Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall 2012

FALL 2012

Fall is really here after a glorious late summer that seemed like it would never end. At Rare Plant Research and Villa Catalana Gardens we had no rain from late June until mid October.

The succulent plants loved it. They got watered about once every two weeks or less. The photos in this blog post are all from our terrace garden which is a bed about four feet wide and 90 feet long and filled with hardy and non-hardy succulents and xeriphytes. The hardies such as Yucca thomsoniana, Dasylirion wheeleri, Tradescantia 'Purple Heart', Delasperma, Semprevivums, and sedums are the backbone of the garden and non-hardies such as Echeveria, Aeoniums, Senecios and Kalanchoes give a little seasonal drama to the the bed. They get lifted and go in the greenhouse for the winter, usually after we get some frost.

We have had a number of very light frosts which the non-hardies can endure, but when it drops below 25*f, they suffer significant damage. Now that we are on standard time there is no light in the evenings after work to enjoy the terrace garden so it is time to pull the plug on the non-hardies.

 It is a sad time of year as they get put to bed, but after a winter rest, they join their hardy friends in the spring and they look even better. When seen in a pot, they often surprise me because they have grown so big during the warm months. It is time for time by the fireplace in the evenings and the less hectic time of winter. Ahh, a little winter nap sounds pretty good to me after a very busy spring, summer and early fall.     

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring is Here!

After a mild winter and a very rainy March, spring has sprung. With several days in the 80's under our belt, many plants are starting to pop. The Eucomis pole-evanii has about 1" of growth, the Laburnum allee has a few flowers starting to open and the Tetrapanex is leafing out. The hardy Amarylis are about 6" high and the hardy banana (Musa basjoo) have several new leaves. The native frogs are toning down their evening song of love (or is it lust?) and our Egyptian goose seems to have become attached to a Canada goose who, unfortunately for him, ignores him.

Last fall we dug a new pond and the frogs have rapidly moved in and filled the void. We stocked the upper pond with rainbow trout and discovered that the Blue Gill in the middle pond have been busy propagating. We also got the small vineyard planted on the middle pond dam last winter and the buds on the little Pinot Noir vines are beginning to open. Spring is such a dramatic beginning to the warm season.  We are excited about several plants that will be available this spring. After several years of poor luck with germination, this year we finally will have Musa sikkimensis 'Red Tiger' available. It is about as hardy as Musa basjoo, but has red stripes on the leaves. Pretty cool!  We dug our Haemanthus humilis and Brunsvigia bulbs and potted them up. They are just beginning  to grow and hopefully we will be able to release a few this spring.