Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wide Shots - October 2014

I can't believe it's already October.  People frequently talk about how time flies all but I rarely feel its passage as strongly as I do right now.  Too many balls in the air perhaps, with one or more destined to land upon my head.  Still, I value the record provided by the wide shot posts, inaugurated by Heather of Xericstyle, so I made time to take some quick shots of the garden to keep the chain going.

This month it's all about the front yard.

The front borders are largely devoid of color at the moment but at least they mask the dirt area formerly occupied by lawn

Since the lawn was brown and nearly dead to begin with, perhaps the neighbors haven't noticed that it's gone

The area to the left of the lawn area is unchanged - at least Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' is happy (the climbing 'Joseph's Coat' rose is NOT)



The area surrounding the front walkway will remain a dirt landscape for a while yet.  My husband and I are hard at work removing grass roots, sod netting, and mountains and mountains of rocks from the soil.  I know many horticulturists now recommend leaving the native soil alone to the degree possible but the beds we've created after digging out and screening the top foot of soil, then adding locally-obtained topsoil and amendments have done much better than those we've left alone.  So we labor on.  Only the area under the drip-line of the Magnolia tree will be left alone.  I plan to weed that area by hand, then cover it with a Magnolia-friendly mulch.

The backyard still has most of the holes I lamented in last month's wide shots post, including a few new ones attributable to an extended September heatwave.  I have 2 nursery treks planned and I hope to pick up some plants to begin filling the open spaces soon.

Usual view from the back door looking toward the Los Angeles harbor

Backyard viewed from the right side

View of the backyard from the left side, highlighting the poor condition of the remaining grass pathway.  It'll probably come out next year.



The biggest change in the backyard is the addition of a new bed, dug out from the lawn, across from the "spa bed" I planted in early September.  The new bed has already been screened (by my ever-helpful husband) but I have yet to add the amendments it needs prior to planting.  I'm also still working on the bed's planting scheme, which, taking my cue from the "spa bed," will probably rely on more drought-tolerant Australian plants.

View of the "spa bed" and the new bed from the far side of the backyard looking southeast - did you notice the dead section of Ceanothus hedge behind the Arbutus?  I need to do something about that too.



In the side yard, I replanted the bed once occupied by a large Eucalyptus tree as I discussed doing last month.  I've also pulled out the sad Zinnias and other annuals and planted a Grevillea groundcover, still small, and some succulents.  My ongoing battle with the resident raccoons over dominion of this area continues, complicating matters.

Usual view of the south side garden through the arbor looking toward the harbor

View of the side yard looking in the other direction toward the street showing one of the bare spots in the bed adjoining the patio (outside of view on the right)

View from the side yard patio - the tomato cage in the former "Eucalyptus bed" protects the Grevillea from raccoon intruders.  I cleaned up after yet another overnight raccoon assault shortly before this photo was taken.



The vegetable garden is once again bare of vegetables - nothing did well this year.  Too much heat and too little water.  I did move the Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost' from the south side garden to the bed along the garage in the vegetable garden but it remains to be seen if the tree will make it.

The vegetable garden is too depressing to discuss further, although the navel orange tree is already developing next year's crop



I cleaned up the dry garden in late August but bare spots remain throughout.  My only new additions were a Leucadendron 'Blush' and a couple of Dorycinium hirsutum.  They made it through the last heatwave so I count myself lucky there.

Still in need of serious work



That's it for this month's post.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll make some progress in the front garden and other areas before November's post.


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


27 comments:

  1. Indeed, the vegetable garden this year was a great disappointment what with the downy mildew fungus attacking all cucurbits and something dreadful that killed tomatoes, and all else, except chile peppers and very early plantings of cucumbers, stunted and flowerless and the fruit trees not getting enough chill hours. Still we can be thankful for the views and overall greenness. Something special I noticed in some of the photos are the shadows of the trees.Very nice.

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    1. I'm lucky that the property came with so many trees, Jane. I treasure even the messy ones...

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  2. What are the hurdles you have on the right side of the entrance on the first photograph?
    Will you replace some grass with gravel or paving?
    The flowerbeds are fine but it's sad when the lawn is like that.
    Have a good day
    Mariana

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    1. We pulled the grass lawn out at the front of the house because it takes too much water to keep green here, Mariana. Due to the severity of our drought, a lot of people are removing their lawns and replacing them with more drought tolerant plants, which is what I plan to do. We already have restrictions on water use here and those are expected to get stricter next year.

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  3. Wow, what a fantastic position your garden occupies ! How lovely it must be to enjoy that view every day.As far as your veg goes, there is always a brand new season to plan for and look forward to!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Jane! With water restrictions expected to increase here in the coming year (unless by some miracle we get a large dose of rain to refill our reservoirs), I may cut back my efforts to grow vegetables next year. I'll probably still grow a few - I really love eating sugar snap peas right off the vine, for example.

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  4. Always wonderful to see wide views of your garden Kris! Looking forward to seeing the changes you'll be make ng for next year, especially the spa and dry bed :)

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    1. I look forward to seeing those changes myself! First, we must finish with the drudgery part...

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  5. I love seeing the evolution of a garden. Hard work but so very rewarding. What a view you have.

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    1. The view was one of the reasons we bought the house. The potential of the garden was another, although this blasted drought is definitely shifting my original vision for the space.

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  6. I love your comment about the neighbors not noticing the brown soil is any different than the brown lawn. I often wonder what my non-gardening neighbors think of my schemes and projects. I know I wish they'd get rid of their dead lawns! At least with the rainy season approaching things will start to green up around here (sorry, don't mean to rub it in). Everything really is looking good Kris!

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    1. While quite a few of my neighbors don't have lawns (at least not front lawns), the ones that do are very green. One of my neighbors waters every day - and has the water bill to prove it. According to the local news, rates are likely to increase next year so perhaps that will change.

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  7. I can relate to your balls in the air only we refer to ours as plates like the circus act. We both have a lot of garden to take care of. All your preparation will pay off in the end. I sometimes wish I had done more of that. Thanks for a walk around the garden and all those beautiful views.

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    1. I hope the preparation will pay off, Jenny. It's certainly a slow process.

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  8. Everything is beautiful and so inviting!

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    1. I'm afraid the bare dirt is getting a bit tedious, Flower Freak - it tracks us everywhere. I look forward to the day I'm able to fill the open area with plants, mulch and flagstone.

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  9. Your garden looks wonderful. Looking at it I'd never guess your area was in a drought.

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    1. Water restrictions are still relatively limited, Sweet Bay, although I've been voluntarily cutting my irrigation usage for several months now. According to our local news, additional restrictions and penalties will be applied next year unless we get a miracle-level rain year. It's an El Nino year but current predictions are that rain in Southern California will be light nonetheless (i.e. it'll flood elsewhere).

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  10. As always, the pleasure has been all mine Kris. You are achieving a lot and I think you are moving in the right direction choosing drought tolerant plants.
    I wish I could ship you some of our climate just for a bit of respite for your plants.
    I just love all your views as you already know, I'd describe them as perfect!

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    1. Tanks Angie! Seen close up, there really are a lot of holes in the garden. And I haven't shown the slope in quite a while as, left to fend for itself, it's a real mess. I'm trying to switch out the water hogs with more drought tolerant plant selections but even drought tolerant plants need extra water until their root systems are well established.

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  11. This may surprise you, but to my New England eyes, accustomed to fall foliage and the yellowed leaves of perennial plants gone into dormancy, your garden looks lushly green. -Jean

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    1. We all see things through different lenses, don't we Jean? Maybe I need to put on different glasses!

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  12. So much work already done is reflected in your wide views. It is easy to get consumed with the daunting "still to do" list, but I hope you'll take a few moments to enjoy your successes. Here in Central Texas we are restricted to once a week watering already with water prices rising to help make the point:water is a precious resource. I'm finding using native plants is my best first line of defense in getting drought and heat tolerant plantings in place of lawn. I am sure whatever you choose to put in place of that grass will be its own reward!

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    1. My friend and I are planning to visit a couple of nurseries specializing in native California plants very soon, Deb. In preparation, I've been going through the on-line catalog of one of these. If I get serious about converting to natives, I have to do a better job segmenting my garden by water needs. I surprised myself just last week by inadvertently killing a Correa by over-watering it (while other plants in the garden are starved for water).

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  13. I always enjoy your wide-shot post Kris, you are working really hard, but I'm sure it will be worth it. The gaps aren't so obvious to me as they are to you and the front lawn removal is a wonderfully exciting project, don't feel you have to rush at it, better that you do what you feel is needed so that the plants will thrive when you plant them.

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    1. Sadly, patience isn't one of my primary virtues, Christina. My husband keeps reminding me that we need to be methodical (he's a scientist by training) but I'm still pushing the schedule.

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  14. I continue to love the look out front as you took out the lawn...and I adore the views you have...spectacular gardens too.

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