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sprig to twig » 2012 » October

Archive for October, 2012

the saga of the green pot

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

in its last location

This nice big green glazed pot has been migrating around the garden, looking for a home. I keep siting it where it seems to fit, and the surrounding vegetation slowly engulfs it.

backing up a bit

Up close, not so bad, but as we back up, it begins to disappear.

from the entry

Here it is, seen as walking from the parking area to the front of the house.

picking a site

In my determination to be more methodical about the whole thing, I backed slowly away from the house.

the long view

Trying to pick a spot where it would have the desired dramatic effect when approaching the house.

Yucca aloifolia

It had always remained empty, but now is planted with Yucca aloifolia, or Spanish bayonet, from Cistus. Rather than filling the whole pot with soil, I stacked nursery pots to a level where they could support a large nursery pot whose rim is perfectly positioned slightly above the rim of the ceramic pot. I figure I can always remove it if things get too gnarly in the winter months.

1/4-10 gravel

A trip to Scappoose Sand and Gravel was in order. We line up 8 of those five gallon buckets in a double row, and the attendant positions his big scoop right over them and lets fly. He has very good aim. Everything that falls outside the buckets get swept up and deposited into a ninth bucket. This is the gravel (1/4-10, crushed basalt that has been washed to remove any dust that might rise to the surface and form a crust) that gets incorporated into the planting soil mix and also used as mulch.

tools and soil mix

And here’s the soil mix: 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 gravel, 1/3 dark hemlock mulch. The blue handles are on heavy duty metal cutters to use on the roll of metal mesh (from Noami’s at $6.99 per roll) that gets put down to deter the evil gophers.

cardboard & wire mesh held down by rocks

In an effort to compensate for my tendency to overplant, I’m extending the bed by laying down cardboard, followed by metal screening held down by rocks.

new site from a distance

So here is the pot in its new situation as seen from a distance, coming in the drive.

looking the other way

And looking the other way.

another view

I have no illusions that this will be its final resting place, or that I will suddenly change my ways and resist the temptation to plant too many things around it and once again bury it under a deluge of plant material. Still, it was fun to take a more measured approach than my usual slap-dash. Another year or two should tell the story.

foliage takes its turn

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

‘Thunderhead’ pine today

Here’s what my ‘Thunderhead’ pine looks like today, backed by Cotinus ‘Purple Robe’. Back in January, I wrote of the damage it suffered in the winter storm here. There are two of these at Joy Creek Nursery. One has been allowed to grow up, while the other sprawls like mine. I was in a quandary, because I liked the sprawling habit, but hated to sacrifice the “candles” (it is by breaking them off that one forces it to sprawl). Then Mom Nature stepped in and did what I could not.

a closer look at ‘Thunderhead’

Here’s a closer look.

a “candled” tip

And closer still, showing a tip that I have “candled”, meaning I pinched out the growing tip.

candle left intact

And another where the candle has been left intact. It will grow longer and more dramatic before it bursts into a fresh new group of needles. I have decided that the best of both worlds is possible by leaving just a few to follow nature’s edict while imposing my will on the rest.

puzzling hammemelis

Now here’s a puzzle that I’m hoping you foliage fanatics can help solve. See the yellow leaves above and the reddish ones below? Those are all on the same tree. Last year, when Hamemelis intermedia ‘Diane’ bloomed, it only did so on the lower branches. I assumed that they were simply more mature and the upper branches would eventually catch up. Now it is obvious that this tree has a split personality.

close-up of the flowers on upper part

The top part is blooming now, with these yellow flowers. I would embrace them if they were fragrant, but they are not. Any ideas? ‘Diane’ is the tree I want. Do you think if I cut out all of the new growth she might recover her dominance? I see no sign of a graft on the trunk.

Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’

One last thing, before I send you over to Pam’s for Foliage Follow-up. I’ve been showing you the wonderful cones that form on Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’. This is what’s left of them after the seeds formed and fell away from that central post. If you have any interest in trying to grow one of these from seed, send me your contact info and I will pop a few into the mail.

extending tomato season

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

finally…ripe tomatoes

We waited so very long, and just as they began to pour out of the garden (yes, those really are ripe…they’re ‘Great Whites’, new this year, and that’s what a ripe one looks like), the night time temps started dropping. Well, we couldn’t let go of the harvest without putting up a fight, so R put on his thinking cap.

black painted water jugs and sheet plastic

He painted several water jugs black, so they would absorb more heat during the daylight hours. A large sheet of plastic was stapled to the front of the raised bed.

night configuration

Come evening, the jugs are moved in close to the plants and the plastic is pulled over. A couple of furniture clamps on the free side of the plastic keep it from blowing off.

all tucked in

And here they are , all snug in their bed, while visions of spaghetti sauce dance in our heads.

coddling pays off

Yes, the coddling is paying off. On the other hand, some plants that came up from the compost in the darnedest places and received absolutely no attention are performing marvelously. I always heard that volunteers should be yanked out for fear of harboring disease, but R couldn’t reconcile himself to losing potential tomato factories…so there you are…another pearl of wisdom debunked.