The Red Bluff Notebooks

Our Home and Gardens

Gardening and Nature Studies
Notes by Karen and Mike Garofalo
City of Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, California


Birds     Flowers     Herbs     Insects     Mammals     Shrubs     Months     Photos

Trees     Vegetables      Wildflowers     Weather     Red Bluff Notebooks Index

Sacred Circle Garden     Valley Spirit Center     Spirit of Gardening     Gushen Grove

Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
   Comparisons: 1998 to 2007

Months of the Year

Photographs by Months of the Year

Cloud Hands Blog



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Trees and Shrubs

Inventory of Trees and Shrubs
Planted on Our Red Bluff, California, Property

NP =    Number of trees or shrubs planted on our Red Bluff property
A number of these trees and shrubs were planted by the former owners.

Climate and Weather in Red Bluff, California

Soil testing at our home in Red Bluff indicates that we garden in surface (top 12") soil composed of: 57% clay, 37% sand, and 6% silt.   The soil is reddish brown looking, smooth in consistency, containing no pebbles or rocks.   I used the "rapitest soil tester" and found the soil to be: very acidic with a 5.5 - 6.5 pH, with a medium nitrogen level, with a medium phosphorus level, and with a low potash level.   Over the past few years we have amended the soil with: dolomitic limestone, commercial 16-16-16 fertilizer, ironite, composted manure, sand, truckloads of topsoil, grass and garden cuttings, leaves, straw, and home compost.

Reference Source:  Sunset Western Garden Book.  By the Editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine.  Menlo Park, California, Sunset Publishing Corporation, 1995.   The 40th Anniversary Edition.  6th Edition in 1997.   Detailed indexes, 624 
pages.  One of the best standard reference works for California gardeners. 
Key:  (S#)    Page for information in the Sunset Western Garden Book 1995 Edition.


Acer,  Maple,  'Autumn Blaze"    NP=1   Autumn Fantasy Maple (Acer freemani)  NP = 2  (S135)

Apple    Fuji apple: cross of Ralls and Delicious made in Fujisaki, Japan in 1962  NP=3   (S155) 


Arbutus unedo, strawberry tree    NP=3    (S162)

Arctostaphylos,  'Emerald Carpet'    NP=1   (S163)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, 'Point Reyes'    NP=1   (S164)


Betula pendula,  European White Birch    NP=9    (S184) 

Blackberry     Blackberry  NP=20. Boysenberry   NP=20,  Loganberry  NP=2    (S185)

Buddleia davidii,  Butterfly Bush, Summer Lilac     NP=8   (S192)


Callistemon citrinius,  Lemon Bottlebrush    NP=20    (S197)

Calocedrus decurrens, Librocedrus decurrens,  Incense Cedar     NP=6  (S198)

Carya illinoensis, Pecan,  'Mahan', 'Mohawk', 'Pawnee'    NP=4    (S209)

Castanea crenata x setiva,  Spanish Chestnut 'colossal'    NP=1   (S210)

Casuarina cunninghamiana, River She Oak, Beefwood     NP=3   (S211)

Ceanothus, 'Victoria"  NP=1  (S212)

Cestrum nocturnum, Night Jessamine   NP=2  (S219)

Trees - Quotes For Gardeners


Cherry  'Bing' (2)  'Lapins' (1)  Rainer (1)  Utah Giant (1)  Numerous varieties  NP=10     (S222)   

Chitalpa tashkentensis    NP=1   (S224)   

Chlorophytum comosum 'Variegatum", Airplane plant (Houseplant)

Choisya ternata,  'Sundance'  Mexican Orange  NP=2    (S225)

Citrus,  Orange (3),  Lemon (3)  Tangerine (1)  Lisbon Lemon (1)   NP=7     (S230)  

Citrus,  Ture dwarf citrus
Mexican Key Lime  6'-10'
Owari Satsuma Mandarin, 4'-8'
Nagami Kumquat, 8'-12' (2)

Corylus maxima,  Filbert (hazelnut), 'Casina',  'Wilamette',    NP=2  (S296)

Cupressus arizonica, 'Arizona Cypress'   NP=9       (S252)

Cupressus sempervirens,  Italian Cypress    NP=18    (S252)

X Cupressocyparis lelandii, Cupressus leylandii, Leyland cypress    NP=15    (S252)


Diospyros kaki   Persimmon  'Fuyu' (3),  'Chocolate' (1)  NP=3    (S412)


Eriobotrya japonica,  Loquat        NP=2     (S275)

Eucalyptus citriodora,  Lemon scented Gum    NP=7    (S282)

Eucalyptus polyanthemos, Silver Dollar Gum    NP=30    (S285)

Euonymus japonica,  'Aureo-variegata'    NP=5


Ficus carica,  White Kadota  Fig (4), Black Mission (3), Peter's Honey (2), Genoa (1), Condaria (1)     NP=15   (S295)

Fraxinus angustifolia, 'Raywood' Ash    NP=3     (S298)



Grevillea robusta, Silk Oak    NP=2   (S313)


Hamamelidaceae, Sweet Gum, Liquidambar   (NP=5)  (S357)

Hibiscus syriacus, Rose of Sharon, Shrub Althaea, 'Diana- white' 'Blushing Bride - pink to white"  NP=3    (S223)

Hydrangeaceae macrophylla, Hydrangea   (NP=5)   (S327)    


Ilex,  Holly  NP=2   (S329)



Various Photographs for Our Yard and Gardens

Fruits and Nuts - Quotes For Gardeners



Juglans regia  'Hartley',  Walnut   NP=1     (S521)

Juniperus chinensis Torulosa, J.c. Kaizuka, Hollywood Juniper     NP=12   (S340)

Juniperus chinensis 'Corymbosa Variegata', Variegated Hollywood Juniper     NP=8   (S340)

Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzerana', Pfitzer Juniper     NP=5   (S340)     

Juniperus chinensis  Spartan Juniper     NP=2   (S340)     

Juniperus horizontalis  Blue Chip, Tamarix, Wiltoni: Blue Carpet      NP=5   (S339)     



Lagerstroemia indica,  Crape Myrtle    NP=8    (S345)

Laurus nobilis,  Sweet Bay,  Grecian Laurel     NP=22   (S349)

Lingustrum,  Privet      NP=3    (S354)

Liriodendron tulipifera,  Tulip Tree  NP=1  (S357)


Malus 'Liset',  Crabapple    NP=1    (S372)

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Dawn Redwood  NP=2     (S380)

Morus alba, fruitless mulberry    NP=6     (S383)


Nandina domestica, Heavenly bamboo  NP=8  (S386)

Nerium oleander,  Oleander   NP=45   (S390)


Shrubs - Quotes For Gardeners


Olea europaea, Olive (NP=2)   Mission=1, Manzanillo=7    (S393)




Pinus, various species/varieties, Pine    NP=15

Pittosporum tobira, Japanese mock orange,   NP=12

Populus nigra, "Italica',  Lombardy Poplar (Cottonwood)     NP=4   (S434)

Populus fremonti, Western or Fremont Cottonwood (Poplar)    NP = 12    (S434)

Prunus,  'Nonpareil' almond    NP=3    (S146)

Prunus,  Apricot,  'Moorpark,'   'Perfection'   'Puget Gold'    'Royal Rosa"  
                 "Canada E. Blenheim"   Apricot-plum Hybrid (Flavor Delight Aprium)   NP=8   (S159) 

Prunus domestica,   Plum, 'Satsuma' (3) and  'Santa Rosa' (2)  'Pluot' (1)    NP=5    (S428)  
                                 The Flavor King Pluot is a interspecific hybrid derived from apricots and plums. 



Weeding - Quotes For Gardeners



Prunus laurocersasus, English laurel       NP=2   (S439)

Prunus persica, Peach, 'O'Henry' (1)  Fay Elberta Peach (1)  Dixon Cling  (NP=6)     (S403)  

Punica granatum 'Wonderful', Pomegranate     NP=2    (S445) 

Pyracantha coccinea, Firethorn    NP=6    (S446)

Pyracantha watereri, Firethorn    NP=5    (S446)

Pyracantha koidzumii  'Striblingii',  Firethorn,  NP=2    (S446)


Quercus dumosa, California Scrub Oak    NP=7    (S448)

Quercus lobata,  California Valley Oak, White Oak    NP=1  (S448)

Quercus suber,  Cork Oak    NP=3    (S449)

Quince, Smyrna (NP=1)


Rhus lancea,  African Sumac    NP=3    (S460)

Rosa, Roses,   NP=17

Rosemarinus officinalis,  Tuscan Blue   NP=20    (S469)

Ruellia brittoniana   NP=1    (S470)


Work - Quotes For Gardeners


Salix alba tristis 'Niobe', golden Niobe weeping williow     NP=5   (S472) 

Salix caprea, French Pussy Willow   NP=2  (S472)

Salix matsudana tortuosa, Corkscrew Willow, Twisted Hankow Willow    NP=15   (S472) 

Sambucus callicarpa, Coast Red Elderberry    NP=1     (S473)  

Sequoia sempervirens,  Coast Redwood    Fifoli, Korbel KT, NP=5    (S483)

Spiraea japonica, 'Anthony Waterer', NP=2  (S 2001, p.616)

Spiraea nipponica,  Snowmound   NP=2     (S490)

Syringa vulgaris,  Common Eastern Lilac (2), French Hybrid Sensation (2)   NP = 4  (S499)

Traachelospermum jasminoides, Confederate Jasmine Vine   



Viburnum plicatum, Japanese snowball   NP=2  (S519)

Vitex agnus-castus, Chaste Tree  NP=1  (S520)

Vitis vinifera, Grape, European:  'Thompson seedless' (8), 'Flame seedless' (8), 'Concord' (2) 
                                                    'Flame seedless' (4),  'Black Monutka' (2)     
                                                    'Muscat'   (2)   NP=26  (S310) 


Weigela florida, 'Variegata', or Weigela rosea    NP=5    (S523)



Reference books we use for our research on trees and shrubs:


Sunset Western Garden Book.  By the Editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine.  Menlo Park, California, Sunset Publishing Corporation, 1995.   The 40th Anniversary Edition.  6th Edition in 1997.   
Detailed indexes, 624 pages.  One of the best standard reference works for California gardeners.  

Northern California Gardening: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes

Shrubs and Climbers.  Hampton, England, DK Publishing, 1996 (Ist American Edition).   ISBN:  078940429X.

The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden by Stella Otto

Western Garden Book Over 8,000 plants described.  Essential reference resource for all gardeners in the United States. 

The Healing Power of Trees: Spiritual Journeys Through the Celtic Tree Calendar The Healing Power of Trees: Spiritual Journeys Through the Celtic Tree Calendar by Sharlyn Hidalgo

Designing with Conifers: The Best Choices for Year-Round Interest in Your Garden Designing with Conifers: The Best Choices for Year-Round Interest in Your Garden by Richard L. Bitner


The History of Gardening Timeline


The most serious insect problems we face are borers, grasshoppers, beetles, and worms.  We also have problems with trees getting sun scald.  We sprayed for borers during the dormant season, and water and fertilize the trees to keep them strong to resist borers.  I paint the trunk of new trees with white paint.   The borers ruin the bark of the trees.  

The grasshoppers,  worms and beetles feast on plants in the vegetable garden and on some of the annuals grown for flowers.  As the wild plants in the adjoining fields, used for grazing by horses and cows, begin to dry up in the summer, the grasshoppers and beetles look for greener opportunities.  We are tying to go organic and not use pesticides in the vegetable garden.   The many wild guinea hens enjoy insects of all kinds; and we train the dogs not to chase them.  


Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007

Photographs by Months of the Year

Months of the Year



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Flowers in Our Gardens

Red Bluff, California


Aster frikartii
Bleeding Hearts
Cosmos bipinnatus
Foxglove digitalis
Johnny Jump Ups
Lamb's Ears
Lavender (English, French and Spanish)
Peruvian Daffodils
Poppies - California
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia noaria)
Roses - Bush, climbing, hedge, miniature, old
Sweet Peas|
Verbena - numerous colored hybrids 

Wildflowers of all types try to grow in our flower beds.  Straw mulch is very inexpensive and helps to keep 
the weeds down, helps keep water down, and cools the plant roots.   


Reference books we use for our research on garden flowers:


Simon and Schuster Guide to Garden Flowers.   By Guido Moggi and Luciano Giugnolini.   New York,
Simon and Schuster, 1983,   ISBN:  067146678X.   

Perennials for Northern California
.  By Bob Tanem and Don Williamson.   Edmonton, Canada, Lone Pine 
Publishing, 2002.   360 pages, many indexes and lists.   ISBN:  1551052512.  

Northern California Gardening: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes

Flowers - Quotes for Gardeners


Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007

Photographs by Months of the Year

Months of the Year



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Herbs in Our Gardens

Red Bluff, California


Bay Laurel
Cat Mint
Garlic - A variety of types planted
Lavender - Spanish, French, English
Mint - various types
Oregano - Greek

Rosemary  (Actually, I use upright Tuscan Rosemary in hedging.  In grows to heights of 4 to 6 feet, is 
tolerant of heat and drought, and produces beautiful blue colored flowers in our wet and cold season.  
The needles of this plant look nice in the bright hot Red Bluff summertime; and make an excellent 
seasoning with our medium grained Colusa [Cal-Rose] grown rice.  A very handsome plant for our 
area: Rosemarins officinalis, Tuscan Blue.)  We also grow prostrate creeping rosemary.

Saint John's Wort
Sage - various types
Sweet Woodruff


Herbs - Quotes for Gardeners


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Vegetables in Our Gardens

Red Bluff, California


We enjoy many of the fall and winter crops, and like the fact that it takes less work and water to get them to flourish.  

We also have a substantial summer vegetable garden.  Our neighbors, C.B. and Gertie to the southeast and Ruth to the northeast have very large summer gardens with plenty of corn, tomatoes, squash, and beans. 

Our vegetable garden needs lots more manure, compost, straw, sand, black soil tilled into the clay base.   
We built a 40" high fence around the garden using scrap lumber; which will help cut the winds from the north and south.  
We had our first really good winter crop in 2000. 

Beans - We grow beans of all kinds on tall tripods and on the fence around the garden.  
Bok Choi  (WS = Winter-Spring Crop)
Cabbage   (WS)
Cucumbers (Lemon, Armenian (my favoriete))
Eggplant  (Japanese dark purple and English rosy pink)
Gourds of all types

Grapes   (One can grow fine tasting seedless table grapes in our area.   Grape leaves, however, are here prone
to invasions of leaf hoppers.  We enjoyed our first crop of seedless table grapes in 7/98.  The vines produce
quite a large crop of tasty grapes. )

Jerusalem artichoke
Honeydew Melons

Peas  (WS)

Peppers  (Bell, Jalapenas, Cayenne, Pequins, sweet ....  A must plant for a hot weather garden.  Bring on the salsa!)

Potatoes  (Not with much success.)
Pumpkins of all types
Radishes (WS)

Squash   (We have planted 8 varieties of squash, including the ubiquitous Zucchini.  Coming from an Italian cooking family, I was raised on tasty vegetable dishes, including some squash delicacies.  Many squash are climbing vines and make for good vertical green.) 

Swiss chard  (WS)

Tomatoes   (We have planted 17 varieties of tomatoes.  The Red Bluff Nursery always has a wide selection of contemporary and heirlooms in the Spring.  I don't recomment ground planting of tomato seedlings before April 15th.)   

of all types try to grow in our vegetable garden.   Straw mulch is very inexpensive and helps to keep 
these "weeds" down, helps keep water down, and cools the plant roots.   



Northern California Gardening: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes



Vegetables - Quotes for Gardeners


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Celastrus scandens, American Bittersweet  NP=3  (S215)

Cestrum nocturnum, Night Jessamine   NP=2  (S219)

Geisemium sempervirens,  Carolina Jessamine (Evergreen, yellow flowers)

Hedera helix, English Ivy (small leaf variety)   NP=1    (S317)

Hedra helix,  Variegated English Ivy   (small leaf variety)      NP=1   (S340)     

Lonicera japonica, Hall's Honeysuckle  NP=1    (S361)

Lonicera japonica 'Purpurea'   Purple-leaf Japanese Honeysuckle   NP=1   (S361)

Trachelospermum jasminoides, Confederate Jasmine Vine, (Evergreen, white flowers)

Urticales Moraceae   Creeping Fig

Vegetables:  beans, gourds, melons, squash. 

Vitis vinifera, Grape, European:  'Thompson seedless' (8), 'Flame seedless' (8), 'Concord' (2) 
                                                          'Flame seedless' (4),  'Black Monutka' (2)     
                                                          'Muscat'   (2)   NP=26  (S310) 




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Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007

Photographs by Months of the Year

Months of the Year





Wildflowers in the Fields

Red Bluff, California


Annual sowthistle    Sonchus oleraceus L.
Baby Blue Eyes   Nemophila menziesii    
Bedstraw, Cleavers    Galium aparine L.   
Bermudagrass    Cynodon Dactylon
Bindweeds - Wild Morning Glories -  Convolvulus arvensis L.  white flowers - June
Black medic    Medicago lupulina L
Black mustard     Brassica nigra     (Yellow flowers in the spring)
Broadleaf plantain     Plantago major L.  
Brodiaea - Elegant, Lilly Family    Brodiaea elegans

Brome - Califronia    Bromus carinatus H. & A. 
Brome - Downy    Bromus tectorum
Cattail common cattail - brown flowers - June
Chickweed common    Stellariamedia   
Chicory,  Blue Daisy, Coffeeweed, Succory    Cichorium intybus L.  
Cleavers, Bedstraw    Galium aparine L.   
Clover - Bull    Trifolium fucatum
Clover - Red    Trifolium pratense
Clover - White Sweet    Melilotus alba
Common cattail    Typha latifolia L.    Found in the ditches.
Common chickweed     Stellaria media L. Vill
Common cocklebur     Xanthium strumarium L.  
Common purslane     Portulaca oleracea L. 
Corn spurry    Sperfula arvensis L.    
Crabgrass - Large    Digitaria sanguinalis    
Cranesbill, Storksbill, Wild Geranium   Geranium Carolinianum L.  
Creeping woodsorrel    Oxalis corniculata L. 
Curly dock    Rumex crispus L.   (June)

Dandelion    Taraxacum officinale
Datura, Jimson Weed    Datura stramonium 
Desert rockpurslane     Calandrinia ciliata  
Dog Fennel, Mayweed    Anthemis cotula L.   
Erect knotweed    Polygonum erectum L. 
Filaree - Red Stemed, "Storksbill, Cranesbill"   Erodium cicutarium   
Goosegrass,  Eleusine indica

Hairy vetch    Vicia villosa
Hawkweeds - yellow flowers - May, June
Hare barley   Hordeum leporinum Link   
Horse Nettle  Solanum carolinense L.  

Johnsongrass   Sorghum halepense
Junglerice (Red striped crabgrass)    Echinochloa colona L. Link
Italian ryegrass    Lolium multiflorum Lam.

Mallow - common    Malva Neglecta Wallr. 
Mayweed,  Dog Fennel    Anthemis cotula L.   
Morningglory    Ipomoea purpurea L. 
Mustard - Black   Brassica nigra     (Yellow flowers in the spring)

Nettleleaf goosefoot     Chenpodium murale L. 
Netseed lambsquarters    Chenopodium berlandieri  Moq.  

Pale smartweed     Polygonum lapathifolium L. 
Persian speedwell     Veronica persica Poir.
Pineapple-weed    Matricaria matricarioides     
Plantain - broadleaf    Plantago major L.  
Pokeweed, Pokeberry, Inkberry, Pigeonberry   Phytolacca Decandra L.
Poppy - California    Eschscholzia californica
Prostrate knotweed,   Polygonum aviculare L. 
Puncturevine    Tribulus terrstris L. 
Purslane - Desert rock - dark pink flowers - May

Radish    Raphanus sativus L.   Purple and white flowers in the spring
Redstem filaree    Erodium cicutarium     Storksbill
Redmaids   Calandrinia ciliata
Rush - Common     Juncus effusus.    Grows in the ditches

Scarlet Pimpernel   Anagallis arvensis   
Sheperdspurse    Capsella bursa-pastoris  
Smartweed - Pale   Polygonum lapathifolium    
Sorrel - Redwood    Oxalis oregana
Spiny sowthistle     Asteraceae   
Spotted catsear   Hypochaeris radicata L.   
Spurge - Spotted   Euphorbia nutans Lag.

Star Thistle,  Centaurea solstitialis L.  Asteraceae (Sunflower)   (This is a very common wild flower in our area.  
It is a very hardy thistle, drought tolerant, tought, spiny, and dangerous to cattle and sheep.  
When nearly all wild flowers are brown and dead in a 110 degree heat wave in August,
star thistles will be a dull green, 2 to 3 feet high, with yellow flowers.  Very difficult to eliminate.
I have cut star thistle's down with my riding mower to a inch high, and seen them still bloom
when only two inches high.)
Storksbill, Wild Geranium, Cranesbill   Geranium Carolinianum L.  
Sunflower family - many kinds

Velvet-leaf    Abutilon theophrasti Medic.
Vetch - Hairy    Vicia villosa   (Purple bloom March-May)   
Wild Geranium, Cranesbill, Storksbill    Geranium Carolinianum L.  
Wild Lettuce    Lactuca scariola L.  
Witchgrass    Panicum capillare L.  
Wyeth lupine    Lupinus wyethii
Yellow sweetclover    Melilotus officinalis


Mayweed,  Dog Fennel    Anthemis cotula L.   




Reference books we use for our research on wildflowers:   

Weeds of the West.
   By Tom D. Whitson, Editor.    Authors:  Tom D. Whitson, Larry C. Burrill, Steven A. Dewey,
David W. Cudney, B.E. Nelson, Richard D. Lee, and Robert Parker.   Newark, California, The Western Society 
of Weed Science, 1992. 630 pages.   ISBN:  0941570134,   Revised in 1992.   
Excellent color photographs of all the plants described.   

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers - Western Region
.   By Richard
Spellenberg.   New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1979, 1988.  ISBN: 0394504313.  

A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers
.  By Theodore F. Niehaus and Charles L. Ripper.
Peterson Field Guide Series.  Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976.   ISBN: 0395216249.

Edible and Useful Plants of California.   By Charlotte Bringle Clarke.  Berkeley, University of California
Press, 1977.   ISBN:  0520032616.

Northern California Gardening: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes

All About Weeds.   By Edwin Rollin Spencer.  Illustrated by Emma Bergdolt.  New York, Dover Publications, 
1940, 1957.  ISBN: 0486230511.  



Weeds - Quotes for Gardeners



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Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo



















Pulling Onions: Quips and Observations of a Gardener

Various Photographs for Our Yard and Gardens

Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007

Photographs by Months of the Year

Months of the Year






Plants in the Pond and Ditches


Cattails - Broad Leaved,  Typha latifolia
Pale smartweed
Sweet Flag (Acorus Calamus)



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Cacti and Succlents


Euphorbia ferox    Red Spined cactus
Maammillaria matudae   Pincushion cactus

I have 18 different kids of cactus/succlents on the back porch.  I purchased these at nurseries in Red Bluff,
Corning, Redding and Chico.  However, I have not identified all of them.  

Northern California Gardening: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes


Return to the Main Menu of this Document


Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons: 1998 to 2007






Birds in Our Backyard

Red Bluff, California


Barn Swallow,  Hirundo rustica   ASFGC 317  
Black Phoebe,  Sayornis nigricans, BNC 248
Blue Jay  See Western Scrub-Jay    
Blackbird - Brewer,  Euphagus cyanocephalus, BNC 351,  Present all year   
Bluebird - Western,  Sialia mexicana   ASFGC 325
Bullock's Oriole,  Icterus bullockii,.  BCFG 347
Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus, BNC 281

California Quail (Phasianidae Callipepla)  BNC 127
Canada Goose,  Branta canadensis    ASPN 266
Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum,  BCN309, Februrary
Coot - American,  Fulica americana, BNC 133, January in ricefield
Crow - American, Corvus brachyrhynchos,  BNC 266  
Cowbird - Brown-Headed,  Molothrus ater, BNC 352
Ducks and Geese - scores of thousands fly overhead in the winter months.  
Egret - Great,  Ardea alba, BNC 62   
Egret - Snowy,  Egretta thula   ASPN 262

Flicker - Northern, Colaptes auratus, BNC 237
Geese and Ducks - scores of thousands fly overhead in the winter months.  
Goldfinch - American, Carduelis tristis, BNC 364   
Goldfinch - Lesser,  Carduelis psaltria, BNC 363
Great Egret, Ardea alba, BNC 62
Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus  (Karen and I observed a very large Great Horned Owl up high in the
         cottonwood tree over the middle pond on 9/23/2003.)  
Grosbeak - Black Headed,  Pheucticus melanocephalus
Guinea fowl   Numida meleagris   

Hawk - Red-Tailed,  Buteo jamaicensis, BNC 112      Hawk by the pond, 8/29/07
Hawk - Red-Shouldered, Buteo lineatus, BNC 110   
Heron - Green,  Butorides virescens   ASPN 262
Heron - Great Blue, Ardea herodias, BNC 61    
Housefinches, Carpodacus mexicanus,  BNC 359
Hummingbirds - Anna's    Calypte anna
Hummingbirds - Black-chinned    Archilochus alexandri     
Hummingbirds - Rufous    Selasphorus rufus

Junco - Dark Eyed, Junco hyemalis,   BNC342, March, December
Kestrel - American,  Falco sparverius, BNC 116
Killdeer,  Charadrius vociferus,  BNC 139   Lay their eggs on the open ground.  Mothers are great actors
that try all kinds of actions to get you to walk away from their exposed nests.   
King Bird  - Western    Tyrannus verticalis    
Least Bittern    Ixobrychus exilis

Magpies - Western Magpies, Yellow billed    Pica nuttalli   (Mike's favorites: curious, noisy, social, colorful, big.)
       In the summer of 2004 we found two dead magpies in the yard.  By the end of the summer, our large local
       group of over 16 magpies had disappeared.  Some local birders say that the magpies were killed by the 
       West Nile Virus.  

Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos, BNC 80
Meadowlark - Western,  Sturnella neglecta, BNC 349 
Mockingbird - Northern, Mimus polyglottos, BNC 304.   Singing from high perches for hours.
Mourning Doves,  Zenaida macroura, BNC 200   
Oriole - Bullock's,  Icterus bullockii,.  BCFG 347
Pheasant - Ring-Necked, Phasianus colchicus, BNC 121
Quail - California, Callipepla californica, BNC 127

Red-winged blackbirds,  Agelaius phoeniceus,  BNC 347,    Spring and summer visitor.
Rock Dove, Columba livia, BNC 198
Robin, Turdus migratorius, BNC 301,  springtime visitor
Rufous-sided Towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus, spring

Snow Goose,  Chen caerulescens   ASPN 265
Sparrow - House, Passer domesticus, BNC 366
Sparrows - Many varieties   
Starling - European,   Sturnus vulgaris,   BNC 307
Swan - Tundra,  Cygnus columbianus, BNC 75, Winter visitor

Turkey vulture, Cathartes aura, BNC 68
Western Meadowlark,  Sturnella neglecta, BNC 349 
Western Scrub-Jay, Aphelocoma californica, BNC 261
Woodpecker - Acorn, Melanerpes formicivorus, BNC 228



We have a feeder in the backyard and front yard for seeds and dry dog food.  We also have hummingbird feeders in the front and back yards.  The feeders in the front yard are right outside our home office.  The feeders have attracted many birds.  As the seasons bring new phases to the production of fruit and seeds, on cultivated and wild plants, we see different birds that come to feast on the bounty. 

Juncos feast on the pyracantha berries in the winter months. 

King Bird:  There was a pair nesting in our basketball goal (7/3/99 ... left on 8/18).  They are also known as Tyrant birds because of their aggressive behavior.  Every time we watered our vegetable garden (which was then right next to the basketball goal), the birds set up such a racket.  The pair flew up in the air like they were fighting; flapping their wings and squawking!  They dove at both dogs, but not at us.  Sometimes the mother remained on the nest; but, if she saw you look at her, it was up into the air and on with the noisy diversions.  The King bird is in the fly catcher family - too bad they are not fond of tomato hornworms!  They are a pretty gray bird with a bright yellow breast.   In 2000-2002, they nested in the cottonwood tree in the summer.

There is a large family of magpies that like to feast on dry dog food in the feeder. 

Our neighbor raises chickens.  The walk around her yard sometimes - a great temptation for our dogs.  We share some expenses for feed and get plenty of eggs.   

We have spotted the American Bald Eagle along the Trinity River and nesting around Shasta Lake.  
We have spotted wild turkeys (Meleagrididae gallopavo) in the blue oak woodlands and near the Sacramento River.

Reference Books and Resources that we use:

Birds of Northern California
By David Fix and Andy Bezener.  Range maps by Don Roberson and 
David Fix.  Renton, Washington, Lone Pine Publishing, 2000.   384 pages.   
ISBN: 155105227X.  Reference Key:  BNC page, e.g., BNC 55.  


Birds of California Field Guide.  
By Stan Tekiela.  Cambridge, MA, Adventure 
Publications, 2003.  ISBN: 1591930316.  

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest.   


National Audubon Society Field Guide to California.  

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds - Western Region
By Niklos D. F. Udvardy.  New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1977, 1988.  ISBN:  0394414101.

Raptors of California

By Hans Peeters and Pam Peeters. California Natural History Guides.
Berkeley, University of California Press, 2005. ISBN:0520242009.


Birds - Quotes for Gardeners


Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007

Photographs by Months of the Year

Months of the Year


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Red Bluff, California


Worms and bees are essential to a successful garden.   Dearly respect the livestyle of worms!

Alfalfa Looper moth
Ant lions

Bees - Honey
Beetles - many kinds  
Black and Yellow Mud Dauber,   Sceliphron caementarium
Black Widow Spider - Western,   Latrodectus hesperus
Butterfly, Anise Swallow Tail,  Papilio zelicaon

Cabbage white moth
Cockroach: American (Periplaneta americana), Oriental (Blatta orientalis)
Common click beetles
Common balck ground beetles  (Pterostichus spp.)
Common house spiders
Crab spiders
Crickets   Gryllus pennsylvanicus

Daddy Longlegs Spiders,   Phalangium opilio
Dragonfly - Common Whitetail,  Libellula (Plathemis) lydia   
Dragonfly - Green Darner,   Anax junius  
Earwig, European,  Forficula auricularia

Fiery Searcher, Green Hunter
Flies  - many kinds

Giant Cranefly,  Holorusia rubiginosa
Golden paper wasps 
Great golden digger wasp,  Sphex ichneumoneus

Honey bees
Hornet, Bald-faced,  Vespula maculata    
Hornet, Western Yellow Jacket,  Vespula pensylvanica

Jerusalem Cricket
Little black ant  (Monomorium minimum)

Mosquitoes    Aedes and Culex 
Moths - many kinds
Orb Weaver spiders

Praying Mantis
Red Hair velvet ants

Say's Stink Bug
Sowbug, Pillbug Common    Armadillidium vulgare  
Sphinx Moth, White Lined Sphinx Moth    Hyles lineata
Spiders  - many kinds: common, garden, spider mites
Spotted cucumber beetle 

Tobacco Hornworm moth, Sphinx moth

Wasps  - many kinds
Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly
Westen Yellow Jacket wasps    
White flies
Wolf Spider,  Pardosa  (The largest spider in our area)
Wood Ticks,  Dermacentor  



Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007



Reference books we use for our research on insects:   


The Audubon Societ Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders.   By Lorus and Margery Milne.  New York,
Alfred A. Knopf, 1980, 1992.  ISBN: 0394507630.   

National Audubon Society Field Guide to California
.   By Peter Alden, Fed Heath, Richard Keen, Amy Leventer, and
Wendy B. Zomlefer.   New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.   447 pages, index.   ISBN:  0679446788.  

The Nature of California.   An Introduction to Common Plants and Animals and Natural Attractions
.   By James
Kavanagh.   Waterford Press, 1994.   178 pages, index.   ISBN:  0964025591.   

Common Butterflies of California.   Text and photographs by Bob Stewart.  Pt. Reyes Station, California, West Coast
Lady Press, 1997.     






Reptiles and Amphibians

Red Bluff, California


Bull Frog, Rana catesbesiana
Pacific Tree Frog, Hyla regilla
California Toad, Bufo boreas halophilus
Western Aquatic Garter Snake, Thamnophis couchi
King Snake, Lampropeltis getulus californiae
Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporous occidentalis
Pacific Gopher Snake, Pituophis melannoleucus catenifer
Western Spadefoot Toad, Scaphiopus hammondi   
Racer Snake, Coluber constrictor  
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake,  Thamnophis elegans



Reference books we use for our research on reptiles and amphibians: 


National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians.  
New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1979, 1988.   ISBN:  0394508246.   






Red Bluff, California



We have seen racoons, skunks, coyotes, jack rabbits, gophers, mice, rats, bats, moles, and possoms in the yard and fields.  

Bat, .   A bat resting in the shade on the side of our home, 8/07.

We feed and manage two big dogs.  They live outside the house:

     Oreo is a mixed breed German Shepherd and Husky.  She was born in 1996 and died in 2008.  She has one floppy ear and big eyes. 

     Rowdy is a Rottweiller.  He was born in 2001, and died in 2011.  A big, gentle and friendly black dog. 

     Chelsea was a Golden Retriever.  She died on 12/29/99 at 12 years of age. 


We feed one cat:

Ms. Q, Q-Tip.  She is a white cat of medium size.  She was born in 1998.   She lives outside. 
Mr. King Tut.  He is a orange and white tabby.  He was born in 2005.  He lives outside. 


Our neighbors to the west have 6 beautiful mares, kept for breeding.

Our neighbors to the south ( (The Murphy's) have 5 goats, 2 horses, 1 cow, 3 dogs, and 2 emus. 

Our neighbors to the northwest (Lori and Dave Slade) have 60 or 70 cows, and dogs.

Our neighbors to the southeast (C.B. and Gertie) have 4 -6 cows (Addie, Sarah, Hershey, ?).  Their dog (Hilary) passed away.

Our neighbor to the north (Debbie) has 2 cats (Rossi, )  and 1 dog (Buster).   She has raised pigs, sheep, and
has many free range chickens.  


Various Photographs for Our Yard and Gardens



Animals - Quotes for Gardeners


Return to the Main Menu of this Document





Our Home and Garden


Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007


    Karen and Mike Garofalo moved to Red Bluff, California, in June of 1998.

    We live 7 miles south of downtown Red Bluff (14,000 population), near the Proberta post office.  Old Highway 99 West (constructed in the early 1920's) is a quarter of a mile east of our home, down the cul-de-sac Kilkenny Lane.  Interstate 5 (constructed in the 1960's) is two miles to the west of our home at the Flores Road freeway off ramp.  Highway 99 East, which runs from Red Bluff along the east side of the valley down to Chico, is about 10 miles east of our home.  The town of Corning (6,900 population) is about 11 miles to the south.  

    Ed Whitelaw, an economics professor at the University of Oregon at Eugene, has determined that 80 percent of all 
jobs west of Denver are within a 90 minute commute from Interstate 5.

    The Sacramento River is 2 miles due east of our home, and 6 miles southeast to the Tehama bridge by country roads.  The Sacramento can be crossed over on concrete and steel bridges at Jelly's Ferry, Red Bluff, Interstate 5, Tehama, and Woodson Bridge.  The Sacramento river is a fast river in places as it drops downhill from Shasta Dam all the way to Woodson Bridge near Corning.  The river is quite cold - below 55F even in the summer.  Many seasonal creeks (Red Bank, Coyote, Oat, Elder, Thomes, etc.) cross the terrain as they drain east down to the Sacramento River from the Yolla Bolly Mountain range to the west.   These creeks are normally dry in the summer.  Streams in our area (Battle, Mill, Deer, etc.) drain west from the southern Cascades (Mt. Lassen) down to the Sacramento River.   These creeks run all year.         

    The terrain nearest our home is flat, with few natural trees except for along nearby Oat creek (.2 miles south).  The land is used mostly for agricultural purposes: orchards of prunes, walnuts, olives and almonds; corn and wheat fields; and grazing land for cattle, sheep, horses, and goats.   The area north of us up to Red Bluff is zoned for industry and includes the Wall-Mart distribution center, lumber processing plants, a propane gas plant, concrete 
mixing and other light industries.   The City of Red Bluff has a population of 14,000.  


    Many homes in our area, and south 10 miles to Corning, have homes and out buildings situated on 5, 10, 20 and 40 acre parcels.  Small farms and orchards abound.    

    Thirty five miles to the south is the city of Chico.   Thirty five miles to the north is the city of Redding.  These are more densely populated (50,000 - 80,000) cities and surrounding unincorporated areas with dispersed populations.   The town of Corning (6,900 population) is 10 miles to the south directly down Hwy 99 West.  Corning is noted for its many olive orchards and the Bell-Carter Olive canning plant in town (one of the largest in the U.S.).    




Quotes for Gardeners

Quotes, Sayings, Proverbs, Poetry, Maxims, Quips, Clichés, Adages, Wisdom
A Collection Growing to Over 3,500 Quotes Arranged by Over 135 Topics
Many of the Documents Include Recommended Readings and Internet Links.
Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo



Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2003

Photograph from our home looking towards the west.

Photograph from our home looking towards the east.



    Our ranch style home is on a five acre parcel.  An irrigation ditch and natural drainage results in a small pond on 
the west end of the property, and a ditch that runs through the center of the property.   Many cottonwood and willow trees were planted along the ditch by the former owners of the property.   A number of neighbors share this ditch.  We pay for water released into the ditch.   Also, when farmers flood their grazing pastures or rice fields,
the overflow drains naturally down into the pond.  When the ditch flows with irrigation water we use a small electric pump (1/6 horsepower at 1380 gallons per hour with no lift) to divert a little of the water to the drip lines to our trees and shrubs.  When the ditch is not flowing, we water our vegetable garden with pond water.  

   We planted many trees, shrubs and vines around the house to create plenty of shade.  Water and energy conservation are improved with more shade in our USDA Zone 9 Sunset Zone 8.   We have a hot and dry summer climate.   Typically, we have low humidity all year.     

    We planted screens and hedges along the edges of the property to establish borders, create backdrops for plantings, screen off undesirable views of messy work and storage areas and roadways, and to lessen the effect of the strong winds.  We installed some fencing to create more wind breaks, enclosed landscaped areas, and block views of the driveway and parking area. 

    Most of the time, the weather is very pleasant here in Red Bluff.  The seasons are more defined here than 
those in Southern California (San Gabriel Valley) where we lived for 16 years before moving to Red Bluff.  The 
winters are much cooler, the summers hotter, more rain falls here, and there are greater extremes of temperature 
and weather.   We have experienced wind gusts from the north and south up to 55 miles per hour,  heavy tule fogs for up to a week in the winter, and temperatures as low as 19°F in the winter and as high as 117°F in the summer.  
The winds can come from the north one day and from the south the next day as storm fronts from the Pacific charge into the coastal mountains.  The winds here are a serious problem for gardening, for two reasons: First, high summertime daytime temperatures and winds can quickly dehydrate plants unsuitable for this arid climate.  Second, the winds bend and sometimes break stems, branches and even the trunks of shrubs and trees.  Summertime afternoons can become very hot - and our vegetables thrive if watered properly.   It snowed about two inches in 2002.   There is no smog in our area; hazy skies are most common in the summer.  

    Soil testing at our home in Red Bluff indicates that we garden in surface (top 12") soil composed of: 57% clay, 37% sand, and 6% silt.   The soil is reddish brown looking, smooth in consistency, containing no pebbles or rocks.   I used the "rapitest soil tester" and found the soil to be: very acidic with a 5.5 - 6.5 pH, with a medium nitrogen level, with a medium phosphorus level, and with a low potash level.   Over the past few years we have amended the soil with: dolomitic limestone, commercial fertilizer, ironite, composted manure, sand, truckloads of topsoil, grass and garden cuttings, leaves, straw, and home compost.   While planting trees and shrubs from November to January, I have seen numerous worms in the topsoil.  



Home - Quotes for Gardeners



    We planted 30 bare root fruit and nut trees, and vines, in the winter of 1998-1999, and 8 did not leaf 
out in the spring.  The grapes, berries, apricots, maples, mulberries, persimmons, and figs did very well 
from bare root stock.  The pecans, the most expensive, have grow very slowly.   We planted 15 bare root 
trees and 30 shrubs in the winter of 1999-2000.   We planted many shrubs during the winter of 2001.  
By 2002, many of these plants were 8-12 feet tall, e.g., cypresses, bottlebrush, junipers, ash, 
firethorn, eucalyptus, etc..  Grape vines have completely covered all lath houses.  

    In 1999,  I built a large outdoor dog house and dog pen area and new grape arbor and outdoor work 
bench area, put up many new fences, completed and extensive drip irrigation installation, and put in 
electrical lines to outdoor areas.  We improved the soil in a large vegetable plot (25'x50') for winter 
and summer crops.   In the summer of 2000, I built a teahouse near the pond.   In the summer of 2001, 
I built a large lath house, and outdoor storage sheds.   In the summer of 2002, I build a dog run,
installed underground pipelines,  built a new storage shed, and finished the vegetable garden
fencing and potting areas.     

   Our home is a one story, ranch style house.   It has a modern kitchen, large living room, dining room, 
3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a large study used for a home office, two smaller rooms, a large one car 
garage with work areas, and a large covered back porch.  It was built in 1987.  It has 1,980 square feet.  
It also includes a 435 square foot screened back porch.  The property is now completely fenced with 
barbed wire and field (pig) fencing.   Other homes in the small subdivision of our neighborhood are 
all very similar - ranch style homes on 5 acre parcels.  

    We have a private water well.   The well goes down 130 feet through alternating layers of gravel and clay.  The well digger reported the layers as follows:  0-7' red clay, 7-15' gravel, 15-28' yellow clay, 28-65' hard gravel, 65-73' hard brown clay, 73-86' gravel, 86-108' brown clay, 108-135' sandstone.  An 1 horsepower electric 220 volt AC motor runs the well pump.  

    In 2003 we added a large screened back porch, and painted the eaves of the house and the back bedroom.  We also added new underground water lines from the middle pond for backyard irrigation.  In 2004, we added shelving in the outdoor shed, a large covered work area, and a second large shed and painted everything brown.  We continued to paint indoors and replace the sinks and water heater.  

    By the end of 2004 the background evergreen landscaping on all four sides of the house had grown to 8 to 20 feet in height.  This provides privacy, wind protection, shade, and a wonderful view of deep green foliage all year.  Next to the house are small lawn and flower areas to the west and east of the house.  To the north and south are gravel covered areas before the shrubs and trees.  

Water - Quotes for Gardeners



We use a septic tank with two leach lines.    

We use a:
John Deere Lawn tractor and cart
5 horsepower lawn mower,
an Echo string trimmer,
a (21cc)
Mantis tiller/cultivator,
and lots of strenuous labor with hand tools: shovels, post hole digger, rakes, hoes, picks, hoes, etc.. 


Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2003



Our Neighbors


Our neighbor to the south, Curt Murphy, wrote to me on 22 December 2006:
"Your home has beautiful landscaping.. Must be a wonderful place to live.  Did you welcome the orioles this past summer?  I've been on Kilkenny Lane for 24 years and early last summer was the first time I've ever seen one. Do the coyotes keep you awake at night as well? They're not a bother for me but, I do hope my dogs barking at them doesn't interrupt your sleep.  We have deer moving up the creek at night.  When my Dad and I built his pump shed 24 years ago (where did that time go), I remember driving up to the homestead and seeing an enormous buck. I haven't seen a deer since, but I see their tracks
frequently in the creek bottom.  You've a great compilation of your surroundings.  If you're interested I would like to submit additional info that you are more than welcome to update or add to your web page:  Curt, Renee', Morgan and Jack Murphy.  2 horses maintained and beloved by my wife and daughter (Hidalgo the paint and Ruby the roan).  5 dogs (Steele and Roxy are the queenslands.  Steele is the blue male and Roxy the smaller red female. I think Roxy is enamored with your dogs.  She enjoys the occasional meetings at the fence line. The other 3 are West Highland terriers that are indoors most of the time.  2 cats: (I've seen Miss Kitty heading your way a time or 2.  She is a small calico. Sammy is our lazy Siamese who usually doesn't make it past the food bowl.  Both are outdoors at all time.  The goat's name is Johnny.  We now have 4 sheep in place of the alpacas. I am unsure of what we call them but they are all ewes that supply my daughter and son the lambs they need for 4H and a small income."


Red Bluff Notebooks Main Index


Photographs of Our Yard and Gardens
Comparisons 1998 to 2007

Photographs by Months of the Year

Months of the Year

Cloud Hands Blog by Mike Garofalo


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The information on this webpage was first placed on the Internet in 2002. 

This webpage was last updated on March 2, 2012