Succulent Pumpkin – How to

Succulent pumpkins last for months when cuttings are just glued on. Tacky glue works well, although it’s not waterproof. The succulent cuttings don’t need water, so when it’s time, I just put them out in the rain, and they fall apart, so I can replant the cuttings and toss the pumpkin on the compost pile.

Start with an unblemished pumpkin. No pokes, scrapes, or soft spots that will lead to rotting. Wipe clean and circle with glue and add moss around the circle and press down. This provides a base that will help hold the succulent cuttings in place, and stop drips, while hiding the mess in the middle. It helps to let this dry for a few minutes before proceeding.

Start layering cuttings from bottom up. Dab a little glue along the stem of the sedum that hangs down, and insert under the moss and continue around in several spots, pressing down in place.

Add the rosette shaped (aeonium) cuttings. Try inserting into a spot, trimming the stem if needed to get a snug fit. Cut the stems at an angle, with glue on the bottom side, and insert into place.

Spaced evenly, the layers of cuttings help support each other. If something slips, stick it back in (with glue if needed), and cup with both hands lightly and hold for a few seconds.

Continue with remaining succulent cuttings, around in the empty spots. As it fills up, you can just put a drop of glue on the end for the last few stems.

Let dry, occasionally cupping and pressing lightly to keep everything in place.

2020 Fair winners

Exhibiting at the fair wasn’t the same this year. Entries were judged and posted online, but really missed visiting with other usual competing gardeners… and the festive fair atmosphere.

Snakes!!

Never Fear ~~ just gopher snakes. They are welcome here, where we are plagued by the blasted rodents, that have been known to take down 5′ tall sunflowers and small trees. In the last 26 years, we have seen only a few gopher snakes… about 3 or 4 feet long and very skinny. But in the span of 2 weeks recently, our cats have drawn our attention to HUGE gopher snakes! This one climbed the fence to avoid our cats, who were on both sides. Couldn’t believe it pulled itself up on the fence, and stayed there for quite some time. We think that the first one is bigger than the second one we saw, although it was in the same area. What amazed us was that they climbed so high off the ground, over 12 feet into the trees!

Around the grounds: May

 

Pincushions bushes are winding down and will be pruned soon.
Lots of red and yellow succulents and carnivorous plants by the patio.
Raised bed garden with cilantro, chard and lettuces going to seed.

Spring gardening in March

Got an early start this year on zucchini by keeping them warm under some old windows hinged together. Harvest started in April.

The garden shed where seeds are started before going outside. The light helps them grow sturdy until April when the days are a little longer. These peas where planted temporarily in the new spot for thornless blackberries, and they got huge!

 

Easter baskets

Living baskets start with a plastic container planted with grass seed. When it grows tall enough, I surround it with moss in a basket. It makes the perfect place for your colored eggs! This year’s addition was Pincushion blooms (Leucospermum), Pussy Willows, and some dollar store items.

Forced bulbs – grass seed vs sedum

Forcing bulbs is a way to ring in an early spring or make the holidays festive. Adding grass seed to the pots has been my way to dress up the display during bloom. Timing is easy for Paperwhite Narcissus for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They shoot up quickly, even in cool weather. But spring bulbs take a lot longer and sometimes the grass got too tall, especially in warmer weather.
This spring I used two types of sedum cuttings in addition to grass seed. The grass pots needed more water, and the roots competed with the bulbs.The succulents are drought tolerant and they will be something that you want to live on, like the bulbs, when planted outside.

More about forcing bulbs

Valentine’s Day Sale


Heart shaped succulent wreaths, full of cuttings will last all year long. 14 inches $50 each
Also smaller round wreaths 10″ for $35 and one larger 16″ for $60
Handmade with love, these felt keepsakes show them how much you care.  3″  $8 each
Mini pots with floral foam, moss, pepper berries and succulents.  $4 each
Wood signs: felt flowers for inside and ceramic embellished for garden  10″-18″  $20 each
Original watercolor card creations. Blank inside for your own message of love. $5 each or one free with purchase.

Succulent & flower boots

Salvaged boots that are practically brand new are too pretty to plant with dirt. The perfect solution is a plastic bag of gravel in the bottom and a plastic cup with floral foam to hold the plants. The foam holds everything in place better anyway. After the flowers have faded, the succulent cuttings will root and continue to grow if watered occasionally. 

This faux snakeskin boot needed a little more tropical look, so I added some carnivorous pitchers.

Lottie: 2 month update

No longer sequestered to the spare bathroom, Lottie is nosy and curious… and keeps up on what’s going on throughout the household 24/7. She has had all her shots and has been spayed, and is very active, healthy and happy.  Although she has access to the great outdoors, and loves to stalk birds and hunt for gophers, she stays inside more often lately, following Shelly around like a dog. She plays well with the other pets (for the most part), and likes to bathe and snuggle with them. A former TP shredder, she still loves to bite paper and cardboard. This box is super-fun! It was so cute when she discovered the fish in the TV tank.

Sharing the heating pad with Rose. Her little tummy looks like a parker house roll where they shaved her. Interesting how her feet are white like Rose, but all of her pads are black instead of pink.

Feline happy ending

This tiny little kitten survived more than three week living in the rose bushes in the median…in the middle of a busy parking lot. Obviously dumped there, it never ventured far. After sitting on the curb trying to catch it with a can of cat food for hours, we set a live trap and captured it. Starving and traumatized… it stayed in our spare bathroom for a week before we could hold it. She checked out at the vet a few days later and we decided to keep her and name her Lottie for her harrowing adventure. Three weeks later, she is super lovey dovey, purring instead of hissing and growling and she is silky soft and healthy. She is slowly getting introduced to the rest of the house and our other pets…and has already wormed her way into our heart. She has a wonderful life ahead of her as an indoor/outdoor cat in the country. Stay tuned for more Lottie adventures…

2018 Monterey County Fair Winners

It’s always fun to enter things in the county fair and see what everyone else is doing… here are this year’s winners.


The succulent side table won First Place AND Best of Show!!  It was our first year entering the Compost Challenge… took 1st place and won $50 prize money. The scarecrow competition was pretty tough in the ‘Shake your tail feathers’ theme catagory… but we took home 2nd place.

The mighty Amaryllis bulb

I always enjoy forcing these bulbs during the holidays. Forcing means to fool them into thinking that it’s time to bloom early. This usually involves potting them up with soil and water. I really had my doubts that these Amaryllis bulbs would bloom to their full potential being encased in wax. I received one as a gift for Christmas, and the first stalk went up and bloomed on January 8th. After cutting off the stem, a leaf turned yellow, and I thought it was done.  But, then another stalk went up for Valentine’s Day… and it had four more flowers open up on the 1st of March. It’s amazing how bulbs can store enough energy to flourish like this without any water!

Staghorn’s shield

This poor Superbum Stag horn fern is finally getting a new shield, which will eventually cover the damage it endured during its stay at the Monterey County Fair this year. Stag horn ferns grow new shields only about once per year. I entered the amazing specimen when it was huge and healthy and looked like this: It was awarded a blue ribbon, but it was hung low enough that people touched it and rubbed its fuzz of. I know it’s hard to resist, but it doesn’t grow back. We also had record high temperatures during the five days that it was on display and it was badly scorched.

2018 already!?

Well, another whole year has flown by and I am reminded of my resolution at the end of 2016 to blog more often. Although I have to admit, that didn’t happen…  these are the reasons why:

  1. After working so many years as a programmer, I find it hard to sit in front of a computer when nature beckons me so! I would rather spend my days working the soil, and watching the birds and the bees.
  2. With Facebook and all of the other social media apps out there these days, it felt like there’s not enough time to post to each in a unique way.
  3. I find that I post pictures of the same things year after year (e.g., blooming plants, harvest, owls, etc.). Seems like I’m repeating myself (even though the plants are getting bigger and better every year).

I do like that I can search my blog easily to look up recipes, and other specific info, so I’m again promising myself that I will try to take the pictures… and the time to blog more often. Wish me luck!

Happy New Year!

Chicken yard upgrade

Since allowing our hens to free range resulted in a hawk getting a free chicken dinner, we now keep our girls locked up tight. Chickens are very industrious and will turn their yard into dry bare dirt in no time. I wanted to encourage more biological activity (aka bugs and stuff). So we’ve put in some 2.x 4s topped with wire. Separating the chickens from the ground will build the soil instead of letting it erode. Underneath is compost and grass seed. It’s starting to come up nicely and the girls are keeping it freshly trimmed and fertilized. On the lower level, we’ve added oak leaf mulch (which is abundant around here), to create a nice deep litter level. I tossed some diatomaceous earth and ashes in with the dirt in the corners where they like to take a dust bath to help with mites and fleas. Happy hens lay delicious eggs!

Around the grounds: March

The raised vegetable bed is doing fabulous with all the winter rain. Harvesting this month: Swiss chard, cilantro, lettuce, kale and green onions. Colorful aeoniums are spilling out of the milk can lamp post. A pair of ducks have moved in across the way, enjoying ‘Lake Perkarsky”. This cozy little lake only happens during years with above average rainfall. Such a pretty little red centipede!  Found it snuggled up under a piece of driftwood. The chicken shed is being engulfed in succulents.