Friday, June 13, 2008

Sunflowers

I planted these sunflowers from seeds in March 2008. To my amazement they sprouted and bloomed even here in the Sonoran desert! I guess what they need most is sun and water. There is more than enough sun. I planted seeds in spots where I already had irrigation drips already available. These sunflowers bloomed by early to mid-June. The intense desert heat in June and July caused them to fold over to the ground.

The seed packet was labeled "Mammoth" variety and "annual." Also on the front of the packet were the words "Homegrown birdseed." The birds seem to find enough to snack on in my yard so I suspect they enjoyed these too. If you look close on the first photo you will see the ants were enjoying them as well.





Update March 2009:
Started a new batch... here are what they look when they are just starting...


Monday, June 9, 2008

Tree Trimming - Palo Brea

I have a lovely Palo Brea tree... well actually THREE! Here in Phoenix, AZ -- the Sonoran Desert -- we have a monsoon season. It lasts from July through about mid-September. With it comes potentially wild winds, lots of lightening and, if we are lucky in this dry desert, rain.

There is a "good" way to trim a tree and a not-so-good way for the health of the tree. The object of the game is to not let the bark rip. The way I have been going about it is to cut further down the branch than the desired cut in order to alleviate the weight of the branch. That cut results in the bark tearing and ripping away. The second cut is at the desired location, exactly where I want it, flush with the tree, so it heals up properly.

Here are some photos of the first cut. As you can see the bark ripped:




And here is the second cut... much cleaner!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Epoxy Paint Peeling

I had prepared the surface according to the directions, but perhaps not thoroughly enough. Please see my earlier post from December 2007 to see how I did prepare these patio concrete surfaces.

Or maybe it is the or maybe it was the persistent efflorescence rearing its ugly head right through the epoxy paint. The photos you see here are just 6 months after painting the surface.



My next game plan is to look into hiring someone to expand the width of the patio and then add brick to the surface. He plans to power wash the paint, especially around the perimeter of the patio where the brick will be mortared to the concrete to ensure adhesion. The center bricks will be contained by the outer bricks. They will be set with sand, etc. I think that will be a classic good look.