Friday, September 17, 2010

Who’s tailing whom? ...

Decided to delay my herb garden post because this was just too funny not to share… And, having spent too much time following this little guy around my house, I still have work to do! Well anyway, I think it is funny. Others might be ready to send in those in white coats.

Sunday morning, I went to check on my herb garden, and to see whether I had any more Persian cucumbers to harvest. I found a small lizard on the back patio next to the herb garden. For the longest time, (s)he just stayed in one place. Walking back and forth, being perhaps not quite awake, I kept stopping myself from kicking it off the patio! In my peripheral view, it looked like a little twig.

Finally, I went into the house, got my camera and an old matchbook from a favorite neighborhood restaurant, and took this photo.

Eventually, the lizard disappeared back to the garden, or so I thought…

Wednesday, I was walking through the front room, and this lizard (same one???) went skittering across the floor in front of me.

It slip-slid into the kitchen. I grabbed a piece of cardboard, and tried to herd it out the side door. Instead, it crawled into an opening between the wall and nearby cupboard. So, I said, “okay, hang out and eat some bugs or something. Make yourself useful.”

Today, I again found it in the living room. This time, it was perched on the ledge of the picture window. Camera was nearby, so I snapped this photo.

Thinking about getting a better photo, realizing I haven’t washed my front window in awhile… (Excuse is garden construction bringing copious quantities of dust, truth is, procrastination… Won’t say how long!)… Grabbed a towel to wipe the window in the process scaring off the lizard.

Later, I found it in the bathroom on the floor behind the toilet, not very well hidden against the white tile. Rustling through a cupboard, I retrieved a jar I use for catching flies and returning them outside. Tried to scoop it into the jar. Had it once, but the tail was draped over the lip. When I touched it with the lid, startled, it fairly flew out of the jar, landing on the floor. Shocked, it ran back behind the toilet. Not having any fresh bugs, I tried baiting it with a piece of kale. Guess it is not an herbivore! In the end, it disappeared into a space under the bathroom cabinet.

Having a very small house, this visitor has managed to occupy every room but the bedrooms. So, I’ll be waiting to see if "Lee Lizard" awakens me tomorrow morning! Now I have a small cloth bag, ready to try to catch it, like those who catch snakes. Honestly, I have let lizards remain in my house – usually under the refrigerator – for much longer. Lee, though, seems to be saying, "out now." (Maybe I am a lizard whisperer? More likely from Lee's perspective a monster!)

Anyway, good thing no one was around to make a video. Too funny to see a grown woman trying to herd a lizard, let alone giving it instructions for being a proper house guest!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blogging natives...

Shamed back into the blogging saddle...

A few weeks ago, Barbara Eisenstein gave my blog an unsolicited plug during her lecture on Parkway Gardens. (Thank you, Barbara.) Still, I procrastinated in getting back to the keyboard. And, now this...

Here is a new blog from Nopalito Nursery. Well, never mind the plants, the Nopalito guys must have learned to clone themselves! They already run a labor-intense, sustainable, start-up business, offer an educational, often entertaining lecture series, and support other sustainable ventures in their community. Now, as they approach the end of year one, they find time to blog! Whew! Nopalito rocks!

Well, it might be nice to be a quarter of a century younger! In my fourth or fifth career, and probably my third childhood, I may not have the stamina of three guys running a native plants nursery, but I can do my little part to spread the word.

Below is a mostly native garden really beginning to grow in after only a few short months. Planted (at the "wrong" time) in late spring, early summer, I think this garden benefitted by luck and our rather cool summer weather. Still a work in progress, neighbors are loving the look -- a huge improvement over the broken fence and dead lawn it replaced!

Pictured are seedheads of Muhlenbergia rigens (Deer Grass) in front of Salvia apiana (White Sage). In the background is Salvia 'Pozo Blue' (Grey Musk Sage), with a row of Festuca californica (California Fescue), a bunch grass, along the sidewalk. Irrigation is by on-line drip tubing, covered by mulch, with an occasional wash-off of foliage by hose-end spray.

Fall planting season is just around the corner, my fellow Angelenos! Rather than worry about odd/even, Monday/Tuesday (how many minutes can my sprinklers run?), check out Nopalito Nursery in Ventura for water-wise, climate-compatible plants. To learn more, follow their new blog. Seriously, let’s quit watering the street, cap off or at least repair those errant sprinklers, and do like the Nopalito Nursery slogan says! Native plants, especially those local to your community, are compatible with soil in which they exist in nature. Free (hopefully) from chemical fertilizers and pesticides in wild lands, they won't need chemicals in your garden either. Certainly, the ocean does not need fertilizer and pesticides, contributed by lawn irrigation run-off. (Thank you on behalf of “Sponge Bob” and friends!)

For more information about effective ways to replace lawn and other water-guzzling plants with appropriate native species, check out these blog posts for more information:

On sheet-mulching: Native Sanctuary

On parkway gardening: WildSuburbia

If you're on the other side of town or you don't fancy a trip to cool, coastal, Ventura to get away from September heat, you can also find lots of great native plants and information at Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley, celebrating its 50th year.

In my next post, I'll talk about herb gardening, something really fun to do with kids!