5/11/2013

Hard as a Rock


One of the gardening issues of living in the high desert is caliche--that's "ka-lee-chee." It's a miserable layer of soft stone (well that depends on who's digging - person or backhoe) about 12 inches down in the sandy clay of Casa Wallace. Much to my good husband's dismay, I wanted a bush transplanted to a new location. It hasn't done lick of growth in several years where it is. The mangy looking Bird of Paradise bush hasn't bloomed or managed decent greenery in quite some time.

Relocation did wonders for the Apache Plume bush which now is covered with fluffy pinkish plumes and white flowers. It was basically in the same spot as the Bird of Paradise, looking glum and unmotivated. Now in the courtyard, it's been revitalized.

Apache Plume
The yellow Bird of Paradise's move was to a nearby garden with a recent agave transplant and a new red yucca to keep it company.  The shovel went in easily at first, but before you knew it, caliche had been struck. This vein of calcium carbonate is stubborn. Applying liberal amounts of agua (water) from the hose softened it some. With a lot of elbow grease and an iron bar piercing the depths, the hard soil gave a little. Gypsum and generous amounts of soil amendment were finally added to the hole and the puny bush is now soaking in nutrients for the first time. It'll be awhile before we know if it will actually survive the move.

Courtyard View
One of the problems with caliche is that it's so hard, roots can't get past it to really establish themselves. It's common in arid areas - and thus we are dubiously blessed with it all over our yard. However, my red-headed Scotsman won't be thwarted. He stubbornly picks away at it whenever there's new planting to do with shovel, pickax, and his iron bar. Our gardens do look quite nice right now, and all that effort over the years has paid off. We'll see how it goes with the little bush.
New Plants - Unknown Outcome


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Positively encouraging

5/11/2013

Hard as a Rock


One of the gardening issues of living in the high desert is caliche--that's "ka-lee-chee." It's a miserable layer of soft stone (well that depends on who's digging - person or backhoe) about 12 inches down in the sandy clay of Casa Wallace. Much to my good husband's dismay, I wanted a bush transplanted to a new location. It hasn't done lick of growth in several years where it is. The mangy looking Bird of Paradise bush hasn't bloomed or managed decent greenery in quite some time.

Relocation did wonders for the Apache Plume bush which now is covered with fluffy pinkish plumes and white flowers. It was basically in the same spot as the Bird of Paradise, looking glum and unmotivated. Now in the courtyard, it's been revitalized.

Apache Plume
The yellow Bird of Paradise's move was to a nearby garden with a recent agave transplant and a new red yucca to keep it company.  The shovel went in easily at first, but before you knew it, caliche had been struck. This vein of calcium carbonate is stubborn. Applying liberal amounts of agua (water) from the hose softened it some. With a lot of elbow grease and an iron bar piercing the depths, the hard soil gave a little. Gypsum and generous amounts of soil amendment were finally added to the hole and the puny bush is now soaking in nutrients for the first time. It'll be awhile before we know if it will actually survive the move.

Courtyard View
One of the problems with caliche is that it's so hard, roots can't get past it to really establish themselves. It's common in arid areas - and thus we are dubiously blessed with it all over our yard. However, my red-headed Scotsman won't be thwarted. He stubbornly picks away at it whenever there's new planting to do with shovel, pickax, and his iron bar. Our gardens do look quite nice right now, and all that effort over the years has paid off. We'll see how it goes with the little bush.
New Plants - Unknown Outcome


No comments: