Autumn is mild here. There has been no rain yet. None is in the forecast. Nights are only beginning to get cool. A thermometer outside claims that it has been cool enough for frost, although none has yet been observed. As pleasant as such mild weather is, it can be boring in the garden. The few deciduous trees that develop good color are only beginning to do so, and in no rush. Some chores that rely on chill or rain get delayed.

1. 32 degrees! Does this qualify as frost? This is the same thermometer that said it was 96 degrees last week. I do not believe everything it says, although cold is not as easy to fake as heat.P92202

2. Krispy Kritter had a bad day. It is not from frost though. This formerly exemplary Heavenly bamboo succumbed to warmth and aridity, . . . . and unintended disconnection of irrigation.P92202+

3. California buckeye defoliated through the warmth of summer, and should foliate for early winter, only to defoliate as winter gets cooler. I knock these big seeds out because they look silly.P92202++

4. African iris, Morea bicolor, got split early where it crowded a walkway. We did not want to plug it until the rain starts, so soaked it in a bucket of water, where the roots started growing!P92202+++

5. Mrs. Pollock zonal geranium, Pelargonium hortorum ‘Mrs. Pollock’, likewise needed to be pruned back prematurely. I was able to process cuttings from the scraps, and plug them directly.P92202++++

6. Such intricate variegation is genetically unstable. Mrs. Pollock zonal geranium often gets less variegated mutant growth that must be plucked. Well, . . . . I sort of plugged some as cuttings.P92202+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

19 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Light Duty Autumn

    1. The common zonal types are among my favorites because I have been growing them since I was a kid. I still grow copies of one I got in about 1979, and another that I got in about 1992. I thought that the cultivar ‘Mrs. Pollock’ was something fancier, like one of those prettier but weaker modern garden varieties, but the reverted (less variegated) plants, as well as the subdued bloom, indicate that it is genetically more similar to the sorts that I a familiar with.


  1. Pretend you don’t know where they’re located, and look again at those buckeye seeds. Doesn’t that look like a snowy landscape behind them?

    “African iris” seemed familiar, and sure enough, when I looked it up I found one of the most common landscape plants around here. It’s used in road medians, around pools at marinas, and so on. It really is a pretty thing, and it seems to be perennial here, since I never see them being replaced. It may happen, of course, but they certainly are hardy.

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    1. What?! I suppose it does; . . . It sort of looks like a picture of a snowy landscape with the bottom cut off and put on top. The top margin looks like dead grasses in a snowy meadow. the vertical scratches below look like bare tree trunk. It is just the tailgate of the old Ford.
      The most common African iris here are the white flowered Morea iridoides. those in the picture are Morea bicolor, with pale yellow flowers and more finely textured foliage. They are not my favorite, but they work.


    1. That is not too crazy. It is what weather does. It changes like the weather. We don’t get much visible frost, even when it gets cool enough. There is not much humidity to make ice crystals.

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    1. They are overrated. I like to grow them only because they are so easy to split and grow. They are not much to look at. If you were not out of range of the Postal Service (in which I can send plant material), I would send you a few.


  2. You need humidity for a frost–doubt you get many frosts there that leave a white coating. We may get one soon. I love those buckeyes. They are similar looking to walnuts, which I just love the scent of. Do the buckeyes have a scent when in their jackets like that? I’m always sticking my nose in things (literally) and have had some interesting surprises–pines that smell of vanilla and other scented barks…I do love that pelargonium and will note it for growing in another season.

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    1. Ice crystals sometimes appear, particularly on metallic surfaces, bu there is never a white coating. When it gets humid enough for the sort of frost that is observed in other climates, it does not cold enough for it to actually happen. I mean, the humidity needed for frost to develop retains too much heat energy for it to get cold enough for frost.
      The buckeyes have no aroma that I am aware of. The hulls slip off very cleanly, leaving a big shiny chestnut, or buckeye. It really is an odd species. The bloom is delightfully fragrant.
      Are you familiar with the aroma of redwood foliage? It is nothing at all interesting. Redwood forests smell good, but a bit of foliage is rather inert. If crushed, it smells sort of like fir, but only very mildly. It is not what is expected of a conifer.
      ‘Mrs. Pollock’ pelargonium is not as weak as I remember it to be. It is just slower because of the lack of chlorophyll. The green mutant is growing like common types that I am more familiar with, but is not very remarkable.

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      1. I’ve hiked in the redwoods, but don’t remember a particular scent. The thing is, the air in California smells so different because of different vegetation and different humidity. I’m always amazed at the smell of the air–it’s very herbal.

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      2. Herbal?! Interesting. I think that the chaparral smells more herbal, but that the redwood forests smell sort of damp. As a native of the chaparral, I notice damp. Anyway, redwoods really aren’t all that aromatic. It surprises those who encounter them for the first time, expecting them to smell like pine or fir or spruce.

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      3. I think was talking about the air where I visit–north of San Francisco. But before we got into the redwoods, there was all this laurel and I remember walking on the roadside and realizing it was cilantro underfoot. I’m always wondering what a smell is and it makes people who don’t notice plants a little crazy…I remember the redwoods just smelling foresty/woody.

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      4. OH! Laurel would do it! That really is herbal or medicinal, and very strongly so. They mingle with the redwoods. There are many right outside. They are so common that I would not have not thought of them. Actually, we are getting a few cut down right now.

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      5. I sort of don’t notice what my colleague from the Los Angeles region notices here. When I am in the Santa Monica Mountains above Beverly Hills, I notice the aroma of the chaparral that my colleague there ignores.

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