microb's blog

Not much to write about
Posted on Oct 4, 2017 8:04 PM

One of those weeks when you feel you've been busy in the yard but nothing much to show for it.
Mainly raking up bamboo leaves, clearing branches and white gingers from the duck pond garden and sticking cuttings in the soft soil over the bridge.. Cut down some bamboo canes the other day to see in I could use them by laying down short lengths around the small ponds but that did not work. Ended up trimming off 17 nodes to stick in the ground as bamboo cuttings. Pushed them into soil way off across the bridge and will leave them alone for 9 months and see what happens. Set out some Bromeliads and walking Iris along path edges on the other side of the bridge. Still have four roots of pink torch ginger to plant.
Took a day off today and went for a walk around the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden ( nice tour available on youtube) The cost is $15 but it gives me another chance to see what I have not got in the way of plants and sets me a goal to go on a plant hunt around our local farmers markets and garden stores. If only I could get to know someone really well and get cuttings. All I need is access to their rubbish tip and I could probably find all the cuttings I need. Its a great way to spend an hour.(walking around the gardens, not on their rubbish tip) I got there early enough to avoid the heat and the tourist. On my way out I was passing groups of 10-14 tourist with guides speaking all manner of languages. Most of them probably wont appreciate where they went until they look at the photos on their smart phones when they get home. It is boat day today in Hilo so the shuttles are kept busy ferrying the tourist to the gardens and the volcano before the boat leaves this evening. Hey, we need the taxes.
The new part for my chainsaw had come in to the repair shop so I was able to get it fitted while I waited. So no down time in that dept. Also picked up the 5 concrete hollow tile from Home Depot I need to complete the stepping stones across the Duck Pond Garden.
After completing about 10 stops during the morning I can now see staying home for the next two weeks. (Unless I go plant shopping)
The yellow jade vine has made some blooms lower down on the tree it occupies so getting a better view of that newcomer.
I think I will chance putting fish in the newly renovated ponds this weekend.
Plan to clear new forest areas for the new bamboos due in December.

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Walking on water
Posted on Sep 28, 2017 7:07 PM

Not doing too bad, weather is breezy, at least for today, and some cloud to keep it cool.
During the past couple of days I have made some progress clearing the duck pond garden. There is still a lot of white ginger to cut back and branches to haul away from trees that were cut down weeks ago but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The duck pond garden is just that. It is a border that surrounds what was a duck pond. A fence now divides the ducks from 2/3 of the pond (There are only two ducks) and when it rains heavy and the catchment tank overflows the pond does get three or four inches of water in it and the soil is too soft to walk on for weeks after it drains. Very little plant life grows in the pond. Water plants don't have enough water and regular plants get too wet. Wetland plants do fairly well unless we have a sustained dry spell.
The challenge is to get from one side of the pond to the other during rainy wet spells (avoiding a long walk around). So the answer I decided, was to lay concrete hollow tile on their side and use them as stepping stones. When there is water in the pond the 8 inch high tiles should be above water level and allow easy passage across the water (will look like walking on water).
Each hollow tile will have a post along side as a hand hold if needed. Photos and progress report to follow in days ahead.
Put new liners in three of the four ponds that need fixing. The 6 mill. plastic works great but there is an 8 inch area of plastic sheet around the edge of the pond which I need to cover with something. Maybe just soil, maybe brick or concrete tile (cost?) or maybe I will take slices of Norfolk Pine Logs about 4 inches thick and cover the plastic with them. I have a stack of logs resulting from having a tree taken down and they will be about 8-10 inches in diameter. I could leave the slices of logs exposed to weather or stand pots on them. Just a little chainsaw work involved. Also moved some night blooming water lilies from pond 1A to the newly renovated ponds. The new black plastic liner pollutes the water so have to wait two or three weeks before adding fish.
Still no pigs coming through the repaired fence across the bridge. I walk the fence line every other day to check. Started hauling plastic bags full of bromeliads and walking iris plants over the bridge yesterday (wheelbarrow will not fit) and dumping them in heaps ready for planting. Earlier this year I was digging up plants and hauling them from across the bridge and planting them closer to home because I never thought I would work on the far side of the bridge again. Amazing what retirement time does. So any plants that I divide or trim now get taken across the bridge and planted, some of the paths have been trimmed and raked and I'm amazed at how many plants that were put in years ago are still there thriving under overgrown ferns and weeds.

Nice to walk around the yard and not see heaps of green waste and trimmings waiting to be hauled away. Things are in good shape right now. New projects are getting really close. Need to clear forest ready for new Bamboo plants coming from my neighbor in December. Aloha Garden needs to be trimmed. Need to work on the bamboo hut in the forest as a rain shelter. Need to fix the fence around the bottom three acres. Need to weed and clear the wetland garden. Still have 2 ponds that need new liners.The list is endless.

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Garden Map
Posted on Sep 23, 2017 2:19 PM

This should help me and readers understand where I am.
Right hand panel has our driveway on the right. The orangey cross hatched areas are house and greenhouses, the dashed lines are pathways, the solid lines around the edges are fences and the blue areas are ponds. The streams are marked with parallel blue lines.
On the left hand side of the right panel you will see the bridge.
If you go to the top right of the left panel you will see the same bridge. The forest trails area is located lower than the main house garden area so had to stagger the two panels to get it all on.
If you zoom you should be able to read the garden names.
Apologies for amateur art work.

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Yeah! Pig Fence finished
Posted on Sep 22, 2017 8:16 PM

During the past week we have had a lot of rain showers. Barely able to get 30 minute breaks for yard work. Today was the first day with no rain so made a lot of progress.
Earlier in the week I got the last known breach of the pig fence fixed beyond the bridge. Gave myself two weeks and just beat the deadline. I've walked the fence line a couple of times and no incursions seen. Maybe they just left the neighborhood and I'm kidding myself.
Anyway, self confidence is high and today I started planting Heliconias and pink torch ginger roots in the new pig free area. Boy, is it muddy, like a ploughed field after a heavy rain. The soil sticks and is heavy. Just what I want for putting in new plants.
Ventured out beyond the second gate, traced some of the fence line and found "mid gate" damaged and hanging open so that is the first gap to fix in the fence around the "bottom 60" about three acres. Yes a long stretch of fence line to fix if I want to push the pigs even further back. Next to mid gate are two large Vireya bushes so took the opportunity to take cuttings. After cleaning up the branches I cut off and cutting them into cutting size pieces I think there were about 25, all now pushed in the ground for future beauty. Won't know if they take for another 6-12 months.
Nice Bali White Stripe bamboo out in that same area so had a chance to visit and spot two or three new canes coming through.

Noticed the first of the orange Canna lily seeds breaking through the surface of the their pot today.

Giganteus Bamboo has a new shoot that looks like it will be the largest yet if it thrives through childhood. Some new bamboo shoots start strong and then poop out if the parent cannot support the growth. This one looks good so far.
Nastus Elastus bamboo also has a strong new shoot, also the biggest yet.
Exciting as these two bamboos are only about 2 years old. Next year will be big years for them.

I drew a map of my yard, think I mentioned it before. Had a number of 11 x 17 copies made at Office max. One copy has the names of the various garden areas noted. Another copy has the location of all the bamboo plants noted by number. Last one I put on there was number 77, some duplicates as I think there are 35-40 different varieties.

Amaryllis are looking good after being repotted a couple of weeks ago. Nice new leaf growth so hoping for more blooms early next year. The Hostas and African Lilies are all looking good after repotting.

Night blooming white water lily is growing strong in all its locations. The one in the tub on the front porch has another bloom and the one in pond 1A has two plants blooming. For some reason the lily in pond 1A has just taken off with growth and the pond is almost completely covered in Lily leaves. In the next couple of weeks I will start distributing plants to other ponds. Wish all the others would grow as rampant. There is a dark red night bloomer in the top front round pond doing well and I see one new plant surfacing that I think I can move.
The white night bloomer on the bottom round pond is putting out small plantlets that are coming to the surface trailing roots. I think the Talapia fish are disturbing them. Must grab the small plants and move them around also. If I could just focus on putting new liners in the four ponds that are needing repairs I could put some of those lilies in those ponds. I was going to say, maybe this weekend, but everyday is like a weekend since full time retirement started. Only 3 months ago? it seems like a lifetime. So much has got done. What will the place look like a year from now.
Just about all of the paths have been raked clean, all the loose rubbish has been put on the green waste heaps and I'm about ready to start new projects. Promised myself I would clean up before creating new problems. The rain and wind of the past week has caused the arching bamboos to droop down almost to ground level so have to give them a trim. Waiting for the duck pond to drain after the rain so that I can work on that new duck pond garden, and the Aloha Garden along the edge of the driveway needs trimming and thinning. Grass along the edge of the roadside along our property lines needs cutting. Always a work in progress.
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Clean up and tropical weeding
Posted on Sep 14, 2017 3:30 PM

Looks like its been a week since my last entry.
After cutting down the bamboo I cut up the long pieces lying on the ground so they were manageable. Then I could not restart the chainsaw. Took that into Steve's Honda on Tuesday along with 8 chains to be sharpened. They called today and said just need a service so will pick up next Wednesday when I go into town. Since retiring we try and go into town as little as possible and combine errands all in one trip.

Since my last blog I have been clearing weeds from the Dome garden and from inside the Dome (greenhouse) Tropical weeding means large heaps of tree fern leaves, large ground growing ferns head high and lots of long grass. Then the bamboos need trimming. Heliconias grow 12 feet high and clumps spread. Beautiful flowers but long flat leaves to trim off. Angel trumpets need trimming back and then there are the Angel Trumpet trees growing out of cuttings I did not pick up last year after trimming. So looks like I will be hauling about 5 wheelbarrow loads of green waste to the large head high pile behind the bottom 40 bamboos. When I get back there to dump the load all I see are new plants growing out the top from prior cuttings. I could almost run a nursery if I just potted up the plants growing out of the various rubbish heaps. The Brazilian cloak bush trimming are now blooming 10 foot high at he back of the heap. Even spotted a couple of voodoo lily seedling and Angel trumpets. Last weeks Coleus trimmings were even raising their heads like they wanted to put out some roots. I wish I had more time to save them all. I share as much as I can but not too many friends to share them with as we are relatively remote and my neighbor Richard has all he can take. Another friend Kevin who lives next to Richard is only there two or three months of the year (lives in Seattle) and his yard is also planted to the max. I am able to trade plants for labor when Kevin is in town. He has been a big help with the larger projects. He makes good use of bamboo canes that I provide.

While removing overgrown growth I found a bamboo in a 2 gallon pot that I have abandoned and forgotten so will be rehabilitating that one. No idea whether its a clumper or runner. Too small to tell. Not sure how they stay so small when its been there a few years.

Today I went and checkout the fence line that needs repairing to keep the pigs out. Carefully walked the whole fence line and put orange ribbon when the fence needs patching. I think there are 8 spots ranging from serious breaches that will need a new post and parts of old bird cages to add reinforcement. The pigs get underneath the fence and create a well defined arch way about 18 inches high and wide. Other areas just need some straight branch pieces pushed into the ground and zip ties attached. Just got back from cutting 22 posts from the forest ready to start work.

Noticed my first yellow Jade vine bloom today. Its so far up in the pine tree that I needed my camera on full zoom to get a good look. Once I downloaded to the computer I could zoom in to get a closer look. Hopefully over the years the vines will hang down and the blooms will be more accessible.

Moved seven more Canna lilies seedlings from seed tray to pots and have nine more seedlings just breaking through. Another pot has 5 Orange Canna seeds in so should see them in a week or two.

Since cutting back trees and bamboos in the back the Tangerine tree has decided to fruit. Picked 8 nice tangerines yesterday, sweet, juicy and seedless. There are a few more to come yet.

Must get the pig fence repaired as I have plants with root balls standing around the yard waiting to go into the ground. Luckily we have had some afternoon rain and showers to keep them viable.

Named two more garden areas and painted signs that have to be put up. Now have Dog Run Garden and Wetlands Garden. I have the garden map enlarged to 11 x 17 at office max the other day. Now I need to add the garden names. Another copy will be used to indicate the location of the different bamboos which now number over 40 varieties.

My neighbor Richard is having a pig problem right now. A neighbors son was keeping a pet wild pig and it got loose. Now its coming through the fence digging up Richards young bamboo plants and ploughing his lawn. May be on call for emergency fence work this weekend.

Not sure why I took a pic of the loaded wheelbarrow
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