Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Planting Bed Facelift #1

In January, I wrote a post about a few projects my husband and I'd undertaken, including the removal of the wood-fired snorkel spa in the backyard.  Lacking a clear vision for the area, I filled it with cast-offs from other areas of the garden and impulse purchases.  It never came together and earlier this summer I lost its central element, the mountain pepper (Driyms lanceolata), probably due to a combination of transplant shock and inadequate water.  As I'd added Melianthus major to the bed in April, after picking it up the local botanic garden's spring sale, I decided to rely on other Australian plants for the rest of the bed.  My first "fall" planting purchase, Grevillea 'Ned Kelly,' and the established Arbutus 'Marina' adjoining the space set the red(dish) and yellow color scheme.  I'm still tweaking it but the largest elements are in place.






The main elements include:

Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' (aka 'Mason's Hybrid), which can be seen in flower here

Anigozanthos 'Big Roo Yellow,' which I bought in a large container (breaking one of my usual rules)

Leucadendron salignum 'Blush' (photobombed by Hibiscus trionum)

Leucadendron 'Jester,' temporarily in a tomato cage for his own protection - I paid a pretty penny for him even in a 1-gallon pot and it would break my heart if the raccoon marauders tore him apart before his root system anchors him in place.  



Supporting elements include:

Phormium 'Amazing Red' in the background is new but the ornamental oregano (Origanum 'Monterey Bay'), pineapple flowers (Eucomis 'Oakhurst,'which haven't bloomed), cherry skull-cap (Scutellaria suffrutescens) and succulents are holdovers from my earlier planting scheme

Hibiscus trionum (aka bladder weed or flower-of-the-hour), which has a reputation for uncontrolled self-seeding

Fernleaf lavender (Lavandula multifida) is another holdover from an earlier planting scheme

The 3 Pennisetum setaceum 'Fireworks' are new - they're not supposed to get as large as the red/purple variety I have elsewhere in the garden

Scabiosa ochroleuca, also picked up at the spring plant sale, was moved a couple feet so it no longer has to compete with the more aggressive Hibiscus for root space

The Sempervivium have been spreading happily for several months at the front of the bed


I'll probably add some of the burgundy-flowered Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' I'm pulling out of the front yard borders and more succulents.  The ornamental oregano and pineapple flowers may be moved to other areas but, for now, I'm leaving them in place.

The bed formerly occupied by our Eucalyptus tree is the next candidate for a facelift.


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



16 comments:

  1. I wish you luck with the Australian plants. Mine always die within a year. Something about the soil. Potassium? Too much or too little? Love that little rapscallion hibiscus.

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    1. I understand that Grevillea are very sensitive to phosphorus and it's best to avoid giving them any fertilizer. Thus far, my Grevillea have done well everywhere I've tried them in this garden so my soil doesn't seem to present the problem yours does. I do have a problem with one Leucadendron ('Rising Sun') I planted this past spring but I suspect that, placed near patio paving, it may not be getting optimal drainage - I'm about to give up on that one and will attempt a post-mortem to see if I can determine what happened.

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  2. Nice! The snorkel spa is but a distant memory...

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    1. Sort of - my husband used the wood to build a patio table!

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  3. I hope the cage around the Leucadendron 'Jester' does its job and the raccoons leave it alone. They are such annoying buggers.

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    1. Thankfully, they've left the bed alone so far. I used a tomato cage one before to protect an octopus agave the little buggers dug up in my dry garden - it wasn't bothered again but, for all I know, that could be a coincidence.

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  4. Very very nice new additions Kris! I have a good feeling that these new plants would do very well and make the bed look even better :)

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    1. I hope so! It's too late to put the snorkel spa back as it's been turned into a patio table.

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  5. Looking great, Kris! The anigozanthos looks incredible in bloom, and I had a chuckle at the photobombing hibiscus. I hope the raccoons stay off that leucadendron.

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    1. Something was digging in the bed last night, Amy, but it may have been the skunks rather than the raccoons - the skunks make smaller holes and don't usually up plants as the raccoons seem inclined to do.

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  6. Wow! The lovely things you can grow, I am green with envy. We can only dream of plants such as Leucadendron here.

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    1. I hope the the tall Anigozanthos does well there - the smaller variety I planted along the street was disappointing but, as this one is in view from my office window, I can easily keep my eye on how it's doing.

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  7. Nice work, and I think you did right to splurge for a good sized Anigozanthos, it's a beauty!

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    1. Fingers are crossed that all these plants get along in their new bed.

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  8. I really like the changes you are making to your garden, and they all make sense given the drought conditions that look set to continue in Southern California. Have you thought about using gravel around the sempervirens, they look a little strange in soil I always think.

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  9. I love love love those Kangaroo Paws plants and those leucandendrons are wonderful. They remind me of a euphorbia. Lookin' good!

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