July 24 , 2011

The view below shows two of the main landscaped areas a year or more after they were planted. They are starting to fill out now and, with their summer growth spurt, looking pretty terrific. Time will only improve them. The cloud cover in this photo is a little misleading. We've actually had a lot of hot, sunny weather through July, finally ending the dreary spring that must have depressed and confused a lot of our plants.

What a difference a couple of months makes! Our big Cyphostemma is now over 6' tall and has probably doubled in weight since we put it in last spring. It obviously loves the climate and DG soil in Rainbow. The gophers have finally discovered these plantings and are presumably beginning to wreck their usual havoc. All of the big important plants are protected by underground wire cloth cages, so no serious worries there, but the smaller plants are vulnerable. No visible damage yet, but it's bound to occur and we're taking the usual draconian measures. We're also hoping the little buggers will chomp on a healthy dose of euphorbia root. That'll teach 'em.

This spring the mice discovered Petra's seed beds and began digging up seed and munching on tender young plants. After losing almost half a flat of very rare Euphorbia babies, she had had enough and ordered a crash program to create a mouse-proof environment. These two 7' x 12' cages, covered all around with 1/4" wire cloth, are the result. There's been no damage since.

The cages have light-weight wire cloth-covered doors for easy access and watering. The electrical outlet over the far cage is for a heat mat controller, installed inside the cage in case we need to warm the feet of some of our more finicky babies during the winter.

We also fabricated a mouse-proof cage 3 1/2' x 9' of the same design atop one of the tables on the east side to house baby outdoor plants and seed flats that may also need protection. We hope our most serious mouse problems are now behind us.

Brian and Miguel have begun work on the ground beds that will extend 53' all the way down to the south end of the aisle. Each of the 13 4' x 4' beds is constructed out of 2x8 treated lumber and the bottoms will be covered with heavy 1/2" wire cloth.

Here Amalia holds two Uncarinas that she has just dug up out of the ground beds. Petra was pleased with how much they had grown after only a year in the ground, but shocked at how big the roots had become. How is she going to put these in pots?