Another cure for the label problem. Was: Re: Microchips in lieu of labels

Barbara McMullen
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:28:59 PDT
That sounds interesting.  Do more esthetically attractive blocks exist that 
also have hollows?


-----Original Message----- 
From: Jim McKenney
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 7:54 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: [pbs] Another cure for the label problem. Was: Re: Microchips in 
lieu of labels

I'm enjoying this thread because I've had these same problems over the 
years. But I've hit on a solution which makes the labeling issue irrelevant. 
But it comes at a price, both figuratively and literally.
I'm rebuilding a low 40' dry wall originally built with brick stacked on the 
broad side to a bit less than two feet high. The brick has a warm color and 
is very harmonious with the plants in the garden: it definitely looks right. 
But deer have tried to climb this wall and have knocked parts down. Frost 
heaving has done the same thing here and there over the years.
This is a dangerous time of year for gardeners like me: until this week, 
it's been too cold to work in the garden, and all that pent up energy has to 
go somewhere, so it goes into dreaming up schemes to "improve" various parts 
of the garden (or ranting on PBS).  I've been dreaming walls all week, and 
the other day something I had been reading pushed me over the edge. Instead 
of using brick, I'm going to use cinder block and stack the blocks in stair 
fashion. The blocks will be stacked four high which will put the top of this 
tiered wall at about 32".That something I had been reading was Lawrence 
Thomas' article "Alpines in Containers" in that great little book published 
by the North American Rock Garden Society nearly twenty years ago: Handbook 
on troughs. Here's what Thomas wrote (this comes from a discussion of plants 
in containers): "Even ubiquitous cinder block can be used as a container of 
sorts. I've seen a splendid terrace herb garden constructed of nothing more 
than a series of cinder blocks artfully stacked and planted to perfection. 
Alpines could be similarly displayed." And I'll add: so I'll bet could 
bulbs!Each cinder block has two hollow spaces 5" x 5" x 8". Since 32' of the 
wall will be tiered (an 8' space will be left for a bench), that means that 
each tier will have 20 hollows to be planted. Each stack of four will thus 
have 80 such hollows. There will be two stacks (one on each side of the 
bench space) so there will be a total of 160 hollows to be filled. Each 
hollow will be assigned a number, and what has gone into each hollow will be 
kept track of in a computer database. Good by labels! If I can pull this off 
(a long talk with my 71 year old back is scheduled) , I'll have to learn to 
live for a while with the off-putting, heavy-duty industrial look that comes 
with the cinder blocks. But the tiers will be an open invitation to plant 
plenty of floppy, sprawling, creeping companion plants (phloxes, delospermas 
and so on) which will eventually soften the otherwise austere look.
Wish me luck!
Jim McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7 where I'm humming 
Rossini's aria "Mura felice" right now.

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