Browse Month: October 2015

Moved The New Zealand Flax

Out in Front Garden it was time for the New Zealand flax (phormium tenax) to give up its spot. The flax was moved to a different part of the yard. In its place a mulberry (morus) tree was planted. The tiny tree was grown from a cutting by my brother.

The spot where the tree lives now has a very awkward transition between the dirt, steps, and concrete walk way. Originally, the flax was planted to mask this awkward transition. The flax offered a good deal of landscape appeal. Other than that, it is somewhat of a maintenance hog. The blades when they die off become dry and fibrous. The dried blades are difficult to cut and thus are difficult to remove. For those considering New Zealand flax as a landscape plant, my advice is to consider the maintenance aspect.

With the flax no longer covering the awkward transition a daylily was selected. The ‘Fire of Fuji’ double reblooming daylily (hemerocallis) was divided and planted at the base of the young mulberry tree.

In terms of permaculture design, the mulberry will be allow to grow to about five feet tall. At the base, different plants will make their home through the seasons. In their  first season, the mulberry and daylilies will also share ground with elephant garlic and oriental lilies.

Front Garden mulberry tree
Front Garden with mulberry tree just planted


Spider Sensed

hentzia palmaru
male Hentzia jumping spider (hentzia palmarum)

When it comes to beneficial insects in the garden, spiders receive little acknowledgement for their contributions. Perhaps it is because some leave nasty bites and thus scare us. Or perhaps it is because they perform the work of protecting our plants and crops quietly. In the shadows of the ever popular ladybug, our spider friends work tirelessly and without recognition. The real reason may be technical– spiders are not insects but rather arachnids. Humor aside, perhaps it is time to shine the spotlight on our eight-legged friendamies.

Continue Reading

Planted elephant garlic

Today, the elephant garlic were planted in the Front Garden. Elephant garlic (allium ampeloprasum) are easy to grow. When planting, they are normally planted without much effort; and given little care. A small hole is dug and they are placed in. The soil in the front of the house (or Front Garden) is worked minimally. Despite the soil being closer to dirt, the bulbs produced at the end of the season are good sized.


Now after a few seasons, compost is added to the soil. Today’s planting was therefore a little different from the past as far as the amount of work required goes. Despite the increase in the time required, the planting strategy remained the same. In the Front Garden, the elephant garlic (along with anything planted out there) are planted not in uniform rows but semi-organically. Out there, they are both a landscape element and crop.

Elephant garlic on a bow rakeThe elephant garlic from this year’s harvest are loaded onto a bow rake and cured.

Large elephant garlic cloveOne of the larger elephant garlic cloves.

Garden waste not, want not

On Sunday, I was able make a dent on maintaining and preparing the Front Garden for fall. My brother, John, was able to help as well. While there was enough man power to accomplish the task, the blistering sun said otherwise. Despite the shorten work day we managed to collect quite a pile of green waste among other things.

Green waste from the day's work. Continue Reading

Fall 2015

For this gardener, fall is a somber of time year. The season signals the end of the growing year. There are less flowers blooming and less fruits and vegetables to pick. Things appear to slow down a bit in the gardens. On the contrary, fall can be full of hustle and bustle. Fall is the season when bulbs are planted. It is also a great time to “spring clean.”

IMG_1210_r The Front Garden is a bit grown in and is in need of some landscaping.

Continue Reading