Holy Mole-y: it’s a January Branch-out!

Walking across the backyard puts a spring in my step, but not from happiness! 😉   Spongy, raised mounds extend from the middle of the rear cutting garden to an area 10′ beyond the bauhinia tree. I suspect an entire mole/armadillo subway system exists beneath my feet 🙂  Here’s the entrance to what I’ve been calling Aloe Station: 😉

"Aloe Station" 1/05/2013

Aloe Station functions as a point of transfer. If you reach into this very wide hole, you feel 3 separate  tunnels, branching south, east and west.  I fear I was complicit in their construction when I staked bamboo poles (above) to assist the Climbing Aloe–no good deed goes unpunished, as they say! Incidentally, the aloe that caused all the trouble 😉 has started to bloom…here, I’ll show you:

Aloe Ciliaris in bloom, 1/6/13Back to the moles….

I’ve lost 2 growing season’s worth of flowers to this problem, and it’s time to plant again.  After researching various eradication methods, I decided herding the vermin away was the most reasonable option. Bring on the Sweeney’s Mole and Gopher Repellent, a granular castor oil product that (allegedly) sends the little buggers packing, as this video explains:

The goal is to apply the product over a four day period, shaking the granules further from the origination point each day. I didn’t want to hurt or kill the critters,  just relocate them faaarrrrrrr from Aloe Station.  If you’re wondering, “Did it work?”

New Mole hole, 1/6/13

This not-so-great photo attests the repellent is working! The morning after the first application, the hole above (and two others like it) appeared a foot beyond where I sprinkled the granules. As you can see at the top of the shot, Aloe Station is plenty far away for day one!

Today marked day 3. A section of the rear cutting garden, where mole-runs abounded instead of flowers, looks REALLY good!  Check it out:

Annual bed, rear cutting garden, 1/6/13

I am best pleased! 🙂  Maybe I can plant annuals here again:?:

…..and now it’s time to show you literal “branching out” re: two phalaenopsis orchids.

Remember the Winn Dixie Dyed Blue orchid from last August? It was growing a second spike when I purchased it.  During class last year, we learned if you cut a phalaenopsis spike along a middle node as its last flower fades, you might induce an additional spike to grow.  Well….I finally tried it, and here’s the result:

Phalaenopsis Lila Mystique w/ branching spike x 2, 1/8/13

Spiking x 2!

I nearly flipped-the-frig-out this morning when I noticed the teeny-tiny spike branching off the very top! (The bigger, side shoot I’d already flipped-the-frig-out over last week)  Pretty cool, yeah? At the conclusion of the current flowering cycle, this phalaenopsis might need a little rest. I’ll definitely watch it closely for signs of stress.

I’ve been more successful with orchid growing since hanging my plants in the Bauhinia tree: some are loose in baskets; others, lashed directly to branches. I think they’re getting better air circulation and the right amount of water this way. Overall, they seem far healthier, which brings me to the final picture:

Purple Phalaenopsis spike, 1/8/13

I’m not surprised this phal spiked–it typically flowers in February/March–but the heft and diameter of this particular spike DO surprise me. I hope the flowers follow suit!

If you’d like to read more about orchids, check out the blog in the related links. I’ve been following it for awhile now and it’s got great information!

Until next time…

🙂 🙂

19 thoughts on “Holy Mole-y: it’s a January Branch-out!

  1. You are so impressive, Karen! I can’t seem to grow orchids here (inside, I mean). I love the darn things, but the light/humidity ratios don’t seem to work out long-term.

    I also had never seen an aloe plant blooming… only the leaves. So pretty!

  2. I admire you for wanting to move the critters from your property. Thanks for the info on the Repellent. We usually see signs of mole runs at the start of June bug season. So far they haven’t been destructive to our gardens and I hope they keep it that way, but if they ever do then it’s nice to know there’s such an easy deterrent available.
    I didn’t know aloe bloomed. That’s so neat.
    Congratulations on the sprouts, you did a great job of knowing what to prune and when. I look forward to seeing photos of them as they grow. 🙂

  3. thank god that stuff works! I seriously thought I’d be home to visit and you’d be out back with the broom knee deep in a hole with all the moles! Didn’t know it was castor oil, that’s interesting. PRETTY ALOE!

    • LOL…Quite a visual!
      day 4 and all still good! I noticed one big new hole toward the back of the yard at the fenceline where the perimeter/vine garden ends…given that location, I’m dubbing it “MyDottah” Station! hahahaha!!!

    • Oh they will! In fact, I’m herding them in the direction of the large vacant lot on the other side of my fence!. A house was torn down over there 18mos ago but the yard, trees and other vegetation still remain. I think they’ll build happily beneath the ground and entertain to their hearts’ content there!

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  5. Very impressive orchid growing. But, did you move those moles to your neighbor’s yard? Very sneaky…lol.

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