Disasters

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John J

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Disasters
« on: January 07, 2012, 05:11:46 PM »
We awoke on New Year's Day to find a very deep, 1 metre diameter hole had appeared in part of our garden. A bout of heavy rain had apparently been the last straw for our waste water soakaway and it had collapsed. So, we spent the first week of 2012 with heavy machinery digging out and setting up a new one, filling in the old one, etc. All this, of course, entailed much more damage being done to a much wider area even though we tried valiently to rescue as many plants as possible from being crushed and mangled. It will take much longer to return the area to something like a garden. I think our 5 year old grandson summed it up best when he saw all the machinery (drill, crane, digger, etc). His immediate reaction was "Oh my God!"
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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Alisdair

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 07:47:40 PM »
John, I'm so sorry to hear that! But maybe after all the horrors you'll find a silver lining, in the form of rewarding new plantings in the "new spaces" that have unleashed themselves on you. Here in Sussex (UK) a long spell of gales has brought down some trees in our little wood, and we're hoping that the result will be a new lease of life for the bluebells and wood anemones (which are getting rather too shaded).
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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MikeHardman

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 09:49:19 AM »
I feel for you, John.
We had a minor landslide here, too. Part of the top of the cliff became oversaturated with runoff, and collapsed to the road 6m below, after which the runoff continued to run and bring more soil down and cut a gulley in so doing. The horribly claggy soil is cleared-up now, but the cliff edge is that bit closer to the driveway above it now...
I have made modifications to the runoff control measures (embankments, sloping, and land drains) so that particular situation should not recur.
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

ezeiza

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 08:43:32 PM »
I am not sure if this properly belongs to Disasters or Weather. Here in eastern Argentina we are suffering from the worst drought period in decades. A fifth of the estimated 110 millions tons crop is already lost. No rains and humidity as low as 15 % as opoosed to the normal 65-75%. No dew for months. Gardens and lawns are maintained with irrigation of course but as a consequence of the prolonged drought the water table descended alarmingly and now it takes hours to pump some for house use.

A lot of adjustments of course and a serious need for mulching materials. Bamboo like Phyllostachys or finer canes are giving excellent results cut to 10 cm lenghts. This have both solved the mulching problem a good deal and also the eventual bamboo invasion. Every additional stem appearing is turned into mulch at once.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 09:26:17 AM by Alisdair »

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John J

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 07:48:10 AM »
Ezeiza, your post puts my problem into perspective as being less of a disaster and more of a minor inconvenience. At the moment I'm impatiently waiting for the weather to improve so that I can get to work repairing the damage. We've had several days of, sometimes torrential, rain lately. Normally this would be very welcome but just now it's turning the area into a quagmire that's impossible to walk on. Although, in line with your philosophy, Alisdair, I guess this gives me time to think about how I'm going to renovate the area.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 10:27:09 AM »
Another gale here in London again and this time an old apple came down.  Probably made worse by the rose which was too vigourous for this size of tree. Just to say I didn't plant it! We are still technically in drought conditions here in London too, but probably not as bad as yours, I'm sure not.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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John J

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 10:06:01 AM »
Just a quick update on what my wife has dubbed 'our resurrection area' following the problem we had a year ago. The area was spread with all the subsoil and rubble that was drilled out to install the new soakaway so anything planted had to be tough to survive. The photos show one area where we used lavender, teucrium, chasmanthe and california poppies. They have done extremely well in spite of, or maybe because of, the nutrient poor soil.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Alice

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2013, 10:54:30 AM »
And what a resurrection!
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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ritamax

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2013, 11:49:27 AM »
Great! It shows once more, that less is more with mediterranean plants!
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

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Alisdair

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2013, 02:59:45 PM »
Incredibly heartening, John!
Perhaps even our economy can take note....
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John J

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 03:14:34 PM »
Perhaps I should have mentioned that the lavenders are Lavandula dentata and an indigenous Lavandula stoechas that in Cyprus is known as myrofora. The teucrium are Teucrium fruticans 'Azureum'.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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JTh

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2013, 03:16:31 PM »
I see that L. stoechas seems to be thriving, is the soil acidic?
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2013, 03:34:26 PM »
Actually, Jorun, to call it soil is possibly a compliment as much of it was excavated from as far as 9/10 metres down. It's a real mix of stones, pebbles, white 'havara' and general 'claggy' clay. I don't think it's acidic but I have not tested it so can't categoricaly say no. The L stoechas grow on dry slopes on the hills, often on pillow lava and do need good drainage. Their local name translates as 'perfume bearer', the myrofores being the women who visited Christ's tomb bearing perfume.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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ritamax

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2013, 09:04:30 AM »
Lava in general has silicium and is therefore usually acidic, so plants thriving on pillow lava indicate tolerance to acidity. I have tested lavandula stoechas in my alkaline conditions and it does not thrive at all.
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

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John

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Re: Disasters
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2013, 07:49:47 AM »
They do look really happy and attractive. Lavandula dentata is expremely popular and rightly so. I too assumed that L. stoechas needs acid conditions but I'm sure I was told in the Algarve of a local form/subspecies that will take alkaline conditions though how alkaline is another question. Rosie if you are seeing this perhaps you could comment?
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.