Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bunny Poo Express

It's Monday and the bunny poo express rides again...

Twice a week the good folks at the local rabbit rescue give the bunny cages a good cleaning. The result of their hard work is 20 or so large bags of high quality rabbit manure mixed with bedding, alfalfa and pine pellets. This is good stuff folks.

It sure would be a shame to let a valuable resource like rabbit manure end up at the landfill and that's where the bunny poo express comes in to play.  

Look at all this wonderful bunny poo bagged up all tidy and ready for the garden.

Rabbit manure doesn't have to be composted before it is used in the garden, which is what got me to thinking... What if we used the bunny poo to mulch our newly planted fruit trees?

Layering the manure on top of newspaper and cardboard has helped keep the weeds down around the trees.  You can really see the difference between the mulched and non-mulched areas. In the photo below, staged bags of bunny poo are waiting to become mulch.

Six inches of bunny poo is amazingly springy to walk on.

The manure will break down slowly over time providing wonderful nutrients to the fruit trees.

Organic matter like this is too good to end up in the dump, so as long as it's needed, the bunny poo express will ride again!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Fairy Tree

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by something unexpected? Perhaps a colorful bloom in the dead of winter caught your eye and gave you new hope for the spring ahead, or maybe you saw a new bird at your feeder that made you race for your field guide with excitement? 

Not too long ago, I received a similarly pleasant surprise. While clearing away the dead and dying remnants of the drought, I discovered a tree; a big tree!  I was very excited by this discovery. The drought has hit us very hard, killing many of the trees on our property, but here was this big healthy tree seemingly hidden in plain sight. This tree was surely a gift to help raise my rather dented gardening spirit.

It still amazes me that somehow in all my years here at this house, I never noticed this large post oak. The tree was surrounded by overgrown yaupon, hackberry, and juniper, which completely obscured it from view.  Well, maybe not completely, the canopy was viewable, but we took it for granted and never thought of the huge tree that was in the tangle of undergrowth.

After the space under the tree was cleared, I began to create a small garden.  I planted colorguard yucca and wedelia at the edge, which gets more sun, and in the shady areas, I planted pigeon berry, cedar sage, and mountain sage.  Here is a picture of the garden in it's early days.

The wedelia and the colorguard yucca have thrived.

Because the inadvertent discovery of this tree always seemed a little magical to me, I don't think it's much of a leap to imagine that this might be the ideal spot for some fairy visitors.

The transformation into a garden fit for fairies was simple, used just a few inexpensive props and was finished in less than 30 minutes. 

To the far left, you will notice a stone tile path leading to an arbor. The placement of the flagstone stairs leads to the door which is framed with cream colored petals.  The little bronze fairy figurine oversees the scene at the far right.

Yes, it's magic.  A magical door for a magical tree.