Tuesday, December 12, 2017


With news of the California wildfires on everyone's minds I am reminded that a serious wildfire passed through our lot in the 1950s. It was long before there was any development here, when only rough tracks ran through the acres of ranch land. It burnt cedar and oak to the ground leaving only their burnt-out stumps. In the past we have often re-burnt the stumps that were left in our fireplace. They burn really well and are long lasting.
This one was completely destroyed.

And yet only one side of this tree was burnt.

While rooting around on the lot a couple of weeks ago I picked up several smaller stumps, now bleached white by the sun, but still bearing the charred marks of that fire.  Rather like old pieces of driftwood they had character. I had already used one as a perch for a ceramic anole in one of my hypertufa troughs.

Maybe I could do something more useful with them. Maybe drill out a place to plant a small succulent. I was thinking of using the succulent that Matt Shreve gave me when we visited his gorgeous cactus and succulent garden.
Drilling out that hole was easier said than done. My first attempt resulted in the wood slamming against my ankle and tearing off some flesh. I called on David for assistance. I don't know if our drill bits are just dull or this wood is fearfully hard. The wood was smoking! In the end we managed a big enough hole to plant the succulent. I hope it likes tight spaces.

Now more more drilling and more succulent planting.

I am also gathering up a pile of larger stumps and thinking of making a small stumpery in the woods.


  1. Aren't they fabulous! They look fabulous. I use them in my garden and have a small stumpery. gail

  2. These look great, Jenny! And they cost much less than the driftwood sold here for use as planters ;) I recently planted a stump of a large tree with its roots still firmly in place, which came with the garden. The raccoons had been using its cavity as a toilet so I had to try something to put an end to that. I planted a Yucca (still small) and Aloe 'Blue Elf' cuttings in it and, so far, it seems to have had the desired effect.

  3. Adding succulents to old stumps sounds like a great idea! We have a few stumps that have yet to be used. Might have to try this out with them!