After adding cactus mix to the soil in the area behind the newly raised wall section, I planted an assortment of succulent cuttings from my garden and purchased succulent plugs. The only large plant I bought was an ornamental grass.
|The new plants here include: Sedum morganianum 'Magnum' (said to be tougher than the usual "donkey tail"), Aeonium arboreum (cuttings), Aeonium 'Garnet' (cuttings), and Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri|
|This is my new ornamental grass: Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'|
I planted cuttings of Senecio vitalis and Euphorbia tirucalli 'Stick on Fire' in front of the new wall section, which should eventually obscure the differences in the stone used for the old and new sections of the wall. I also planted plugs of Dymondia margaretae between the wall and the stepping stones. If these take (an earlier planting years ago did not), I'll buy flats of this plants to cover the remaining bare ground around the path.
|If I add more rocks, they'll go in along the upper ridge of the slope a few feet in from the upper pathway|
Next, I moved on to the suspected soil problem I spoke of in my August 26th post, finally testing the soil in the area of several successive plant deaths.
|Two of at least 4 plants that have died in one particular area: Adenanthos sericeus (left) and Leucadendron galpinii (right)|
The soil test kit I purchased was easy to use. The pH test of soil acidity/alkalinity was quick. The tests for nitrogen, phosphorus and potash took a little more time but only because the soil needed to settle before the test capsules could be added to the soil solution.
|The sample used in testing for nitrogen, phosphorus and potash used one part soil to 5 parts distilled water|
The camera distorts the colors shown in the test chambers some and readings can be distorted by light but my conclusion is that the soil in the troublesome area has a pH between 7.0 and 7.5, which means it isn't nearly as acidic as the Australian and South African plants I located there would like. However, it doesn't appear that there's an excess of phosphorus in the soil, something many of these same plants are sensitive to. Nitrogen and potash readings were in the adequate to sufficient range. I'll probably conduct a few more tests in the surrounding area but expect that I'll be adding iron sulfate to the soil this fall to reduce its alkalinity.
The next job up is to fill in spots where my spreading thyme died out during summer's early heatwave. A flat of thyme awaits! Happy gardening.
All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party