Almost half a century later, those old Vasona trees are just like I remember them.

Tony Tomeo

P80114Only a few bits and pieces of natural native vegetation can be found on the floor of the Santa Clara Valley. They are primarily in spots that were not useful for some sort of development. Almost all of the big coast live oaks and valley oaks that lived in the flat areas are gone. Riparian vegetation still survives on the banks of creeks, and in adjacent areas where it has not yet been cleared.

Vasona Lake Park is a Santa Clara County Park situated around the small Vasona Reservoir just north of town. Although much of the natural vegetation was cleared a very long time ago, and exotic vegetation was either added or naturalized, several big native trees remain, including several California sycamore trees.

Because these grand sycamores were more common here than anywhere else in our childhood world, and we did not know what they were, my younger brother…

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What this recycled article neglected to mention is that the surrounding forests have become unnaturally combustible because of a lack of management after clear cut timber harvesting more than a century ago. This combustibility contributed to the destructiveness of the CZU Fire last summer. This article conforms to the Horridculture meme for Wednesday.

Tony Tomeo

P80112++There will be no more updates after this last one for the dead box elders that had been leaning onto the historic Felton Covered Bridge. ( ) They are gone. A pile of logs and some debris are all that remain.

Because the area is a protected riparian zone, the remaining debris and logs may have been left there intentionally, as an important component to the ecosystem. Nearby dead trunks that will not reach the Bridge when they fall also remain, as well as many other larger dead box elders several yards upstream.

For now, the Felton Covered Bridge is reasonably safe from falling trees.

We can only hope it stays that way.

Environmentalism has a way of complicating things.

Environmentalism should be more concerned with prioritizing the natural ecosystem than preserving vegetation that is interfering with it. Much of the exotic (non-native) underbrush and even a few exotic…

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Wow! This old article reminds me that I MUST get back to maintaining my planter box. I had been unable to do so with so much of everything else going on, and then by the time that I got more time to go back, I could not because of the Regional Stay Home Order.

Tony Tomeo

P80113My little planter box downtown that I wrote about last week and earlier must be the weirdest garden that I have ever tended to. ( ) I certainly enjoy it. There are not many horticultural problems that can not be remedied by simply removing plants that should not be out there anyway. The weirdness though is just . . . weird . . . and unique to the situation of a tiny garden in such a public space.

I have had weird neighbors before. Hey, I live where I do. Well, a resident of Nicholson Avenue saw me working on my garden one day and stopped to tell me what I should plant in it for compatibility with the color scheme of the front garden of her home a block and a half to the west. You see, she payed a lot of money for her home, and I…

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Rhody did not go to Oklahoma with us in 2012. That was before his time. The little terrier in the illustrations of this recycled article is Bill, or Willow. He was not impressed with snow.

Tony Tomeo

P80110It seems that almost all of us in the Northern Hemisphere are talking about it. Those of us who lack it can get to feeling somewhat deprived. It looks so pretty in pictures. It seems like such a natural part of winter. To many of us, it is a good excuse to take a break from gardening, stay inside, and write more compelling articles than the more technical sorts written when there is more activity in the garden.

In California, we get almost everything. Although most of the most densely populated ares lack snow, parts of the Sierra Nevada get more snow than anywhere else in the world. Californians can go to the snow to ski, hike, take pictures and do whatever people want to do in the snow; but we do not need to live with it at home like most people in other states do.

I grew up…

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My Internship Was NOT In Australia

While recycling old articles from 2017, and now into 2018, I find that there are not enough to conform to the ‘Horridculture’ meme for Wednesday. The meme was invented a bit later. Well, if nothing else, this old article is amusing.

Tony Tomeo

P80106Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were the hip and trendy places to do internships in horticulture back in the late 1980s. Everyone who was anyone was doing it; which is sort of why I was not that interested in doing what everyone else was doing already, even if I could have afforded to go to any of those exotic places. I did my internship in Saratoga.

All I knew about Australia was Olivia Newton John, Helen Reddy, eucalyptus trees, and that it is the place where summer goes when it leaves here.

Since writing online and learning a bit more about horticulture in Australia, I incidentally found that Australia is stranger than I would have imagined.

There are no Pontiacs in Australia! Seriously! When someone asked about what to do with a surplus of peaches that were too overripe and squishy to can, I suggested that they get thrown…

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The Molting Of The Chrysler

The weather here can be rather boring. Contrary to popular belief, it can get slightly frosty, and sometimes moisture falls from the sky. This old article can explain a bit of that.

Tony Tomeo

P80108+The old Chrysler looks different this time of year. Like dogs, cats, horses and deciduous plants, it adapted to the weather.

That tan canvas structure above the cab is known as a ‘roof’. It was there all along, but folded up behind the back seat. It was merely unfolded over the top of the cab. The ‘roof’ comes in handy this time of year, not only for keeping warmth within the cab, but also for keeping things out of the cab. Allow me to elaborate.

You may nave noticed that the Chrysler is wet. This is a direct result of mysterious droplets of moisture that fall from the sky. We discussed them earlier. They are known ‘rain’, and are falling from the sky presently. The ‘roof’ keeps the ‘rain’ out of the cab. Otherwise, the cab and everything in it would be as wet as the ‘roof’ is now.


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Well, Well, Well!

Apologies! I neglected to post anything at noon today. I still lack time to write, so will share this old article from a few years ago.

Tony Tomeo

P80106+Right next door to my downtown planter box, ( ) just to the east on Nicholson Avenue, there is a tree well for a small London plane street tree that has not grown much in the past few years since it was installed. The poor tree is in a difficult situation. It probably does not mind getting bumped with car doors every once in a while, but bicycles getting chained to it have been abrasive to the bark of the main trunk. The location next to a Mike’s Bikes does not help. The staff at Mike’s Bikes has had limited success with promoting the use of a nearby bicycle rack instead, by displaying their own bicycles next to the tree.

The tree well collects a bit of trash that gets blown about by the wind. Weeds are sometimes able to grow up through the mulch of detritus. No one…

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New Year & Old School

Okay, so this one barely complies with the Wednesday ‘Horridculture’ meme, and only because it involves a naught pine that would not conform to a landscape that requires conformity. It is an old article for New Year’s Day of 2018, so is reblogged here noncompliantly two days early.

Tony Tomeo

P80101Little kids were allowed to walk to school back in the early 1970s. The youngest had to walk with older siblings or neighbors who made them look both ways and hold hands to cross the streets, and stay back from the roadway. Once through the open gate into the schoolyard, younger kids could leave their slightly older chaperones to meet up with their friends and eventually go to their respective classrooms.

It is scary to think of how carefree we were back then.

The east side of our schoolyard was hedged with alternating Monterey pines and Monterey cypress, with a few random deodar cedars, redwoods and even a California pepper tree and a Canary Island date palm just inside the hedge. The random trees were somewhat mature, so were likely remnants of a landscape of a home that was on the site before the school was built there. The hedge…

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Arboriculture: Deep Space Nine

Here we have some three year old horticultural sci-fi.

Tony Tomeo

P71231The “Poly” in Cal Poly is for “Polytechnic”, as in there are multiple schools within “California Polytechnic State University” at San Luis Obispo. There were seven school when I was there between 1985 and 1990. I was a student of the “School of Agriculture”. “Horticulture” was my “Major”, or major realm of study within this school. Within this major, I selected “Floriculture and Nursery Production” as my “Concentration” of study. That certainly is a lot of quotation marks.

While majoring in horticulture at Cal Poly, I studied with students whose concentrations of study were within “Landscaping” or “Floral Design”. Withing the School of Agriculture, we studied with students who majored in “Crop Science” or “Animal Science” and so on. Like horticulture, each of those other majors was divided into other concentrations.

Then there were all those students of the other six schools, which I will not even get into because…

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Chaparral humor from three years ago may be wasted on those who are familiar with ‘real’ winter.

Tony Tomeo

P80103+Like something from an old fashioned science fiction movie, this anomaly appeared in a roadway overnight. There are several more in other roadways and elsewhere about town. They are quite wet. In fact, they are composed almost completely of water. What is even weirder is that the water that they are composed of actually fell mysteriously from the sky overnight as many countless droplets all over town! Many of these droplets migrated into low spots such as this one to form what we now see in this picture.

People in other climates where these mysterious droplets are not so rare might be familiar with this sort of phenomenon. The droplets of water are known as ‘rain’. They precipitate out of the atmosphere as it cools and can not contain as much water vapor as it did when it was warmer. As the droplets migrate into low spots in roadways and…

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