microb's blog

Never ending
Posted on Jul 15, 2019 1:20 PM

Rat count for the year now over 100. Poison has been put down holes and last few days no rats running around the edges of the ponds.
Running Bamboo count almost to 900. They have just about stopped growing for the year. Expect to reach 900 but not much beyond that.
Regular clumping bamboo growth is well underway. Most of the clumps have new growth, not as many as expected but still time for more. I'm happy with what ever I get as the clumps are looking really good even if they did not grow more.
Over the last two weeks I've made over $150 in plant sales. Bamboo, gingers, Bromeliad. Now have pocket money for more plants. One friend came by a few days ago to help gather water hyacinth and other pond weeds from my overgrown ponds. They went away with three large garbage bags of plants. In return I got some grown cover starts, a Kukui nut tree seedling and some other bits and pieces.
The wheel barrow bucket that broke in my last blog is not a pond with water lilies and its first hatch of frog tadpoles.
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Pigs broke through fences again last week but this time I'm keeping up with patching the holes. Started landscaping, trimming and weeding the forest on the other side of the bridge this week. Felt good to once again (3rd time) to take control of plants that have been in the ground years. Progress has been halted to a degree as I found a Franklin sitting of eggs in a clump of grass. I scared her off by mistake which gave me a chance to see five small brown eggs. By evening she had returned and seems to have settled. That was four days ago. So chainsaw, weedwacking are all on hold while eggs go their term.
Plants from Chinese seed packet are growing well in pots. Still don't know what they are. May post a photo on NGA to get ID. White Ginger seedlings are no longer seedlings. Over 60 doing well in one gallon pots.
Amorphophallus are in full leaf and looking healthy.
Potted Gladioli managed three bloom spikes they year after being neglected.
Hostas are doing well in the ground around the ponds. Must plant out the remaining ones to get the pot count down. Hostas are not recognized as good tropical climate plants. Mine thrive and bloom.
I just keep trimming, piling up green waste around the property, daily checking on bamboo shoots and enjoying the botanical gardens that are SLOWLY GETTING OUT OF CONTROL. But its really satisfying to be able to wander around seeing the fruits of years of hard labor, and seeing the potential of more hard labor in the future.
A few more distractions during the last two weeks. My wonderful wife fulfilled one of her retirement dreams and purchased three pairs of lovebirds and convinced me to buy a single pair of parakeets. That resulted in a couple of days off from the garden work to build four more cages and set them up with nest boxes. Now the challenge is to find the right type of palm leaves or other green material for the lovebirds to use for nesting. Also have to relocate a closet from inside the bird room to make room for a new custom built work table to fit into the last remaining corner as the new cages take up most of the remaining shelf space.. I think we have almost reached our limit for cages - now up to 16 occupied with one empty for a regular boarder.


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Keeping up to date
Posted on Jun 21, 2019 2:43 PM

Really hot and humid today.
How satisfying it is to tidy up a grassy area that has been neglected. Thats the result of this morning's work on the Bottom 40. Lawn had turned to seed heads, debris fallen from trees, one palm frond down (that's a Queen Palm. frond is 20ft long and must weigh 60 lbs), walking Iris has walked too far. So a nice tight weedwacking job turns into a potential parkland. Just have to rake up the debris, trim around the ponds and edges and "voila" a nice area of garden to stroll in. Its the raking up I still have to do.
Yesterday I raked up bamboo leaves. Started on a negative note. Thought my backyard wheelbarrow had a solid wheel, turns out it had air in, actually it 'had' air in but was now flat. I got creative and replaced the wheel with side by side lawn mower wheels, manufactured a new axle and put everything together. As soon as I turned the wheelbarrow rightside up the rusted frame collapsed so all was for nothing. Time to turn a lemon into lemonade. The Rubbermaid bucket will become a new water lily pond right beneath the current wheelbarrow pond and, in my dreams, may get a pump to create a waterfall from one to the other.
Cut or kicked down 49 running bamboos this morning. Total now over 700 for the year. Two more rats caught in traps, total for the year over 80. Getting poison for the rats today. Hopefully speed up the eradication process. I think the rats have learned to get a stick and spring the traps and then eat the bait.
New shoots appearing on many of the clumping bamboo so the season is underway.

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Finished cleaning out the Dome Garden
Posted on Jun 19, 2019 2:48 PM

Every couple of years this area gets over grown and prevents me from getting to the far side of the plant table which, in turn, gets overgrown. So now everything clean, plants I forgot I had are accessible and a narrow muddy path gets to the back of the plant table. That allowed me to put up the PVC structure mentioned yesterday.
As I promised myself yesterday I made up my plant labels which are now in the wheelbarrow with a hammer waiting to be distributed around the forest gardens. A fun chore.
Its only 10.30am so not much to report but will add photos of Giant shell ginger blooms, the potting greenhouse and the plant table
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I'm still here!
Posted on Jun 18, 2019 8:09 PM

So much to do, so little time.
I will never document all that has been done in the last three weeks.
The 50 ginger seedlings are now 120 as more seeds germinated and broke the surface. Gave up on some seeded pots and reused the soil only to find more small ginger seedlings coming up in those pots with other plants. Now have 35 seedling big enough that they have graduated to 1 gallon pots, some are in 6 inch pots and some in four inch pots. Still have eight seedling in a Fuschia plant that need to be retrieved.
Seeds from a packet of seeds from China, given to me by a friend, have germinated and are now about 4 inches high. Certainly do not look like Forsythia Suspensa as written on the packet but we will see.
All of the pot bound Palms given to me by a local nursery as a rescue are now in the ground or in bigger pots.
The running bamboo is still running. I have now kicked over or sawed (or sawn?) down over 680 new shoots. I tried imagining selling our house at some point. Must be done between Nov. and Feb. so that running bamboo shoots are not visible. Can just imagine the new buyer suddenly surrounded by 600 bamboo canes all over the north side of the property. Do I disclose that at the time of sale.
Other bamboos are just starting to show signs of this years new growth. Nice to watch clumping bamboo grow.
Passion vine with white flowers is now stretched along the front deck railing but no fruit being produced. Will enjoy the blooms and then remove the vine. Camelions and geckos are enjoying the green vines playing hide and seek.
Last week went to The Gardens and deliver three water lilies as a trade for the 25 Koi they gave us. Turns out the three plants were the only ones in the pond. Garden management does not want Koi in the pond, just water lilies and yet he wants the water to rotate and be filtered so there are no leaves on the surface, and yet water lilies are not happy in moving water, so we set them close to the edge out of the main circulation. The Gardens has their own large tub with water lilies blooming but will not use them as they cannot guarantee washing off all the duck weed. We may get a call to come get them as a rescue.
Work session at the zoo 2 weeks ago scored 4 Mules foot fern babies. (thats plants, not animals) Zoo wants to remove the parent plant as it is considered non native and invasive. There is talk of getting the zoo tractor to pull the parent fern out of the ground so that I can bring it home. Will have to take off all of the mature leaves as the base of the plant must weigh a ton!
No Zoo last week and when I went today I got rained out.
Water lilies at home are growing like crazy, both the white and red night bloomers have bloomed. I'm sure if I read last years blog I made the same comment about too many water lilies not enough ponds. Where I put the zoo lilies if offered. Other pond plants like Arrowhead and Pickeral and getting too big, must thin them out and, oh, where do I plant the extras. Water Hyacinth is slow this year but is starting to spread. Need some for a pond without any and a friend wants all I can spare for their new large pond.
Giant pink shell ginger has now started to open its fantastic blooms, will take pics and post. I must go look for the white version and move some roots around. The pink is a really strong grower, in fact the plant I gave to the zoo a few weeks ago survived and has two buds on.
Yellow jade vine seeds have started to fall. Have found six so far and will be (of course) putting them in pots to grow.
Keep walking around the garden, forest trails enjoying the results of years of work and feel amazed at what is growing. Always a surprise orchid, or a new shoot to discover. The Rachel Carson bamboos that I hacked out of rock in a friends garden some weeks ago are doing well. Two have new shoots.
One job I am slacking on is making plant labels. I have a bunch made and waiting the in workshop to have posts attached so I can set them in the ground. Maybe tomorrow.
My wife purchased a new pair of lovebirds so we bought a 100 ft roll of cage wire. Thats the only way to buy it. The farm stores wont cut 20 feet off a roll. So we now have enough wire to build 8 cages. Is that an omen!?
Spend uncounted hours raking up bamboo leaves and skimming duck weed off ponds. Seems so much unproductive labor but there is no choice.
Constructed some PVC pipe structure over the plant table yesterday for hanging pots. Now have three pots of Fushcias moved to the new location and room for about 12 hanging pots in total. What shall I put in them, or shall I dash down to Home Depot and buy some more plants. I'm hoping that next time I run my charge card through the machine to buy plants it will say "transaction rejected - you already have too many plants".
Amorphophallus - voodoo lilies - are in season. The bench of pots will soon be a forest of green leave. The baby throw away bulbs that I scattered under the mulch as the base of many bamboos have grown and give a nice green carpet under the bamboo canes.
Orchid cactus are still in full bloom, producing all different colour varieties. I'm just about at the stage where most potted plant maintenance has been completed and I can focus on cleaning up, repotting and taking cuttings from the mature plants. The green houses with all of the hanging pots with orchid cactus need complete spring cleaning, renovating where needed and nice clean healthy plants rehung ready for next year.
Canna lilies have successfully been resuscitated. Nice show of healthy plants around the small driveway pond with new bloom heads showing. Thought I had lost most of them in grass filled pots but shook out the rhizomes, cleaned them up and repotted them and, voila, there we go again.
Purple butterfly vine is much stronger this year. Lots of new blooms but so far no seeds. (There's that word again) but I have a friend who would like seeds and I'm sure I can grow the vine from a cutting. I will try.
My market selling plants seems to have dried up. Last posting on Craigslist resulted in no sales and tried to contact past customers who showed interest in more plants but no response to emails. When my 110 pots of White ginger plants get big enough to sell next spring I think I will do well. The variety is quite scarce.
Visited Shogun Nursery with a friend last week. The guy that runs the nursery grows award winning Cattleya orchids and all types of Heliconias and gingers for the cut flower market. Like any good specialist plant grower he throws out the "not perfect" plants. The owner was not on site my friend was showing me around. I asked if we could rescue the throw away orchid so he got on the phone and go permission. So I scored 6 potted orchids and so trailing dendrobium orchids to put on trees in the forest. I must get my friend to take me back as there is the potential for some donated heliconias for the zoo.
Enough for now. Will try and keep up but no promises.

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Seed Obsession
Posted on May 25, 2019 6:53 PM

Why do I propagate by seed? Its time consuming, labor intensive and a challenge. And it takes so long to get a mature plant.
Its yard clean up day today, Cut the driveway grass, weedwack some areas, pick up yesterdays trimmings. After all that the trouble starts. Clean off two plant benches that have pots of African Lilies, Hostas and ornamental pineapples on them for years. Some pot bound, other dead. Moved the cleaned benches to a new location and then start trimming the plants that had overgrown the benches. Some Australian Tree Ferns, a large young palm tree, some potted bamboos all needed cutting back.
Then I attacked the patch of giant pink shell ginger. An amazing ginger with bloom heads reaching to 7 feet almost ready to open. As I was trimming last years old growth I find golf ball size brown seed pots. They were dried out. Open up a couple, looks like they have viable seeds, yes, there is one sprouting (I dropped and lost that one) but the others are now in pots to see if they will germinate. This plant is so easy to spread around with root divisions why would I try seeds. Why do I have 50 white ginger seedlings on my bench. Why am I keeping watch on seed pods on the pink torch ginger. They work great with root divisions.
Well thats the end of my frustration, happy with life, wonder of seeds venting session for today.
I must get back outside and clean up the trimmings laying on the lawn and close my eyes to more seed possibilities.

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