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!