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what’s growing | Yoga Cowgirls

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what’s growing

New Garden for Hardy Cactus

new hardy cactus garden

We have been collecting and receiving hardy cactus for a few years and they usually pile up in the existing sand bed next to the pump house. While we will keep a few agaves in the sand bed because they are too large to move, we have finally built a small hardy cactus and succulent garden. The new garden visually completes a stair that previously just ended in a pile of concrete rubble.

existing hardy cactus bed

cactus bed as continuation of rock stairs

We also have been propagating a few opuntias to replace scraggly plants inside the greenhouse and for sale at the lavender festival next year. The varieties are very low prickle, especially meant for eating. One variety, a ficus-indica opuntia Var.Burbank Spineless, has narrow leaves and looks like a saguaro. The other one, opuntia robusta, has big, round, blue pads.

indoor cactus cuttings -- opuntias that are not hardy

Coping After a Freeze

We have had high winds, ice pellets, freezing rain and more high winds here over the past week. Our trees have lost all their leaves, despite how late they stuck with it into November. Our plans to begin propagation last week have been put on hold.

We did get all the tender cactus, succulents and potted plants into the greenhouse in time. It gets crowded in the winter, but we are trying to keep a bench clear for propagation.

Today, we are cutting fucshias and Symphocarpus for bundling in 1 gallon pots. Candy is cleaning up the succulent pots that have come into the green house and refreshing with new plants. It’s an effort to eliminate and consolidate all the material we have from last year.

Finally, we are going to use layering to try and propagate a corylopsis that we have behind the pool house. it’s an amazing plant, but prefers cuttings to happen in july. This is a winter method that could work with the plant. Basically, we will lay a few branches on the ground and hold them in place with U staples. We will mark the spots and tie the plant to a flag. In spring, we should be able to cut them from the mother plant and dig them up to move. I love the corylopsis that we have. Here is a picture of it from late February 2010.

New Planting at Westwind

We are in the midst of a huge planting spree at Westwind. Two weeks ago, we planted 20 hazelnuts, 10 autumn olives, 20 pawpaws and 7 2.5-inch caliper large scarlet oaks.

We placed them at the northern edge of our pastures, hoping for folks to enjoy their presence along Old Germantown rd. Our neighbor has attracted bluebirds, so we are crossing our fingers that this will add to the attraction and places for them to land.

I fretted about deer and elk. Would they stomp all over the tiny hazelnut trees, oblivious to them as they tromp around the pasture? Should we put up a fence?

The very night that we planted the trees, the elk visited us.

They ate every leaf off the hazelnuts. They avoided the autumn olives and left the pawpaws alone. Regardless, to protect the trees, we added a fence.

we installed a bit of fencing to try to redirect the deer and elk away from hazelnuts

we installed a bit of fencing to try to redirect the deer and elk away from hazelnuts

One might imagine that a low fence will do nothing to deter the deer and elk. If they want to get into that orchard, they will, certainly. However, as they graze, if they hit an obstacle, they might just turn away from it, rather than trying to navigate it. Given that we have not mowed our northern pastures, there is plenty of food out there for them. We are counting on them to “not look up” and notice the hazelnuts. Otherwise, we are growing an autumn olive orchard with a few pawpaws in it.

We have some fencing that we just put around a host of plantings — buddleia, cornus, lonicera — which seems to be working. The area is narrow — probably only about 7 feet wide. It’s also on a slope. So if a deer or elk looks in that little fenced area, he is perhaps thinking — “if i jump in there, I might not fit, so I’ll skip it.” At any rate, because they cannot judge about distance and the safety of the slope, it appears to be keeping them out.

New fence around baby forsythia, cornus, buddleia

New fence around baby forsythia, cornus, buddleia

Wish us luck!


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