Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Passing Downpours

Racing clouds speeding by
Disconnected from each other
Blue sky and white sun between

The sky turns dark
A gale force blast of wind
Accompanied now
By sideways rain

and in torrents

Then it stops

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It All Falls Down

The wind has been rip roaring since Monday morning and half of the potted plants in the nursery are laying on their sides.

I am not picking anything up until it stops. The weather report says wind advisory until 4am Thursday.

There are still plenty of pretty things to see in the garden to distract me from the nursery laid waste during the evening whirlwind tour.

Another bromeliad coming into bloom, Aechmea gamosepala.

A large grey leaved yellow flowered Aloe.

An I don't know bromeliad. I should have moved that twig out of the picture.

Polipoli Forest Fire is Pau

Very early Monday morning before dawn the strong Kona Winds brought in a line of showers that have put out the fire burning on Haleakala's south west face. In Kona Winds this side of the mountain becomes the windward side and the moist air hitting the 10,000 foot tall volcano rises and drops rain on the upcountry area.

We had rain in Kihei as well from this low pressure front. At higher elevations the rain fall totals were probably higher.

You can just make out part of the burned area on the right side of this shot. Clicking on the picture will enlarge it on another page. The darker colored upper part of the forest that burned forms a line running below and parallel to the ridge line of the mountain. This section of the forest is above the narrow band of grassland that separates the two sections of forest.

The fire burned all the way to the summit and over on the southern end. It is topped with clouds this morning from the continuing Kona Winds. More rain is expected in the next couple of days. This is the first time the volcano has appeared from under the clouds in the last 24 hours.

If you arrived via a search, a video and pictures of the Fire can be seen by clicking this link. There are other links to views of the fire on the right hand menu and a link to the Maui News too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gale Force Winds

I did a pretty good job of capturing the sights and sounds of gale force winds blowing through the trees and palms without getting the horrible sound caused by the wind when it hits the tiny microphone on my tiny camera by standing on the protected side of the house.

While waiting for this video to upload I heard a loud noise from something blowing over.

( There is a definite downgrade in image quality in the YouTube format. Why is that? On my Kodak Viewer it is clear as can be.)

I went outside to see what it was and saw that my neighbor's Hideous Plastic House including the truck camper shell top suspended from the rafters had blown over the fence and into my yard. He was home doing lots of remodeling work and we took it apart and had it out of there in five minutes with no damage really to the plants.

My little Slice of the Sky just got a teensy bit better. Praise be to the Gods of Wind.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Few More Flowers

Hibiscus on a bug free day.

Bromeliad, possibly a Portea petropolitana. These blooms last forever and slowly change color over time.

A Ruellia, try and find out what species.

Acalypha hispida, Chenille Plant.

Getting ready for the fireworks show, Clerodendrum quadriloculare.

If you need more flowers I have plenty to see.

Swaying Palms

Just another warm breezy day in the garden.

Meditation on Red Ginger

Morning on the front side of the house.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Florida Swamp Thing Fish

A blogger down in Collier County Florida which is on the south west Gulfcoast and home to the city of Naples has resurfaced from the murky swamp waters of the Everglades and is blogging again.

I came across his blog last year. He likes to take pictures of bugs and butterflies and the bigger things that live in the wet and wild down there in way south Florida.

There have been photo tours of his excursions into the swamps and reports of his whole neighborhood being majorly flooded in a freak rain of sorts last fall. You know I had to go along for the tour. It reminds me so much of wandering the woods and creeks of north Florida as a kid.

You can visit ThingFish23 at the Taming of the Band-Aid.

For those of you who like your Florida wilderness a little more tamed there was a link on his blog to a Transplanted Gardener from Maryland now living in Green Cove Springs. She is a garden writer and has a very interesting site.

Green Cove is just south of Orange Park on the St. John's River in the far north Atlantic side of Florida. Orange Park is where my folks spend the winter in the house my grandfather built and where I spent many a childhood day learning about gardens and the life they are filled with.

I Can't Help Myself

After some sad and continuing days of a big fire burning up a major forest and water shed on Maui it is nice to stop and smell the Buttercups.

Polipoli Fire on Haleakala

I have been getting quite a few hits to the blog from the search words "Polipoli Fire." So I went out and did a video update for Saturday 1-27-07 at 1:30pm. This was just before the regular mauka clouds formed and began to obscure the mountain and the fire from view.

These videos I have been doing make it obvious why cameras have tripod connections and why you see cameramen doing film work on railroad like tracks and a person behind them helping to keep them still. How far I will go in this matter is yet to be seen.

The winds have switched to the opposite direction and we now have stronger Kona winds in front of an approaching cold front. This front could bring rain which would sure help. Yesterday on the radio I heard some spokesperson saying Kona winds could be a good thing because the fire would turn back on itself and re-burn what had already burned.

Last night the fire seemed almost done. There was very little flame to see on the mountain in the dark. By this morning it had gained strength and smoke was billowing off the mountain again.

The video is not very good in the sense of clarity, but it will give you an idea of the elevation the fire is burning at and the large area it has spread over. It is burning at both ends of the Polipoli forest now, the entire distance of the pan of the camera over the face of Haleakala.

I wonder if this fire may force the state and county to get serious about the large herds of Axis deer that roam freely all over Haleakala. The fire is spread over such a large area it must be sending the deer fleeing in all directions making it a lot harder to ignore them.

X Marks the Spot

This is really it, parcel 28 outlined in red, the piece of land in the low spot on a North Carolina mountain top that I will soon make my home.

(Click on the picture to expand it.)

My early inheritance will be the lower left hand corner that I have outlined in green. The red X is where a future house will go. The blue oval will be my cozy little 14'x24' cottage to build first and live in while I get established and save money. Once a house is built several years down the road, the cozy little cottage will be very sweet guest quarters.

Wave Hi to Mr and Mrs C. in North Carolina. You can see their modest mountain retreat just above the number 28.

Aren't spy satellites the best thing ever?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fire on the Mountain

Your on the spot reporter Christopher C. in Hawaii checking in with the latest update on the Polipoli forest reserve fire.

The one good thing about this fire is that I have discovered the digital zoom on my camera is actually quite good with only a minor loss of clarity.

This is Haleakala at noon moving from NE to SW.

Since we have only had one significant winter rain I would imagine the forest is relatively dry. This may prove an opportunity down the road to replant native trees. This forest was planted I am guessing between a 1920 to 1940 time frame.

The Fire at Dawn

So far we are lucky in Kihei that the smoke is going over us and not settling in town. The fire is still burning on this very steep and mostly roadless mountain forest preserve.

The sunrise added color to the smoke, an orange and yellow glow.

From experience with cane fires and their smoke I know that once the sun rises above Haleakala an eerie orange glow can be cast over Kihei. The surrounding air will appear orange and we will be enveloped in a strange sensation.

On Fire....Again

Tuesday afternoon a fire started on the leeward side of Haleakala in the forest above Kula in the 6500 foot elevation range. By Thursday night it has grown quite large and is moving across the mountain and through the Polipoli forest preserve.

This is mostly a non-native forest of pine, cypress and wattle, but it is the only forest of any size and substance on the south west slopes of Haleakala.

This is not a good thing for Maui and will have a much more damaging ecological impact than the normal grassland fires that burn mostly grass, Kiawe and Haole Koa.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Color Wars

**** Danger Warning! Have some sunglasses handy.*****

When Elizabeth over at GardenRant suggested that matching the color of the garden furniture to the color of flowers was stupid paper wasting advice it set off a colorful war of dueling painted Adirondack chairs, sheds and garden objects.

Doug Green responded immediately with a painted picnic table.

Pam/Digging followed up to support Doug with an amazing array of joyfully colored garden accessories. (Unfortunately I can't seem to link directly to that post?)

If only things were that easy here, painting a few pieces of furniture to match some ephemeral blooms or adding some colorful objects in a substantially green backdrop to add a bit of spice.

Imagine a place where the eye is never given a chance to rest. Like the popping flash of the paparazzi culminating in crescendo after crescendo of artificial light when some outrageous embarrassing thing happens. Color. I hate it! It is making me go blind.

It always starts out simple enough. What a pretty flower. What a pretty leaf color. I want one.

Oh that's pretty too. I'll take three of those.

My God that thing is huge! Flash! Flash!

It is so outrageous the color won't even show up true on megapixels.

What color would you suggest the pool deck furniture be painted for this?

Now imagine driving down the road and house after house is trying to out compete each other with their own display of individual preferences of color.

Please, for God's sake leave the furniture brown!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Jungle Tour

Practice, practice. I am working on my filming skills for this medium.

This is a little tour of the lower portion of the garden. You may note that professional gardeners are often in the same boat as the cobbler's children. As Annie in Austin noted it may still make for a fine cold day diversion.

Until my filming skills improve you can pause the video with the lower left button to stop and focus on any particular plant or section of the garden.

Isn't all this fun technology just entirely too distracting?

Cat on a White Wooden Railing

Pretty much without fail after his dinner Greyman retires to the deck railing to watch the sunset. His positioning may change a bit over time but he remains on the railing until well past dark and every hint of color has faded from the far horizon.

I envy his dedicated ritual.

The aging king of a tropical garden domain filled with lizards and birds and in the last two weeks an infestation of mice pouring down from the dry ranchlands above. He looks so content and serene, doing fine with just one working eye.

You would never know that this morning he was having another major seizure where his brain can't make his back legs work and his front paws only move in slow motion. This is nerve damage left over from when he was given a three choices death sentence by the vet about two years ago. Of the three I am guessing it was toxoplasmosis.

He survived and kept on, seemingly unfazed, only momentarily pained by the recurring seizures. Most of the time he is as happy as a life of pure leisure can bring.

He belongs to this garden kingdom as much as the plants and the soil. It is my hope that he should rest in peace here, his spirit forever surveying and patrolling, lord of a miniature animal kingdom.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Morning Symphony II

You would never know some times from my land centered garden blog that I live on an island surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean on the most remote archipelago on the planet.

Here is the the face of Maui more often promoted.

Morning Symphony

Turn the volume up a notch and listen to the sounds while you view the tropical suburban jungle as it wakes up in the morning.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Buttercup Aloha

I did manage to pot up some Big Leaf Green Ti and Red Ti Leaf cuttings that I should not have brought home. The last thing I need to be doing is growing more plants. They root fast and they are quick sellers so I couldn't resist picking them out of a pile of rubbish.

I did toss out four flats of totally neglected English Ivy and four flats of Scilla Lily, Ledebouria socialis. I saved what was left of the Scilla Lily to repot. It is just so hard to throw the stuff away.

I did get some work done today while I was learning how to shoot video, upload it to YouTube and then put it on my blog.

As the day was ending and the sun was getting low in the sky I could not help but notice the one blooming branch left on my poor beheaded Buttercup Tree shining in the fading sun light. This will be the last time maybe that I get to see this beautiful flower upclose and personal. The deep blue and very clean Hawaiian skies that frame this golden yellow flower have an intensity that reaches deep inside.

On future cold and grey January days I can come back and feel a Golden Buttercup filled breeze.

As Live as it Gets

Being the addictive personality that I am, with a touch of OCD you had to know I couldn't do just one.

The Big Fat Black Thing has his acting debut, doing what he does best, reclining. There is a cameo appearance at the end by the One Eyed Cat with a Cataract.

You can see the Tree that Saved Itself in the background at the far end of the deck.

If only I could put these compulsions to better use.

It is All Chuck's Fault

I could be actually working in the nursery, digging things up to be potted, weeding, fertilizing, making things pretty to sell. Instead I am playing with technology, my directorial debut capturing the wind on film.

Chuck B. has been posting his own garden videos and taunting us with his technology skills. He says he wants a video of a Stapelia in bloom.

Well ok, I can figure out how this process works. I know I have all the required gadgets, accounts and basic skills. I'll do a test video to be prepared for the great Stapelia stink fest.

A Tropical Morning Breeze

I flossed while waiting for YouTube to get my video live. It takes a while. At least something productive was occurring.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Visit with the Dentist

I am being threatened that I might end up something like this if I don't get rigorous about my oral hygiene and quit smoking. Sigh.

Sloth shows up in so many places.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Magical Mystery Tour

For all the frozen, broken hearted gardeners, especially in California and South Texas

Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up AND THAT'S AN INVITATION, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up TO MAKE A RESERVATION, roll up for the mystery tour.

The magical mystery tour is waiting to take you away,
Waiting to take you away.

Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up WE'VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up SATISFACTION GUARANTEED, roll up for the mystery tour.

Cosmic Rays Man

The magical mystery tour is hoping to take you away,
Hoping to take you away.

Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up AND THAT'S AN INVITATION, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up TO MAKE A RESERVATION, roll up for the mystery tour.

The magical mystery tour is coming to take you away,
Coming to take you away.

The magical mystery tour is dying to take you away,
Dying to take you away, take you away.

Be sure to click on an image for the Full Trip.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Vintage Efflorescence

How do you know you are a bit of a character?

A friend is cleaning out his father's home after having to put him in a full care facility and he spots a piece of effluvia that he thinks you really must have.

A little pamphlet produced by the Corona Clipper Company as an update to their 1969 Principles of Pruning. It is in near mint condition. The cover shot alone is priceless. It may deserve a picture frame to protect and display it.

I have been reading Twisty Faster, radical feminist, spinster aunt and gentleman farmer for the last week at the suggestion of Annie in Austin and wondered when I saw it, what would Twisty think of this picture. I bet I have a good idea.

My friend who gave it to me thought the garden maven on the cover had a striking resemblance to Miss Kitty Kola. Yes I can see that, but she has now been domesticated and tamed and brought in from the range.

Underneath the intriguing stylish cover shot is the author of this miniature pruning guide, Albert Wilson . He was apparently a first rate horticulturist, college professor, TV and radio gardening personality and a founding member of the Garden Writers Association. He was based in the San Francisco area. The Wikipedia entry on him seems to indicate he died while gardening at the age of 93.

A mint condition vintage pamplet on rose pruning was lovingly brought back to Maui from California for me. It conjures up all kinds of thoughts and connections to the bigger world out there. What kind of efflorescence if any will some future character stumble upon that will lead them back to me?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Is It Done Yet?

I have pretty much finished all the major ground preparation for planting beds, vestigial lawns and paths for a garden on a steep rocky volcanic hillside on Maui. Without a conscious effort, minimal at best in this case, I have come close to the end of gathering up useless rocks to place in an organized pile.

A good amount of fill dirt with big pebbles has been added on the left rear side of the pile to help alleviate some of the illusion of lean. The ground here is quite sloped though and the natural gas tank sits just to the left. Its base less than four feet away is a good two feet lower in elevation than the base of the Pile O' Rocks.

By Hawaiian Eyeball standards the top is now level. That lower front left foot closest to the gas tank and standing on sloping ground to take a picture makes it seem slightly askew. I took a picture of a house once on a steep sloped drive and the whole house looked crooked.

Do they make cameras with an object leveling bubble?

Another view from three steps up on the stairs from Hell that are going to have grass treads. A major irrigation challenge that I am still contemplating the best method for.

Ignore the swimming pool shell that appeared one day in the neighbor's yard below. All I can say is I am very glad I was not behind that thing when they were driving it through the neighborhood and up the narrow winding roads.

Talk about askew.

A nice layer of white coral on top and it may qualify as a fish shrine. It might look pretty too.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Just a Few Steps to the Left

And my Slice of the Sky gets a lot bigger. Doh!

I'll take the incredible skies we have gotten from this Kona Low, but a bit more rain would have been nice.

As it is now the ranchlands above Kihei have already turned brown again after our only good winter rain in October and the Hawaiian lemmings have started an early run to the sea. Driving at night is a little freaky when things are scurrying across the road.

The spider bloom is in full swing feasting on the Bougainvillea moths that have exploded in numbers. I am getting my annual spider silk skin and hair treatment.

The moth that flew in my mouth I did manage to cough up.

I prefer my plagues one at a time.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Underside of High clouds

That have left a little rain in Kihei.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Georgia Goes Complex

From simple primary colors to color combinations and patterns.

Is this going to be another unitary meme of macro views of the intimate parts of flowers like my slices of sky? Who knows?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Georgia O'Keeffe Series

For Pam at Digging

All in bloom in the garden today.

Yes those are actual raindrops that fell from the sky in Kihei today.

One of the few blossoms left from my poor beheaded Buttercup Tree. After I topped it my evil landlady had it chopped further back by a machete wielding Polynesian with dubious qualifications. There wasn't much left to bloom.

I just love the color and branching structure of these. They look like a Dr. Seuss coral.

To end on a voracious note, very Little Shop of Horrors.

For something a bit more High Culture visit the O'keeffe Museum