Sunday, September 13, 2015

Yuccas donate blood

Yuccas harvested
Well not actual blood, but the yucca cuttings we got from John in 2009 which were but small branches then, are now strapping multi-branched plants so we decided they could lose a few branches of their own to fill in at PRG.

Matt and I clambered into the prickly cactus wall and sawed out 9 branches at great risk to life, limb and eye poking. The crop was great, and the wall still looks lush with yuccas - lots more to harvest there.

Cactus wall still awesome
We loaded them into the truck and took them down to PRG, where I stripped off all the lower leaves and Matt commenced digging.

We made three holes and put three cuttings in each hole. Horribly stony, dusty dirt but yuccas are basically the cockroaches of the plant world and give not a whit for soil quality or moisture.

New plants!
They will spend a few months looking perturbed then in spring they'll bounce back and start growing thickly. They make a fabulous, drought resistant screen that prevents people tagging walls or fence boards, and covers up wire and other ugly fence. Go Team Yucca!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Overcast at last

Phormiums before
After over a week of very high temps, I was a bit worried the garden would be back to square one, but today Matt and I saw that the watering from last week helped and we have a few plants that have clawed their way back from the brink of death. Yeah!

We wheeled the hoses up and set sprinklers going to hit the most needy plants only.

I cut all the dead leaves off 6 Phormiums - the 3 "Guardsman" divisions in the outer border I was sure were dead are not, and got a good watering. The three in the left bed that I rescued years ago from some the trash got cleaned up and watered too - they're going to make it.

Phormiums after
While I was in the left bed hacking away, the Fuchsia boliviana "Alba" was poking my back with it's dead twigs. I cut a few back and saw that it's still alive! I gave it a good prune back to live sticks, and used its branches and the Phormium leaves to mulch all around that area and keep the dirt damp. I noticed that a Bronze Loquat (Eriobotrya deflexa) has seeded itself behind the Fuchsia and looks very healthy. It's a bit close to the cherry plum tree there, but we'll see.

Fuchsia pruned
Matt cleaned all the dead leaves off some Cordylines and around the Cussonia paniculata. He pulled pea vine out of the bed around the arch and weeded generally.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Trash, dumping, and destruction

Agave "Lemon Lime" flowering
Today I spent an hour picking up trash at Pennsylvania Railroad Garden. A lot of it blows in down 17th street, and more blows across the street from the construction site. And this week someone dumped two sofas and 4 bags of trash.

There's a lot left to pick up - perhaps when Matt gets home we can finish off the rest, and I'll schedule a trash pickup with DPW.

Chopped Opuntia
As usual I went through the trash to see if I can find an address (and if I do, I let DPW know so they can fine the owner of the trash for illegal dumping) but this time, the only thing of interest I could see was a page torn out of a calendar that listed what appeared to be dated grievances against a guy at the writer's work, with their disgusted comments. Ironic.

Chopped Trichocereus
Another thing I noticed was that someone has gone through and cut off the tops, and even the majority in some cases, of the columnar cacti at PRG. Those plants where nurtured by us for a couple of years to root and ready them for planting, and they will take probably 10 years to grow to the same size again. This is a real bummer.

Chopped Trichocereus
If you see someone cutting plants at ANY PSG gardens, outside of a workday, call the police. It's against the law to steal from or vandalize street parks.

Volunteer Labor Day

Sad Cussonia
Happy Labor Day weekend!

Today's volunteer day was sunny and warm (go Potrero Hill!) and I had three able bodied guys to work with. We got lots done.

Bill from Redwood City came by and he and our regular John cut back all the Agapanthus dead heads, after which John turned and watered the compost. Our heap is now incredibly tall and a workday where we rent a gas powered chipper to reduce the mountain is overdue.

Nathan and Bill cut back dead plants: the list of dead plants now includes two Athanasia pinnata, and some bronze Phormiums. While cutting back the cardoon, Nathan saw new sprouts emerging, so I watered it thoroughly.

The plants doing surprisingly well are Doryanthes (found a second one in the middle of the brights bed) and Cordyline cultivars (while the species dies. Odd.)

I wrestled the hoses again to water the most desperate plants. I can see evidence that last weeks watering helped, so I'll keep doing that to save some of the best plants until El NiƱo shows up...

My camera died so no pictures yet, but Bill found a praying mantis which was pretty cool!
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