Monday, September 28, 2015

WORKING OUTSIDE IS DOWNRIGHT DANGEROUS

Yesterday I worked outside my walls. I had a new plant to put in the ground. This cane cholla, Opuntia imbricata, was a passalong from one of our garden group. He gardens under much friendlier circumstances that I, so I am not going to promise that this plant will continue to look as good as it looks right now. It will only be getting the water that falls from the sky and growth is slow in this area.


It came home in two brown bags and it was no easy matter getting it into those bags. But at home I just happened to have the perfect transporter and holder to get it into the chosen spot in the ground. Never throw anything away, that's my motto. This old bath rug certainly came in handy. I didn't even wear gloves.


The opuntia wasn't the only 'nasty' I dealt with. I finally decided to pull out this beast, Agave lophantha. It was badly damaged by hail in the spring, losing many of its lower leaves, and had become too big for the space inside the front courtyard. I used our monster rock pry bar to get it out. Never had to get anywhere near it. I dragged it by its roots though the gate and into this area, dug a hole and dropped it in. That is better treatment than the Sotol behind it got when it was relocated some years ago, also from the entry courtyard. Both these plants have vicious spines. But they come with toughness built in so just as the sotol survived so will the agave.


You can see the area on the left, where the agave used to be. I am re-working this area by adding a layer of rocks with dry plants at the front and those that need a little more water at the back in the second row. I have relocated some low-growing day lilies from the back garden which will drape over the wall with echinacea and and columbines and various spring annuals.



Everything outside is enjoying the moderation in our temperatures. Still in the 90s during the day, and well above normal for this time of year, but mornings have been cooler. The lantana, Lantana horrida, after a complete cut-back, is blooming as is the Lindheimer senna.


And finally the purple trailing lanana. It returns faithfully every year but has bided its time this year only beginning to flower this week.


Come on fall bloomers. The days are growing shorter and cooler. It's time for a big show.

9 comments:

  1. The rug is a good idea for the cholla though mine is staying where it is, for now. We do have to move a bunny ears cactus away from the monster Agave Americana. I'm sure there are some old bath rugs in the garage somewhere. We don't throw much away either.

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  2. You're braver than I am - as much as I admire many of the Opuntia, I run in the opposite direction when offered divisions. Your revamped area looks great already.

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  3. You are so clever when it comes to spiny plant workarounds. That old bath mat certainly did second duty for you, and both cholla and agave will barely miss a step for having been out of the dirt a few hours.

    This area is really shaping up beautifully - love the coneflowers still in bloom and is that liatris leaning in? Do those reseed prolifically for you? Lots of pretty purples at your place!

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  4. Oh. I was afraid you had fallen into danger with bad outcome. Clever of you to find ways to protect yourself from vicious plants. Lantana has taken that fall surge here, too. I appreciate the reminder that I have some daylily seedlings that need to get planted out between rain showers.

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  5. I am impressed with your ingenuity! Looks like some good rearranging, I look forward to seeing them all in spring. Good to hear your purple trailing lantana was late in blooming too...I use it pretty often mixed with the white and it seems to have hibernated during summer this year. Happy Autumn.

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  6. So good that you have a secondary area for plants that have been forced "off the island" so to speak. Everything looks wonderful!

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  7. Those agaves are a bear to deal with — I usually use long kitchen/bbq tongs to hold them. Your lantana looks great. I cut mine back in early August and they are blooming again. The purple has been blooming most of the summer for me, but it gets an occasional squirt of hose water from me.

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  8. Perfect- the bath rug! Great idea!! Your garden looks beautiful as usual- thanks for sharing!!

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  9. I enjoyed your tale of prying up the lophantha and dragging it by the roots to the new hole. Tough treatment for a tough plant, and it won't mind a bit. I'd like to see that pry bar in action though -- a future post, maybe?

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