Might even be last year's Nolana paradoxa, but I think there's some Nemophila maculata (Five Spot) in there too. I read that it trails.


There's some muscari too. Can you see the rain-beaded blue mini-inflorescence?


I hung one hanging basket from the bottom of another.


Finally now the tree fern fronds are over my head so I can walk past it without having to bat them away.


It will be a long time before it's really a tree tho'.




Anyhow, that's what's happening outside.

Inside, we still have our Christmas lights up.


We didn't get a tree this year because we were afraid what the kittens might do to it.


All we did was put up a string of lights draped out of kitten reach (not that they haven't tried) and hung a few ornaments on it.

We have fairly traditional (tho' secular) ornaments. (And, actually, these are all Guy's which is not an accident because he put them up. I tend to be the one who takes the less traditional approach...)

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He positively hated these "PURR" and "MEOW" ornaments his sister gave him this year. I found them in our Goodwill box in the garage.



The stockings are felt decorations that used to belong to my grandmother. I like them because they remind me a little bit of Christmas at her house.


And speaking of meow and purr... how are those little kittens?


Not so little anymore.



They continue to be very close.


And they like to spend time on the top floor of their condominium...


Watching over Bernal Heights.



About those "tuned liquid dampers"...

"This is a high-end, upscale condo building," Johansson said. Motion sickness high above San Francisco is not acceptable.

The solution was to build a 50,000-gallon water tank at the top and to equip the tank with devices called tuned liquid dampers, which are screens that move the water and allow the liquid to move in the opposite direction of any building movement, a bit like water sloshing in a bathtub.

The effect of so much water - 50,000 gallons weighs 416,500 pounds - prevents the building from swaying. "It's there to settle the building, " Johansson said.




You might have had lovely gardening-inspired Christmas decor, but "Martha Stewart showed off the handsome ceramic Nativity creche that she made while in prison."

Link to video!
"Just three months after the wildfire, signs of life began poking from the blackened ground. Wildflowers unlike any they had seen began to bloom: whispering bells, yellow-throated phacelia, fire poppies and Michael's favorite, the foothill mariposa lily, among others."

Link (with beautiful pictures, some of which cannot possibly be related to the article).

And this: "The discovery of beauty in the ashes, Michael says, has become a lesson in moving past tragedy."

I suppose that's one way of looking at it.


Today was rather gray.

It's supposed to rain for a few days, starting tonight. Then it will be clear again.

I had some errands and a date for lunch at the Botanical Garden this afternoon. After lunch, I strolled and took some pictures.


It was hard to escape the gray.


Things on my mind: recent events at the Zoo (putting me in an especially sour mood), scheduling a follow-up appointment with veterinarian (Penny came down with giardia while we were in Hawaii over Thanksgiving--a protest statement? The symptoms are gone, but we need to make sure the parasite is gone), paying for a swing I want to put in my garden (I saw one I like in Half Moon Bay; it costs $500, and that doesn't include any kind of delivery expense which I haven't figured out yet), finding a job (vs. not finding a job), and wondering why I didn't bring a jacket because it was rather cold.


What is this? I have no idea. If there was a sign, it was obscured under rampant growth.


There are still many plants here that I don't know anything about.


Most of the flower action's in the South Africa section right now. This is Leucadendron 'Red Gem'.


This would be a good time to visit the arboretum at UC Santa Cruz. They have a large collection of Protaceae.


Pink Nerine.


Pretty flower, but a ton of strappy foliage.


Pink Erica.


This pink Protea always makes me think of a bird. Don't those look like feathers?


This is a tree I don't see very much, Luculia pinceana (Rubiaceae). The flowers are highly fragrant and sweet.


The nicest specimen I know of is just outside the Botanical Garden, between the two entrances. This one seems too woody.


Do you know the name of this fern?


Could it be an especially pink Dryopteris erythrosora? I think of D. erythrosora as being more copper colored, but "erythros" means red.


Quite a lot of pink today. Let's move on.


More Protaceae. These are Banksia.


And this is Plectranthus; I'm a big fan. I helped to plant this patch.


Sometimes this plant has a different texture when you approach it from the shady side; I like that.


Melianthus major has foliage I admire too.


This reflects how I feel a little bit today. Pointed and sharp.


But if you actually touch it it's not sharp at all.