Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Front Porch Gets Dressed Up

As summer sets in here in Southern California, it becomes more and more ridiculous to continue planting.  If a heatwave hits, new plantings frequently die, even if they get extra water.  Every year I make a vow to stop planting between June and October.  And every year I break my vow, although my purchases do taper off a bit.  This year, the month of June has been relatively pleasant, at least by comparison to the miserable May we had, but July is seldom pleasant so I've tried to shift my attention to activities that don't amount to throwing money away.  This year, those activities involved replanting the pots on the front porch (which can always be moved if the heat gets too intense).

I didn't take any "before" photos so the following picture, taken last December showing one side of the porch, is the best one I can provide to show what I started with.  The pots shown in this photo weren't looking nearly this good earlier this month.




The front pots were originally created to adorn the front of my mother-in-law's house when we prepared it for sale but I moved them to our house after the sale.  The ivy geranium (Pelargonium peltatum 'Pink Blizzard') took the sunny setting in stride but the Cordyline 'Renegade' struggled and the Calibrachoa eventually died off.  One of the Cordyline has been repotted and placed in a shadier location and the Pelargonium have been moved elsewhere.  The back pots were intended as temporary holiday decorations and they were definitely past their prime.

The ceramic pots, benches and bench cushions remain but I changed out the pillows and swapped out most of the contents of the pots to create a sunnier front entry.






The two sides of the front entryway are near mirror images of one another.

Bench #1

Side view of bench #1 with a close up of the replanted blue pot, which now contains Pennisetum 'Purple Majesty,' Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope,' Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit,' Calibrachoa 'Peach' and 'Papaya,' Lotus berthelototii, Zinnia 'Profusion Apricot,' and leftover lime Alternanthera

Bench #2


Close up of one of the 2 back pots, which contain 3 varieties of coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) and yellow Calibrachoa



I'm planning to stick to succulents for any further planting I do between now and October - or at least September.  Probably.  It's a real possibility.  Well, it's a goal anyway.

15 comments:

  1. What lovely benches you have there, I'd like to have one like these :)
    I like your flower compositions, especially the last one, because the green and yellow coleus really catches my eye! It's beautiful!

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    1. I was lucky to get the benches, Dewberry - they came with the house! Apparently, the former owner didn't have a place for them in his new home.

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  2. It looks nice and it provides good shade of the pergola.
    Mariana

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    1. I think the pergola is the best feature of our entrance, Mariana. It, too, came with the house.

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  3. I make the same vow and every year I fail. I usually focus on my containers as one final thing to do in the garden too.

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    1. I'd have thought that you could plant all through the summer up north, Alison.

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  4. Porch looks good, very good... colorful, foliage shade plants. I've pondered this problem, not planting between May and October, a lot lately. What I think happens, and it's not our fault, yours or mine, is that the nurseries show us plants in bloom, but it is precisely the wrong time to plant them. We either put them in the ground and they dry out and die or we leave them in pots and have to water them daily. When the good planting times come, the plants look awful. This Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope has been a very useful plant for you. How tall does it grow? You've done very well.

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    1. Yes, finding the plants you want during the prime fall planting season is nigh near impossible in many cases. In March, already beyond our optimal planting period, I looked all over for a particular Coreopsis, even pushing the issue with a couple of the local nurseries. I finally found an eastern mail order nursery that had what I wanted but, even there, shipping was delayed a bit as the eastern nurseries don't generally ship until winter backs off there. I think I need to improve my skills in starting perennials from seed.

      Re the Abelia, it has become one of my favorite foliage plants. Most of mine are no taller than 2 feet but most have also been in the ground for 2 or fewer years. Some grown by a friend (with more water and lots of soil supplements) got taller faster.

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  5. I like your new seasonal plantings in the pots, very summery with those colour combinations. But your cushion covers stole the show, I love 'em!!

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    1. I've been very into lime and orange the last couple of years...It'll be hard on the pocketbook if (when?) I suddenly develop a penchant for purple and red or some such thing!

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  6. The porch looks so much brighter now and container planting is a good way to keep on planting even when it's too hot to transplant.

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    1. I'm finding myself using more containers this year, Shirley - in fact, I've used all of the large pots I had on hand. Although I did replant some areas of the garden after the May heatwaves left big holes, in many cases I put new purchases in pots to help me better manage the watering schedule.

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  7. Looks great, so very California.

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    1. Thanks, Hoover Boo! I think the space could probably use an outdoor rug too but I haven't found the right one (yet).

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  8. I love this combination of benches and container plants on a shaded porch; it looks so cool and inviting. -Jean

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