microb's blog

Time races by
Posted on Jul 15, 2020 12:02 AM

I just can't keep up with all the blogs. i try and read a few and can't understand why i am not keeping my garden activity records going. Maybe its because i can read last years activity report and this year reads just the same.
I seem to have a knack of attracting plant trading activity. Last week a friend came for a garden tour with a young couple (in their 20s) they have staying with them from New York. They lost their jobs due to Covid and have been here for a number of weeks so well quarantined. They arrived with a bucket of Coleus cuttings and I had already prepared a large pile (1/2 a truck load) of Azalea cuttings and some pond weed, and an orchid in return. Had a really fun garden tour. When we visited the bird room the masks were put on but not sure why. We were not going to catch anything from the birds and if our visitors carried Covid it was "curtains" for us already. The young lady from New York had never been close to a Scarlet Macaw before and had never walked through a rainforest garden. I'm so happy when people can have new experiences. It helps reinforce how lucky we are.
Anyway back to plant trading. A few days earlier i made contact with a guy on facebook who was looking to buy Australian Tree Ferns. I jumped right in and said "don't go buying them. I throw them away) A few days later he came for a visit and in return for the tree ferns I got a packet of Tobacco seed and 6 pots of orchids and some orchid magazines from Malaya. Nice pictures.
Two weeks earlier I had visited the garden of the same friend that visited with the NY couple. After a tour of their garden i came away with a large bag of Coleus cuttings and an armful of Gardenia cuttings and a root of varigated ginger.
Tomorrow I'm off to visit a friend, give him some of my excess plastic pots and pick up some more plants.
Its an endless parade of new plants coming to my yard and all this is true.
On facebook I established a connection with a plant fanatic in Florida. He grows a similar mix of tropical plants like mine except that he has ones i don't have and back at you. So we are now on our second USPS "if it fits it ships" exchange.
Back in late June I delivered promised Hawaiian Tree Fern plants to a friend who had given me clumps of bamboo. This is the lady who is having her garden landscaped. I'm not going to go into what she is having done. Its mind boggling. Anyway i came away with five huge roots of red Ti plants that she could not be troubled to have put back in her landscaping. Oh that visit I was on my way to trade ginger plants with a local nurseryman.
Throughout all these adventures I'm getting home and hauling these plants out to The End garden and amazing myself at how many plants have been added. As more plants go in the chainsaw comes out and clears more forested area.
The new garden beyond The End garden will be called the Wood Pile garden. While clearing The End garden i was throwing the branches over the new fence to defend against pigs and, of course, some of that area will be within the expanded fence line and I'm not going to move those branches twice.
Otherwise everything in the garden is normal. Bamboo shoots are coming up on the clumping bamboos and I have just passed 700 new canes on the running bamboo. Thankfully the running bamboo is slowing down. The Giganteus Cane that was 12ft high in my last blog is now 60ft high and a second one is 20ft high. I have about 20 blooms on the Bulbifur amorphophallus. Orchid Cactus are still blooming well.
The bench wire in my greenhouse and the outside bench is rusting badly so today I purchased a 5ft by 16ft length of wire with a 4 inch grid. Needed to cut it into two pieces to get into the van. Luckily my potted plant count is down a bit as things get put into the ground so not too much to move around so that I can take off the rusted wire grid and put in the new one.
The hibiscus cuttings a got about a year ago are doing well. Most went in the ground but I have about 20 to move into two gallon pots so I can put then in the sun on the driveway so we can enjoy them close to the house. Who wants a 15 minute walk into the forest to see one or two monstrous hibiscus blooms?
Volunteer work at the Zoo is still disrupted by construction. We have to trim and weed where we can get access and walkways are ripped up and replaced and everything is made ADA compliant. A few cuttings and bromeliad pups find their way into my trash bag but that is accepted.
Weather is a mix or rainy days followed by hot sunny days but that is OK as it is our hurricane season. A couple of weeks ago we had a 4.6 earthquake which woke us up one evening, followed the next day by a 4.3. No big deal, just aftershocks from the 6.9 quake two years ago.
As you can see life goes on as normal. if I end the day tired, soaking wet or covered in mud and forest debris I'm happy.
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Time passes faster as you grow older
Posted on Jun 5, 2020 12:30 AM

Is it really three weeks since by last blog. Just don't have the time. Microb was so far down the list of blogs this time when I tried to look for my last blog to review. The days are getting longer, I get up earlier, do more stuff and then too tired in the evening. Plus we have had three weeks of gorgeous gardening weather and my wife says I have tank top sun tan. Plus how many months of closed barbers shops but no ponytail yet!
Weather during the last two days has turned wetter so the forest trails are all mud again. Planning to change my keep fit regime to pushing gravel to do path maintenance again.
The End Garden has made good progress. I finally was able to define all pathways but some are just a mess of fallen branches and vines. Clear enough to push through but not walkable. But all the paths connect so now its just a case of clearing them.
New plants are being planted all the time. I purchased 5 new varieties of clumping bamboo a couple of weeks ago, bringing my total to over 60 different. I have moved about 20 different plants from other parts of the garden to The End garden and next week a fellow volunteer at the zoo is giving me more Heliconia roots.
I get to go out to The End garden at least twice a day as it is the best area to walk our new dog. He gets let of the leash and runs like crazy. Fun to watch!
The End garden was so named as it was at the end of the forest trail with nowhere else to go and it was the end of creating new gardens. Well hit the reset button. We have a gate in our forest fence close to the bridge. The gate leads nowhere. About 15 years ago is was access to a forest trail that we planned to clear to a second stream on the far side of our property. In a brilliant flash of awareness, while putting the fence in The End garden I realized that the fence wire and posts that were found in the forest were part of this old fencing. So I elevated my spirit self into the forest canopy and, looking down, realized that I could enclose another 1/4 acre by putting in a relatively should piece of fencing between the gate and the new corner of The End garden.
I climbed over the fence in The End garden with a chainsaw, laser beamed my eyes to when I guessed the gate was and carved a trail with the chainsaw. After 15 years the forest was so thick I was almost on the gate when it came into view. By the end of June I hope to have enough left over fencing wire and posts used up to complete the project.
Looking for suggests for what to call this new garden. "The Very Last Garden"?
The new succulent collection has about doubled in size in the last three weeks. Every store I go into seems to have one I don't have.
Finding a few orchids blooming in the forest. Orchid plants in the potting greenhouse are putting on good new growth so I'm hoping to have Cattlyas (spelling?) blooming new year.
The White Clover ginger is doing well and full of surprises. A few months ago I did have one weak, disfigured bloom appear which I discounted as a failure so in my last blog I mentioned I was still waiting for it to bloom. I walked past this particular plant a few days ago and noticed a bright orange flare of color, and there was an open seed pod, with two more pods about to ripen. I guess the blooms were not such a failure afterall. The two remaining pods burst open today so now I have 2nd generation seeds in pots hoping for germination. And then on the plant next to it is another bloom head forming. Time marches on.
Bamboo growing season is well under way. Over 300 running bamboos have been kicked over so far. That does no favors to my diabetic toe neuropahy pain. The clumping bamboos are starting to show good progress. The new Giganteus cane is now about 12ft high with a diameter of about 6 inches. More canes coming. New canes on Oldhamii, Bali White Stripe, Timor Black, Brandisii and Alfonse Karr.
Amorphophallus are putting on new leaf stems. Exciting to see the new acquisitions doing well. Bulbifer will be blooming in a couple of weeks.
Still working at the Zoo on Tuesdays. Zoo is closed until December for ADA construction. I'm hoping the small contingent of landscape volunteers can keep up with growth and have everything looking good for opening day when ever that may be.
One of the larger ponds (back to home report now) is getting clogged with blanket weed and algae. Invested in some Algicide and applied first treatment yesterday. Four more treatments over the next two months. I hope something changes.
A chicken is jumping up onto our front deck, she scratched out half the soil from a large orchid cactus pot and is now laying eggs. We have collected one a day for the last week. I love her and hate her. When she has finished laying and the Orchid Cactus has finished blooming I think I will move the pot. it contains two plants one with large white blooms and the other large purple and white. Maybe I won't move it.
I'm beat. Up at 5.30am, left for Costco at 7.30 (round trip 200 miles) had a good shop during "retiree hour" Got home about 2.30pm. Pizza from Costco for lunch, stopped at the southern most bakery in the US and grabbed coconut turnovers which we ate on a lookout above the pacific coast line. Nothing between us and Chile. Light rain showers here and there, some blue skies and no tourists!

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Progress in The End garden
Posted on May 17, 2020 12:19 AM

FORGOT TO MENTION HOW MUCH I DISLIKE THE ADS THAT APPEAR AND BREAK UP THE BLOG. PLEASE PUT THEM ALL AT THE END OR THE BEGINNING. THERE MUS TO SOMEWHERE TO POST THIS COMPLAINT. SORRY FOLKS, HAD TO VENT. I will see if I can plug in photos as I go. Left all the photos until I had finished and they all go to the end. So they will appear in order of mention. The last three are the paths being laid out in The End Garden. The amazing weather continues. Mainly dry and partially sunny. A few showers at night but daytime temps starting to warm up.
Forest trails and the gardens are drying out. Easy to work with out mud.
Running bamboo in full swing. Kicked over more that 70 so far this year. Three months of hell to follow.
Longer days have got the water lilies started. First bud has broken the surface.
Amaryllis have given us four more bloom spikes. Mostly a creamy color but latest bloom bud will be a big red.
A nice spray of Dendrobium orchids appeared in the potting greenhouse.
Orchid cactus are going crazy with blooms of all shades.
My new collection of succulents is stable. They grow so slow and don't need a lot of attention but give me a point of interest on our front deck. Will be adding more now that I've found another table to expand on.
Not sure if a should have started collecting Begonias. The ones I have purchased are doing well but surviving on the growers energy. Can I keep them going. A leaf cutting that was given to me finally produced so small plantlets and one started to bloom so I thought I should split them up. Turns out that one leaf cutting produced 8 plantlets. They are in intensive care for now but looked quite strong. I watched a youtube video about laying begonia leaves flat on a bed of growing mix, putting small cuts in the viens underneath the leaves, holding the leaf flat with small rocks so the contact with the ground is maintained and hope each cut produces roots and then plantlets on the surface. So had to try that. I have two large foil dinner plates set up, sealed with Seran wrap sitting on the top of a cupboard in our sun room. Should take about 4-6 weeks for the leaves to rot away and be a failure. On the other hand I might get lucky and have dozens of plantlet.
Have had success with Angel Trumpet seeds. I have large trees of white, double white, pink and gold and found a seed pod on the white one. I've been watching the tree produce seed pods for years but never paid much attention. So a couple of weeks ago a found a ripe pod, teased out a small handful of seeds and put them in a pot. Wow, how fast they grow, now have a small forest of 3 inch seedlings to pot up. Why do I need twenty more Angel Trumpet trees? Of course you know I'm going to try the other colors.
The hibiscus cuttings I got about 6 months ago and now going into bud. About 50% survived. Looking forward to the colors.
I thought my cannon ball tree had died but seems like it is deciduous. We don't use that word much in Hawaii. But the tree is making new leaves.
I thought my Mahogany tree had died. It was looking like a dead stick in the ground but now new shoots are appearing on the inch thick trunk around the bottom. There is hope for that one.
Still waiting for the White Clover gingers to bloom. The seed germinated in January 2019 and now the plants are really starting to show growth that might project blooms later this year.
So way out at the End Garden progress is being made. About 50% of the paths are walkable. Another 25% have been cleared an defined. The remaining 25% are looking good on paper. Its so nice to have a secure area where we can let our new dog run free while I work.
A posting on facebook last Wednesday offered free Heliconia plants if the customer did the digging. I was in touch within minutes of the posting. Turns out this nice lady lived about 5 minutes away and had huge clumps of amazing upright Heliconias. I got 11 roots and put them in the ground in The End garden. The lady will be coming to my garden in a week or so to pick plants of here choice in return. I think I will get a second shot as some more of her Heliconia plants.
Or course routine trimming goes on. Went through the Aloha Garden today and remover last years Heliconia blooms stalks. This years growth is already budding. Found an orange heliconia I did not realize I had in the Secret Garden. The Secret Garden is a little of the beaten track and gets ignored but the plants grow unrestrained and produce so really strong growth. Will be getting in there soon to harvest plants for The End Garden.
Giganteus Bamboo has a really large new cane. Biggest yet. Base must be 10 inches across and getting bigger. The actual cane will be a couple of inches less than that as it grows out.
Bamboo Alphonse Karr has two new canes and the Costa Rican weeping bamboo has new pencil thin canes starting.
Spring is in the air.
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The End Garden and stuff
Posted on May 2, 2020 12:13 AM

Two more weeks slip by without a blog. I just get so tied up in being outside in this great weather, processing stamps to my stamp collection and chatting and making plant contacts on Facebook where does the time go.
Weather is great. A few showers at night, a stiff tradewind breeze and plenty of cloud and sunshine. Not too hot yet. Forest trails are drying out, no longer muddy.
The End Garden is the focus of most activity. I try and get one to two hours out there daily. Its about 1/2 acre of almost virgin forest. Rough paths were cleared to put up the fence but now I am formally making garden paths with surveyors tape. Intersecting paths will divide the space up into garden areas. As a forest most of the area was covered with Uluhe which is a climbing fern. It usually covers the ground to a depth of 4 feet and climbs trees at every opportunity. It is scratchy and dusty. The trees consist of clumps of Waiwi, a very vertical guava tree. The clump usually has a beautiful parent tree at the center surrounded by saplings growing from the fallen fruit over the years. The ferns climb up into these clumps creating a vertical mass maybe 50ft tall. So when I get to one of these clumps the first job it to pull down the fern. Its like pulling bell ropes in a church tower except these ropes and thin woody strings. When you tug on them, if you are lucky a mass of fern comes out of the tree preceded by dust and leaves. Sometime the string breaks and you have to leave the fern in the trees to die and get weathered away. After removing the ferns I cut away the saplings to reveal the parent tree which can be a beautiful feature with an 8 inch trunk and short branches.
So now I have a heap of dusty fern and 50ft tall saplings laying on the ground. What do I do with them. No choice but to haul them to the nearest perimeter fence and toss them over. The open areas covered in fern usual hide really nice hapuu tree ferns and the ground can be soft and loamy.
So from this blank canvas I am outlining paths about 4 ft wide with bright green or yellow surveyors tape. I hope to have the paths determined by the end of May.
I design a garden like contractors build skyscrapers. While the forest is still being cleared and marked at the head of the trail, I am putting small tree trunks and bamboo canes on the ground to mark the paths and removing the tape. During rests from chainsaw work I will rake cleared areas and prepare for planting and same plants are already being put into the ground. Just like the skyscraper - the top floors are scaffolding and concrete beams, lower down windows are going in and at ground level rooms are being decorated.
It takes 8 minutes to walk out to The End garden from the house. So my wheelbarrow is loaded up with rake, spade, loppers, shears, chainsaw etc. Any spare space is loaded with pots of plants ready to plant. I have moved some of the pots of Rainbow Bark Trees out to the garden. Three are in the ground. The wheelbarrow must be full when I go out. The path is well used so some areas have developed muddy patches. Sometimes I fill the barrow with gravel and put the tools on top. Patch paths as I go. Besides the tools the only items in the wheelbarrow on the way seems to be empty pots.
The old rain shelter in the forest is now accessible so I will be renovating that to become a nice shelter/retreat.(see pic below)
I try and walk out new dog, Max, out to The End garden twice a day for exercise. Some days I travel out there as many as six times. Good exercise.
The running bamboo is starting to put up new shoots. So far I have kicked over 23. I have a few new shoots coming on the clumping bamboos but its early yet.
Still making a few plant sales. $25 for a pink and a red torch ginger last week.
Had some trees fall down last week. Combination of shallow roots and soft soil. Good chainsaw session yesterday catching up with tree trimming around the "nearer to the house" area rather than the forest.
My latest obsession is collection Succulents (see pics below). I had cacti and succulents as a kid but needed something for our sunny front porch. Our (sorry your) regal president sent a nice check to us recently and in order to stimulate the economy come of it has to be spent. I have done my part.
Also collecting more Begonias.(see pics below) Hoping to make leaf cuttings and keep the parent plant alive for more that just a few months.
Orchid cactus are in full bloom giving me some really nice blooms of all colors (see pics below)
A couple of chickens have been kind enough to lay as some eggs in a regular spot. So I pick those up each evening. checking for eggs the morning did not work as the rats were beating me to it.
Regular jobs include weedwacking the grass, skimming the ponds and trimming back overgrown pathways and weeds. Fuchsias are enjoying the longer days and warmer temps. Starting to bloom nicely. The Peruvian fuchsias are large enough to put in the ground in The End garden. I hope they will thrive. Some plants seen to only be happy in pots.
Our parakeet babies are now out of the box and looking good. Color is always a surprise as you don't know the genetics of the parents .And of course all of the other animals are a good excuse why there is no time for blogging (see pics below)
The local Zoo is still closed but, starting next Monday, volunteers will be allow in again to provide "animal enrichment". So landscape volunteers will also be allowed back. Thats me and my friend Alan. We are the only two volunteers with access to the entire zoo. Because Covid19 can spread to animals the animal volunteers are restricted to a small area around the petting zoo. Imagine having a whole zoo to ourselves. Just the zoo staff. No visitors. We are blessed.
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photos
Posted on Apr 18, 2020 3:02 PM

Do links work https://www.facebook.com/profi...

If it works its a link to my facebook page with garden videos and pics.
Here is what I'm raking up under the bamboo
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Will post more pics if the link does not work

Link seems to work. Please let me know if you were able to look at facebook pics and videos. Thanks

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