In September of last year, I began participating in a monthly exercise, initiated by Heather of Xericstyle, focusing on the "big picture" of the garden, rather than individual plants. Frankly, I've gotten carried away with it, producing wide views of most of the major sections of my garden. The posts may try the attention span of my readers but they've been very useful in forcing me to look at my garden as a whole, rather than as a collection of plants. The photos are also useful in kick-starting my planning process.
The backyard in July looks much like it did in June, although both the Agapanthus and the red-orange Hemerocallis are waning. The Agapanthus got an early start this year and many look like over-used mop-heads now. I've already cut more than two-thirds of them back. The new border, which extends from the fountain to the southeast side yard, has filled in nicely but some of the annuals are losing their gusto. I've also begun evaluating which of the perennials are worth retaining and which will be relocated or sacrificed in the fall.
|View of the backyard from the patio door|
|View of the backyard looking southeast from the main patio|
|View of the backyard looking northwest toward the mimosa tree, which has begun flowering (and dropping litter)|
The biggest changes to the southeast side garden area were made to the bed that formerly held the Eucalyptus tree (removed in February 2013). The combination of heat and rampaging raccoons damaged or killed many plants in that area so, despite the early onset of summer heat, I replanted in June, using annuals, succulents and a few perennials.
|Southeast side yard photographed from the small patio - the replanted area lies to the immediate left of the arbor|
|Side yard photographed looking in the direction of the arbor and the street|
|View from a dirt path running along the back of the side garden|
|View of the side garden looking through the arbor toward the Los Angeles harbor|
This month, I took some photos of the area I refer to as the "glen," an area sandwiched between the southeast side garden and the street, accessed by dirt paths. It doesn't photograph well and I've given it relatively little attention thus far but, with work, I think it could be a nice area. The earlier heatwaves did it no favors, even killing off the drought tolerant Dymondia margaretae I planted 3 years ago.
|Glen photographed from the dirt path running parallel to the street behind a hedge - the remnants of the mostly dead Dymondia can be seen in front of the seating area|
|I added more Aeonium cuttings to the sloped area on top of the stacked stone wall in June|
I've given very little attention to the front yard this year, except for the patio area surrounding the front door. The lawn on either side of the front pathway has me exasperated. Removing chunks of it may be my top priority fall/winter project.
|Front of house photographed from the driveway|
|The left side of the house, which seldom gets photographed because my husband's truck is so often parked there|
The vegetable garden now contains vegetables - or at least corn, pole bean and pepper seedlings. The raised beds also contain sunflowers, although I've only had a few blooms thus far.
|Vegetable garden, photographed from the driveway - the first raised planter contains herbs, sunflowers and strawberries|
|Vegetable garden, photographed from the dry garden area - the middle raised bed is dominated by corn and rosemary while the closest planter contains more corn, beans, a pepper plant and a few varieties of basil|
The dry garden hasn't changed much either. My beloved Echium handiense aren't doing well, however, and may have to be replaced by more drought tolerant selections.
|Dry garden, photographed from the beginning of the path leading to the slope|
|Dry garden, photographed from the backyard - the 2 plants that look like sticks with a few leaves are what remains of the Echium handiense|
The slope has been woefully neglected and shows it. Even the foxtail agave (Agave attenuata) I planted in early spring is suffering from a lack of water. I need to do some serious work down there but that probably won't happen until the fall. At least the peach tree, uncovered when my husband cut back the Yucca elephantipes along our property line, seems to be holding its own (even if there are no signs of fruit).
|Slope, photographed half-way down the stairway - the peach tree is to the right of the lemon tree|
That's it for this month's review. I'm taking notes to guide my fall planting and renovation plans but a lot depends on whether this year's promised El Nino brings rain and there's no guarantee of that.