Sunday, April 29, 2012

Planting Plants

Over the weekend, I've been planting plants.  Some have been in their original plastic pots for a while while others were bought in the last couple of days.

Variegated False Holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki')

Aloe species
(purchased with tag Aloe melanacantha,
but I don't think that's what it is - if anyone can identify, please do)

 Pachyveria 'Exotica' added to Three Tiers Garden

Modified a couple of metal indoor decorations to serve as fence-mounted hanging pots for a couple of my succulents.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Three Tiers

My Three Tiers bed has always been a bit of a challenge (its name is something of a play on Three Tears).  The top tier has done well with Cast Iron Plants (Aspidistra elatior) & Soap Aloes (Aloe maculata), but the lower two tiers have mainly been planted with annuals (though the shade makes winter annuals pretty iffy)

Last year I abandoned planting annuals in the bottom two levels, and opted for the tough Autumn Ferns (Dryopteris erythrosora) that have done well in other parts of the garden.  Then the Summer From Hell arrived, and coupled with a fallen tree that allowed additional late day sunshine to reach the bed, the ferns were toast (though the oak sprouts were still plentiful...grumble).

Thus I decided to go with more drought and heat tolerant specimens - ones that can still take some scattered shade for much of the day.  The first step was to dig out all the existing soil so it could be replaced with one more suited for xeriscape specimens.

This first step quickly turned into more work than anticipated.  The soil was so ridden with roots and oak sprouts that a regular shovel couldn't be used (it kept getting tangled and caught so that all the captured soil would spill out or the blade couldn't be lifted).  So I ended up using a trowel and my hands - a scoop at a time, the wheelbarrow loads rolled out.

The roots and sprouts were snipped and pulled until bedrock was reached.  Of course, there were also massive roots that simply had to be detoured around.

And irrigation pipes and television cables to be dodged and carefully left unbroken and uncut.

Then, in hopes of eliminating (or at least re-directing) the oak sprout return, the bottom was lined with weed barrier cloth (there should be plenty of soil above the fabric for drought-tolerant plants - I hope!).  Weaving this under the existing rock walls required some careful juggling.

Then the beds were refilled with two pickup truck loads of Thunder Dirt from Geo Growers.

Next, the excess cloth was trimmed away from the rock borders.

And finally, plants that had been patiently waiting for over a month were placed into the beds.  The middle tier received a Twin-flowered Agave (Agave geminiflora) and three Calamar Squid Agaves (Agave bracteosa 'Calamar').  I hope to eventually add some Soap Aloes (Aloe maculata) between them.  The lower tier received three Agave 'Blue Glow'.  Plans still include several 'Cherry Coke' Dyckias and, as time goes on, succulents will likely be added to help fill some of the empty spaces.

Most of the plants should eventually double in size.  So this is the new revised Three Tiers Bed.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Flower Power: GBBD April 2012

Sponsored by May Dream Gardens

Established Plants

 Rattlesnake Agave (Manfreda maculosa)

 Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa)

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum sp.)

 Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana)

 Texas Betony (Stachys coccinea)

 Pink Shamrock (Oxalis crassipes 'Rosea')

 Oakleaf Hydrangea 'Alice' (Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice')

 Variegated Abutilons (Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii')

  Anthony Waterer Spirea (Spiraea x bumalda 'Anthony Waterer')

 Gulf Coast Penstemon (Penstemon tenuis)

 Red Yucca's (Hesperaloe parviflora)

Potted Plants

Lace Aloe (Aloe aristata)

 Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis plicata)

 Star Begonia (Begonia heracleifolia)

Indoor Plants  

 Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)

Flower Wannabes

Mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sprawling Manfreda Blooms

Almost a month ago, my Rattlesnake Agave (Manfreda maculosa) had a couple of bloom stalks approaching two foot in height.  But as occurs with most of my garden's plants, these typically vertical stalks developed a lazy habit.

The two stalks developed an occasional bend or twist, but still venture primarily upward, pushing their bloom buds ever higher.  At one point, towering over six foot, the flowers remained remain unopened.  Then the stalks began to bend over as they grew even taller.  Now, just as the blooms are opening, they are actually bent over to the ground.

The blooms are quite interesting, but to be able to really see them, I have to lift the stalks up.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ghost Blossoms

For the first time, my Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) is actually blooming.  The small delicate flowers are tiny, but quite attractive.