Friday, October 20, 2017

Getting ready for winter, Part Two of Four...

Last Sunday, October 15th, was the day. The day we turned the shade pavilion into a greenhouse, of sorts...

Why last Sunday? It was sunny and dry, almost warm, and the extended forecast showed a return to wet, really wet. Doing this job in the rain, or on a windy day, is not fun. It seemed early to me, but last year we did it on Oct 22nd, so not too bad.

Andrew designed the greenhouse framework to work within the existing shade pavilion structure.

First a few washers and nuts are removed.

The boards slip into place, and the washers and nuts are replaced.

Repeat x four. The center roof-support is notched to just slip over the end 2 x 4's.

Next the outside wall supports slip into place, at the top and bottom edges.

Then the plastic panels are moved into position and sandwiched between the outer wall supports and a small piece of wood on the inside. The grey pipe insulation goes along the bottom to "seal" the plastic to the rocks and pavers. It's not airtight but it's pretty darn good.

Hard to see here, with the glare, but the small board is in place along the top, inside, of the wall.

A few bolts clamp those boards in place.

The roof panels are also bolted into place along the 2 x 4, wavy insulation seals up the gaps.

Almost done — there's a small piece of plastic roofing that still needs to go in place around the square orange upright at the back wall.

The final step is taping the panels together with an easy-remove, no-residue duct-tape and...

It's time to move in the plants! I still haven't upgraded from my dorm-room style shelving, but it works.

We have a pot-lifter, but always looking for away to improve upon a design, Andrew made a custom version. Ours is designed to keep you away from spikes...

This Puya is a beauty, but not particularly friendly. Each leaf is lined with tiny barbs...

After the big containers were safely tucked inside, then the end piece, with the door, went on. Most of them could fit through the door, but it minimizes spousal disagreements to not try and move the plants through a small space. Trust me on that.

I then spent a couple of hours moving in the rest of the succulents. These are the plants who prefer it dry over the winter, but can — for the most part — handle our winter temperatures. I do have a small space heater I turn on when things fall below freezing for an extended period of time.

Mr. Big (who actually seems to be shrinking, he was my biggest Agave for awhile)...

... pushed out a couple of pups over the summer. Since his black plastic pot is concealed within a large ceramic one, the poor pups have been deprived of light and thus kind of resemble white asparagus.

Things fill up fast...

But as of now there's still enough room to relax with a glass of wine undercover...

That will change in a few weeks with the other things migrate in. For now I've left the plants that don't mind some moisture out, grouped over by the entrance ready to be moved when the mood hits (or the weather gets really nasty). There are a few things that stay out all winter, like the large Schefflera in the far right corner. And the hardy carnivorous plants will only be moved when temps get really chilly.

The Bromeliads are all still outside too — they'll eventually make their way into the basement — but I'm hoping they can wait until the cement floor gets patched up (a large chunk was jack-hammered out to put in pipes for a half-bath). Jumping off the bottom of the stairs, over bare dirt and pipes, with a plant in my hands...sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

About now Lila decided I should be done with the plants, and focus on who's really important.

Jut a couple more photos of the empty patio...

The furniture will eventually make its way into the garage. I'm not quite ready for that step however.

Cozy plants!

But wait! There's more...

After I fed Lila dinner I came back out and built the framework for PVC-huts I use to protect the two large Agaves in containers from the winter wet, I was concerned they might have outgrown their space. Yep, time to raise the roof a bit, I want there to be decent air circulation and I don't want those spikes to get damaged. Buying taller upright pieces will solve this issue.

This one is still good.

I'll buy the new pieces of pipe and wrap the top in plastic, so they're ready to use whenever the mood strikes.

And so ends Winterizing 2017, Part Two of Four. For a look back at Part One, click here. For a look at building the PVC-huts click here.

Weather Diary, Oct 19: Hi 59, Low 50/ Precip .99"

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My 5th visit to the Desert Botanical Garden

It was just over a year ago that I visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ, for the 5th time. It's quite sad it took me so long to share these photos, but I kept thinking I'd write some well-thought-out, detailed, post with photos organized by area and lots of information about different Agave species. When it finally came down to it I deleted over half of my photos. Sure there are beautiful Agaves that will go unmentioned, by me, but that's okay. I can always write that post, next time.

This beauty wasn't labeled. I what to call it Agave titanota, but it may actually Agave 'Felipe Otero'.

This one was labeled Agave titanota, obviously a big difference!

Both have great teeth though!


On account of the fact you've got 58 photos to look through I'll keep the chatter to a minimum and just let you drool...

Agave scabra

Yucca rigida

Agave parryi var couesii

Agave albomarginata

The next few photos are from the "Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail"...

Saguaro skeleton, I bet these go for big bucks!

Ferocactus cylindraceus

The fruit and seed is edible, I didn't try it.

Some sort of Dasylirion I believe.

Ferocactus pottsii

Ferocactus emoryi subsp. rectispinus

If I had a great structure like this I could cover almost my whole garden for the winter!

The Archer House, I'm not certain what goes on here but I really wanted to plop down in one of those chairs and enjoy a margarita!

Agave ovatifolia

I had to laugh when I spotted the tentacle planter, I just didn't expect to see this here!

Synadenium grantii, aka Synadenium compactum var. rubrum, aka Euphorbia bicompacta var. rubra

Dasylirion wheeleri

The rock outcropping looks like it's from a movie set, don't you think?

Mortonia scabrella, Sandpaper Bush

Opuntia macrocentra

The pick-axe Saguaro can be seen in this post.

Reminds me of the balancing cactus puzzle.

There's that fake background again! (no, not really)

Ferocactus emoryi subsp. rectispinus

I came across this strange damage pattern just a couple of months after the Agave edema disaster in my garden (here)...

Any guesses as to what's going on here?

Love this wall, it sets off the plants so nicely...

I think this is a Yucca baccata (?)

Agave xylonacantha

More great Agave teeth!

Pardon me if I've featured this fountain earlier. I thought I had, but then couldn't find it anywhere. I think it's just grand...

Would love to have it in my garden. Then again the evil raccoons would make a mess of it.

We're almost done, just a few more photos...

Aloe striata, aka Coral Aloe

There's strength in numbers!

Okay...that's a wrap. I hope to visit the DBG again soon, maybe even next summer! It's one of my very favorite places...

Weather Diary, Oct 18: Hi 64, Low 49/ Precip .09"

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