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    • April 20, 2020 8:08 PM EDT
    • Jim,

       If I missed it forgive me but fresh oregano also makes nice shrubbery and it's wonderful dried ...nothing like the store bought stuff. 

       

      Just saying and the RR looks awesome !

    • April 20, 2020 12:44 PM EDT
    • The amount of work you and Nancy have put into this is mind boggling. It really looks great.  I'm really impressed with all your scale woodworking and I know from experience how time consuming something as simple as a tunnel portal can be to cut and assemble.  Great job!

    • April 20, 2020 9:39 AM EDT
    • Wow Jim, Spring has really sprung on your railroad, looking great!

    • April 19, 2020 3:23 PM EDT
    • Jim, don't think t's the same just very similar get a chance Google afro jew plant, I had it here in Florida and it did very well, believe it is of the succulent family and spreads nicely it would grow on top of leaves, rocks anywhere, thanks for the reply, Bill

       

    • April 19, 2020 3:23 PM EDT
    • Jim, don't think t's the same just very similar get a chance Google afro jew plant, I had it here in Florida and it did very well, believe it is of the succulent family and spreads nicely it would grow on to of leaves, rocks anywhere, thanks for the reply, Bill

       
       
       
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    • April 19, 2020 1:11 PM EDT
    • Thanks, all. Glad the videos were useful and you like how things are proceeding.  I'm personally amazed at how much I'm enjoying the transformation.

       

      Bill: I *think* those plants in the canyon area are this: (Bab) Baby tears – Soleirolia soleirolii (below is a picture I found on google images searching for the latin name):

       

       

      Pete: Not totally sure which ground cover you are talking about. Maybe this one? (Bac) Bacopa – Sutera ‘Gold ‘n’ Pearls’ (image below from google images)

       

       

      According to garden.org [link]:

       

      Life cycle: Perennial Sun Requirements: Partial or Dappled Shade
      Partial Shade to Full Shade
      Full Shade Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9b -3.9 °C (25 °F) to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

       

      So might work for you but not in direct sun. I have sun sails set up so Nancy was picking plants that would work well in shade.

       

      As to care secrets, etc., here are a few things that I *think* I learned from being around Nancy when she did this:

       

      • We have clay base soil so she "amended" it by mixing 50-50 with purchased top soil (not with any kind of extra additive just plain top soil)
      • Picking the plants was a super important part of this and she did this part pretty effortlessly based on her encyclopedic knowledge. I did buy her book which seems to have some info in it but nothing like having somebody who knows what they are doing
      • After planting, she (and I) deeply watered (down to about 6 inches) every couple of days for the first couple of weeks, EXCEPT for the succulents that she let acclimate for a few days before the first watering (something weird about those plants that they need time to get over the shock of transplant)
      • I'm now watering the non-desert plants twice a week with a good soak (like 15 minutes on my sprinkers) but may need to adjust that. We'e had enough rain this spring that I just turned the sprinklers on. The desert plants get about 1/3 of the water.
      • A few weeks after planting, Nancy gave the plants a very light surface dusting of fertilizer (nothing fancy just plain old fertilizer... I can ask to get a brand and type if you like). She seemed to scratch the surface and water it to get the fertilizer into the soil a bit. She said this is worth doing once a year in the spring
      • One trick she used was to add a pretty deep layer (like 2-3 inches) of non-growable fill around the plants in an effort to discourage weeds. We used "fines" (the same rock as most of the rocks used in the landscaping) then a mixture of small (3/8") and larger (3/4") rocks to add realistic texture. I've been pretty diligent at picking the weeds early when they are just getting started to try to keep them from spreading. This hasn't been onerous as they have been relatively few of them to deal with. Nancy suggests spraying some very narrow sprays of vinegar on top of where the weeds poke out as a way to discourage their growth without nasty chemicals
      • We had aphids on one of the tall succulents and discouraged them with soapy water (another one of her non-chemical ways of dealing with pests)
      • At one point we had some squirrels digging up between ground cover plants and they added more of the fines plus small rocks which seems to have discouraged that. An alternative was to use some spices dissolved in water as a spray (like cayenne pepper) to make it unpleasant for the critters (our critters are pretty easy compared to other locales, cough John cough)

       

      And a few design tips that I *think* I learned during discussions with Nancy:

       

      • Put tall stuff in the front, not the back. Shorter stuff in the back adds to the depth using forced perspective
      • Don't line things up, put them down in groups of 3 in triangles.
      • Have clumps of the same plants but mix in a plant from the neighboring clump so you get a bit more organic mixture
      • Some of the groundcovers, like the Bacopa above, tend to cascade down the rocks, so plant them at the ridge line
      • Play with color, again with groups of the same color but splashes of another color mixed in as you move from one area to another

       

      I probably didn't get this all down correctly nor is this any kind of exhaustive list. But it's what I remember from our chats.

       

      Hope this is helpful...

       

      [edited to add depth of fines around the plants as well as the pointer to garden.org]

    • April 19, 2020 10:41 AM EDT
    • Jim, read your plant list and was wondering what the plant that is in clumps along the sides of the track in the climax in the canyon, if I'm see correctly down here it's call inch plant or afro harty grower, great vidoes, Bill

    • April 19, 2020 10:27 AM EDT
    • Jim can you tell me what the groundcover is among the rocks in the rockfall (last) video. I would be curious if they will live here, I think you said you are zone 9 oddly enough, except for the setting plants of fire in summer we are a 9B, B for burn everything, if i remember right. thanks, Pete  

    • April 19, 2020 10:21 AM EDT
    • you must be doing something right they are fast getting onto the tracks in a couple of spots, and are filling in rather quickly. Any hints on fertilizers and care secrets?

    • April 19, 2020 9:51 AM EDT
    • Jim Rowson said:

      Ha! I am guessing it would be a close race between the critters and the intense heat and sunlight causing them to burst into flames!

      Lack of thorns, opens the door.

    • April 19, 2020 7:20 AM EDT
    • Stunning work, Jim! Fabulous plantings, beautiful landscaping & scenes, wow...

    • April 19, 2020 1:41 AM EDT
    • Jim,

       

      What a treat to see your craftsmanship on display in a fabulous world you created for it!  

       

      Eric

    • April 19, 2020 12:31 AM EDT
    • Ha! I am guessing it would be a close race between the critters and the intense heat and sunlight causing them to burst into flames!

    • April 19, 2020 12:13 AM EDT
    • My critters would tear up the railroad to get to that salad bar!

      Looks quite tasty!

    • April 18, 2020 6:48 PM EDT
    • Wow Jim your Layout is looking spectacular. Your plants are looking superb.

    • April 18, 2020 5:42 PM EDT
    • Man the layout really has blossomed. Looking great Jim

    • April 18, 2020 5:04 PM EDT
    • Things continue to grow like mad. I'm so happy about that, given my track record. Kudos to Nancy...  Here are a few videos...

       

       

      Yay spring!

    • March 31, 2020 7:30 PM EDT
    • BTW Jim ....I forgot to add "Nice Plant List" !

    • March 30, 2020 6:46 PM EDT
    • (WTF) Rooster and chicks  'inspectum my rectum'

       

       

      (Brunt) Ken Jade belongs in the desert and he ain't no succulent but he is a Ken Aslet !

    • March 30, 2020 2:57 PM EDT
    • FYi, here's the list of plants. Map is on hold until Nancy can visit though I have a first cut at many of the trees in the Jasper side of the pike. Picture at the bottom of the post...

       

      Durango & Jasper RR plants 

      Pleasanton, California, Zone 9

       

      TREES and SHRUBS

      (Kat) Katsura Japanese maple – Acer japonicum ‘Katsura’

      (Lio) Lions head Japanese maple – Acer japonicum ‘O Jishi’

      (Cor) Coral bark Japanese maple – Acer japonicum ‘Sango Kaku’

      (Pyg) Japanese maple – Acer japonicum ‘Sharp’s Pygmy’

      (Drg) Japanese maple – Acer japonicum ‘Red Dragon’ 

      (Box) Willow leaf boxwood – Buxus sempervirens ‘Salicifolia Elata’

      (Skl) Skeleton bush – Corokia cotoneaster ‘Little Prince’

      (Cop) Mirror bush – Coprosma repens ‘Pacific Sunset’

      (Fus) Thymeleaf fuchsia – Fuchsia thymifolia

      (Myr) Dwarf myrtle – Myrtus communis ‘Compacta’

      (Ros) Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Irene’

       

      DWARF CONIFERS

      (Pod) Mountain plum pine – Podocarpus lawrencei ‘Red Tip’

      (Lem) Lemon cypress – Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ 

      (Alb) Dwarf Alberta spruce – Picea glauca ‘Conica’

      (Jun) Dwarf Japanese garden juniper – Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’

      (Str) Blue Star juniper – Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’

       

      GROUNDCOVER

      (Brs) Brass buttons – Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’

      (Als) Sweet alyssum – Lobularia maritima

      (Lob) Lobelia – Lobelia erinus

      (Sax) Mossy saxifrage – Saxifraga x arendsii ‘Red’

      (Bab) Baby tears – Soleirolia soleirolii

      (Bac) Bacopa – Sutera ‘Gold ‘n’ Pearls’

      (Elf) Elfin thyme – Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’

      (Fer) Fern

       

      SUCCULENTS (desert and back of Jasper)

      (Aeo) Black rose aeonium – Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’

      (Gol) Jade – Crassula sarcocaulis ‘Gollum’

      (Ken) Jade – Crassula sarcocaulis ‘Ken Aslet’ 

      (Tom) Crassula ‘Tom Thumb’ (green pagoda w/red tips)

      (Blu) Echeveria ‘Blue Prince’ (blue-green w/ purple edges)

      (Per) Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nurnberg’ (blue w/lav. tips)

      (Spr) Echeveria ‘Spruce Oliver’ (green w/red tips)

      (Sub) Echeveria subsessilis

      (Bar) Golden barrel cactus – Echinocactus grusonii

      (Csh) Cushion spurge – Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’

      (Zeb) Zebra plant – Haworthia fasciata

      (Rol) Rollers – Jovibarba (Sempervivum) globiferum subsp. allionii

      (Ice) Orange ice plant – Lampranthus aureus ‘Orange Form’

      (Ele) Elephant bush – Portulacaria afra

      (Gol) Goldmoss stonecrop – Sedum acre elegans

      (Spn) Spoon-leaved stonecrop – Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’

      (Drg) Stonecrop – Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’

      (Jel) Red jelly beans – Sedum rubrotinctum

      (Min) Miniature pine tree – Sedum tetragona

      (Hen) Hen and chicks – Sempervivum tectorum

      (Cob) Cobweb houseleek – Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cebenese’

      (Blk) Hen and Chicks – Sempervivum ‘Black Rose’

      (But) Hen and Chicks – Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cobweb Buttons’

      (Chi) Chinese Dunce Cap – Orostachys iwarenge

       

      This picture is of an 11x17 map, first cut at some of the trees on a bit more than half of the Durango & Jasper. The plan is to create a laminated 2 part map so I (and visitors) can figure out what's what: