Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Gauntlet

I'm that guy on our street.  The guy with the front yard garden that's hanging over the sidewalk.  Passers-by have to do the limbo to avoid being scratched by the overhanging sunflowers.

I don't know what possessed me this spring.  I was sowing annual seeds in the front yard in May and I thought, "Oh, sunflowers would be nice here until the zinnias take over."  I was thinking demure 4' sunflowers with a single head, for some reason.

 What I got where 8' multi-branched monsters.  The edge of the front garden is lined with them like some sort of living fence, alive with bees and goldfinches.

Slightly embarrassed by their size and vigor, I keep waiting for them to finish so that I can pull them out.

They have other plans, and keep budding up on side shoots.  I think that they're in for the long haul.  

Sorry neighbors.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mid-August Already?

Yesterday we got back from a gorgeous week in Avalon, NJ.  Can you tell they replenished the beaches with sand from offshore?

Last night I had to unwrap and clear these two beauties out of the garage so that I could cast a couple more troughs this morning.  I got up at 6AM to beat the heat.  It didn't really work, of course, but at least I was done by 9:30, before it got into the 90's.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

All about the Foliage

Antennaria dioica 'rubra'

Edrianthus pumilio

Mattholia trojana

Agave 'Kissho Kan'

Saxifraga 'Kyrilli'

OK, OK, enough texture; here's an erodium that's flowering.
It's so gorgeous that I bring it in every fall rather than risk losing it in a cold snap.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Two Succulents, One Bowl

Orostachys furusei

Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco'

Taller Quatrefoil

I added 2" in height to the quatrefoil trough mold from this spring, so that it's 9" tall now.  Above is the first cast.  It's a subtle difference but I like it a lot.  

Quatrefoil with rectangular Wilson trough above.  Both are only a month old; the gray color will turn a lighter brown-gray as they age.

Above, in the previous incarnation, with the same rectangular trough for comparison.

It's the small things, ya know?

Sunday, July 26, 2015


A few years ago a friend gave me a potted fig cutting about 2' high with the regular story, saying it was from on old Italian neighbor, but that she didn't have enough sun to grow it.  I reluctantly took it, knowing I had no room in the yard for it.  I know how much attention people lavish on their fig trees in this area, and, frankly, growing food is not my thing.  I put it in the largest plastic pot I had on hand and dutifully kept it in the cold basement all winter and the hot deck all summer.

Once it finally bore fruit in a couple of years, I was surprised that it was a yellow fig, not the common brown one that I had assumed.  The tree has gotten larger and larger in its plastic pot and the branches sprawl lazily out from the main trunk.  This spring when I carried it out of the basement I was surprised to see it set with the beginnings of a breba crop.  These few bonus figs are weeks ahead of the regular crop of fruit.  I had the first, warm jammy fig this morning before anyone else was awake.  

This tree is worth the hassle. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Two Highlights of a Hot Weekend

One of the delospermas blooming in a hypertufa bowl, with the bladder seed heads of silene uniflora 'compacta' visible behind it.

Two large rectangular troughs that I cast yesterday morning when it was still relatively cool.  I took them out of the molds and scrubbed them with a wire brush this morning, when it was NOT so cool anymore.  I'll seal them in plastic for 4 weeks until they're fully cured and ready for delivery.