Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A BIRD IN THE HAND

Yesterday while on the phone in the office, this little Japanese White Eye or Mijero (メジロ, 目白) hit the window and landed flat on it's back on the roof.  This happens from time to time if we forget to close a blind or curtain because they see the other window on the other side and think they can fly through the "opening".

I left it there a few minutes to see if it would regain consciousness. It just laid there twitching so I gave in and picked it up. It took about 40 minutes for it to start to flutter around... landing in the grass, on the chair cushion then the potted orchid and within an hour it managed to fly off. I love when I get the chance to interact with nature, but not under these circumstances.


A bit dazed.

10 minutes later it started to come around and finally lift it's head. It was so tiny it was like holding air.

About 5 minutes later it started to flutter and move around.

Right before it took off and fluttered to the ground.

Although it was perfectly camouflaged I could not just leave it in the middle of the yard so I walked it closer to the house where I could keep an eye on it.  

As I walked onto the lanai it flew off and landed on the cushion...

... finally settling in this orchid pot before taking off about an hour after I discovered it.

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Various sheets of corrugated metal that we will be using as the roof on the new shed. Rusted out areas to be cut out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

CAN YOU DIG IT?

Now that we have all the areca palms dig up from the new garden shed location, we had a few ti and lilies to move. With almost 80 palms left to plant and over 200 feet of dirt to dig for the south hedge... we knew it would take us another year to do it all by hand as we did with the north hedge. Therefore we called in a pro, our neighbor Murray who also helps maintain our road. Murray showed up with his tractor and dug in. In what would have taken us at least 3 weeks to do by hand... if we worked on it every day or a year if we did it in small sections... Murray finished in just under 3 hours. While Murray dug, I worked on the computer and made the money to pay him. We say it's the best money we have spent here so far.

We wanted a 2 foot wide by 200 foot long trench along the southern property line so we could plant areca and maybe some panax as a hedge. We also wanted to make out water retention  pool larger on the southern edge as well. This area collects tons of water a few times a year when we have stalled storms. Last summer we started to make the berm around the pool a little bigger, but it just was not cutting it. So we had Murray come in and dig a much larger pool. We ended up making it almost 30 feet longer and 12 feet across. With all the extra dirt we built a berm are set to planting on it right away. We wanted to get as many plants on it as soon as possible so the roots would start to take hold and hold back a good amount of dirt. The ti and lilies that we had murray dig up from the garden area line the top of the berm. We just started to get the areca palms in the trench and have about half to place. They have been in pots waiting to be planted in their new home since we dug those up almost 2 months ago.

Here you can see the berm we created last summer. And a view from the office lanai / my desk.

So that Murray knew where we wanted the berm and trench to be, we marked the lawn with orange spray paint.
The sago palm down in the pool will later be relocated.

First up, Murray starts turning the dirt on the southern edge of the property. You can see we have created a mulch berm  there in the back corner. This will eventually have a row of ti planted in front of it to help hide all the cuttings we will be tossing there.

About 20 minutes later and the trench is about half finished and 40 minutes later he's done with that and ready to move onto the berm and pool.

Before Murray can start making the pool and building the berm, thissago palm needs to be relocated.
We replanted it at the end of the trench.

With the sago palm out of the way, Murray begins moving the earth.

And just like that, in 2 hours we have a trench and a berm all ready for planting. This should help hold the water back.
There in the back of the image, there is a cluster of white flowers and to the right of that is a drain pipe that leads to our gulch which leads to a waterfall across the road which leads to the ocean.

With all the areca palms out of the way, Murray is able to go in and lift out 8 mature ti plants and 6 giant lilies keeping a giant root ball attached.

Murray made wells in the top of the berm. Each ti was set in place with the bucket on Murray's tractor.
The lilies were a little too dense we we divided those  and ended up with about 12 clusters rather than 6.
We started to plant some low ground cover on the sides that have really strong root systems to help hold the dirt up.
With a good root system in place, the berm would eventually slide down to the lawn and be rather useless. More on those plants and the areca hedge coming up.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

HEDGE FUN

We continue this post with more on the hedge planting and the prep of the new garden shed we have started building in the old nursery area.

Soon after we moved in back in March 2007, we began planting seeds and starts in a small nursery area out near the garden. We were not sure what would become of these plantings at the time, but it was fun to watch them grow. All of what was planted in this area has been relocated to new areas all around the yard creating either privacy, windbreaks or landscaping around the water tanks. The areca palms make somewhat of a mess as well because they constantly drop their fronds. I can go and clean up 30-40 fronds one day only to have to do it all again a few days later. BUT, that only takes 10 minutes and we don't have to break out the hedge trimmers like we would on the hibiscus. Just trimming those, picking up the cutting then hauling to the mulch pile is an all day affair.

It's understandable as to why people like wide open spaces with not much planting because the more you plant the more you have to maintain. We are learning to plant things that require little to no maintenance. Certain hibiscus are way too time consuming and need to be cut back every few months or they get leggy... meaning the bottom part is not covered in growth which is mainly caused from a lack of light due to the tops being to dense. Red ginger is a bit of a pain as well because it spreads so quickly. We love the red ginger, but tend to plant that in out of the way areas.


Me planting the areca palm seedlings and some ti in the nursery April 2007. This is now the site of the new shed.

February 2008. The areca palms that were planted in April 2007. Not too much growth.

The areca one year later in February 2009. They shot up from about 8" to almost 3 feet.

And in June 2010. From 3 feet to about 8 feet in a year. We really wanted to move these last summer, but the office construction put the yard maintenance on hold.

Another view June 2010. There were about 100 palms packed in this tiny area.

Here you can see the clumping action of the areca palms and how they send off a new trunk at the base. Notice the intricate root system which made these oh so difficult to remove..
Many roots were broken during the dig, but the great thing about palms is that they are always making new roots as older roots wither away.

One of the 15 foot sections that had not been planted along the north hedge. First we have to dig up all the grass, turn the dirt and transplant the palms.

One section down. We also add a row of ti in the back. The stalks of ti will make a sort of fence that will hold the fronds and cuttings from blowing over into the neighboring yard. Most of the dead fronds were trimmed off before planting then I trimmed more off leaving only 2 per plant plus the new center shoot so that they do not have to pull so much water up through shocked roots. You can see a better example of that in the next image.


The 2nd 15 foot opening we just filled in with an assortment of areca, ti, rainbow dracaena and asparagus fern. We left a 3 foot opening next to that red bush so that we can access the back side and keep it maintained. We also left a 3-4 foot buffer from the property line on the backside.


Once mature, the hedge will start to look something like these. The top image is our front hedge and is about 12 feet tall. The bottom image is in our gulch and this clump is over 30 feet tall and is also the parent plant to all of our seedlings.

Next up: The south hedge and berm.

Friday, August 27, 2010

RED, HOT + BLOOM

Today finds us continuing our floral series. I had been waiting for the 2 Royal Poinciana Trees to be exploding with color and a few weeks ago they did just that. Right now they are all green with giant seed pods and by January the trees will be bare again. Stay tuned for purple soon. We have some real beauties getting ready to bloom.
The blooms of the Royal Poinciana look quite orange here because they are bathed in golden sunlight.
Royal Poinciana
Royal Poinciana 
Royal Poinciana petals
Royal Poinciana detail
Crown of Thorns
Red Hibiscus
Hanging Heliconia
Hanging Heliconia
Various Heliconia
Red Hibiscus
Red Ginger and Begonia
Jatropha
This is called a Red Canna Lily, but it's not a lily at all. The seed pods to the right dry up and inside are small perfectly round black seeds. The seeds drop to the ground and produce more and more and more cannas. The seeds are used for jewelry as well as 'uli'uli.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A LIVING WALL

I've managed to find a way to post images... although it's not as easy as it should be...
but the posts must go on!

This post is rather long overdue and actually comes to you as we are starting a few new projects here at CFC headquarters.

We started planting this hedge back in March of 2008. We loved the openness of our property connecting with the adjoining property... but we wanted a bit of privacy. It started out as primarily red hibiscus and panax and later expanded into areca palms, sumatran lilies, curly panax, ti, clumping bamboo, rainbow dracaena, song of india, asparagus fern and more. I don't very much like the idea of the hedge being all one type of plant, but rather more natural and organic. That being said, it's a lot easier to maintain a panax hedge as you really only need to trim it once a year. The other plants constantly drop leaves and at times makes for a bit of a mess in the early stages of the hedge. Once the plants fill and mature the dropped leaves are not as noticeable.

I'm proud to say that not a single plant along this hedge was purchased. We either started all of them or in the case of the bamboo... I did a work for trade with a client. I got one large clump of bamboo and divided it into about 12 smaller clusters. As you can see, they took off quite well. We plan to divide these into a few new clusters and use elsewhere in the near future.

Once the plants were in the ground it seemed as though they would never fill in. Two years later it's nearly full and it happened before we even knew it. There is a saying here in this part of the island that if you stick a broom stick in the ground it will grow. We almost believe it, but it didn't work with that broken shovel handle we used as a stake. We had 2 sections in the hedge we had not been able to get to in the last year and just finished planting with new areca palms and ti within the last 2 weeks. More on that and where the plants were transferred from in the next post... which will lead us into our new project details. Stay tuned...

Looking across the lawn towards hedge August 23rd, 2008 and today. The palm trees have gone from 1-1/2 feet high to now about 12 feet tall each. Notice the small black pots at the base... those are 40 new coco palms that we need to get in the ground later this fall.
Midway along the hedge September 14th, 2008 and today. To the right you can see the small panax and hibiscus starts in the before shot. Today they stand at over 7 feet. They were about 10 feet but i just trimmed them so they would fill in more on the bottom.
The mid section with bamboo starts on September 14th, 2008 and today.
Looking from where our white fence ends back to the N/W corner August 23rd 2008 and today.
The panax and hibiscus are now 6 feet taller than when planted.

Far N/W corner September 9th 2008 and today. Right in the middle of the before shot you can see seven 18" high single areca palms. Today they are over 8 feet tall and boast numerous trunks as they are a clumping palm. Notice the 15 foot palm tree sticking up to the left of the pine tree. That is on the adjoining property and was only 3 feet tall 2 years ago. Now that's what I call progress.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

REJECTION

Aloha everyone,
As promised were are trying to post about a few new projects, but at the moment blogger is not allowing our photo's to load. We keep encountering "server rejected" each time we try to upload.  Until we can figure out why... the posts are on hold.
Anyone else having this issue?

c+j

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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Sometimes when I am out doing yard work, I get caught up in the beauty of the debris and get sidetracked from my clean up projects. Like this detail of a Ti Leaf as it fades from a brilliant green to this multi-colored and speckled work of art.

We have been hard at work with our design work as well as on a few new projects around the house. Stay tuned for a few new updates on those. Hopefully I can get at least one post done today.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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These are a pile of Queen Palm seed pods. They encase the seed rack before it opens up displaying small white to yellow flowers. The interior of the pods tend to stay brown while the exteriors fade from the sun. After flowering — seeds turn green then bright orange. The pheasants love the orange seeds and can be seen feasting under the trees quite often. They are the perfect spot to hang the hammocks... when we can.



Love how this one split right down the center.

The queen palm patch in the yard and John trimming away the pods. They are quite dangerous as they are very spear like. It's not unusual to go out and find them speared into the ground after having shot to the ground.

Detail of the green and orange seeds.

SOME of the hundreds of keiki (babies or seedlings) I have in pots for future sale.