Six on Saturday: Bloom!

Bloom has been conspicuously absent from my Six on Saturday posts for the past several weeks. Severe weather had prevented me from performing my horticultural obligations, and then prevented me from processing pictures after resuming my obligations. As I was able to post last week, I merely posted six pictures of why I neglected to share pictures of horticultural relevance for previous weeks. Finally, I can share a few pictures of some of the bloom that I have neglected. I am impressed that some of it survived so much severe weather. Incidentally, the weather has been totally awesome since the storms stopped as suddenly as they started. Zayante Creek flows as it typically does for this time of year, as if nothing happened. The water seems to be unusually clear.

1. Camellia japonica cultivars are sufficiently numerous here for a month or so of Six on Saturday. Some bloom profusely but briefly. Some bloom sporadically for a long season.

2. Camellia sasanqua cultivars are less numerous, but might be sufficient for two weeks of exclusive Six on Saturday presence. This one is ‘Christmas Cheer’ blooming a bit late.

3. Narcissus is too botanically complicated for species designation. This is possibly ‘King Alfred’. Experts might be able to identify its species or hybrid. I know it only as daffodil.

4. Iris X germanica is also botanically complicated. This unidentified cultivar wastes no time recovering from seemingly early division last September. I am very pleased with it!

5. Scilla peruviana, squill was still canned when we noticed it blooming! We neglected it while busy with the weather. The best is now planted. The rest awaits gopher mitigation.

6. Rhody is very pleased that his crew has been able to resume their normal duties, such as providing treats and petting, without all the stress associated with the severe weather.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Horridculture – Bend The Truth

This bender board does nothing that the curb should not do.

The truth of this bender board is that it is not necessary. Seriously, what it is supposed to accomplish there that the curb should not already be doing? That stake wedged between the curb and the bender board to the upper left makes it seem even sillier than it already is. I realize that bender board is designed to bend, but this just draws attention to bad design. Perhaps this is one of those rare situations in which the stake should be on the inside, with the bender board screwed onto it, like might have been the intention for the unattached stake to the lower right. Heck, the curb does almost all of the work of holding the bender board in place anyway.

The dyed chipped wood to the upper right of the bender board seems to rely on the bender board for containment. That would be a realistic application for bender board in a situation that lacks a curb. For this situation, the curb should be adequate. If the soil below the chips is too high, it should have been excavated to a lower level prior to the installation of the chips. As one can see in this picture, such excavation would have been minimal.

Bender board certainly has practical application, such as separating chips like these from turf grass or ground cover. It might contain or provide a neat edge for vigorous ground cover. However, it does nothing that a curb does not already do. In some landscapes it merely adds another component to an innate tripping hazard. It gets dislodged or damaged if vehicles drive over it, or if enough people trip over it.

Unfortunately, for so-called ‘landscape professionals’ it is too easy to install; and such installation is too lucrative. Simplicity is much less lucrative.

Junk In The Trunk

It is exactly what it looks like; more Canna rhizomes. I am very aware that there are already too many Canna here. I grew them. I do not care. I saw these in a neighbor’s garden, and asked for a few copies. She told me that I only needed to dig them myself, as if that might be a problem. As she pointed out those that were migrating a bit too close to her home, I dug many more than I should have. Since she was so generous to share so many, I felt obligated to remove all that were superfluous. Besides, to me, they are not junk. I am very pleased with them, even if they are a bit excessive.

There are two cultivars, and perhaps seed grown rhizomes of one of the two cultivars. The shorter sort are ‘Inferno’, which is the same as ‘Tropicanna’ and ‘Durban’. Some Canna cultivars seem to develop several synonyms. Its bright orange bloom stands tall above distinctively striped and bronzed foliage. It gets about six feet tall, so is only the shorter of the two cultivars because the other is so much taller. Although it is one of the more popular cultivars, I only recently acquired a single can of it from Brent last year. I am pleased to grow much more.

The other cultivar seems to be comparable to the unidentified cultivar at work that resembles and might actually be Canna musifolia. It has similar scrawny orange bloom on top of very tall canes that I must bend over for deadheading. Because I did not notice them until after frost, I do not know how bronzed the foliage is, or if it is bronzed at all. The neighbor who gave them to me says that they are ‘lightly’ bronzed. The newly emerging buds seem to be green without any bronze. I will be pleased with any color, but simple green would be awesome! Some of these may have grown from seed, so may be slightly different from the original.

There were enough rhizomes of ‘Inferno’ for a dozen #5 cans with about four rhizomes each. There were enough rhizomes of the taller sort that might be Canna musifolia for sixteen #5 cans with about three very plump rhizomes each. That was after sharing some with others at work, and leaving some for a neighbor of the neighbor who shared them with me. I intend to take some to the Pacific Northwest before the end of winter, but canned them all because I do not yet know when I will leave. I can always remove some from their cans, or just take them in their cans.

Since they fit into the trunk more easily than a previous batch of ‘Wyoming’ and a cultivar that resembles Canna flaccida that I obtained from another neighbor, they seemed to be less numerous. However, the previous batch included foliage. These rhizomes lacked foliage, and were actually a bit more numerous. Regardless, I am very pleased with them, and intend to enjoy growing them. As I closed the tailgate after unloading them, I could see that Rhody did not share my enthusiasm.

If A Tree Falls In A Forest . . .

If a tree falls in a forest of the tallest species of tree in the World, things might get messy. Understory trees often fall without much commotion, but the demise of this particular redwood was observed from all over the neighborhood. The forest that it inhabited is too crowded for good pictures of where it landed. I got what I could. Falling trees is one of the unpleasant and hazardous results of the recent epically abundant rain.

About twenty feet of trail dislodged with the massive root system that nearly inverted as it fell into the canyon below. The gap was less than fifteen feet long on the left and uphill side of the trail when this picture was taken, but widened as more soil collapsed into the muddy void below. Obviously, the trail is now closed. Repair is not a priority until after winter at the soonest.

The dislodged root system is about thirty feet wide. I did not estimate how far into the canyon it slid. Since I can not see the base of the trunk, I did not estimate how wide it is. The trunk extends diagonally to the right, where it is obscured by vegetation in the foreground. It broke many other trees as it fell, leaving the shattered trunks and limbs that are visible to the upper right and left. Some of the debris near the water was deposited by earlier flooding.

The trunk fell upstream into a curve in Bean Creek below, so almost crossed the creek twice. From this distance, it is difficult to estimate the width of the trunk. Because the top is not visible, it is impossible to estimate the height. If it did not burn up in the atmosphere, someone in Nevada might have received an unexpected delivery of lumber.

Six on Saturday: Excuses

It had not rained so much here since 1982. Consequences of such excessive rain were the priorities at work. I neglected to procure pictures of horticultural topics while the first of the problems associated with the weather began to develop two weeks ago. I was unable to transmit new pictures last week because of disruption of telephone service. Now that I am able to share new pictures, I find that a few are redundant to some that I posted two weeks ago, and none are any more horticulturally oriented than a few unidentifiable logs and an unseen redwood tree. Well, at least they demonstrate why I was too busy to share horticultural pictures on Six on Saturday.

1. Mudslides blocked a few portions of the main road into town at various times. None of them stayed for long, but they took turns. Shortly after one got cleared, another one slid.

2. Sinkholes were mudslides from below rather than from above, and ruined portions of roads that were not under mud. I nearly dropped the camera here to hastily grab Rhody.

3. Floods got deeper than since 1982, and took trees that were big enough to leave twigs two thirds of the way up the right and upstream side of the pillars nearest to the middle.

4. Logjams collected some of those trees that would otherwise be on beaches near Santa Cruz by now. Ironically, that is a municipal water pumping station across Zayante creek.

5. Fallen trees are particularly dangerous within forests of the tallest trees in the World. This one took out about twenty feet of the trail. I will share two more pictures of it later.

6. Rhody was exhausted from exemplary service to his similarly exhausted crew through many days of the rainiest weather here since 1982. He is enjoying sunnier weather now.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: Service Interruption (I have nothing to share here this week.)

Unusually rainy weather here has been quite a problem. Flooding, mudslides and falling trees have kept us all very busy at work. They have also interfered with the utilities, such as electricity, cable and internet service. A message on my telephone informed me of the service interruption that prevented me from sending pictures to myself to share here on Six on Saturday. I intended to simply share pictures that were illustrations for my other blog, but as I was writing about them, I realized that I already shared them on Christmas Eve. I therefore have no more than these recycled pictures. More pictures from here are in the news.

1. The Steven Michael Ralls Memorial Tree was planted two and a half years ago, so it is the oldest Monterey cypress within this Memorial Grove, and is now almost six feet tall.

2. The David Noel Riddell Memorial Tree was installed with #3 below, only about a year ago. It is the smallest of the three cypress trees, and is only slightly taller than three feet.

3. The David Fritiof Lindberg Memorial Tree was installed a few days after David Fritiof Lindberg passed away on November 13, 2021, with #2 above. It is only four feet tall now.

4. The Memorial Tree in Felton Covered Bridge Park is actually one of several Memorial Trees within its landscape. It is doing well, but needed a bit more pruning for clearance.

5. It looks scrawny after pruning, but will fluff out splendidly through spring. It may not need pruning for clearance again for quite a while. By that time, it will be too big for me.

6. Sunny weather is finally in the forecast. Rain is normally appreciated in our chaparral climate, but has been excessive for too long. It has not rained this much in four decades.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: 2022 Ends II

2022 ended with what might have been the worst series of storms since 1982. More rain is in the forecast, so the situation has potential to get worse. As I was composing my ‘Six on Saturday’ for last week, Zayante Creek behind the shop buildings at work was coming up higher than it has been in many years. An adjacent neighborhood was evacuated later in the day. Evacuated neighbors parked their vehicles in a big parking lot across Zayante Creek, and partied in the rain until 2023! By then, they could go home on muddy roads. It was a unique way to celebrate the New Year. Picture #1 was yesterday. #2 and #3 were Wednesday. #4, #5 and #6 were last Saturday, 2022.

1. Mudslides caused a few road closures and other damage elsewhere in the region. This was the worst for us. It was mitigated yesterday. Vegetation did not control this erosion.

2. Fallen trees were another major problem elsewhere in the region. A big coast live oak squashed a car nearby. This Italian buckthorn was the worst for us. It damaged nothing.

3. Widowmakers are terrifyingly dangerous during windy weather. All too many free fall silently for more than a hundred feet from the exteriors of canopies of coastal redwoods.

4. David Fritiof Lindberg Memorial Tree is barely visible to the right of the center of the lower edge of this picture. It is immobile, but has never been this close to Zayante Creek.

5. Steven Michael Ralls Memorial Tree resides in the same Memorial Grove as the David Fritiof Lindberg Memorial Tree, so is also now closer to Zayante Creek than it should be.

6. Conference Drive Bridge over Zayante Creek is a short distance north and upstream of the Memorial Grove. At the time, most vegetation was obscured from view under water.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Dormant Pruning For Roses

Proper pruning during winter promotes the best roses during summer.

(This recycled article is eleven years old. Therefore, the event that it describes is no longer relevant.)

Just about anyone can plant roses in the garden, and care for them for at least the first year. Pruning them properly while they are dormant in winter in order to get them to perform satisfactorily every subsequent year is what most of us who grow roses have difficulty with. Like deciduous fruit trees, roses should not be planted and expected to perform with minimal attention. They certainly should not be pruned with hedge shears!

The once modern, but increasingly old-fashioned, hybrid T roses have traditionally been the most common victims of inadequate pruning, since they need such aggressive pruning every winter to prevent overgrowth that interferes with healthy cane growth and bloom. More modern cultivars (cultivated varieties) designed to resemble older roses, as well as reintroduced old fashioned roses are generally not so demanding, but likewise perform best with proper dormant pruning. There are slightly, and not so slightly, different ways to prune the different types of roses. Even the ‘low maintenance’ carpet roses should be pruned to some degree.

Fortunately for those of us who are just learning about roses, the first of several free rose pruning lessons in the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden began this morning, January 4. These hands-on lessons continue at 9:00 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday until late February. Participants meet in the center of the Garden. The minimum age to attend is sixteen; but minors without parental supervision require a signed minor release form that can be obtained from the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy.

Participants should bring bypass shears, leather gloves, closed-toe shoes and preferably a water bottle. Those who lack shears or gloves can borrow what they need at the Garden. The Heritage Rose Garden is located on West Taylor Street near Walnut Street in San Jose. Parking can be found on Seymour, Taylor or Walnut Streets. More information can be obtained by email to Emily of the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy at emily@grpg.org or by telephoning 298 7657.

The Heritage Rose Garden is the most complete collection of old world roses, the ancestors of modern roses, in the world! Although it lacks modern cultivars, it exhibits a remarkably extensive variety of roses, with all sorts of growth habits. There really is no other garden where one can prune roses with the same basic techniques in so many different ways.

Incidentally, modern hybrid T roses derive their designation from the ‘T budding’ technique employed to attach the scion (upper blooming portion) to the understock (roots), not because the rose hips (fruiting structures) are used to make tea. However, all sorts of roses, including floribundas, polyanthas, grandifloras and all sorts of climbing roses, are budded by the same means; and many hybrid T roses are actually grown on their own roots and not budded onto understock at all. The designation of hybrid T seems somewhat out dated, but is still effective.

Horridculture – Horrid Weather

Alviso in 1983

This is no horticultural gripe, as is traditional here on Wednesday. Actually, it is not much of a gripe at all. It is merely a brief description of the unpleasantries of the current situation here.

Rain is predicted to resume prior to two this morning, and continue almost until tomorrow evening. It is expected to be remarkably voluminous. Strong wind that begins about eleven is expected to continue for a bit more than a day, until about two tomorrow. The ground is already saturated from the major storm on New Year’s Eve, and minor rain afterward. Rain may pause only for Friday, but may then resume for the foreseeable forecast.

This weather could be the worst since the winter of 1982 and 1983. If so, the results would be worse now than they were then. So many more people live here and nearby now. Flooding, mudslides and everything that stormy weather causes will affect many more people than ever before.

The area across the road from here is to be completely evacuated in the morning because of expected flooding. It already flooded on New Year’s Day. A parking lot nearby is already full of cars from that neighborhood.

The burn scar from the CZU Fire two years ago has not yet recovered, so is unusually susceptible to erosion and mudslides.

This sort of weather may be no more than what is normal in ‘average’ climates. It is just more than we are accustomed to in the mild climate here. As I schedule this to post at midnight in about a quarter of an hour, the weather is still pleasant, without indication of what is predicted.

I should get some sleep now. The crew and I will likely be very busy in the morning, and exhausted, cold and wet by noon.

Six on Saturday: 2022 Ends

The year ends with the day, but bad habits continue. I make no resolutions. I continue to collect too much seed, plug too many cuttings and divide too many perennials. Common weeds are not off limits. Canna were already too abundant before more were canned last week. More will be divided later! Cymbidium is not proliferating yet, but has potential to do so after bloom. For now, there is no need to irrigate any of this surplus, since the rain will not stop.

1. Lunaria annua, money plant or honesty, is not quite naturalized within unrefined but damp zones of our landscapes. We collect seed to toss where we think it should perform well. It has become a tradition. The name implies that it is native to the Moon, and that, like 2022, lasts only one year. These seed in key envelopes are for whomever takes them.

2. Canna ‘Australia’ are bloomed canes that I groomed from the downtown planter box, as seen last week. There are a dozen #5 cans of four canes, and six #1 cans of two canes! More pups must be thinned later! Also, I will soon dig even more cannas for a neighbor!

3. Bellis perennis, English daisy is naturalized in the vast lawn at Felton Covered Bridge Park. I have no use for it, but plugged a dozen solitary rosettes in with the Canna canes.

4. Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’, black elderberry should generate a bit of fruit without a pollinator, but is merely pretty here. I plugged a few cuttings because its darkly bronzed foliage works so well for our landscapes. Native blue elderberry produces plenty of fruit.

5. Cymbidium orchid is extending quite a few floral spikes. I have not counted them yet.

6. Morgan was reminded why no one craves his parking space. Rain is splendid though!

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/