I'm still not really up to speed with the garden, but I've been making some minimal efforts. I did some pruning earlier this week, including cutting back the passion flower vine (remember that vine that I was so concerned wouldn't grow at all back in the spring?). It had grown almost as tall as the house and was blocking most of the laundry room window, which is one of only two windows I have into the back yard. I cut it back to the trellis and I'm certain it will regrow just fine.
I also did a little pruning on the Kangaroo Apple shrub along the back fence. It has ripe berries now, although I haven't tasted them yet. The berries are edible when ripe, but poisonous when unripe--I'm not sure how much of a guinea pig I want to be. After pruning the bush, I decided it was the right place to hang a beautiful gourd birdhouse that I bought at the Museum of the American Indian in New York. The gourd is decorated all around with bees and beehive cells--really skilled handiwork.
I also bought some plants and bulbs at the Fall Plant Sale at the Merritt College Landscape-Horticulture Dept. I got three plants and although they're not exactly the best-looking specimens right now, I think they'll do fine when I finally get them placed. I got a flowering cherry tree (for only $8), a really interesting yellow abutilon with variegated leaves, and a cape gooseberry (its papery husks are shown in the photo at the right). I'm waiting for the flowering cherry to go dormant before I transplant it--it badly needs transplanting as it already has roots growing out of the bottom of the pot. I've tucked the potted abutilon away in the back corner of the yard where it will get partial shade. In the winter, when I can finally move the small lilac I stupidly planted there to a sunnier spot, I'll then plant the abutilon in its place. I had to repot the cape gooseberry right away, though. It was clearly root-bound in its one-gallon pot, so I've put it in a five-gallon pot for the time being. I'm not familiar with these plants and I want to watch its growth habits for a while before I place it somewhere permanent. I also picked up 20 more freesia bulbs and ten King Alfred daffodils. I intend to put a lot more bulbs in than that, but there wasn't much of a bulb selection at this sale.
There's still a lot more I want to get done in the garden before the rains start (probably in early November if we're running true to form), but I seem to be suffering from a combination of distractedness and procrastination. I guess it's time to pull together a to-do list and get to it.
And yet, perhaps to give myself one more reason to procrastinate in the garden, I've ordered a copy of Henry Mitchell's The Essential Earthman, the first pick for the Garden Bloggers' Book Club started by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. I'm sure when the wet weather hits, I'll be very happy to stay inside with a good gardening book.