After hand-watering my cutting garden and fertilizing the dahlias yesterday morning, I decided to tackle a prickly low-reward project I'd put off for months. It was time-consuming and few people would be likely to notice a difference once I was done but it was something that bugged me almost every time I walked through my front garden, which is generally a couple times a day.
|This is part of the seating area/plant shelf that surrounds the Magnolia tree in our front garden. Pardon the poor quality of the photo but, as it's in partial shade all day, it can't be helped. I should also acknowledge that the construction is a little odd; however, as I do relatively little sitting in the garden, I dedicated half the structure to potted plants, most of which have been here for years.|
The focus of my effort was the bromeliad in the upper right of the preceding photo, Nidularium wittrockia leopardinum. I picked up this plant at the South Bay Bromeliad Association's sale in August 2016. It's been in the same pot since I purchased it. I've pulled out dead leaves at intervals over the years but, as it grew steadily denser, that became increasingly difficult and it started to look mangy.
|This is the plant in its "before" condition. You can see some of the dead leaves hanging over the side. Dead leaves could also be found in the interfaces between plant clumps. It's difficult to work with because its leaves are lined all along the edges with sharp spines.|
|The original plastic pot sat inside of a decorative ceramic pot. The plant clusters were so densely packed, I had to cut the white plastic pot to free it.|
|I struggled to cut through the plant clusters to separate them. Once separated, I peeled away dead and disfigured leaves, ridding the plant on a large number of slugs in the process. I don't find many slugs (or snails) in my increasingly dry garden but the slugs had found the ideal environment inside the relatively wet interior of the bromeliad.|
|I replanted 2 plant clusters in another plastic pot, inserting it into the ceramic pot under the Magnolia tree. I planted the other 2 clusters in another plastic pot, which I slipped inside a terracotta pot and deposited next to the lath house.|
I also decided it was time to replant the noID bromeliad a friend gave me a couple of years ago.
|The noID bromeliad and its pot arrived already planted. The pot originally included succulent cuttings as well, some of which I'd removed earlier. I removed the remaining gangly Crassula stems, then cleaned up the bromeliad, removing its dead leaves.|
|I repotted the bromeliad in its original container. I pinched pieces of Echeveria prolifica from another pot to add interest.|
|I'm planning to harvest more of these Echeveria rosettes for other areas of areas of my garden. Echeveria prolifica lives up to its name and spreads very quickly.|
In addition, I replanted the pair of concrete shoes (shown in the first photo on the lower left) using succulents.
|I think the Aeonium arboreum rosettes had been there for more than 2 years. The shoe containers were a gift from one of my sisters-in-law years ago.|
|Feeling lazy at this point, I replanted them with Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi' cuttings. The hardest part of the process was getting the previous stems out of the shoes without breaking them.|
I'd considered dividing the Neoregelia 'Guinea x Pepper' on the north side of the seating area/plant shelf but I simply ran out of steam. That's a project for another day.
|Neoregelia 'Guinea x Pepper' (upper right) may be the toughest bromeliad in my garden. Most aren't all that happy planted in the ground because my garden overall is so dry, especially this time of year.|
|I've previously divided this one and planted pieces of it in an area along our north property line, which is probably what I'll do again. A larger mass of the Neoregelia will have greater impact. |
The cooler temperatures we enjoyed last weekend spilled over into the Monday and Tuesday but we're expecting a slow warm-up as the week continues. Hopefully, it'll stay within a reasonable range.
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by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
You make it look easy, and the results are lovely. But I'm sure it was quite the task. :)ReplyDelete
The sawing through the roots was the hardest part but that was partly because I was trying to avoid being stabbed, Beth ;)Delete
Oh, I bet that feels like a great project to be done with. You said you didn't think anyone would notice, but I'm impressed! And, all those plants go such a long way - you'll be glad you did it!ReplyDelete
I'm glad it's done, Anna - and that I shouldn't have to think of doing that again for several years!Delete
That's a good project to do in the shade on a summer day. The heat has not been that bad, but it is still heat.ReplyDelete
Looking at the shoe containers--just had the thought that a spiny vertical cactus in each of those shoes would look like a pair of hairy legs!
I don't usually read the comments others leave on a post, but my eyes did rest on this one. Thanks for the laugh Hoov!Delete
Ha! I actually did think about using a vertical succulent to create "legs" but I didn't have anything appropriate on hand. Next time maybe!Delete
I'm sure the repotted bromeliad would thank you, if they could. This was a necessary project and a job well done to you. I find that maintaining pots is a chore, sometimes more demanding than plans grown in the garden.ReplyDelete
The Echeveria prolifica rosettes are so lovely (and useful).
I'd love to have more bromeliads planted in the ground, Chavli, but, with the exception of the one Neoregelia, most have struggled to deal with the long dry period in my garden. I may eventually give away the 2 in the terracotta pot.Delete
I love that Echeveria prolifica. Given its readiness to multiply, I'm surprised I don't see it more often in nurseries. Mine's in shade so it'll be interesting to see if it can handle a higher level of sun exposure.
Unfun as they are these projects can be quite satisfying. Your plants will thank-you. Too hot here to do much outside so have been repotting my agave and succulents collections in the relative cool of the garage. At this time of year that's about all I am up for.ReplyDelete
I've been very surprised at how cool it's been here thus far, Elaine. It appears that we may get more heat this weekend but yesterday we peaked in the low 80sF/28C. The lower daytime temperatures are courtesy of the morning marine layer. We don't usually get that at this time of year but it's persistence is really making a difference this year. Unfortunately, scientists predict that our marine layer will be another casualty of climate change :(Delete
I know exactly how painful the spikes of that Nidularium wittrockia leopardinum can be! For some reason I forget to treat spiky bromeliads with the same respect that I do agaves—and my hands pay the price. That's a beautiful plant! (or now, plants)ReplyDelete
I did use gloves during "surgery" on the Nidularium, Loree, but not through the entire process. I often find it clumsy working with garden gloves.Delete
I realized I am no longer getting email notifications of your posts, so I guess I'll have to more disciplined in heading over to your blog without the prompts!ReplyDelete
This project looked prickly for sure... what did your hands and arms look like when you were done? ;-) Reminds me I need to tackle a few indoor cacti transplants myself! Eliza