Monday, December 1, 2014

Wide Shots - December 2014

I'm joining Heather at Xericstyle once again this month in posting wide shots of my garden.  Unlike virtually every wide shot post I've done since I began this monthly exercise last year, photos for this one were taken under gray skies.  But our first really significant rainstorm this season is expected to arrive tomorrow so, as far as I'm concerned, the outlook is bright and sunny even if the view is not.

As virtually all my free time has gone into work on the front garden for a couple of months now, the rest of the garden has been largely neglected, although I did get in a couple of hours of work in the backyard garden last week.

Usual view from the back door after a little drizzle

View from the backyard patio looking south with a few of my raccoon deterrents (aka tomato cages) in clear view

View of the backyard from the far left looking south

View of the backyard looking north


Both the border extending from the backyard fountain and the southeast side garden have suffered regular raccoon and skunk free-for-alls over the past month.  The tomato and upside-down gopher cages I've used in an effort to thwart them have protected the plants they cover but haven't kept these critters from digging around the cages, uprooting everything in their paths.  I generally make early morning tours of the backyard, replanting as I go.  I featured one of the raccoon rages in a November Wordless Wednesday post.  Here's a view of another bad one just over a week ago.





The raccoons don't seem to like digging in wet soil so I'm hoping for a post-rain hiatus.

View encompassing part of the side yard and the backyard

Southeast side garden, photographed from the south patio area

View of the side garden looking east toward the harbor



Planting is well underway in the front yard, at least on the right side of the pathway approaching the front door.  I'll post a detailed account of that effort separately later this week.  For now, here's the usual view of the front of the house, providing a peek at the focus of my current gardening activity.


My view of the neighbor's property across the street from the front door - they have the best fall color of anyone in the neighborhood



The vegetable garden, which I had been using as a staging ground for plants purchased for the front yard is mostly clear of nursery pots now but there are still no vegetables.

The only things left in the raised planters are perennial herbs



I've added a few succulents here and there to the dry garden but it otherwise received little attention this past month.




The slope got no attention whatsoever.  However, the neighbor's tree service crew arrived bright and early this morning and started work despite the threat of rain.  Their 3-day job will include cutting down the Yucca elephantipes that sits on the boundary between our 2 properties.  I have mixed feelings about losing the Yucca but, after expending considerable effort just to trim it back earlier this year, my husband wants it gone.  Next month's view of the slope will probably look very different (unless the rain delay throws the tree service's schedule off).

The massive Yucca is visible in the distance behind the peach tree uncovered when my husband cut back the Yucca earlier this year

View looking upward from the bottom of the slope



The Yucca won't be addressed until day 3 of the tree service's efforts.  Day one involved taking down 2 pine trees afflicted by pine bark beetle.  At the end of the first day of work, one tree is gone and work on the second is in process.

This tree was already dead

Our view expanded with the tree's removal

Second tree in the process of removal - I'll really miss this one as it partially blocked the view of the neighbor on the street below



Some garden changes are within our control and others are not.  The views next month will definitely be altered by activities undertaken this month.


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

22 comments:

  1. I really like how the back garden in pic 1 is coming along Kris. I bet it will really look terrific next year when it has filled in. My racoons don't tear things up for some reason. I don't see them around in winter either. I used to assume that they hibernate, but from what I've read they just 'lay low' during bad weather, and don't care to dig around in mud.

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    1. Oh how I wish the raccoons did hibernate, Kathy! I suppose it's not cold enough here for that. Their destruction is far worse this year than it has been at any other time in the 4 years we've been here. My neighbors have mentioned similar experiences so I guess I have to stop taking the intrusions personally. I'm wondering if their behavior is related to the drought - perhaps they're just more desperate for food than in previous years.

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  2. It's a shame the pine trees have to go. It will be interesting to see the difference in the views. I look forward to seeing more of the new garden beds at the front, and my fingers are crossed for you that the raccoons leave them alone!

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    1. I'm sad to lose the pine trees - or at least the one that isn't dead yet. So far, the raccoons have ignored the front yard - hopefully, now that I've got it partially planted, that won't change.

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  3. Naughty raccoons! But despite that and the grey skies the garden is still looking wonderful Kris! It'll be interesting what the final look will be once the trees are gone as well as the yucca patch sorted.

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    1. I have a feeling that Yucca is going to be harder to remove than my husband realizes. The tree service can't grind the stump and on-line resources mention the difficulty killing it. We could just end up with a shorter Yucca grove.

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  4. I am so jealous of your big and beautiful garden - even with your critter problems. All that space and lovely vantage.

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    1. Thanks for visiting my blog, Jess. As you may discover, I'm a big fan of Australian plants and have introduced many into this garden since we moved in but many of the lovely specimens available to you aren't offered here.

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  5. Thanks for a great tour of your beautiful garden!
    best regards
    Mariana

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    1. Thanks Mariana! The garden is coming along - slowly.

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  6. I noticed how lush some of your lawn is now Kris - what a difference that alone makes. I don't envy you those pesky racoons. I'd be tearing my hair by now!
    What a huge difference you are going to experience in the garden in the next few weeks - you'll be feeling naked ;) I look forward to seeing/reading how it all goes.
    Your neighbours autumn colour is beautiful, the envy of the neighboured I guess!

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    1. It's very hard for me to envision the vista from my home office window without that Yucca, Angie, but, in the interest of marital harmony, I'll adjust. I, for one, do envy the neighbor's fall color - I have almost none this year.

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  7. Your garden is looking splendid, and I am so jealous of the size of it! Did you get any rain? I saw on the ABC news (on BBC) that there were torrential rain and flooding issues in some parts of California. I hope your garden is OK and that the racoons keep away for a while. Pesky little things, luckily I don’t have to deal with that but the foxes have started digging in my garden again, I come out to new holes and tunnels every time I step out to the garden. Ugh!

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    1. Foxes in London! It's surprising how wildlife manages to hang in on the fringes of the urban world. Annoying as the critters are, you have to give them grudging respect.

      My former garden was a fraction of the size of yours but this one, acquired almost 4 years ago, is just over half an acre, which is relatively large by urban Los Angeles norms. I'm still adjusting to its size - I haven't quite shaken the approaches hard-wired after years of working in a tiny space but I'm working on it! We got steady rain all day but none of the torrential downpours the foothills often receive. Heavier rain is expected tomorrow but every drop helps a little to take the edge off our serious drought - unfortunately, the hard-baked soil has a difficult time absorbing that rain.

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  8. What amazing views you have Kris. Your hilltop garden is so cool with all that you've done to it. It's always sad when a tree dies. I am so glad you're going to get that much-needed rain. I hope it is enough to fill all your reservoirs. Probably not but one can hope.

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    1. I heard today that SF would need 75 inches of rain this year (5X their "normal" annual level and many more times LA's "normal" level) to fill our reservoirs. That isn't going to happen. Still, what we got helps.

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  9. Great that you are at last getting some rain, we are moving to the situation of too much! That is unusual here. Your garden is ALL looking superb, I really enjoy these long view posts. You are doing really well with all the new planting, I hope the rain deters the raccoons.

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    1. The raccoons don't seem to like the rain. Thus far, they haven't cavorted in the front yard at all, which is great.

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  10. The raccoons we get limit their visits to the compost bin. It is armadillos digging for grubs that often uproot my new plantings. Deer browsing and damage from antlering round out the critter hat trick, and I struggle not to take it personally.

    Your spaces are looking gorgeous however, and I'm thrilled you got rain without flooding or slides in your area. Will the tree service be leaving a snag for wildlife along with a few logs? Maybe grubs and other critters attracted to the decomposing wood would keep the raccoons busy and fed, well away from your plants!

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    1. The tree service is working on my neighbor's site and, based on their garden, I doubt they'll accept a woodpile of decomposing logs. However, the Yucca on the property boundary will only be cut to 2 feet - my husband intends to drill holes in the stumps to promote their decay (although, from what I hear, Yuccas are very resilient).

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  11. You have such marvelous wide views! I love your garden. There are so many different textures and colors and they work together so well.

    Are your motion detector sprinklers set low to the ground? I use the scarecrow and it has zapped the raccoons before -- although as Susan commented in your last post the raccoons may figure a way around them unless you have several sprinklers. The only other suggestion I can make is mulching with sharp gravel. When I divide my iris I have to mulch them with gravel or the raccoons will just fling the rhizomes aside and dig in the dirt.

    I also wanted to thank you for the very kind comment you left on my blog.

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    1. I meant what I said about your garden, sweetbay!

      I haven't installed the motion detector sprinklers, partly because the reviews I've read don't make it appear they'd be effective with the raccoons and skunks but also because anything using water is a bit sensitive right now. I have studded one area with sharp clay pot shards but have been thinking about adding some kind of mulch that makes digging more difficult. I've dug so much stone out of my garden beds, I'm reluctant to apply rock gravel though!

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