Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The mystery of the lost certificate

We had a lovely warm and sunny volunteer day on Saturday, and  welcomed some super volunteers who worked with gusto. Ahhh - always so satisfying!

Matt and Bill took the truck down to PRG and moved 5 smallish boulders up to PG to build edging around the Agave ovatifolias on the south end of the brights bed. They got smaller rocks we'd left at the top of the garden to place in between the big ones, and it all looks great.

I can't get enough of rock borders right now. So much so in fact that I am considering having some more big baskets of rocks delivered by Half Moon Bay Soil Farm. Watch out for that fun.

Meanwhile, Kunaal, Will and Leanne joined me in weeding the Agave bed behind the wrong way sign, and the front border. Oh boy are those weeds busy growing as fast as they can! We are going to need all hands on deck for weeding next month.

John set about turning the compost, a job which he claims to like. Yes, there is mindless enjoyment to be had in sweaty manual labor. I am glad John finds that task rewarding because I'm pretty sure my arms would disagree.

And the mystery of the lost certificate? Well, when we arrived at the garden we found a Clemson University degree certificate, framed and matted, left on top of the compost bins. Likely it got there thanks to some homeless person, but it was in good shape so I thought I'd see if I could reunite it with its owner.  

Her name is quite unusual, so thanks to some Googling and posting on NextDoor I was able to fire off Facebook, LinkedIn and email messages quite quickly, and a it turns out she now lives in North Carolina.

Happily I was able to mail the framed certificate back to her - and why not. I'm sure she worked hard to get it all those years ago!


Monday, January 25, 2021

OK, it's winter now


Today is so very windy, and we're due about an inch of rain tomorrow - cold rain, lashed at us with gusts up to 50mph! The winter so far has been warm and dry, so I'm glad Matt and I got our to the garden last weekend and... you guessed it! We planted some plants.

At the very front of PG at the sidewalk we had put in some Agave angustifolia in a slightly haphazard way. We decided to rearrange them, moving the plain green one to the top of the garden, weeding the area thoroughly, and placing the variegated agaves in a better design. we added two more small ones, as well as 5 Artemisia "Powis Castle" that I propagated last year. A few wood chips for mulch, et voila!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Planting continues

Today and yesterday Matt and I planted a slew of new plants at the gardens.

A total of 4 Aloe tomentosa went in at the bottom of the steps at PG. The biggest plant was one that was not doing well at PG years ago, and we swooped in and rescued it. We collected seed when it flowered, and the three smaller ones are the result. We will keep an eye on them to see how they do in this much shadier spot.

Similarly, a Yucca linearifolia from the steps had been rehabbed at home. It's replanted now, in much better condition. A really cool (but small) Yucca faxoniana went in the top bed, and an Echium gentianoides too.

We removed all the bearded iris that had stopped flowering for us, and I put them on NextDoor. Very shortly after a woman came to pick them up - good luck! In their place we planted six Leucophyta brownii, all around the Agave ovatifolias.

Yesterday we planted an Echium hybrid (Echium candicans x Echium pinninnata, a natural cross that happened in our garden) in the top bed, along with  Agave "Huastecta Giant (shown at the top in the image at left)," Agave americana striata (bottom left) and Agave americana "Lemon Lime" (bottom right.)  Agave "Mr Ripple" went in the left bed.

Overall that's six totally new species for us and the return of some nice ones. Hope they do really well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The weeds tho...


Matt and I headed to the garden to do some planting last weekend. For me it was more of a "point where I want it" as my knee is still iffy, but Matt was up for that.

We put in 6 Leucophyta brownii (syn. Calocephalus brownii)  "Silver Stone" which I grew on from plugs and 4" plants to this 1 gallon size over the last 6 months. I have 6 more at home that need to grow a bit more, too. This is a nice, super drought tolerant plant from Australia that we have had in the past - not very long lived but good for a few years.

We also put in two 15 gallon Yucca guatemalensis down at PRG which we grew from cuttings (on the right), and an Austrocylindropuntia subulata - the lovely Eve's Needle cactus that grows so well for us (on the left). More spines, less trouble, in my experience - at least, less trouble with theft, damage and destruction. More trouble with weeding, I must confess...

We watered the new Cussonias and pondered more planting. Loads more plants are waiting to go in at home, but lots of them need to get bigger before they can withstand life at the garden where people stand on them, let their dogs pee on them, and generally abuse them!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

African tree bonanza

Happy new year! We decided to kick off 2021 by planting some new trees from Africa from one our favorite genera, Cussonia. It was a bit of a soggy volunteer day but John, Chris and Bill helped Matt and I get the plants in and it was satisfying.

I had ordered 6 Cussonia paniculata from one of our favorite suppliers (Flora Grubb) a few months ago, expecting to receive six lovely blue-gray leaved plants described as "a large evergreen shrub or small tree" topping out around 10-15' in height and native to South Africa. We have one at home and it's lovely - one trunk, small poofball on top. Yep - we have lots of room for things like that.

However, what was delivered looked suspiciously different. Greener leaves, multi stemmed in some cases... and a trip to the Flora Grubb retail location caused more suspicion: they had the same 5 gallon plants but labelled Cussonia transvaalensis.

Nothing wrong with that. another blue-green leaves plant that tops out around 16'. A quick email to Flora Grubb's people and they confirmed the mixup - these are C. transvaalensis. Except... are they? The leaves are very green... and the multi-stemmed look is worryingly like Cussonia spicata, a bit sprawly monster going close to 50' tall!

Well, too late. They had to go in the ground so we will soon see what we get. Three went in at PRG (at the north corner, and two along the fenceline), three went in at PG  (in the middle back bed, on the terraces, and up at the very top of the garden by a loquat) And we also planted two Yucca filifera and two Yucca guatemalensis at PRG.

Matt fixed the tool chest with a new hasp from Chris (thank you!), and the new plants got some water (the ground is bone dry past the first 2" still...) and off we went home. Good job, chaps!

 
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