Narcissus tazetta (Paperwhites)
Hosta (I love this chartreuse cultivar)
Dwarf Iris (Aren’t these adorable!?)
Green Globe Artichoke
So, I just finished the Spring semester this Thursday and haven’t quite gotten back on top of all my incomplete chores/projects/routines… but I’m getting there.
It was a really awesome semester in which I learned a ton about landscape design (basically, because I took a class which swallowed all my time and forced me to live in the studio), started dating a wonderful woman, acquired a slew of new plants, and discovered that I really love to make sculptures out of bamboo!
Let’s start with the bamboo….
So, one of the design studios I had this past semester required us to build a bamboo sculpture which would be the centerpiece at the JC Raulston Arboretum’s annual Gala event. It was an Asian themed gala and our class voted for a design in the form of giant Asian dragon! Awesome.
I volunteered to be on the crew of three guys building the head (because it was to be the most complicated and, therefore, most fun!). The following is a progression of our construction.
It took about two weeks of late nights (and all-nighters) along with help from many friends, but we got it finished on time and it turned out to be wildly popular at the Gala. :D
I wish I could take credit for getting a hand in all parts of this work, but I’ve left dad by himself working on the cabin these past few weeks. Together we finished a metal roof and got some siding up. Since I’ve been gone he has installed both a water collection system and another door, this time onto the new porch.
Tarp still covering part of the roof.
Metal roof shining to brightly for my cheapo camera.
From top to bottom.
Some logs my father will eventually use for construction.
A water catchment system my dad put together sitting atop the platform he built to garner some gravitational assistance.
Notice the boxing and soffet have been finished down to the end of the shed roof for the porch.
And a porch for it to walk out onto… this faces the fir pit and the outdoor tables set up to cook on.
This really makes me want to get out there and spend some time… especially when it warms up a bit.
Spring is my favorite time of year because everything burst to life and tons of plants break ground… but those plants which can endure the cold give Fall it’s own unique feeling. Here is some stuff that makes it at least up until frost, some stuff all through the Winter.
Edgeworthia chrysantha - this fuzzy thing is the bud(s) of the inflorescence that will open up in early Spring of next year. These buds just hang off the plant until then.
Lilium forsanum - late bloomer
When I last mentioned the cabin building project (here) I was still calling it “The Shed”… because it started as a shed my father wanted to build on some property he owns. A shed to be used as a storage facility for tools, supplies, fuel, etc. It would also function as a last resort dwelling should we need somewhere to escape the elements during the construction of the actual cabin my father wants to build. Well… I can no longer support the ruse! It is 14’x17’, it has a 14’x8’ loft, a covered porch, a deck, and the interior has windows and doors framed out to accommodate a kitchen area along with a spot for a wood burning stove and lounging area. This is now a small cabin.
Anyway, without further ado… here is photographic evidence of recent work we’ve done.
Let me first begin where I last left off.
January 8, 2012: Let’s turn the hands of time back to January of this year. Here is dad supervising some stump removal by one of his flying buddies… in hind sight, we should have probably had his excavate a bit more to make way for the porch. Oh well, I needed the exercise. ;)
October 27, 2012: Ok, now fast forward to October. Here we are ready to get back to work. (Notice all the green wood down around the drive. When we pulled up there was a 40’ loblolly laying down in front of the cabin. Luckily we brought a chainsaw with us…)
October 27, 2012: At least the concrete is ready to go…
October 27, 2012: Footer holes dug.
October 27, 2012: Dad smoothing out the concrete footers.
October 27, 2012: The band begins to go it.
October 27, 2012: Band and most of the joists installed.
October 28, 2012: Starting our next day of work.
October 28, 2012:
October 28, 2012: 55 gal drums + board = working platform
October 28, 2012: Skeleton of the porch.
November 23, 2012: My dad and brother got a lot of work done while I was away one weekend. They got the roof put on over the porch, the posts reinforced, and the floor joists put in the for upstairs deck.
November 23, 2012: Another angle…
November 23, 2012: To keep the porch dry during a rain event we crafted this unique sub-deck gutter system out of 20” wide flashing. It slopes away from the structure and will eventually be collected in a gutter that runs to a water collection barrel.
November 23, 2012: The deck starts to go on.
November 23, 2012: Viola!
November 23, 2012:
November 23, 2012: This is the first in a series of photos documenting our risky tree removal process. As a bit of history, we didn’t clear all the trees we should have when we first cleared the site. This 40’ pine had a serious lean over the cabin, and was dangerously close to the porch roof as well. So we got up on a ladder on the roof and tied some rope in the tree. Then we cranked on that rope by using a come-along that was chained to another tree.
November 23, 2012: I then got in a ladder and cut this wide wedge and started the back-cut.
November 23, 2012: After cranking on the come-along a few more times and then hanging from the rope the pine decide to give up. It fell about as close to the cabin as it could get without doing damage. Needless to say dad and I were relieved that we hadn’t destroyed a year’s worth of work and thousands of dollars worth of materials!
November 23, 2012: This shot shows just how close the trunk was to the cabin. It also shows he we cut it at the roof height so it could fold “around” the cabin and not clip it’s corner.
November 23, 2012: Enjoying the firepit after a good days work.
November 24, 2012: Boxing but it for the porch roof.
November 24, 2012: Finishing work. Here dad is checking how some of the molding will look.
November 24, 2012: The firepit along with some pine stools and a pine bench we cut from trees on the property.
More pictures to come soon…..
So, I was walking through the garden one day this summer and thought I saw something on the underside of a fig leaf. Upon closer inspection I saw the winged beast!
A large predatory insect related to the common house fly. Asilidae. Or the robber fly, as they might be more commonly called. It was making a meal of a large bumble bee. When I say large, I mean it was one of the big rumbling bumble bees. This predatory fly is freaking huge.
When I would get close it would pick the bumble bee up and fly to another leaf.
Similar to house flies, these Asilidae regurgitate digestive juices onto (or in this case, into) the future meal. Look it up. These bugs are crazy. Just never look them straight in the eye…
Again, it’s been a while since I posted on here but I’ve got a pretty good reason to do so right now. I just got back from a pretty awesome trip up to Joe Hollis’ place up near Burnsville, NC. I haven’t been up to the Mountain Gardens since the beginning of the year when I made a blog post about it (here), and it was pretty cool to see how much everything had grown in.
This visit was a field trip for my Permaculture class. We went up from Friday through Sunday and did some work, received some tutorials, got some hands on medicine-making experience, and all-around enjoyed ourselves greatly. Way too much fun!
One of the things we did was help Joe with an ongoing pond installation project. The attached video shows a two hour timelapse of the rock wall work we did. It involves some excavation, stone laying and cobb reinforcement. “Many hands make light work.”
It took a while (about four months) but here is the infamous PlantCam in action, creating a timelapse video of part of the front garden… hibiscus front and center. Super cool.
Been pretty busy with the internship and work around the house… and I’m even working on a couple of freelance designs! The yard is really filling in nicely, though there are signs of stress out there now that we’ve had a couple of 100+ degree days. More heat and dry to come so I’ll get to see which are the tough plants and which will be replaced next season.
As always, here are some random shots from my life.
Platycodon - “Balloon Flower” ….and note the little bee on the pistil. Lots of pollinators on the yard this year. Good sign. :)
Curcuma zedoaria - “Hidden Cone Ginger”
Don’t know what it’s called, but this is one of the most delicate mushrooms I’ve ever seen. I could almost see through the cap!
Dahlia at the JCRA
Gladiolus at the JCRA
Helenium - “Helen’s Flower”
Scadoxus multiflorous - “Katherine’s Torch Lily”
Oenothera - “Evening Primrose” …these flowers are awesome! They open up visibly at sunset every night and they smell amazing. Like a spicy honeysuckle.
My neighbor’s Datura. Very pretty and very fragrant. Opens at dusk.
Well, there you go. Now you’re all caught up on the flowers that have been popping out in my yard…. actually, I’ve missed quite a few, but I’ll update again at some point. Don’t hate me if it takes another month or two….
It’s been a couple of months since I posted on here, and they have been a pretty good couple of months. Firstly, I finished my first semester back in college and finished with almost all A+’s in my classes. I got one regular A in Soil Science… but was only one point away from an A+.So close!
I’ve also started work at the JC Raulston Arboretum as one of their paid summer interns! How awesome is that? Answer: Very awesome. I get to garden all day in the sun, surrounded by chirping birds, buzzing bees and a seemingly endless number of amazing plants!
The mild winter and wet spring so far have been very good to my plants here at home. The only negative so far this year has been an epic hail storm that came by around the first of April and dropped quarter sized balls of ice out of the night sky. The storm only lasted about 25 minutes but put down a thick layer of hail along with one inch of rain. Pretty intense. Many of my plants got smashed and tattered, but since then have recovered very nicely. Everything is happy and lush and spreading well. Plants I’ve put in the ground this year are establishing themselves solidly… even the ones I planted directly into the leaf mulch. I was curious how they would take to such an unorthodox planting method, but thus far I have been satisfied. Granted, I’m sure they would be a bit larger and more robust had they been planted in nicely amended soil, but the leaf mulch is way cheaper and easier.
Anyway, I doubt you came on here to read my ramblings… here are some pictures from the past two months.
April 6: (Bearded Iris)
April 7: (Bearded Iris)
April 17: Zephranthes (Rain Lily)
April 19: Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)
April 22: Dianthus ‘Devon Siskin’ (Pinks)
May 4: Diospyros kaki ‘Hanafuyu’ (Japanese Persimmon)
May 4: Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
May 11: Lactrodectus (Black Widow). Came across this young lady and her egg sack when I moved some stacked concrete block. Wear gloves when you’re gardening!
May 11: Daucus carota (Wild Carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace)
May 17: Sedum of unknown species…
May 18: Hemerocallis (Daylily)
May 18: Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
May 20: Achillea (Yarrow)
April 29: Delosperma cooperii (Purple Ice Plant)
May 20: Delosperma cooperii (Purple Ice Plant)
May 20: Delosperma dyeri (Red Ice Plant)
May 20: Delosperma basuticum (White Ice Plant)
May 20: Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) with a Bumble Bee and Honey Bee.
May 4: Cool bug on an Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) leaf.
May 20: Linum perenne (Flax)
May 20: Tradescantia virginiana (Spider Wort)