Thursday, September 3, 2009

Succulents and the Zen Garden

This is one of the permanent planters at the corners of the pool. Below are stick cactus, jade plant and two Mayan gods from Copán protecting them. The geranium that used to live here didn't make it.

I am still working with the Zen garden (and catbox). While the backyard has more fruit and flowery plants, it also has Pablo, who enjoys his meditation time watering the plants when rain is not abundant. I take care of the little front patio. Therefore the plants must be of the ‘throw and grow’ variety, or very low maintenance.

The Zen garden has gone through several changes since its creation. The ti plant, papaya tree, sago, diffenbachia (dumb cane), philodendron, and the palm tree are doing great. The sand, pounded nearly into cement by the harsh rains, no longer interests the cats as a place to relieve themselves. The driftwood and canoe are happy there. The two plants in the hubcaps are surrounded by seashells and river rocks; you can hardly see them.

The plants have changed a bit since the first attempt. I planted some melon seeds and they rapidly spread. But there was a sweet potato (camote) sprouting in the hanging basket in the kitchen, so I buried it in the Zen garden. It seems to be stronger than the melons and may just win out. I like vines, but only the kind I know I'll be able to control later. This is a small area and they can’t take over like the throw and grow squash that consumed our property in Kona one year. I really made a bad decision tossing one innocent squash in front of our coffee shack. We had squash growing up the side of the house. (Ok, that is an exaggeration.)

We recently brought one spider lily home from the beach. They can grow in lousy soil, and they flower all the time. They have only a faint scent, but the white flowers can add dimension to an arrangement or cheer to the Zen garden. Once they start spewing seeds, I will have to be watchful. This is another plant I had experience with in Hawaii. In the long run I like spider lilies around me, I just have to keep up with removing the seeds. This one pictured above looks sad, but it will revive itself once it's familiar with its Zen-ness.

The spearmint in the pot below didn’t survive my watering plan, which is basically rainfall. But I have hope for the Serrano chiles planted in here now, as several seeds have sprouted and it is the rainy season. The light green vines are the sweet potato.

Below is the melon vine. There is some aloe vera hiding behind it and a few other things. Oh, and the chayote that grew in the frig. I thought I'd see what happens to it in the throw and grow garden.

Along the wall in the carport I planted a variety of succulents. We brought some nopal home one day, and some of the cuttings have sprouted interestingly shaped arms. It reminds me of one nopal I had in Kona a long time ago that grew little arms and a little head, and we put a little hat on him that came on a tequila bottle. Ah tequila memories….
Here I am with my pet cactus, Pancho, in 1989, in Kona, Hawaii.

I spread out some mother-in-law's tongues along the lengthy narrow garden. I had lots of them in Kona, and after a while they were like weeds. Once you plant one you can’t get rid of them. But they are very low maintenance and they look good.

There are lots of jade bush cuttings. The planters in the back patio are supposed to be bonsai, but they grow so fast! There is one more little cactus mixed in here. One day I bought a plant from a little Mayan lady downtown for ten pesos. The day I brought it home was the day the succulent garden took its shape and all its components were assembled. I think it looks pretty cool. Not too bad for a throw and grow low maintenance gardener.

You can see below that the pineapple plants have not embraced their location. This is one of two that look pekid. They are alive and have a Mayan god to aid them in their search for chlorophyll or whatever it is they are lacking. I think they look good in the giant planters that square off the pool, especially with their flowering miniature succulents.

No comments: