Thursday, August 28, 2014

When things come together just right

By mid-summer, most gardeners I know - at least those who garden in hot, dry climates like mine - become discouraged.  I'm no exception.  Most of my grass is dead.  Numerous plants have dropped dead, some seemingly overnight.  An army of disgusting worms attacked my Bush Lupine and ate half the plant before I sent them packing.  The raccoons returned and, in addition to stealing the filter out of our fountain and running off with it, they declared an end to our detente and tore apart the beds in the side yard looking for grubs.  And it's still too warm to begin fall planting - even if that didn't prevent me from indulging in the purchase of a dozen Rudbeckia last week - so I have itchy fingers

I deal with the situation by putting on blinders to avoid seeing the garden as a whole, while focusing on practical problems: modifications to the irrigation system, mulching, hand-watering, pruning, and researching drought-tolerant plants and new ways to thwart raccoons.  However, while planting 3 of the Rudbeckia I couldn't stop myself from buying, I realized just how good at least one of my beds looks right now.

Wide view of the bed

Side view of the same space



This bed seldom shows up in my photos.   On the southwest side of the house, it's partially hidden behind our Magnolia tree.  I've added and subtracted plants from this bed at intervals in the 3 years I've tended this garden.  While some of these are still immature, the bed nonetheless finally feels as though it's coming together.  I love the mix of mid-tone and chartreuse greens, accented by yellow, orange and red touches.  The yellow color is provided by Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' and Coprosma 'Evening Glow' as well as the flowers of Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun' and Gaillardia 'Mesa Peach.'  Orange and red tones are provided at various times of the year by the berries on the Nandina, 2 varieties of Hemerocallis, and Gaillardia 'Goblin,' which self-seeds freely.

The Calliandra, Coleonema, Nandina and Agapanthus in the background came with the house but I've added most of the rest of the plants.

The Grevillea 'Superb' planted last November is developing lots of new buds

Gaillardia 'Goblin' is flowering less profusely than last year but still provides a lot of color

The new Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun' mixes well with Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' and Coprosma 'Evening Glow'

Coprosma 'Evening Glow' is a relatively slow grower

One of 5 Lomandra longifolia 'Breeze' in this bed, this plant adds an airy quality

Duranta erecta 'Gold Mound' if the label that came with it can be believed

Salvia 'Mesa Azure'

And a closer look at the Rudbeckia that pulled everything together



Now, my only wish is that the lawn surrounding the bed wasn't so hideous.  I think the answer is to pull the front lawn out.  Plans are underway...


All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

10 comments:

  1. Great idea to do away with more grass! I really have more grass than I'd like, but I don't know if I can cope with any more beds. It's nice that you have at least one area that looks nice. I am so tired of my garden, and of gardening in it. Still have lots that needs cutting back and refreshing, but not enough motivation to do that.

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    1. I know the feeling, Alison! This time, we're hiring someone to come in and take out the front lawn for us - it's half the lawn we have left and it's a bit too much for us to handle on top of what'll come afterwards (e.g. hauling in DG and new topsoil, replanting, moving sprinklers, etc.).

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  2. I know that sometimes it can get you down when frustrations in the garden happen at the same time and can become too much, but when you spot things that go together, like your bed is, it puts you back on a positive frame of mind. Yep, it does look lovely Kris!

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    1. Late summer here is a little like the aftermath of winter in areas that have real winters - lots of death and destruction. Finding a bright spot really does make a difference in one's outlook!

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  3. Your bed really looks great! Hooray for pulling out more grass. Raccoons can be so frustrating! An electric fence around your whole garden would keep them out!

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    1. An electric fence...tempting. Actually, I bear the monsters no ill will - I hate it when I see a dead raccoon along the road, as I did this morning. I just wish they'd cut me a little slack and parse out their visits.

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  4. I do recognise that feeling of not wanting to even go out into the garden when its too hot and even the drought tolerant plants look like they're dying! This year has been so different I can hardly believe it, but some plants aren't looking great even with the rain so I would like to rethink some borders. Your border looks fresh and full of colour, I'm so happy it gladdened your heart.

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    1. Fall is a great time to step back and reappraise - and adjust - the garden beds. Best wishes with your planning exercise, Christina!

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  5. This bed looks wonderful with so much lovely colour. I was intrigued to hear about your naughty racoons.. I' ve never actually seen one. It's funny how we gardeners are all the same, always planning something different and always digging up more lawn.

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    1. The raccoons are a regular source of frustration for me, Chloris. Too bad they can't dig up the lawn for me! Their grub hunting exercises are somewhat less frequent than their nightly visits to the fountain but generally more destructive. I'm going to try applying beneficial nematodes to kill off developing grubs, which may at least cut down on their visits next spring.

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