The Great Succulent Migration

Greenhouse
The Winter Home
The Summer Home

The great succulent migration has begun. I am still learning all the identities of all my succulents. I am not sure who can be put into the ground and survive through the winter and who will die. I live in the plant growing zone 9b. It can get as low as 25 to 30 (F). By next winter I will know more about my succulents and who can live where. 🙂 But this winter is upon us and I am just gonna move as many as I can fit into their winter home.

I recently bought a greenhouse. I am hoping that it holds my succulents through the whole winter. I do not want them to get rained on or to freeze. I am a little nervous about the strength of the greenhouse. But I feel I have done everything that can be done to ensure the safety of my plants through the winter months.

Sometimes we get wind storms. And the thought of the wind tearing my greenhouse up kinda makes me cringe inside. I have a lot of succulents that are migrating into that structure. So I am trying to make sure it is secure enough to withstand the winds. I have duct taped every connection. I used zip ties on the shelves. I have the tarp anchored to the ground and tied to the frame. I also have my fingers and my toes crossed.

Right side of greenhouse

It is Fall here in the central valley of California. But honestly some days I can’t really tell that it is Fall. It is still hot enough to be rafting on the river. I am still wearing shorts. I am sure the kids would still be in using the pool if the fire didn’t scorch it last month. But as the consumer world desires it to be pumpkin spice everything. So it really must be fall. 🙂

Left side of greenhouse

I do love fall. It is one of my favorite seasons. The beautiful colors that the leaves turn. The chill in the air in the mornings. The nights are just chilly enough that I get to wear my hoodie. Some of the trees are starting to  loose their leaves. Basically all of nature is getting prepared for winter. Some plants are beginning to go dormant and the animal kingdom is gathering winter food supplies. It has become time for me to prepare my succulents for their winter homes.

Succulents that live year around in the ground

I do have some succulents that are in the ground and they have lived there for years now. I am hoping to be able to plant more in the ground. Eventually, our front yard is going to be a rock garden full of desert plants. Hopefully a yard full of succulents.

My future mother plants

I am moving my potted succulent arrangements into their new winter sanctuary one by one. I am giving them a nice bath and checking for critters. I am going to keep the doors on the greenhouse open until they need to be closed due to weather.

Ready for its bath

I have made more arrangements this summer than I thought. They are all filling in beautifully. I have collected a lot of stem cuttings, leaves and pups for the last, months. And they have all grown so big from how small they once were. These are my future mother plants. 🙂 As long as I can keep everyone alive over winter.

These were tiny in spring

Holy Basil or Tulsi

I love to buy herbs and watch them grow. Most herbs I can make tea out of. So I really enjoy growing them so I can drink them. My friends and family do come over and graze off of my plants. But mostly I just love my yard smelling good. Growing many different herbs brings some wonderful aromas into the garden.

Holy Basil flowering

I came across a herb called Holy Basil or Tulsi. It is native to India where it has been used for thousands of years. And yet I am finding out about this little magical herb in the spring of 2018.  Article after article flowed through my Facebook feed.  I thought what is a Holy Basil? And that very thought began my learning journey with this new yet very ancient herb. I have read so many articles about the health benefits of Holy basil and became very curious about how the tea actually tasted.

Holy Basil getting ready to flower

Then one day I was at my local hardware store over the summer and I came across a herb called Holy Basil in the nursery area. And I was like SCORE!!! I have been interested in you my new leafy friend. From the moment I picked it up and took a big whiff of its yummy fragrance I knew it was going to make a wonderful addition to my garden. So I took that little plant home and planted it in my yard. It moved in next to my cinnamon basil plant. It grew huge and beautiful.

Holy basil seeping

When the leaves are freshly picked they hold a spicy, peppery taste with a delicious combination of basil and mint flavors. It was finally time to taste this herb in its liquid form. Which happens to be my favorite way to consume herbs. And it tasted like it smelled. It is a very delicious and I highly recommend everyone to try it in liquid form.

Freshly washed Holy Basil

Holy basil is known as a super food. It is suppose to have a huge range of stress reducing benefits. It offers antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. It helps detoxify your body. It helps promote great health and makes your whole being feel amazing. I hope that my blog helps encourage you to try this wonderful ancient herb.

Where the Holy Basil lives next to the Cinnamon Basil

Broken Terracotta Pot

The day It was made

 

I created a broken terracotta arrangement over the summer. I saw so many broken pot arrangements and fairy gardens being posted all over the internet. And I wanted to create one myself. I had a bunch of broken terracotta pots that were behind the shed in the back yard. I have now placed those broken pieces into a bucket for safe keeping. 🙂

Top view

I took a piece that was broken in half but still had the bottom attached and put some soil in it.  I then took another piece and stood it up and added soil to the front of the piece and the back. I took two more broken pieces and added them on top of the soil and then added more soil to the front and back of them. I then took a really small piece of the broken terracotta and placed it at the bottom to stop the soil from falling out.

Side view

                                                                I went to my propagation area and picked out a bunch of little pups and placed them in random spots all around the soil. I then went and picked out a few river rocks from my rock collection. I added a crystal quartz. I tried to place the crystal in the center. Then I began sprinkling some crushed rose quartz and purple amethyst on top of the soil. I still didn’t think it was finished. So I added a couple small sea shells and a tiny broken piece of ceramic that I found in the river.

Pups growing from a leaf

 

I like to use the pups from my leaf propagation area instead of bigger cuttings in this type of creation. Because I really enjoy watching the succulents grow and fill in the arrangements I make. I plan on making more of these broken terracotta pots. I collected all the broken pieces from behind the shed and now have a half of a 5 gallon bucket filled. I like to reuse as much stuff as possible.

Broken terracotta pieces

I love to go into nature as much as possible. I enjoy collecting rocks, driftwood, sea shells, twigs feathers. Anything that catches my eye. I enjoy combining those little treasures that I collect with my  succulents. Every arrangement I create has a little bit of an adventure inside them.

What it looks like today

Greenhouse

Hexagonal walk-in Greenhouse with the door rolled up
Powder coated steel frame

I ordered a greenhouse the other day. It finally arrived. I am so excited. It is a 3-tier shelf hexagonal walk in greenhouse. It is 6.4′ in diameter and 7.4′ in height. It is made of PVC covering over a powder coated steel frame. All the pieces had letters on them. We just made little piles of everything. We read the directions and went step by step as we slowly put it together.  It took us about an hour to put it all together.

Zipper door

The zipper door will allow easy access to my plants. It will also be great for ventilation. I plan on leaving the door open most of the time. I will only close it due to extreme cold. I am a little bit nervous about how well it will hold up in a wind storm. I am going to tie it to the fence line and I did order a extra anchor set just to be safe. It is suppose to protect plants from extreme heat and extreme cold.

3-tier shelves on the inside

 I am hoping to be able to put a lot of my succulents in this for the winter. I still have a lot of decisions to make regarding who will be residing in this greenhouse through out the winter months. 


Hexagonal walk-in Greenhouse with the door down

Backyard Fire

Heat damage from fire
Severe heat damage 

We had a fire in our back yard a couple weeks ago. It was a pretty scary night. Our back yard plus three of our neighbors were damaged by the fire. We lost 2 sheds, a pool, and a 4×4 truck. Plus all of our tools and belongings that were in the sheds. One of our neighbors lost their whole shed as well. And two other neighbors had some damage to their sheds but they are able to have theirs fixed. Four fence lines were also damaged or completely burned to the ground. It was a very sad scary night for all of us. The neighbors included. Fire is powerful and destructive. The smell and burnt debris that is left behind is awful.

                 Heat damaged String of Hearts 

My string of hearts and both of my big beautiful Wandering Jew plants also have severe heat damage. All of my huge sunflower plants died in the fire. A few days before the fire I started to harvest a few of them so thankfully I will have seeds for next years crop. I have been slowly trimming all the damaged leaves off of my plants. 

Heat damage

We have put up new fence lines and have removed over 12 tons of burnt derbies from the backyard. There is a blank canvas back there now. And I am excited to create something new from the ashes. I am also very grateful that my family, animals and our house survived that massive fire on Sept 7, 2018

Propagation

I have created a little area on my patio that I call my propagation station. I like to use saucers that normally sit under a pot. I fill them with soil and I put leaves all over them. Then I sit them on a table and leave them alone. Every now and then I will squirt them with a squirt bottle. But you do not really have to do that. The leaf will provide water to the pup until it shrivels up and dies. Once the pups begin to grow bigger I put them into a tiny pot. Then I place them into a tiny green house. Once they establish themselves with a nice little root ball I move them into a bigger pot with other little succulents.  When I create my succulent arrangements I use the little succulents from the pot of many.

Propagation station

I just love to propagate succulents. I think its really amazing that you can reproduce a new tiny plant just from a leaf. I mean you can even accidentally break a stem and place it in soil and it will grow roots. Just like magic another plant forms.  The tiny plants growing from the leaves are called pups and the broken stem i mentioned is considered a stem cutting. I normally let the stem cutting sit for a couple days so that it forms a callous. Once it has callused I place it into soil and it will eventually form roots. Be patient sometimes it takes a while for roots to form.

Every time I go to my local hardware store i check out the floor of the nursery and pick up the random succulent leaves that seem to always be on the floor. I always ask whoever is working what they do with them and they always say we sweep them up and throw them away. Then I ask if I can have them. They always give me a weird look and say sure. I mean I cant help but see a leaf and think of the future plant that it can be.

South West Treasure Quest

Yucca with a flower stalk
Bird of Paradise found in New Mexico

Went on a road trip last week. Drove from California to New Mexico. I love the desert. All the cacti, agave and yuccas that grow wild every where. Looking out and seeing the natural land without the human hand. It is magnificent. The clouds seem to be so close that you might be able to touch them. I will have to say it was a great adventure. I highly recommend a south west desert adventure. Especially if you are a lover of the cactus/succulent world.

Unnamed Cactus

I collected so many cool rocks. Some of them have small little crystals growing inside them. They are going to look wonderful in my flower bed. I love to collect rocks from every where I go an add them to my flower beds.

The yuccas are every where. And they have recently flowered and their stalks make wonderful walking sticks. So I cut like 6 stalks. I will post another blog on the process of turning them into walking sticks at a later time.

Agave

There is so much that you can collect and turn into amazing little creations. I also collected a couple dead/decayed cacti. They can basically be used in the same way as drift wood. Perfect for some succulent pups to grow up in.

Unnamed Cactus

 

Juniper Berry Tea

I grow a lot of herbs in the back yard. My favorite thing to do with the herbs that I grow is to make tea! There are so many health benefits involved with simply having a glass of tea. The plus side of this healthy liquid is simple. Tea is pretty delicious. I just love the idea that I am drinking the juices of a plant. I read somewhere that juniper tea was really good and had a lot of health benefits. So I wanted to give it a try. But I don’t grow that in my back yard. And finding organic juniper berry tea in the local store was a bit difficult. But lucky for me I already knew an amazing place to purchase organic teas. 

Buddha Teas is a place I trust. I mean it is not walking in the back yard and harvesting your own fresh pot of tea. But when you don’t grow it and want to enjoy it. Buddha is the way to go. They offer the convenience of purchasing tea at your fingertips. So I ordered a box of Organic Juniper Berry Tea. And I had a cup. It was tasty. And it was full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. My body was very grateful for that cup of liquid love. The more I research about this wonderful herb the more greatness is revealed to me. So thank you to whoever peeked my interest in Organic Juniper Berry Tea. I love it!

Did you know that juniper berry is the main flavoring agent in gin? If you enjoy gin maybe it time to thank a juniper tree for being alive. I am certainly grateful they are alive! 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Juniper click on the link! https://www.surrealgardening.com/herbs/juniperberries.html

Collecting Driftwood

I found some cool driftwood the other day while I was rafting on the river. I collected it and loaded it up on my raft. I just knew they were going to make great succulent displays. I used crushed rose quartz and crushed purple amethyst as well as crystal quartz in each. I tend to use my little pups from my leaf propagations for all my projects with driftwood. I like to watch them grow in. Would love to see what everyone else does with driftwood. Feel free to share photos!