Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekend: Weeds + Ritual + Storm

From two weekends ago - the first storm in a while, incoming and outgoing.

Some things I saw while watering and weeding a few established plant containers out on my patios. And a few other scenes here and nearby.
Friday - one of several honey mesquites that birds must have seeded into several pots, the volunteers slender and able to hide from my eyes. Plenty of young, stout spines forming, of course. In a pot, they are easier to pull; not so in rocky ground.

These were all from this year; this individual has had a 6-7" top (green stem and leaflets), but an 18" root (brown and with hairs), that twisted about in that pot. See why mesquites are so tough?

I also have countless cacti and other natives volunteer in the ground and some pots, that I keep or remove depending on where they are. But I remove far more than I keep. If only aspens, ocotillos, potentillas, ash trees or karl foerster grass were to volunteer here (since all but the ocotillos dislike it here, no matter the coddling or nearby sewer / water pipes) - I would have people line up to dig up the free seedlings, and do most of my work. But it's all hardy natives, few on the radar of most.

Saturday - Giant Sacaton / Sporobulus wrightii mass along the freeway. I must capture it's seedheads, backlit by the morning sun, someday - it's most stunning in early fall, when the foliage is green, the seed ripens golden, and a perfect sun angle.

No dice today - weak sun, dull high clouds as the next storm moves up from S. California or Baja.

Just past those sacatons & weeding done for the weekend, the object of my drive and Saturday morning pastime. 
More like my ritual - breakfast tacos from Rudy's, strong coffee from my kitchen, and an inspiring read. As I sit in the last of the hazy sun, looking forward to working the rest of the weekend. Well, not looking forward to that, but.....

But first, part 2 of my Saturday AM ritual - another episode (online) of Central Texas Gardener! Then work.

Sunday - the advertised storm with some moisture, heavy clouds. This year, one storm with .07" of rain is still better than 0"! 

SE towards the Manzano Open Space, Spanish Land Grant, and military restricted areas - cloaked in clouds, not just secrecy

E into Tijeras Canyon

NE to the South Foothills Open Space, and where I ride and hike...brooding, thick, moist for a moment in time.

Already lifting, but paving actually wet

So close to the clouds, as the humidity rose with the temperature for a while

A nice feel to the air on my skin

Foliage of a Shrub or Desert Live Oak / Quercus turbinella, still some rain drops
Within 2 hours of the "advertised storm" photo - front through, temperature now only slowly
sneaking up, but the humidity dropping like a rock

The wind and polar air drying everything out, and pushing those clouds away - back to the usual


22 comments:

  1. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I really love this story and the Mesquite Seedling taproot illustration along side of the Yard stick. I don't have time for the moment, but I'd love to include that pic with your credit in my Mesquite Dune Project and Meter Long Nursery Containerized system that I need to finish.

    Those Taco looking things look more like a typical Mom & Pop Oklahoma Breakfast Burrito version. I knew you were into that kind of food.

    Great job on that pic and scale with the yard stick. I had this in mind with my illustration of the Seed germination post that is actually ongoing on the side pages of "Earth's Internet".

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    1. Thanks - I had forgotten about that mesquite dune project. You're more than welcome to it, and e-mail me when you're ready to roll on that, and I can send you a higher res photo of that.

      Their breakfast tacos are exquisite, and quite the culinary sense-of-place of the central TX "brisket belt" - Rudy's is a BBQ chain from San Antonio, and we're lucky to have two here! But in NM, El Paso, etc we only have breakfast burritos, though AZ calls them "burros". Here, of course, most are with red or green chile inside, or carne adovada.

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    2. You'll understand when you see the photos of the meter long tube or pipe containers I've creates to facilitate what the genetics of the instruct the seedling to do while still very young. Interesting and informative that you had this in a normal (assuming one gallon) nursery container and that the plant merely spun around even though it's tap root wasn't able to pursue a more formation downward spiral through gravitropism. In my first experiment in growing seed from desert plants in the leguminous pea family, I had a rather huge glass jar in which a Cats claw Acacia (Acacia greggii) did almost identical to your Mesquite. It spiraled around the bottom of the glass and refused to produce any side lateral roots. I notice your example had some, but nothing of great merit to speak of. Although your Mesquite Seedling had above ground 7 inches of growth, mine only had an inch of so. What may account for the difference is that in your potting soil there was far more nutrition than my seed in between glass and paper towel and only water at the bottom.

      In any event, the actions of both demand that a taproot is of major importance and hence explains much of the death in remote planted mesquites which require supplemental watering to succeed.

      Hopefully I can get this done soon.


      Thanks, Kevin


      -

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    3. The pots I was referring to were the several terra cotta containers with a range of succulent and perennial plants already growing inside, scattered on my patios...they are about 16-18" tall x wide, some 24" high. That might explain the lack of more swirl in the root sample I posted.

      Your study will prove very interesting, as so many nursery plants have a hard time developing to their potential in landscapes, not to mention cutting-grown clones and how weak they are (our thornless Maverick Mesquite trees).

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  2. Wow! that looks more like these parts. I love the opuntias that look purple! that is really cool. When you said ritual I thought you were talking ritual coffee from California. But your ritual looks amazing!!

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    1. Funny, but I was thinking of "Ritual Coffee" at Flora Grubb nursery in SF when I realized my Saturday AM has indeed become a *ritual*...coffee and breakfast tacos! Like sun is your salvation, some low cloud deck and dampness is ours...funny how we really need both.

      Thanks - the purple Opuntia is Blackspine Prickly Pear / O. macrocentra...very cold hardy to at least USDA 6a. I may have sent Danger G. a pad or two, as well as Sean Hogan:-)

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  3. I`m bugged that we only got a half inch of rain in November here. Your yearly amount gave me perspective. Of course, we live in vastly different climes, but I had no idea it could be that sparse. Nice post .

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    1. Thanks! I'm just glad that storm's .07" and Nov's .19" total is not as dry as October, though 2012's total is 5.36"...but relative to average rainfall this autumn, we both sound like we're in the same boat.

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  4. Interesante experiencia, gracias por mostrarnos tus sentimientos.

    Saludos.

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    1. De nada. Buena comida y buena lluvia hace que el trabajo sea más fácil!

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  5. I love the architecture of your neighbourhood, though a little strange with all that cloud.

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    1. Thanks - clouds and dampness are odd, but they bring out more color in the house stucco, or paving, too!

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  6. That root is unbelievable! I pull some long roots out sometimes, but never any as long as that! Wow! Your breakfast set up looks perfect. I would sit there until lunch, and then want to have my meal out there again. :) I love how the clouds dance with the mountain tops. If you can't get rain, perhaps fog is second best!

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    1. It took several times over 2-3 years to get rid of some volunteers here, when the seed into the bedrock! It is / was a great place to eat again today, and get inspired...and no fog.

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  7. Unfair, taco photos! Memories of SATX.

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    1. Sounds like a business opp'ty in KS!

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  8. You crack me up with your breakfast shots - this must be your favorite meal of the day???? And breakfast tacos....I don't know how in the world I lived/grew up without breakfast tacos until I moved to San Antonio. They are ....the bestest! I like the mass planting of the giant Sacaton - and also all the little santa rita opuntias????? Is that your driveway? And I do see more and more why you love the mesquite...and why it does so well in Texas. Hope you enjoyed your tacos :)

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    1. It must be my favorite time of the day, since I think I like all meal times!! Those tacos were yummy.

      That's my driveway, though the plantings need some more care...it's Blackspine Prickly Pear / O. macrocentra, starting from about 250 miles W of you and then up to the NW of Abq, to almost Tucson. Mesquite just takes some understanding and maintenance...but what plants do not? Too much mesquite hate by the parroting masses...

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  9. I am seeing the light with the mesquite - now that they are on my radar I sure see a lot of pretty ones lately. You sure can tell the ones that have been pruned properly vs the others. I mean, the others are cool in areas untended, and natural. But in a yard, or retail place, they sure do look great well groomed. ;)

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    1. Exactly! As S TX natives, they deserve a place - just not every place! It's much about management. They do reseed, and on winter evenings, I hear curve-bill thrashers scratching the ground where there's many pods under my mesquites...glad they don't all sprout! But I just pull those that do, as well as "share" some of the pods, like front yards of those saying they aren't hardy here...

      I recall a dinner in San Angelo in 2009, where one of the guests (an opportunist...erm, plant broker) berated their lovely, huge honey mesquites in town (most there in agreement), only to extol the virtues of (non-hardy-there) South American mesquites. Methinks 1/2010 and 2/2011 put a stop to such brilliance, and those were not *even* record freezes there.

      Scroll through the many pics, and you'll see what I mean about the nice mesquites the masses parrot their disdain for - http://desertedge.blogspot.com/2009/05/texas-roadtrip-pt-3.html

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  10. I do see many beautiful big specimens - great shots! HAAAaaaaaaaaaa you crack me up with your sharing mesquite love - in your HOG, as you call it, friends' yards!

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    1. I thought you might like! I haven't done much sharing of love...yet...but.....

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