microb's blog

Happy Days
Posted on Jun 12, 2021 12:30 AM

Wednesday was the Friends of the Zoo board meeting. I'm the only guy and only plant person on the board so I wave my flag for the zoo gardens. Lots of landscaping has to be done after construction and one the projects is replanting 19 5ft x 1ft planters located in a few locations around the zoo.
We had a discussion about needing to add some new plants and for easy maintenance we decided on Bromeliads. Approval was given to spend up to $500. (More on that later). We also decided to have a second fundraising plant sale in October so that is another ball in my court. This time I have a team of three to help. I did basically everything for the last sale held May lst. My primary job is to line up vendors.
After the board meeting I went to the nursery with the Pine trees and purchased a Sugi Pine, cypressus "Ice Blue" and a sequoia or Coast redwood. Should be fun seeing those grow over the next couple of years.
I had a few minutes to spare in town before the board meeting so went to the local nursery store and purchased a variegated papyrus, a small ginger and a variegated philodrendrum for the shady glen garden.

Today I had an appointment with Bromeliads Hawaii. They are a world distributor of hybrid bromeliads and run a nursery with acres of covered benches (check them out on line) Visits are by appointment only so when I got there I was the only visitor and met Mr Shiigi and his daughter Royanne. Really nice folks.Got to see acres of bromeliads and talk story for a while. They will be emailing me a proposal for buying about 75 bromeliads for the zoo. In keeping with local aloha spirit they gave me two wonderful bromeliads for my yard just for visiting.

This afternoon i was out in the forest with the chainsaw clearing trees to make way for the pine trees. Result will be a large wood pile off to one side.

Running bamboo is getting aggressive. Number of "kills" now at 519. Clumping bamboo Alfonse Karr has started to put out new canes Still waiting for most of the clumpers to wake up.

Six pots of Canna Lilies have had a spring awakening. Nice orange and yellow blooms. I'm going to put them in the ground this year. Trying to reduce by plants in pots. The remaining hybiscus plants went from pots to the ground this week.

While visiting Home Depot last Monday to buy wood screws I passed through their garden dept and picked up a wonderful Fuschia that has a "black" center. I was going to try and take cuttings but decided to just repot it into a hanging pot and put it out on a tree in the shady glen garden. Four different varieties of fuschia bloom out there now.

I was given the responsibility by the zoo of growing "Jean Curtis" vireya cuttings (tropical rhodedendrums). Jean Curtis was a past member of Friends of the Zoo and has a memorial garden. Two cutting have rooted and will go to the zoo next week.

We had two large white Tilapia fish die recently. Probably 11 years old and each weighed about 2 pounds. Will have to think about replacements but we still have a few left.

Water lilies are either in bloom or showing buds.

We have a red passion vine growing below the front deck railing so this year we let it climb up to the railing and have now trained it along the length of the deck (like a Lei). Always has nice red blooms and makes a good hiding place for green geckos. (maybe photos next time)

Hawaiian tree ferns are an asset in the garden. Really majestic with their large fronds. However each year one set dies off an fresh ones appear. The dead ones turn an ugly brown and lower themselves to the ground blocking pathways. These fern frond are like 6 ft long and 2 feet wide and with dozens of ferns throughout the forest cleaning them up once a year is hard work for someone my age?
The other obstacle in the yard is palm leaves. We have giant palm trees with palm fronds that weight 50 lbs and about 25 ft long that come crashing down from heights of 40 ft. Stay out of the way of those guys. Once on the ground they have to hauled to the rubbish heap. Palm leaves waving in the wind on Waikiki beach look magical but try cleaning up after them. Ours are not coconut palms so no nuts on the trees just the one cleaning up.

Well thats if for this evening. I think I'm up to date with gardening activities. Please note no oinons, carrots, irises or day lilies like a read in most the the blogs, just rampant tropical jungle fun.

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Zoo Day
Posted on Jun 9, 2021 12:49 AM

Gardening at the zoo today. Zoo has been closed 16 months due to COVID and ADA compliance construction. Firm opening date is July 19th. As the contractors slowly fade from view we have to work on landscaping. Dozens of palm trees were removed, grass was sacrificed for wheelchair ramps and old buildings were demolished or renovated. Today I was planting Gardenia bushes and Red spider lilies but this is volcano land so after going down 4 inches in new top soil we hit contractors rock fill or lava rock. Working with what we had we got most of the job done. I volunteered to do gardening not pickaxing rock.

No energy left for work at home but I did manage to get some plants fertilized while walking the dog through the forest. Max did not like being ignored but it was the only way I could combine what had to be done with what needed to be done.

Clumping bamboo are showing new canes. New plants that were put in the ground this time last year have new leaves flushing out and new canes poking through. Three black Java bamboo have new canes and the GIANT giganteus has three new canes developing. Will post pics as they get bigger.

The new Shady Glen garden is looking good. New plants are being added, Beehive gingers, three different bamboos, heliconias and fushcias in hanging pots. All new plantings look sparse to start but in twelve months time they will have filled in and look great. Still chainsawing down Waiwi trees. Had four good size ones leaning against a couple of 20 foot Australian tree ferns. My neighbor and I were able to get the trees off them without damage but, as always, there is the clean up to do.

Tomorrow I'm off to a local nursery to buy (I hope) two blue spruce and a giant redwood tree. Thats something new for me but I'm told they will love it at my elevation.

Always something new going on somewhere in the garden. More update next time.

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Still going strong
Posted on Jun 4, 2021 5:04 PM

Thought about a blog and then went back and read May 17th and June 5th from last year.

Amazingly what is happening in the garden today is an exact copy of those two blogs. Only difference is that all the plants are just one year older.

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Blog Addiction and Denial
Posted on Mar 25, 2021 5:16 PM

After attending my own BAD meeting I have been blog free now for 6 weeks. Did not realize how much of my time was getting disrupted by sitting in front of the computer reading and writing garden blogs.

Since my last blog nothing has really changed. My neighbor from Seattle has returned home after helping me with four or five good chainsaw sessions trimming out more forest for planting. The Shady Glen garden is what I think I am calling it and its almost finished.
Weeks, yes weeks, of heavy tropical rains have slowed garden progress and turned forest paths into mud. Just this past week we have had sunshine and strong breezes to help dry things out. I've counted four trees down. Two on the other side of the bridge have blocked trails. I have cut one up to allow me to walk the dog, the other is still awaiting attention.
Closer to home one tree came down across the path to the Shady Glen garden and I can step over it. I'm leaving it there as the long horizontal trunk adds an interesting feature on which I can hang baskets of plants. The leafy top rests in the forest. The fourth tree was a problem. A large ironwood fell across the entrance to the potting greenhouse along the edge of the driveway. My angels are kind. The trunk missed a beautiful Camelia bush and the heavy branched top of the tree fell over the fence and into the forest. My Seattle friend came over and cut up the trunk and we used my van to take it to his compound so he could prep it for firewood upon his return next year.
Spring is in the air. I counted 14 orchid cactus buds in the greenhouse yesterday. The running bamboo is showing signs of growth again (remember I kicked over 800 new canes last year). Other bamboos are starting to flush out new leaves and one has two new canes so it won't be long before the clumping bamboo take off.
I'm in the middle of organizing The Friends of the Zoo fundraising plant sale to be held May 1st. I HAVE TO be in contact with local nurseries that are vendors and I'm also calling nurseries to donate plants that we can sell on the FOZ booth. This is a new challenge for me to get permits in place, think of COVID rules and as the sale gets closer finding help for assist in making it a successful day. 11 vendors and 3 contributing nurseries so far.
Started planting out young ginger plants that I have raised from seed and put a bunch of bromeliads in the ground in the Shady Glen garden.
Out in the forest it is getting a little depressing as weeds start to grow and the ground remains muddy. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, with improving weather I will get across the bridge without the dog and do some actual cleaning up. I take the dog out on his walk twice a day and that gives me a chance to see the plants that I have got in the ground and monitor their growth.
Otherwise cutting grass, raking up bamboo leaves and dragging 30ft palm fronds to the green waste pile.

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No inspiration
Posted on Feb 4, 2021 12:19 AM

Sitting in front of the computer trying to think what I've been doing for the last four weeks. Must be something garden related.

John, the guy with 80 different varieties of bamboo - well we are now good friends and have done two trades in the last two weeks. He now has five varieties he did not have before and so do I. I inventoried my bamboos with an Excel listing and I have about 70 different varieties. John is trying find ones I don't have so we can do another trade. Obsessed I think!

I've lost (misplaced) my favorite bamboo hand saw. Probably left it laying on the ground after my last project. So used some stimulus money to buy a new one today. One local Ace hardware store had sold out so when I went into town today I went to Garden Exchange, a nice garden store that has more unusual plants for sale. Of course they did not have the saw I wanted but I walked out with a spotted Heliconia and a nice Beehive ginger plant. The Ace store in Hilo town did have the saw and the rubber wellington boots I was looking for.

A new homeowner in the neighborhood is cutting down a huge stand of bamboo and leaving the giant canes on the side of the road to be taken for free. My van is now becoming popular with my neighbor friends. I have retrieved a dozen so far to use as path markers in the forest. Its a lot of work carrying 12 long, heavy bamboo poles through the forest but what fun. Tomorrow my friend Richard wants to pick up four heavy ones to make posts for his barbeque shelter. Will use the van and pick up some more for myself. Our neighbor friend Kevin who visits from Seattle in the winter uses his motor scooter to pick them up. Balances a 12ft cane on his shoulder and rides his scooter home.

Strong 30-50 mph winds this afternoon blew leave out of the trees and three plastic panels off our front porch roof. Storm roared through the islands today from North to South. We got the wind ahead of it but the rain and thunderstorms that his the other islands dissipated before it got here. just a few light showers. I've repaired the roof but lots of twigs, leaves and small branches to clear from the forest paths.

I'm just not inspired this evening so most of my gardening over the last few weeks must have been more of the same.

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