Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Plant of the Week Echeveria Raindrops

As a lot of you know I have a certain fondness for Echeveria's.  I don't know if it is the shape or what but they are my favorites in the succulent world and I actually dedicated a whole bed to them.  So with this in mind I am going to dedicate my first Plant of the Week to an Echeveria.  Echeveria raindrops to be exact.

I am following in the footsteps of many other gardeners in featuring a plant of the week.  A couple of years ago Loree Bohl from Danger Garden started doing this.  And more recently my friend Gerhard Bock of Succulents and More has also decided to join in the fun.  So I thought, I don't want to be left out either.  So this is the first of many to come.

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Now isn't she a stunner!  I found this beauty (believe it or not) at Home Depot or Lowe's earlier this year.  It was quite a bit smaller but I knew immediately what it was and snatched it up as a hungry dog snatches up a bone.  I couldn't believe my eyes because I had seen this on Facebook and Pinterest but never knew anyone that had one or sold one.  I figured it would be many years before I would get one.  So you just never know.

Until recently this was in it's original container just sitting on my back patio.  Waiting patiently for me to pay attention to it.  And growing, growing.  It must be about 6 inches across by now.  Supposedly that is as big as it will get.  We will see.


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I looked through all my pots to find one that would do it justice.  Then I came upon this pot.  I wanted to plant it alone.  Sometimes I just want to show off the plant.


San Marcos Growers says:  Echeveria 'Raindrops' A solitary plant that reaches at most 6 inches across with pale green rounded leaves with pale reddish margins and a single globular blue-green bump in the middle of each leaf toward the tip that develops with age - young plants often do not exhibit this trait but it appears as the plant ages. These bumps, similar to a water droplet, are what give this unique plant its name.

I sure hope this guy makes some babies.  Then I can see the progression of the bumps.

I have been giving it morning light and afternoon shade or filtered light.  I have watered when the soil is completely dry.  As the nights get cooler this definitely will be a plant that goes in my gazebo/greenhouse.  The internet says it will take temps down to 30F but I don't want to take a chance.


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Here's a close up!


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And a shot from up above.  It's interesting that there are just a few leaves that don't have the bumps or caruncles on them.  I wonder why that is.

By the way this Dick Wright hybrid is thought to be the smallest of the bumpy-leafed cultivars.  Very cool!

So hope you enjoyed!  Have a great week!

Until later:

It's Another Beautiful Day!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Front Yard Rock Garden

Today my neighbor said, "I read your article in the Sacramento Bee."  "It was great.".  It's nice to know that people are reading what you are writing.  Since I had been working on my front yard project for most of the summer I decided the November article needed to be about it.

I have been bugging my husband for years to give up some grass in the front yard.  He dug in his heels up until Mother’s Day of this year.  When I opened my card grass fell out.  I didn’t quite understand until I saw a Facebook photo of the front side yard posted by my husband.  It said Happy Mother’s Day to Candy.  Of course I jumped up and down in happiness!

First thing we did was stop watering the lawn and let it die. There are many other ways to do this but this is what we chose.

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Now this is some dry, dry grass.  When you stepped on it your foot made a crunching sound.


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We had a fellow come in and tear out the dead yard and take it all away.  This is what we were left with.  It was a tough job and took him quite a few hours.  But it was money well spent.

Then I went to a couple of home improvement stores looking for ways to build the berms I wanted.  I really wanted a couple of raised areas in my front yard project.  I was going to use these key stone and I probably would have been happy with them.  But I went to the Succulent Extravaganza and my eyes were opened.  I wanted to build rock walls using moss rocks and incorporate pots as in Julia Bells design.  Thank you so much for the idea!

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After Stan roto tilled the area I had a couple of yards of dirt brought in.  I chose baseball dirt mixed with organic mulch.  The baseball mix has a lot of red lava fines in it so it will be very good for drainage.


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We went over and over on how I was going to do the drip system.  We decided on a loop system.  We got a drip converter and connected a T to it.  We will connect a large roll of drip line and snake it all around the planting.  The other end will go on the other side of the T.  Once I get the smaller lines in, it should work just fine.

Oh and I still chose clay (I don't know what to call them), to keep the neighbors grass away.


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Thank goodness I have such a strong man for a husband.  This was a lot of work.  He spread a bunch of the soil everywhere then had to make my two berms.


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Scout just had to be part of the action.


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Now that the mounds were made it was time to lay the large drip line.  We looped it around the base of the larger berm then headed towards the second.


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This is the second mound or berm.  I want plants to eventually run into the bed against the fence that is already established.


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Little by little I drove to the rock yard and brought home moss rock.  I built the small rock wall first.  It really was like putting together a Jigsaw  puzzle.  I would take a rock and put it this way and that until it fit or I would grab another.  Really fun!


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The larger rock wall was actually a bit easier.


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As you can see I incorporated two pots in the larger wall and one is the smaller one in the back.  I got these filled with succulents at a home improvement store.  I also decided to add a tree.  I picked a Palo Verde 'Desert Museum'.  It will be absolutely great.  I had to plant it close to the divide between our two yards because of underground gas and power lines.  I called a PG&E phone number to ask them where I could and couldn't dig.  They in turn called cable, electric and telephone.  Within 3 days I had different colored lines and flags everywhere.  Thank goodness to because I was going to plant the tree right where the lines were.  It would have been awful and very costly.

You are probably wondering how I am going to keep the dirt from seeping out the tiny cracks and holes in the walls.  Ah ha!  I took landscaping cloth and laid it in an L shape on the back side of the walls.  Then I pushed the dirt up against it and trimmed off the excess.  I think this will do just fine.


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Next I placed all the plants and moved them around until I was pleased with the arrangement.


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So we decided to lay landscaping cloth to keep the weeds out.  It's not covering the berms though because I'm mostly afraid of any remaining grass coming back alive in the areas with less new dirt.

Now the fun begins.  Planting the plants.  I have been saving a bunch that I got from Waterwise Botanicals at the Succulent Celebration.  Plus I relocated others in different areas of my garden where they had overgrown.  I found the golden barrels at a home improvement store for a crazy awesome price.


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Now this is where we made our big mistake.  I should had added the small drip lines to each plant.  I didn't do it.  We had this California gold rock delivered and we wanted to get it off the driveway and on the ground.  So now I will be moving rock and laying lines after the fact.  Grrrr!


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Here is a shot looking at one of the pots in the larger berm.  On top of each berm and around each plant we put the smaller rock.  Everywhere we laid the larger.


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Lower area!


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This Agave Blue Glow is in the center of the larger berm.  And it should be the star of the show.


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Here it is before we got the tree in the ground and the large pouring pot on the right filled.  I sure hope all the plants live.


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A shot of the tree planted.  Gerhard Bock from Succulents and More had told me to untie it from the stake to make the tree stronger.  But it is not ready yet.  So after this photo I tied it back up.  The Agave vilmoriniana 'Octopus Agave' that he gave me is on the bottom right of photo.  Also to the left is Agave Joe Hoak and to the left of the rock in the center is a small Agave Blue Wave.  I gave it lot's of room to grow.

Thank you so much Gerhard for the contributions to this project.  Hope you all like it!

Until later:

It's Another Beautiful Day!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Crash And a Little of This

In the last post I show'd you how to make Succulent pumpkins.  And it was really fun being on Good Day Sacramento.  My week started off great but then bang.  And I mean bang!  I was on my way to my back doctor.  I had just gotten an iced tea from McDonalds and was waiting to pull out on a main street.  All of a sudden I felt like a rag doll whipped back and forward.  Someone in a truck had come behind me and his foot slipped off the brake and hit the gas.  I was rear ended!

I took photos with my phone and we exchanged information.  He kept saying how sorry he was.  Really, he was such a nice man.  And I understand how accidents can happen.  But I can't help from from being (sorry to say) pissed off.  I drove home, called the insurance company and then my son came to get me and take me to Urgent Care.  Thank goodness my front yard project is 90% finished.  Because I will be laid up for a while.

Just had to let you all know what was happening.  I went out and took a couple of shots here and there.  I am working on a big post about my front yard re-do.  But wanted to say hi!

Agave lophantha v. quadricolor 3

This is one of two large Agave lophantha v. quadricolor that are in my new bed!  Don't you love these.  When I took this one out of it's pot it had 17 babies.  I will be planting these all over as I love the color they add.


Little vignette

A little vignette in my new front planter.  This is an experiment.


Euphorbia mauritanica

I have a couple of these planted now and they do great in the hot sun.  We will see how they handle the cold.  It's Euphorbia mauritanica.  Also called the Pencil Milk bush.  Dave's Garden says it's good in my area!


Pots in my rock wall

I was really inspired by Julia Bell at the Succulent Extravaganza.  There are 3 of these pots built into rock walls I built.


Graptoveria Fred Ives

The nights are getting colder and some succulents are getting great stress colors.  Like this Graptoveria Fred Ives.


Echeveria Mahogany Rose

This Echeveria Mahogany Rose is duplicating like crazy!  I love it and it loves my garden.


Echeveria Coral Glow

This Echeveria Coral Glow is right next to the Mahogany Rose.  They really like each other's company.  Don't you love the variation on the leave color.


Cylindropuntia spp. Mini Cholla 3

I transplanted this Cylindropuntia spp. Mini Cholla from a location near a walkway.  I don't know what I was thinking in the first place putting it there.  But now it is out of the way.


Aloe Viper

Now I'm going to share some cool new aloes with you.  This is Aloe Viper.  It is a Kelly Griffin hybrid.  Love the texture of the leaves.  And the bumps are a different color.


Aloe rudikope hyb. 'Little Gem' bloom

I was feeling artistic when I took this photo of the bloom of Aloe rudikope hyb. 'Little Gem'.


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Here is the whole plant.  Aloe rudikope hyb. 'Little Gem' is a happy plant.  I have three of these and got them at Waterwise Botanicals.  They multiply, stay smallish and flower a lot.


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Here is another Kelly Griffin hybrid called Aloe Coral Fire.  Isn't she gorgeous!  Check out the leaf edges.


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Coral Fire has a bloom.  Can't wait to see how it develops.

Okey dokey.  Hope everyone is well.  I'm going to start working on my next post.  Details of the front yard redo.

Until then:

It's Another Beautiful Day!







Monday, October 27, 2014

DIY Pumpkin Succulents « Good Day Sacramento

Had a lot of fun today filming Good Day Sacramento segment on making succulent pumpkins.  This month I had written an article in the Sacramento Bee newspaper on the topic and was contacted by Melissa Cabral, Anchor/Reporter for KOVR-TV KMAX-TV Sacramento.  She asked if I could do a 2 1/2 minute segment on the show.  Why of course I could!
Here is the link if you want to watch:


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These guys are really easy to make!  This is what you need:

Pumpkin Squash or Gourd
  • Succulent Cuttings
  • Bag of moss
  • Spray adhesive (Elmer's)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks to add embellishments
  • Gel Tacky Glue Aleene is a good brand.  
  • Dry's seed pods, Acorns or other embellishments.  The sky is the limit!
Take your pumpkin and spray the top with the spray adhesive.  Then add about 1/2 inch of moss.  Do this before it drys or you will have to spray again.  Then find a succulent or embellishment that you think should be the star and put it just off center in the middle.  Put the Tacky glue on the succulents and use the hot glue on the embellishments.  I find that even though the hot glue will not hurt the succulents they don't want to stick as well as with the tacky glue.  Then continue to add in a circle from the center out until you think you are done.  Pack the succulents tightly so you don't see any moss.  As you get to the edge this is where you might want to add some acorns or whatever to help hold everything in place.  Use scissors to trim off the excess moss and then let the glue dry overnight.

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Here is the one I am currently working on and I showed on the show!


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This is the spray adhesive and tacky glue that I prefer to use.


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This is a shot of the table.  So crowded with stuff for the show.  To the right I have tons of different acorns and cool stuff to add to your arrangement.


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Here are a few for a Thanksgiving or Fall presentation.  The large pumpkin has a small tea candle holder in it.  You could actually add a candle and it would look beautiful as the centerpiece on your table.


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Here I am with the Anchor Melissa Cabral having a great time!


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Look how close that camera was!  But I actually forgot it was there!


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I decided to make some with a Christmas theme in mind!  Why not!  It comes soon after Turkey day.

To take care of these you will want to keep them outside in morning sun unless you are using them on your table.  They need the light to grow.  Once a week take a spray bottle of water and get the moss wet.  Don't let the pumpkin sit in water or freeze.  Kept on the porch works for me just fine.

When the pumpkin starts to deteriorate (which should take months), scoop off the succulents and add to a pot of soil or plant in the ground.  Some people actually leave their pumpkin in the garden and let nature take it's course.  But I think it will be very messy and draw those dreaded fruit flies.


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Little baby pumpkin ready for a Christmas table.  You could give these as gifts!


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What a great time was had by one and all!  Thanks Good Day and hope to see you at Sweetstuff's again!

And thank you so much Laura Eubanks for thinking of this clever idea!  You are the succulent pumpkin Queen and we all bow down to you!

Until later, remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Succulent Extravaganza 2014 Part 2 Display Gardens

Let's jump back to the Succulent Extravaganza and take a look at the really fabulous display gardens.  As I said in my previous post this year's theme was Succulents:  The Landscape IS changing.  So Succulent Gardens let many wonderful landscapers come in and do their thing.  And boy did they show off their talents.

I got there the day before and saw some of the installations.  It was fairly warm out and everyone was working hard.  A couple of the landscapers were asked to hold up on finishing their projects until the Extravaganza was under way.  While they worked on it people could ask questions.  It was really an eye opener for me!

I was so inspired I used a couple of ideas in the planting of my new front yard.

Let's start off with Harmony in the Garden by Rebecca Sweet and Bell and Flourish

So much to say about this area.  The planting pulled your eyes in.  They gave you a treat with the beautiful curving flow of plantings.  I can't wait to see as it all fills in.


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This was right by the head of the speakers area and made you stop in your tracks!


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This was taken the day before the Extravaganza started.  Things were still being planted but it already looked fantastic.


Harmony in the Garden by Rebecca Sweet with Bell & Flourish

I loved this variation on the tipping pots.  What a great way to go vertical.


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These Aloe attenuata 'yellow stripe' were so striking.

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The plantings next to the speakers area were so beautiful.  And I sure wish I had gone home with one of those Aloe trees.

Succulent Extravaganza by Bell and Flourish and Ross Landscape Construction

This was by far one of my favorites.  It influenced me to change up my plans for my front yard re-do.  I'll give you more details on that in my next post.  But let me just say that Julia Bell had me in Aw!  I loved this rock wall. filled to the brim with amazing Echeveria's.


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All these rocks were dry stacked.  That means no mortar was used.  It is very difficult let me tell you.  It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  You need to put the rocks together in a way so they fit together with no holes and won't fall over.  Pretty tricky.


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Look how well those rocks are stacked and what a visual impact.


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This is what got me very excited.  Pot's inserted in the rock wall.  They they can be planted also.  Love it!

Repurposed Riot by Bell and Flourish with Maker's West



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Now I really like these rusted iron wall planter's.  There were quite a few hanging on the side of this corrugated building.  I'm sorry to say that I didn't get good photos of their main area of planting which was very cool.  But if you head over to Gerhard Bock's Succulents and More post he got some great shots.


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At first I was grumpy that this panel had a shadow.  But now that I look at the photo I really like it.  You just never know.


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I believe that Julia Bell had this area refurbished also.  The rock wall was added with some areas for sitting.

Grasses, Succulents and,....by John Greenlee

Now I must say that I really didn't understand this large planting area.  All I could see was grasses.  I can tell you that he had some for sale and seemed to be doing a good business.  It just wasn't my thing.


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Xeric-Mix Plants, Patterns and Sticks By Hill and Dale Landscape

Now this landscaper had a tough area to design.  They had a large gas tank, shed and light poles to deal with.  But they incorporated everything in their design and I really like how it turned out.


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Under The Sea Garden by Michael and Danielle Romero

One of my very favorite installations.  Michael and Danielle brought some of the plants from their own yard including the crested Cereus.  And these beautiful volcanic rocks from Mexico are perfect in this landscape.  The nooks and cranny's were perfect places to put plants.  Everything really looks like it grows under the sea!

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Unlike regular lava rocks Michael said that these were very heavy.  They put in lots of work and it paid off.


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Here is a little more detail for you!  Don't those dykia look like starfish.  Michael and Danielle are very talented and nice people also.

The Stone Bench By Andrea Hurd

This woman has a fabulous imagination and was able to create something I would have never thought of.  She took Flagstones and instead of laying them flat she stacked them together on end.  Then she used a grinder to smooth down the top so that it could be used as a bench.  Very ingenious!  And it looks spectacular.


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Gerhard found out from Andrea that she used approximately $600 worth of flagstones to make this project.  Pricey but beautiful and durable.  Would make quite a statement in any garden.

The Living Mandala Garden By Desert Mandala

For this Landscape I wanted a really tall ladder to take photos.  Or maybe I could be hung from a hot air balloon?!  That would be the best way to view this!  So I did the best I could with the photos.


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Nope, not hanging!


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I'm 5' 10"......ok 9", I've shrunk.  And with the camera held over my head this was the best I could do!

Prehistoric Chillin' By Simone Lajeunesse

Now Simone is an employe of Succulent Gardens and a dear friend.  I didn't realize she was so talented.  What a great piece.  I had trouble with shadows in the photo so I will show you my favorite bits!


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A very nasty looking dino wanting a drink of water!


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She planted things in here that were different and didn't look like a normal plant or specimen.  I loved it.


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This made my eyes bug out!  It is an Aeonium that is crested!!!!  I have never seen anything like it before and I was transfixed!  Definitely looks otherworldly!

Succulent Sculpture By Steven Sutherland and Assoc.

The idea of this landscape was to represent an Ocean wave.  When you look at it from the front like this you can imagine the darker rivulet's as water and sand being sucked back into the Ocean while the wave is cresting toward the shore.  The dark green succulents are shadow being cast by the advancing curl.


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From the side was the best way to see that it was indeed a wave.  As these succulents grow it will become more and more apparent.  It was really cool.

Ebony And Ivory By Dat Pham

I'm sorry to say that I didn't get great photos of this.  Again if you go to Succulents and More Gerhard got some great shots.


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This is a photo of Mr. Pham explaining his concept to a group of eager listeners!

Rustic Rampage By Organic Mechanics

James Pettigrew and Sean Stout get my vote for thinking outside the box.  This is amazing use of objects that most people would throw away as junk.  Drainpipes were jammed into the ground and the ends planted.  I think they told me the wooden pieces were wooden cable spools.  They went to a company that makes headstones and got pieces of headstones that were cut off and unusable.  The front was lined with I believe marble cores that were broken.  Very cool!  And when asked how much the recycled glass cost they rubbed there fingers together to mean a lot of money!


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Don't you love it though!


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Don't know what the rusted metal rods were originally used for but they were perfect.


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Don't you love the different colored headstone all in a row at different heights?  I do.


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Last photo from another angle showing what will look like water coming down the spools in the future.  I loved every bit of it.

So there you go.  I also wanted you to know that a wonderful group of Master Gardeners has been assigned to watch and document the progress of these landscapes in the coming months.  It will be interesting to see how they change.

Hope you enjoyed the show.  Next year I hope to see you there!

It's Another Beautiful Day!