Saturday 16 November 2013

Trough Garden, November 11, 2013

Here is my test trough, which is protected from the elements by a roof overhang, on the south facing wall of our potting shed. Last year, the trough was empty, save for the Opuntia polyacantha at the far left. That plant did very well with no winter damage - which indicates good things about the trough's microclimate, because this plant does not do well under open sky. Too much fall and spring moisture, I think.

Anyhow, in June 2013 I planted many more test plants. There are Escobaria vivipara from near Laramie, Wyoming and Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba. There are several Echincereus including two E. triglochidiatus from high elevations in Utah and Colorado, E. reichenbachii v. perbellus JRT 111 and E. viridifloris from seed provided by Susan Ogierman in Rock Creek, BC. I grew all of these from seed. None of these survive long-term under open sky. There are also a few "iffy" Opuntia, and for kicks, I threw in Agave utahensis I collected at 6000 feet at Grand Canyon, AZ, and Agave parryi I collected at 7200 feet on Mingus Mountain, AZ. I harbour no hope for these but you're never satisfied till you try... I also planted two Cylindropuntia viridiflora from cuttings I received from Francois Pare's garden in Montreal.

Main Rock Garden, November 9, 2013

This was the last glympse I had prior to heavy snowfall. Everything looking good. Fingers crossed - here's hoping the plants look this good in April!

Sunday 3 November 2013

Main Rock Garden, October 14, 2013

Well, here we are at the end of another season. Almost all shrubby perennials are now coppiced, leaving the garden pretty much flat and ready for snow!! I also made a potent concoction of garlic, cayenne and vegetable oil and dispensed this around the perimeter of the garden, as I heard this can deter voles. I will try anything at this point! As I type this, it has been a great fall. As of November 3, there has been snow and a little more rain than usual, but our low temperature has been a very reasonable -9C. I will visit the garden next weekend, I hope, and I hope to find plants dormant and conditions as dry as possible. That is, if it isn't already snow-covered.

Friday 1 November 2013

Stratifying Opuntia Seed

I am putting this tray of seed out in the rain today. Then I will alternate wet and dry days using the greenhouse until I bring them inside again, in January or February, to germinate indoors under fluorescent lights. Some of these are open-pollinated seed from the garden. Others were meticulously hand-pollinated with the hopes of creating hybrids. Time will tell!

Sunday 25 August 2013

My Favourite Photo of 2013 (So Far)

2013 has been a great year in the greenhouse and garden, despite my springtime difficulties with voles (as discussed in an earlier post). This photo was taken on July 11. In the foreground, Opuntia "Pony" is blooming while further in the distance, O. "Claude Arno" is in spectacular bloom. I was able to force pollinate to hopefully create a dozen or so hybrid seed collections, which I will harvest in October. In 2013, I also began to add companion I grew many of these plants from seed I traded for or purchased from I also began to collect seed from suitable native plants in shrub-steppe, montane and subalpine environments. The highlight find was probably Eriogonum ovalifolium v. nivale, which I have managed to grow on from cuttings. I am still at work collecting seeds! 2014 should be a banner year.

Main Rock Garden, August 18, 2013

Main Rock Garden, August 5, 2013

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Main Rock Garden, March 31, 2013

Well, here it was, right after the snow melted several weeks early - what a relief after last year! Unfortunately, by the morning after, voles or some other rodent had dug up almost the entire south facing bed, which really dampened my spirits after what can only be described as a successful winter. I fixed the damage and tried a porcine bloodmeal repellent, but the morning after that, it was even worse. A few days later, my mom bought this gadget: I wasn't too sure about it, because the customer reviews on Amazon were not too kind. But it's been about three weeks, and no more damage!

Saturday 23 March 2013

Signs of Life!

These one year old Opuntia polyacantha v. polyacantha seedlings are the first cacti to show new buds in the greenhouse, here in Surrey, BC, this year.

Friday 15 March 2013

The Garden at Inukshuk, March 15, 2013

A quick view of the garden during an early snowmelt. This is a full month earlier than last year but no guarantee that more snow won't fall.

Sunday 10 March 2013

New Starts for 2013

I started a bunch of Opuntia, Escobaria, Echinocereus and Pediocactus seedlings during the first week of February, 2013. I will plant the Opuntia out this Victoria Day weekend. Most of what you see here are from open pollinated Opuntia seed produced in my garden.

Hand-pollinated Opuntia hybrids for 2013!

I created these hardy Opuntia hybrids for testing in the garden. There are more than just those pictured here. It will be interesting to see if and how much these look or behave differently from their parents. I started these seedlings during the first week of February, 2013.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Ready for another season!

These pots of various seed are still stratifying in the greenhouse, and will be placed under lights during the first week of February. Included here are a lot of Opuntia hybrids, various Pediocactus from a number of sources including my own garden, Echinocereus from the high altitude 2012 collections of Mats Winberg, Escobaria vivipara including my own collections from Spruce Woods, Manitoba, Sclerocactus parviflorus, a few shrubs and others...