Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PLEASE DON'T SEND US TO THE GULAG

Just ask my gardening group, I'll take in any waif and stray plant. And when it comes to saving stray plants in my garden it's a given. The problem is what to do with them all. Naturally some are more favored than others. Some are sent to the Gulag.


Conditions are harsh in my Gulag. If you are in the ground on the lower level. There is no soil, just a fill limestone road base covered with gravel. And water only comes when it rains so all the plants have to withstand long periods of dryness. There used to be a sharkskin agave here. It died but not before leaving behind three little pups. We'll see how they do. There is no longer any shade from a large oak tree above the retaining wall. It was lost during the extended drought and terrible heat a few years back. More sunshine means more plants are growing there. Texas sedge is establishing itself. It's also a place to send some of my pruned cactus pads. Miraculously these plants received some protection from the hail by the hillside with large mountain junipers.


I think that some of the plants are trying hard to get into a more favorable location. This Cane cholla, Opuntia imbricata, has produced three new shoots. It has to be all the rain we have had in the last few weeks. I wonder if it will flower this year.


Because this area is outside the walls it is visited by deer and a very annoying turkey. This lone male caught sight of himself in the window and now parades through here every day, scratching at the ground and trampling my fragile blue gilias. He certainly is a handsome fellow but I wish he would join the other turkeys down at the bottom of the hill.


So where are the favored places for my cactus and succulents. The sheltered area on the fireplace is one.


These plants were lucky to be in such a sheltered spot during the hail. Several pots blown off the shelf landed on others down below.  A few new plants and a little repotting and things are looking good again. This area receives morning sun and is protected from the summer afternoon sun.
Then a little further over plants that receive sun until late morning.


On the steps morning sun and late afternoon sun.


Then there is the side entry. That's the place for more agaves and cactus which have proved themselves to be deer proof. Furthermore they were sheltered by the high wall during the hail storm and those close up had most of the damage to the lower leaves, which I have cut off. I have done a lot of snipping and repotting this past few weeks.


Unless you are up close it is hard to see the damage on this A. desmettiana. It fared better than the one out by the garage which was a total loss. A second one still needs a lot of pruning as do the ones outside the front gate. Eventually.


Things are starting to get back to normal and the rain we have had in the past 3 weeks has been a blessing. Even the Gulag isn't such a bad place right now.

Do you have a Gulag? I bet you do.

14 comments:

  1. What hail damage? That turkey sure is beautiful...

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    1. We had a 10 minute hails storm about a month ago. We weren't home at the time but came back to battered plants and piles of hail everywhere. SOme plants were lost forever but many have made a recovery following 2 weeks of rain, some torrential. Many plants still have bare stem but are flowering and others where the stems were broken off have sent out new shoots. The tomatoes are returning but I fear too late. There are scars on all the Opuntia. I have replaced lots of plants. It's a long season in Texas and I need it to look good out there.

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  2. I don't have a Gulag.
    But, even that part of your garden looks good. You do have the magic touch.

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    1. Sometimes it's just nature's touch and nothing to do with me.

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  3. I don't have a Gulag either, but I cannot bear to throw away plants and end up planting them around the edge of the compost pile. Needless to say--that's heaven for them. Some of my best plants live there. Unfortunately, it's sort of hidden at the back of the garden. Only the delphiniums are seen peeking around the edges.

    I have the cold to deal with--but your plants must really muster up to extremes of heat and cold. Tough world --but they are beautiful!

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  4. That turkey is magnificent! My wild turkeys are not nearly so beautiful.

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  5. Nice gulag. Unfortunately most of my prisoners get pulled to the compost pile.

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  6. My garden isn't large enough for a full fledged gulag, but things get moved around, resigned to the space on the drive behind my car, in front of the garage door. Then they must know, it's not looking good. If I like you then you'll get a spot int the ground, to bounce back and prove yourself. Otherwise the yard waste bin looms large.

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  7. Lately it feels we are hosting mostly gulags here. Highly favored plants that are struggling get pampered in the greenhouse if The Hub likes them. If they aren't his cuppa tea I have a couple of newly reclaimed areas, very off-off-OFF Broadway, where I give plants a run to prove their grit. If they do well, they get transplanted into a more coveted spot. Eventually... If not, the compost pile calls them home.

    But I gotta say, my gulags LOOK like gulags. Your outcast areas are looking pretty well organized and cared for. Happy to see so many of your damaged plants have put on new growth to compensate (thank you extra May rains!) and/or are looking good again due to your judicious pruning. You didn't say - did any of those spiky guys bite you back? I often lean IN around mine and just as often get stabbed for my carelessness!

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  8. Love the turkey, if he does trample plants.

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  9. Your plant gulag looks pretty good to me. I recently cleared mine out (mainly because we needed space to move in a massive new rain tank); however, I suspect the area will fill up again in no time.

    That turkey is very handsome as turkeys go. I wonder if he thinks the turkey in the window is another turkey or if he's simply enamored of his own reflection?

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  10. Gulag--too funny. I admire your survivalist attitude. Breaks my heart when I lose a plant. In fact, that's a big part of the reason we left our home on an acre landscaped as a wildlife-refuge. Couldn't bear the surely-soon-to-come Armageddon drought. Of course no one knew the cycle would swing toward wet. Anyway, with the new landscape, I'm trying to adopt more of your attitude.

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  11. What a beautiful collection of potted plants you have! And that is one handsome turkey, even if he is a bit of a troublemaker! I guess the equivalent of a gulag for me would be sticking something straight into compacted clay. With my new garden, I haven't really sent anything to the gulag, as I need every plant to fill in the flower beds!

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  12. Gulag...even that looks good over in Rockrose. Cylindropuntia / Opuntia imbricata...wow! Since I'm in their territory, they sometimes can surprise when young or it's too wet / dry in spring, only to bloom in early fall, though those are not the massive blossoms of a good spring.

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