Weekend chores

This past weekend was very productive. Taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather, we spent most of Saturday in the yard. My wife pruned our bay trees, which resulted in a pile of trimmings that was as impressive in its volume as it was fragrant due to the massive number of blossoms. I don’t know what we would do without curbside yard waste pickup!

I started out the day picking up some used terracotta pots that a kindly soul had posted on Freecycle. With an ever increasing collection of small succulents, these terracotta pots are just what I needed. I cleaned them and then sterilized them for 30 minutes in a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Good as new!


Last week I posted about leaf cuttings from our ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) that I was trying to root. Instead of roots, the leaves had little baby plants forming at the tip. However, on Saturday, just a few days later, I noticed bright pink roots forming on the underside. I took that as a definite sign to find a more permanent home for the leaf cuttings, which is what I did. Eventually these will be planted out into one of our succulent beds.

Graptopetalum paraguayense
Baby plants and roots on leaf cuttings
Planted in small pots filled with home-made succulent mix

A couple of months ago I ordered some plants from Sequim Rare Plants. I’d temporarily put them in 1-gallon containers because it was too cold and wet to plant them out. Now conditions are ideal, so I put them in the ground where they will be much happier.

Helleborus 'Janet Starnes', grown primarily for its variegation.
I hope it will do better than the last hellebore I’d tried.
Farfugium japonicum ‘Argenteum’
Very difficult to find locally, so I ordered two. They were small but have grown quite a bit since I received them. In the ground they should size up quickly.
Farfugium japonicum ‘Argenteum’
Planted in our Asian garden bed to replace the one that got chewed to pieces by rats in the fall. Fortunately, that plant is making a comeback, too. The large plant further back is Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’.
Farfugium japonicum ‘Cristata’
A farfugium cultivar with ruffled edges. This one I actually bought at Capitol Nursery in Sacramento in the fall but had kept in a pot until now. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d like it, but it has grown on me. Once it gets larger, it might end up being quite impressive.

I also planted the restio I’d bought at UC Berkeley Botanical Garden in January. It’s a Thamnochortus insignis, which has the potential to grow to 4-6 ft. I planted it in the strip outside our front yard fence where it will get the full sun it needs. It’s supposed to be quite drought-tolerant once established—definitely a plus for this exposed spot.

Thamnochortus insignis

I’m still toying with the idea of getting a few other restios to go in that general area to increase its attractiveness in the winter when most of our perennials are either dormant or dingy-looking. Check out what a fellow garden blogger is doing with restios in his Eichler home in San Mateo.

Saturday’s achievement also included planting the 15-gallon emerald bamboo (Bambusa textilis ‘Mutabilis’) I bought back in October. That’ll be the topic of tomorrow’s post.


  1. These are the same bay leaves that we in colder climates buy for cooking, right? And they're going into yard waste? Seems like you could find somebody who wanted them for cooking...

    I rarely clean or sterilize my pots, but I suppose if I got them from an unknown source I would. Probably not though. I guess if I get burned and have some plants die for "unknown reasons" I'll start doing it, but since I'm not using sterile potting mix it seems like a waste of effort.

  2. Alan, I wouldn't have bothered sterilizing the pots but there were some specific issues that made me think it might be a good idea. On the other hand, I would have scrubbed them anyway so adding a bit of bleach wasn't really any extra work.

    Yes, these are the bay leaves people use for cooking. But considering that you might at most use 2 or 3 leaves per dish, what we threw out would have been a lifetime supply for a small town :-). If you want, I'll send you some in the mail.


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