Sunday, April 27, 2014
As taught by Kenton
The raw materials:
I like to find rocks that were once whole and which broke naturally so that they fit together like a puzzle. That being rather restricting, any flat slabs will work:
Use xeric plants that will stay pretty small: cacti, succulents, sedums, desert natives. Aesthetically, it's nice to include a variety of textures, colors and growth habits (mounding, trailing, shrubby, etc.)
Use a free draining mix of equal parts sand, peat and perlite:
And of course a pot. Start by roughing out the rock structure. Fill the pot only about halfway with soil and play around with different rock arrangements until you have something you like. I went higher than was recommended with this design, and as I was warned, the soil is tending to wash out of my taller crevices. A flatter, lower structure works better.
Once you know what you're doing with your rocks, add more soil and work it into the cracks. Chopsticks and letter openers work well for this. Bury rocks deeply for stability.
Now to plant: Wash soil off roots in a bucket of water with a splash of root stimulant to help with transplant shock. Make a hole for the roots with the chopstick. Once the plant is in, tamp soil with the fat end of the chopstick.
Once all plants are in place, top dress with gravel,
Voila! The finished garden, to which more plants can be added later by scraping aside the gravel, tucking the new plant in and pushing the gravel back in place.
The before and after -- this garden at initial planting and 10 months later, in April:
Monday, April 21, 2014
photos by Greg and Trina
words by Greg
Not that we every really stop riding, hiking, or poking our noses into canyons and cliff edges, into the private business of plants and the secret world of rocks… Summer, Winter, Autumn… But if we were to pick just one season for our explorations, it might be Spring. The trails are tacky and beautiful from moist spring storms. And the flowers… Well, this year, so far, they seem to be just a little ridiculous. Mustard blossoms covering the hillsides. Flowering bushes bursting forth riotously. Paintbrush seeping out of the ground in brilliant red.
Add in the usual smooth-to-chunky trails, long evenings, wide vistas, golden light, desert camping… Go ahead. Add them in. And just try to come up with something more powerfully conflicting: Do we go long, hard, fast? Or do we stop to smell every flower?
More often, it's somewhere in between. We may even find a balance between driving hard for more, more, more… and delving deeply into each small experience. But balance -- in this season of wild, lush, rowdy, invigorating imbalance -- is likely to remain elusive. Which is just fine by us.