Saturday, January 2, 2010

Challenge #1 Backyard/deck

Challenge #1 The Deck and non-landscaped backyard
As I mentioned, my greatest challenge right now is deciding what to do with my backyard. I've called landscapers who do not call back. I've gotten a bid for over $10,000 to replace the deck, in its original configuration. I've waffled.

The green you see is not grass, but weeds and acorns. Both of which are a pain come Spring. Along the fence I have planted some roses, a lilac, two daphne. The large camellia has been there for 20+ years. It does OK under the oak tree. There are 3 12x3 raised beds that are also coming apart and need to be replaced.

Santino and I called the back deck the Bridge of Sighs. When we moved in, in 1989, there was plenty of room for the oak tree to grow inside the deck. As it grew more, we cut away the hole to give the tree room. Santino cut right up to the footers and then stopped. As time went on, the tree lifted the deck to the nice arch that you now see. There are also boards that have pulled away from the deck and rotted areas. The lattice is a mess. Time to make a decision. I don't want to girdle the tree. But I don't know if $10,000 is best spent replacing the deck as it is now. Maybe I should shrink the deck, only have deck and railing around the tree. I'm stuck. Any ideas?

Challenge #2--Johnson Giant Bartlett pear tree

Let me talk a little about the tree closer to the house. That is a "Johnson Giant" pear tree. Long before I knew much about ranches, pears, grafting, etc (not that I know anything now). my father found a sport branch on one of his pear trees in the orchard. He realized that this branch produced giant Bartlett pears. So he grafted it to root stock, took it to UC Davis, developed it and then patented this type of pear. He sold his patent to Stark Bros. Nursery, who sold it on dwarf and semi dwarf trees. I bought one for Santino for one of his birthdays. Evidently, I'm the only one in the family who has one of the trees. And I have not been too lucky with it. Santino harvested 25 giants one year weighing at least a pound a piece. I have been able to grow only "rat tails". My pear growing relatives find this hilarious.

The tree is infested with coddling moths. So I have learned to spray the tree. First I used copper sulfate and smothered the little eggs. Now I need to spray with dormant oil, twice before Valentines Day. Maybe tomorrow.

I did prune the tree early to get rid of as many moth eggs as possible. Any comments on my pruning job?

Enough challenges for today. More to come as they begin to bug me. Penny


  1. Pen -- Wow I am impressed. You have a blog! I enjoyed reading it and the history there within. I liked your profile too. You must be missing Santino. He was always proud of your independence. You should be too. My cold is better. Brunch with Lee and her mom was fun. They are such nice people. Lee is lucky to still have her mom, and they have fun together still. My cold is a little better, but I am tired. Think I'll take a nap this afternoon! I bought a copy of "UP". We saw it with the kids. It is darling and often so touching. I am sorry that I won't be coming down today. I go to work tomorrow. Do you feel like dropping by the shop and visiting with me? love, Lacey

  2. Hey Penny, Congratulations...aren't you the one who said she couldn't write?
    Wish I had some answers for you. I vote for ripping out the deck and starting over and keeping a little pygmy goat for vegetation control.