Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The tree aloe madness continues

loidendron barberae
Matt and I got around to planting another tree aloe last weekend. This time we got a big 15 gallon Aloidendron barberae (formerly known as Aloe barberae or Aloe bainesii before it got reclassified recently) into the ground in the left bed, near the entrance to the garden.

This aloe will grow to be a serious tree - with branches, up to 60 feet high and 36 inches in stem diameter. Eventually. I'm just hoping to keep it alive until it gets established, and will do my best to stop the cardoon from flattening it...

Aloe ferox
I also noticed that our Aloe ferox is starting to flower and has an actual trunk under there. Yup, it's also 10 years old (happy birthday!) and looking really good. One of my favorite plants in the garden.

We watered the new plants in and did some weeding, and called it a day. 

Don't forget to come to the volunteer day on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

We've gone tree Aloe mad

Aloe sp.
At the last volunteer workday, Josh planted a tree Aloe in the brights bed. And last weekend, Matt and I planted more tree Aloes, bringing PG's total up to five - almost. Kinda.

We have had one tree aloe for many years. Our Aloe ferox, was planted in 2009 and it's now an impressive specimen in the cactus wall bed, although like all of them it'll be another decade before it attains actual tree status. It flowers every year and puts on quite a show. You can read about it in the Plant Profile, here.

A. thraskii
The one Josh planted was a donation from Mat at Farallon Gardens. This big Aloe thraskii took a bit of a beating in transit sadly, but I expct it will go bananas soon. It will eventually hit 10' tall, and they remain an unbranched columnar plant, instead of a wide branching tree - like Aloe ferox.

We used to have an Aloe "Goliath" at the garden, but had to move it twice as it wasn't thriving - the last time, to a pot where it recovered very nicely at home.

A. "Goliath"
Now that we have a bit of water access, the time is right to replant it at PG and it's in the left bed now.

This cross of the large South African tree aloe, Aloe barberae (aka A. bainesii), and Aloe vaombe from Madagascar usually grows really quickly to about 10' tall, but they also tend to have spindly trunks and fall over. We will stake this one up safely.

John gave us a Craigslist rescue Aloe a while back too. Now that it's grown lots of roots we put it in at the garden last weekend. The species is unknown though - it could be another ferox? But it certainly has a trunk so we shall see what it does. It's in the middle back bed.

The last big guy hasn't been planted yet. We have a 15 gallon Aloe barberae (aka A. bainesii) at home, and will plant it in the garden soon. This will be a massive tree in a couple decades, up to 30' tall with loads of branches. It has salmon-pink flowers too - hope I get to see them one day!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Welcome to summer, SF!

Those who've lived here for a while know the weather in the Bay Area is always best in the fall - we call it our summer. And this weekend we had a beautifully summery day for our October volunteer workday at PG.

Matt, Chris, Josh and I were joined by Veronica, and the team set about more winter prep tasks.

Josh and Veronica planted an Aloe thraskii - a new species for us that was donated by Mat McGrath of Farallon Gardens. This should grow into a nice tree aloe, and with a lovely watering basing built by the team, I hope it thrives.

Matt set up the water again  the second time this year. We deeply watered quite a few plants and noticed the watering done last time had helped a lot.

Already, the Phlomis and Leonotis have sprouted new leaves, and I think we saved a few Cordylines from certain death.

Matt also cut back the Matilija Poppy and worked on bagging up a lot of the branches from last time. 

Chris got down (right down... on the ground) to business removing fennel from the back slope, and then bravely de-pupping a large, exceptionally spiny Agave "Green Giant" up at the triangle gardens. Dangerous work!

He and Josh replanted some there as an encampment deterrent, and more pups will go on the back slope. Knowing how fast they grow it'll be a Green Giant forest before you know it!

I cleaned trash and Veronica helped me get the composters ready to use again. We'll fill them over winter, when it's wetter and the compost will break down quickly. We used some of the Chasmanthe leaves she'd removed to start the process.

All in all a very worthwhile Saturday!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

VIPKid makes a difference

Go team VIP Kid!
On Friday we had a really wonderful VTO day with the outstanding team from VIPKid. Based in SOMA, they zipped over to help us prepare PG for winter.

I was joined by PG regulars John, Carrie, Matt and Josh as my volunteer coordinators, and we got a LOT done with so much help: go team!

Tasks we dove into included cutting back Salvia leucantha, Salvia canariensis, Leonotus leonurus, Chasmanthe and all sorts of plants that will spring back as soon as we get rain.

One volunteer even cut down a dead Pittosporum tree, which was fun to watch. We will need to remove the branches over time, but at least that dead tree is more or less gone. And no we can replace the tree with something much, much cooler… maybe a Cussonia?

Thanks to all the work done at PG this year, very few weeds are in evidence there, but we still managed to fill a dozen big paper bags with green waste, and a few big plastic bags of trash too. John led a team at PRG to pick trash as well, an area that seems to collect a lot of waste.

Loads of green waste for 311
At the end of the day I’m always shocked at the impact a group of volunteers can make on the gardens: we cannot maintain the gardens without the help of these groups, so if your company want to join us, or even better you want to come to a Saturday workday, remember we’re out there rain or shine on the first Saturday of every month from 10am-12pm.

Thank you VIPKid: you rocked it!

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