Monday, June 26, 2017

Potting up an Agave — a rant and a recommendation

I went a little crazy earlier this spring and bought three qty 2-gallon Agave utahensis v. eborispina. After thinking long on what I wanted to do with them it was finally time to put one in a container, and so I popped it out of its nursery can. Imagine my surprise when the soil fell away and I was left with a 4" root ball. Yes that plant on the right came from the same exact container that you see on the left.


Became this...

And once I worked all the soil away from the base of the plant there was even less mass.

What's the story? I really want to imagine a scenario where the grower has the plant's best interest in mind. But honestly it seems less about that and more about potting up the plant so the price tag can be inflated. I bought two Agave bracteosa from the same (California) grower from a different (local) seller earlier this spring. They were in a 1-gallon can. Upon popping them out to plant I was shocked to end up with a root-bound mass that filled the top half of the can, and compacted soil of a different consistency filling the bottom half. Obviously neither one of these instances affected the health of the plant, but as the customer I couldn't help but feel I was paying for a inflated pot size. Not cool!

Okay, that was the rant. Now for the recommendation. Awhile back I wrote about a pair of pruners from Corona Tools, they were labeled as grape snips but I found them to be extremely useful for pruning out a dead or decaying Agave leaf growing in the middle of the plant, like this...

The curved blades of the grape snips were perfect for the Agave cutting task. Sadly snipping grapes and cutting out Agave leaves require vastly different tools and I quickly broke my originals. Amazon to the rescue! Andrew spotted these Sure Cut grape snips online and ordered them for my birthday, which isn't until next month but the package was accidentally opened the day it showed up (oops!)

I love the packaging

And the snips themselves are the real deal. I predict many happy years of use.

I highly recommend the purchase should you find yourself in need of a tool that can get in between good Agave leaves to remove the bad. It's a delicate job!

Weather Diary, June 25: Hi 101, Low 64/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The personal garden of Dan Heims, aka Mr. Terra Nova

I've been so busy working in my own garden that I've only made it to one HPSO open garden this year: the personal garden of Dan Heims, President of Terra Nova Nurseries.

The height of this Schefflera taiwaniana was impressive.

As was the row of stunning Hosta beneath.

And this being Dan's garden you knew there would be a few of these...(Heuchera)

The garden was a shady oasis.

With picturesque moss growing between the cobblestones.

And so many Podophyllum...

Check out that dark purple number back behind the Onoclea sensibilis. I never did get a chance to ask Dan its name (much less work my way back there with a shovel and steal it).

I'm still pathetic at fern ID, but this one's cool!

The heavy shade was not a friend to my camera and its capabilities. This was actually quite a dramatically colored (patterned) combo.

And then there was light...

I think this greenhouse was Dan's...although there didn't seem to be any way to actually get down there.

The plants were spilling out of it though...

Dan and his wife Lynne have lived here long enough that this play structure must have originally been built for their own children. Now there's a grandchild who will be making great use of it, no doubt.

Heavy duty swings in the garden, how fun!

The new foliage on this Rhododendron 'Blattgold' was quite lovely.

Don't care for how it ages though.

Lest you think it's all about shade and soft plants...

And yes! There was an Agave...

A small one, but it counts, Agave striata. With great color.

The foliage on this plant was lovely, a little stinky though (relax people...this is Oregon, where such things are legal).

More Heuchera.

Wowsa! Aralia cordata 'Sun King'

After all the shade the sunny strip next to the street seemed even more shocking.

Simple, yet sturdy, boards for crossing the drainage ditch.

Getting in my car to leave I noticed this Magnolia macrophylla, which it looks like is going to be enjoying more sun this year, thanks to a missing neighbor. Thank you Dan, for opening your garden!

Weather Diary, June 22: Hi 82, Low 51/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Just another windy day...

There are windy days.

And then there are windy days. This particularly ugly mess happened on a day with no high wind warnings. At random times, when the wind is just right, the male cones from the towering fir trees behind us rain down with a audible sort of  "theck" (as opposed to "thick").

Whatever the sound I am sick of cleaning up the mess.

They fall throughout the summer.

And even if I didn't mind the look of them each one has just a bit of sticky pitch at the base.

Which means they stick to your feet, and your dog.

And end up being tracked into the house.

But of course I do mind the look of them, and end up sweeping and sweeping. Which wouldn't even be so bad.

But picking them out of the potted plants...

...that gets really tedious.

This particular day I filled an extra large (19 gallon) tubtrug with the little uglies.

I find a wooden skewer is handy for flicking them out of the center of Agaves.

And I finally broke down and bought a little hand vac (this one) for getting them out of hard to deal with spots.

Plus I've learned a valuable lesson.

In my next garden I will look up. Never again will I put a patio and dozens of potted plants under a conifer that drops as much trash as these trees do.


Weather Diary, June 21: Hi 75, Low 51 / Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.