Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursdays in the Garden - Sending the Memo

After shopping at both Tohono Chul and Greg Starr's nursery, I spent a few days planting. I remembered to keep things watered, and I covered the exposed area with a nice pine bark mulch. The weather's cooled off enough that I don't worry (too much) about serpents slithering as I'm kneeling in the mid-day sun. There was so much to do, and life was pressing, so much of the planting took place as the sun was setting.

There's a peacefulness that comes over the garden as the sun sits low in the sky. I could feel the earth relaxing as I carved out new homes for my treasures. There were lots of snake holes, especially around the space I'd reserved for the Rhyolite bush, but I decided that I wasn't going to worry about that. I'd consider them participants in the project as they aerated the soil through which the Crossosoma bigelovii could shoot its roots.

The two yuccas - schottii and torreyi - are guarding the walkway to the little garden gate.

They are a nice complement to the hesperaloes I planted last year along the same berm.

I'm broadening my palette in the sunset cactus garden, too. This Broad Spined Barrel (Ferocactus latispunus) sits nicely amongst the Golden Barrels, but the variegated spines say "look at me!!! look at me!!!" in a fairly demanding tone of voice. (Listen...... if I can talk to the plants, then they can talk to me. Don't think I'm making this up - our container plants in Mill Valley perked right up to Gilbert and Sullivan)

I added some White Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis) to the front courtyard, but there were still some bare spots. Another trip to Tohono Chul and I had three Lantana camara to fill in the gaps. There's a nice amalgam of white and yellow in the blooms, and the foliage is a lighter shade of green than their white and purple cousins. I think I bought it for the name as much as anything else, though -- Lantana Patriot Sunbeam. It sounds like an infant daughter on a survivalist commune.

I protected the Texas persimmon and the white lantana with chicken wire. This requires the use of a tin-snip and thick but supple gloves. Once you get into the groove of cutting it's not that hard, but towards the end, as the rolled up wire is digging into my forearm and my fingers are beginning to cramp, I wonder if it's all worth it.

The answer is, of course, yes. The unprotected rhyolite bush's before and after pictures tell the sad story of planting without protection.

Didn't they get the memo?

The lantana is supposed to be more palatable than this poor little rhyolite.

I'll wrap it tomorrow, after a trip to Home Depot for supplies.

The tender shoots that are emerging after the fauna gorging it endured are a testament to the strength of native plants. They're used to this happening to them, and they perservere through the adversity. I'm sure there's a deeper meaning to be found in this, but I'm just wondering where to send the memo to my resident fauna --- leave my flora ALONE!!!

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