August 25, 2013

It's been more than a year since we last updated this blog. One reason for the hiatus is that most of the big improvements to the property are behind us, leaving fewer new visuals to report on—apart from watching plants grow. At this point we are concentrating on making a business out of this adventure and not on adding more infrastructure to what has already become a daunting challenge for Petra to maintain. As her grandmother used to say: "Be careful what you wish for!"

Speaking of watching plants grow, the area up at the front is really starting to fill out. When Petra first started this planting in 2009, I thought her landscaping looked a little sparse, but then I didn't fully appreciate how big these things were going to get. The tree Pachys, in particular, are growing into handsome specimens. The two Adansonia grandidierii on the right have also grown signicantly. For comparison, we have included a picture of one from August 2009, when it was put in. Both plants were purchased (from separate sources) as grandidierii, but as they grew it became increasingly clear that the one on the right was not correctly labelled. It grew faster and has a slightly different leaf structure than the other one. Unless we happen to run across an Adansonia expert, proper identification will have to wait until it comes into bloom for the first time.

This area still wants for the spare time to put in smaller surface plants and proper ground cover.

The Aloe bed is also filling out nicely. The big Aloe pilansii are doing well and obviously quite happy here in the ground, a fact that amazes many of our visitors. The one in the center is developing a big fat trunk that impresses even the most jaded Aloe affecionado.

Here's a view of the Cycad planting in front of the patio.

The outdoor stock has been culled to make room for more desirable plants, mainly the Aloes that seem to be a favorite among our customers who are interested in outdoor plantings. Our nursery is slowly becoming known as the "go to" place for gardeners who want something that sets them apart from the usual landscaping repertoire.

The terraced area between the big greenhouse and Shady Lane has been in for about 2 years now and most of the species planted here have experienced impressive growth.

The success of the lower terraces has motivated us to put in another bank of them up the hill on the other side of Shady Lane. Miguel and Christian dig trenches for the courses of little retaining walls that will define the terraces.

Although you can't really tell from this view, the inventory in the seedling greenhouse is beginning to thin out as summer sales take their toll. That's a good thing because, as we'll explain below, this area will soon have to accomodate a big influx of new residents.

Petra and Ilse put down seed. The conditions this year must have been just right and we were rewarded with a bumper crop of seed from many rare species that either fruited for the first time or had produced only every few years—whenever they felt like it. In fact, we have put down over 60 different species of seed in the last few weeks and that's way above the norm!

The seed flats will be placed on these tables with wire cages to protect them from raids by birds or mice or any other little critters looking for an easy meal. After the seeds sprout (hopefully), the young plants will stay caged up for a couple of months until they outgrow their flats and need to be potted up.

Petra does her best to make room for the many seed flats that will soon need a home.

Petra and Rusty take a well-deserved break from their seed-putting-down marathon.

This is Petra's collection of rocks (or at least a big part of it) that she has been amassing practically since she got into the hobby almost twenty years ago.