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    • November 10, 2019 6:56 PM EST
    • Oh, I'm not assuming we are fine tuning the sprinkler. Of course it has very coarse adjustments available. I guess what I meant by that was the Nancy says it is way easier to see how the sprinkler coverage is working by watching where the water goes, which according to her is a lot harder to understand, and a lot more "fussy" in her words, with drip. We'll see how it goes.


      Meanwhile, I visited Nancy's garden today (and it is as cool as you might imagine) and saw some material that she is proposing we use to hide the sprinkler pipes. She used it to hide some support posts for an upper loop (and to make a place to put dinosaurs for the kids to play with).  I'll come back with the name of the stuff when I get it from her (she's told me by my pea brain won't remember it!):




    • November 10, 2019 2:10 PM EST
    • Great, as you have your consultant. I won't argue, but fine tuning a sprinkler is impossible flat out, since it serves multiple plants, how can it service each one optimally?

      Whereas drip systems can use leaky hose, or "emitters" that can be purchased in a wide variety of gallons per hour, and combinations thereof and be customized with scissors, so you can fine tune the water to each plant.


      Not trying to argue, but I know plants, I know sedums (very popular here further south), and I have tried sprinklers, micro sprayers, tube drip and individual emitters. (Although frankly I am surprised at anyone recommending overhead watering for sedums, whose claim to fame is the waxy "leaves" that neither transpire nor absorb moisture)


      I wish you the best, but depending on your water, I would caution you to watch for any calcium and magnesium buildup on your buildings and see if it bothers you. The plants themselves will tell you how the watering is working.


      Best of luck,



    • November 10, 2019 1:49 PM EST
    • Greg: as mentioned in an earlier post, this is a strong recommendation by Nancy Norris, who I have hired to design and plant the garden part of my railroad. She asserts that the buildings will be fine and regular sprinklers are way easier to understand and tune up, leading to better plants. I am going with her recommendation because she is the expert and I am definitely not.


      Lots of opinions around this topic I think.

    • November 10, 2019 1:21 PM EST
    • Is a drip system out of the question?


      Drip tubing is easy to configure / re-configure, and the directed water keeps you from spraying your structures and track, with the attendant calcium/magnesium buildup.



    • November 10, 2019 12:52 PM EST
    • Jim Rowson said:

      Thanks Steve. That helps. On the other hand, they are butt ugly. I need to imagine how they can be made less intrusive...

      Paint them black, or Use Krylon cammo.

    • November 10, 2019 12:43 PM EST
    • Thanks Steve. That helps. On the other hand, they are butt ugly. I need to imagine how they can be made less intrusive...

    • November 10, 2019 12:31 PM EST
    • Jim, your railroad looks great.


      Regarding the sprinklers degrading the scratchbuilt structures, I wouldn't worry about it, too much.  Eric, up in Maine, has a bunch of finescale scratch built wooden structures, and they do just fine, left out year 'round.  I think that you will be applying much less dihydro monoxide than he sees in any given time.

    • November 10, 2019 12:10 PM EST
    • Ken Brunt said:

      A rule of "brown thumb"; the more expensive the plant, the quicker it dies..................

      Yup.  Diana wanted a dwarf lemon tree for Christmas (in Eastern Washington, beautiful Deer Park, 2300 ft asl ), so, not being able to deny anything to my lovely bride, I ponied up the $60.00 for a two gallon sized tree, with two small, green lemons on it.  She babied it through two winters, keeping it in a South facing window during the winter, with a grow light, and outside, after the last frost, but it finally gave up the ghost this summer.



    • November 9, 2019 5:16 PM EST
    • Short video. The trains still run! Yay!


    • November 9, 2019 2:03 PM EST
    • There are pop up heads for sprinklers that can help hide them....

      Image result for pop up sprinkler

    • November 9, 2019 7:35 AM EST
    • Jim,

        If you do use Miracle Grow in the bottle the cap/ may need it someday !

    • November 9, 2019 12:10 AM EST
    • I've done both, pluses and cons both ways.

      Good luck hiding them.



    • November 8, 2019 11:24 PM EST
    • Thanks John. I was kind of assuming I would do drip but it turns out that Nancy is totally anti-drip. In her experience, drip is 10 times more fussy than sprinklers. I figure that since I'm hiring her for her expertise (like I did with Daniel Smith) that I should follow her preferences. We've talked about it several times.


      That being said, lots of people have a different opinion and I certainly don't want to get into a big discussion about it. We'll see what happens. The main thing I'm worried about is how the sprinklers will impact my scratchbuilt structures. On the other hand, I'd sure like these plants to live. BTW: the rest of the layout is non-succulent.


      We'll see.... I definitely appreciate your opinion and experience...


      [edited to fix punctuation]

    • November 8, 2019 11:18 PM EST
    • Cap them low and convert to drippers. Succulents don't need much water, they hoard it. Down here they like sandy fast draining soils. Run 1/4" brown lines to each plant or along a row with a head for each. No expensive tools to assemble. They do require a timer and reducing solenoid valve if you are using city water.

      So simple, even I have contracted to install it!

    • November 8, 2019 10:31 PM EST
    • Dan: Vague plans for disguising the sprinklers right now. Gonna think about it and look to see how Nancy hid hers (I can't come up with the word for the material she uses). They are a bit in your face, aren't they? It was definitely a topic of conversation (from all of us) and I'm sure we'll find some way to minimize them.




    • November 8, 2019 10:18 PM EST
    • Jim, the plantings continue to look great and add beautiful color to the layout.  Are there any plans to disguise the sprinkler heads?

    • November 8, 2019 9:45 PM EST
    • OK, more planting in Durango, the upper half. Also a lot of work on irrigation (not as much fun).


      Eric: I asked about how they are prepping the soil They dig down about 6 inches into our clay soil. Then mix 50-50 the base soil and some purchased top soil. Nothing exotic (no Miracle Grow for example, as that will, at least for the succulents, burn them). Not sure how this would translate to Oahu. Nancy is actually interested in chatting with you, at least she is if you are the person who she met a year or 2 ago at an event. PM me and I can hook you together.


      More plants here as well as adding a bunch of gravel and fines (for roads and base for buildings). To me it looks a lot more finished.


      Here are a few pics:



      More to come next Friday!




    • November 4, 2019 11:51 AM EST
    • Hey Bill, thanks. The rocks I'm using are branded as "California Gold" and I believe are granite but I'm not 100% sure. I am 100% sure there is no actual gold in them :-).

    • November 4, 2019 11:04 AM EST
    • Don't know why the call the succulents there more like growulants, and it seems the more you leave them alone the better they do, give them a short while and you will be getting a ton of cuttings. What type of rocks are those in your pictures, they look a lot like our coquina here in Florida which is an indigenous one made up of sea shells? Layout is looking great, Bill

      old falls


    • November 4, 2019 9:02 AM EST
    • Looks great Jim, making good progress.