Building from scratch

Use this forum to discuss matters relating to xeric plants, which do not fit under any of our established categories, or to discuss issues of a general nature that bear relevance across multiple categories.
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mcvansoest
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Re: Building from scratch

#26

Post by mcvansoest »

Melt that is impressive it will be awesome when it is all said and done!

As to moving with plants... yeah... not looking forward to doing that again also have a gigantic indoor plant collection since the pandemic to consider. I suspect that if I move any time soon it will be away from AZ due to job related considerations and I think if that happens I will just have the cactus club come take whatever is there, just about everyone enjoys named and unnamed echinopsis hybrids....

However, I still have plants pots from my move in spring of 2019 that need to see ground (they were dug up at my previous place) that I have suitable space for just too much competition for the shady spots. I have considered giving them away but have not yet gotten to the point that I see that as an acceptable option for those plants, but the new yard is coming along.

Large Agave flowering events aside....
It is what it is!
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Re: Building from scratch

#27

Post by Azuleja »

Hey thanks for showing all the work that goes into setting up the irrigation. You will be glad for the effort later. The arbor is a nice design. I'd love something like that over our entire back walkway. I'd put shade cloth panels on it and forget about trees and leaves completely :lol:

And 'spiney' is such a great aloe!
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Re: Building from scratch

#28

Post by Stan »

WHoo,the miles of PVC and elbows gives me a headache just thinking of keeping track of it all. You must be a pro landscaper or were to dive in to something that complex. :U
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Melt in the Sun
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Re: Building from scratch

#29

Post by Melt in the Sun »

@Stan - not a pro, but I learned a lot at the last house about what not to do (use black poly pipe anywhere!). What's great about drip irrigation is that it's so simple - yeah there may be a lot of pipes, but it's not actually complicated. I divided the yard into six zones, and each has two valves assigned to it in case I want a couple different watering schedules in the same area of the yard (e.g. a thirsty Bismarkia next to Agave and Ferocactus). Some of that could be accomplished with different emitter sizes, but this is more flexible. Digging the trenches is the hard part, so I might as well put two pipes in there as one. Or six instead of three!

@Azuleja yes...a better picture is below.

My transplanted A. dichotoma seems to have rooted, at least a little. It still looks very thirsty, but it has grown a new leaf. The one with the clipped tip was right in the middle to mark where it was when I dug it up. We'll see.

The Ceiba is a little sunburned - with it so spindly, there isn't a full canopy of leaves in summer and the bark seems to have burned. I'll put some shadecloth around the trunk this spring and see what happens this summer.

Garden beds are getting set into the ground. This was an exhausting day!
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Tom in Tucson
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Re: Building from scratch

#30

Post by Tom in Tucson »

The 1st photo. is a nice wide angle with the arch and clouds.

Ceiba will tend to sun scorch until well established. I had to keep sunscreen at the base of my Brachychiton for most of last summer. I suppose I could whitewash them instead (like is so common in Latin America).
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Re: Building from scratch

#31

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Guess I need to go look closely at the Brachychiton trunk....
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Re: Building from scratch

#32

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Aloe dichotoma seems to be happily rooted - it looks as good as it ever did in August at the old house. It has grown six new leaves since the transplant and doesn't rock in the soil anymore. I'll take the (loose) ropes down after the summer monsoon ends. Pretty happy about this, given its reputation for difficult re-rooting. I suppose there's a huge difference between trying to root a plant after the base rots vs. digging it up perfectly healthy.
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Re: Building from scratch

#33

Post by Gee.S »

Good news. Any victories at all this summer deserve celebration.
Agave
"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

"Some talk the talk, others walk the walk, but I stalk the stalk"
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Re: Building from scratch

#34

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Picked up a couple plants in San Diego this weekend - I had a visit to Hidden Agave scheduled but it fell through at the last moment. Probably a good thing, since I spent way less money.

Bigger A. pumila since my small ones keep dying for a variety of stupid reasons (like stepping on them), and Echeveria cante which is supposed to be among the best for heat and sun. We shall see...

The agave is already showing edema symptoms, from the hot dark ride in the trunk yesterday. Oh well, only a few years for it to grow out... ::x
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Re: Building from scratch

#35

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Yucca faxoniana didn't make it - not sure if it's the hot summer, or just the trauma of planting. Oh well, lesson learned.
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Re: Building from scratch

#36

Post by Meangreen94z »

Melt in the Sun wrote: Mon Oct 02, 2023 11:03 am Yucca faxoniana didn't make it - not sure if it's the hot summer, or just the trauma of planting. Oh well, lesson learned.
Based on the stakes Im guessing it was originally a “top cut”? I’ve never had luck with them, they usually are slow to root and overall weakened by it.
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Re: Building from scratch

#37

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Supposedly not a top cut, but salvaged from developed land. It had a fat knobby base beneath those rocks.
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Re: Building from scratch

#38

Post by Tom in Tucson »

How did your Brachychiton, and Echeveria cante do through this record breaking summer?
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Re: Building from scratch

#39

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Well I just got the Echeveria a few weeks ago, so it hasn't had much time to die yet! I had it under shade and just planted it last weekend (raised bed).

My Brachychiton is solid. It has grown about 18in since planting last spring - I think it could stand a little more water but took it easy this summer.

Aloe 'Hercules' looks a little thirsty but is doing well. I was also hesitant to water this one much, but am giving it more now.

What's struggling hard is my Bismarckia - I'm not sure if it needs more water or less, or the heat really stressed it, or...? The fronds don't seem to last long, and sometimes bend over before they fully open.

Surprise winner has been this blue pot with Pavonia lasiopetala. It's a cute little thing, with a couple of making-it-through-the-heat spotted aloes (mudenensis and zebrina) and struggling transplant "worms" Pedilanthus in the back.
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Re: Building from scratch

#40

Post by Tom in Tucson »

Melt in the Sun wrote: Tue Oct 03, 2023 10:39 am Well I just got the Echeveria a few weeks ago, so it hasn't had much time to die yet! I had it under shade and just planted it last weekend (raised bed).

My Brachychiton is solid. It has grown about 18in since planting last spring - I think it could stand a little more water but took it easy this summer.

Aloe 'Hercules' looks a little thirsty but is doing well. I was also hesitant to water this one much, but am giving it more now.

What's struggling hard is my Bismarckia - I'm not sure if it needs more water or less, or the heat really stressed it, or...? The fronds don't seem to last long, and sometimes bend over before they fully open.

Surprise winner has been this blue pot with Pavonia lasiopetala. It's a cute little thing, with a couple of making-it-through-the-heat spotted aloes (mudenensis and zebrina) and struggling transplant "worms" Pedilanthus in the back.

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Your Brachychiton looks good. After a couple years they can really accelerate.

Bismarckia are notorious for sulking for long periods until they're roots re-establish. That's why I recommend buying the smallest ones you can find. The larger they are, the more likely they are to not survive. The only down side to this practice is it takes a couple years longer to get a breathtaking specimen. While they're growing their new roots, over-watering often induces rot. Once the roots have grown you can safely step up the amount, and frequency of watering.
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Re: Building from scratch

#41

Post by Meangreen94z »

I don’t think you can overwater them, the best looking specimen I’ve seen are in South Florida. As Tom mentioned they are extremely root sensitive like Brahea.
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Re: Building from scratch

#42

Post by Melt in the Sun »

The Chitalpa 'Pink Dawn' finally got in the ground over the weekend. Our soil in the front here is about 12" thick before we get into the mountainside talus - another 6" and we're just pulling out rocks with a bit of soil in between (seen on the right corner of the tarp). Not the richest, but it drains very well and the roots should have plenty of holds to anchor it down.
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Re: Building from scratch

#43

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Yucca desmetiana has lost its core - heat got to it I assume. The plant is solid as can be so we'll see how many offsets and where they come from. I'd like this one to grow a bit taller before clumping.
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Re: Building from scratch

#44

Post by Meangreen94z »

That’s an interesting tree I don’t think I’ve seen locally. I stopped by “Texas Natives”, they only have 1 gallon size of “Texas Madrone”. He has several mature trees on the rim of the canyon above his farm, and 1 by his nursery that’s 25 years old. That area saw 0-2°F in 2021, so they are able to handle wet cold.
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Re: Building from scratch

#45

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Bummer they only have 1gal - I'm planning to stop by on my way back to Tucson after Thanksgiving. That's OK, it'll be easier to plant!
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Re: Building from scratch

#46

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Javelina ate the echeveria - I found the chewed stump up the driveway and replanted it, but I'm not hopeful. Maybe we'll try again in the fenced backyard.

Here's the replacement for the rotted Yucca: a clump of three (one with a pup) Aloe littoralis that all together are 1/4 the price of the dead Yucca.
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Re: Building from scratch

#47

Post by Gafoto »

I appreciate your willingness to bang your head against the wall with some of these challenging plants. Eventually some things will stick, grow well and look fantastic in a few years. At least that’s what I tell myself!

The blank slate is tough. In one sense it’s great to choose your own adventure but every plant failure leaves a massive hole in the landscape. It’s a lot easier to plant a seedling in a mostly mature landscape and wait for it to fill in a little space than to plant it in a huge patch of dirt and stare at it.

I agree with your sentiment: never move again. Between 2019 and 2021 I moved three times. All of them involving buying and/or selling a house and every time moving in December or January. I don’t need to tow trailers through snowstorms ever again.
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Re: Building from scratch

#48

Post by Melt in the Sun »

Thanks! The yucca shouldn't have been challenging, but here we are ::x

I am cautiously optimistic about the aloe group. A. littoralis is supposed to be the best single-stemmed tree type for this climate, which jives with my other experiences with plants from the hot areas of Namibia. I can protect them from cold if I have to, even if they get taller. I'm in a warm microclimate here...high enough that the cold air drains down past, but not so high that the elevation works against me (about 100' above the valley).

The blank slate has been really tough to deal with. There are still large areas of bare gravel that I don't even know how to start, but I'm done planting for this year! I've been really trying to consider mature size and layering plants front to back, but I'm still way behind the game on mixing in softer plants - eventually I want to include a bunch of salvia and penstemon among other things to break up the hardness.
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Re: Building from scratch

#49

Post by Gafoto »

Melt in the Sun wrote: Fri Nov 17, 2023 12:08 pmI've been really trying to consider mature size and layering plants front to back
This is consistently a problem for me, especially since so much of what I’m planting are very large agave. If they survive they’ll take up almost a whole bed. If they don’t then I’m back to square one. Bit of lagtime since it’s the winter that does the damage here. I’ve been layering some “safe” plants like yucca and hesperaloe so everything won’t die.
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