January 4, 2017
It’s 2017. The countdown is on: There are about 900 additional plants still to move from north Scottsdale to BTA with the final plants scheduled to be moved in July/August. It has been a mild winter so far, knock on wood, with some of the plants having to be covered only once. There has been a fair amount of rain to date too – over 4 inches over the last two weeks. Queen Creek is flowing.
We had a kick-off meeting with the designers Logan Simpson just before the holidays and they are here today for a site visit. They keep asking about the high-water mark along Queen Creek. Well, that question will be answered for them today as the creek is still flowing from the recent storms. An Americorp group was here pre-holidays and preliminarily cleared the two loop trails – the Yucca trail loop and the South African loop – and we will all check out their work and see how the trails fared with the storms.
Jeff, Ruben and I also marked about 30 potential locations along the park entrance drive for planting some unidentified yucca specimens. Matt Johnson from DELEP will be here today to try to identify some of them.
Well, kudos to Matt Johnson who identified all but about 4 of the unknown Yuccas. The two new loop trails were pronounced as awesome by all. The designers walked away with a better understanding of the topography, creek flow and irrigation requirements. Now, we wait for them to work up a preliminary planting plan. Jeff, Derek, Matt and I also marked some potential Boojum planting sites.
The word is out that traffic on US 60 will be rerouted by the end of February. This will give BTA the opportunity to begin moving large specimens down the road and to the planting area without having to interrupt traffic. This will be a huge undertaking and having free access to and from Picket Post is essential.
Today, at 1:30 pm, the traffic that has traveled along the incredibly noisy US Highway 60 for decades has now been switch over to the newly constructed US Highway 60 about 1/4 mile to the north. Not only has the Arboretum gone nearly silent, but what is now the “old Highway 60” is available for us to move plants from the Wallace holding area at Picket Post House to the Arboretum in slow moving loaders and backhoes without the fear of begin plowed into by vehicles traveling in both directions at 70 mph.
The road is now only open to local traffic, including access to the Arboretum from the new highway.
We moved 8 boojums moved from Picket Post holding area to the Crider House in preparation for planting. Now is prime time for planting these awesome specimens and we don’t want to miss the opportunity.
Jeff, Derek, and Miguel are locating and digging holes for 3 – 4 boojums that will be the FIRST PLANTS to be planted in the new Wallace Desert Gardens area. In fact, the very first boojum is scheduled to be planted tomorrow, Wednesday, January 11. This is a historic occasion.