Sunday, February 1, 2015

Wide Shots - February 2015

It's February 1st, which means it's time to post wide shots of my garden, as I've done since September 2013 when Heather at Xericstyle kicked off this monthly exercise.

My front garden is filling in, although blank spaces remain here and there.  This is due to a lack of design inspiration in some cases and an inability to secure plants on my wish list in other cases.  I expect that most of the vacancies will fill up quickly once spring arrives and new plants flood the nurseries.

As I've pruned the shrub roses and Cuphea in the front borders, you can now see the newly planted area beyond from the street


The climbing rose to the far left of the front entry is the only one left to prune


Rounding the house clockwise from the front yard leads us to the vegetable garden, where I did finally plant up one of the 3 raised planters.

The sugar snap peas I planted from seed came up but were quickly nibbled to nubs by something, along with the lettuce I planted from 6-packs - only the Cilantro and sweet peas were left alone

The main draw in the vegetable garden are the citrus trees anyway.  Although the squirrels and raccoons have been picking oranges from the lower branches, there are still plenty left up higher.



The Grevilleas, Leptospermums, Leucadendron, and Osteospermums are all blooming in the dry garden, as is one out-of-sync daylily.


Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' is blanketed in flowers and Hemerocallis 'For Pete's Sake' thinks spring has arrived


The path through the dry garden takes you down to our back slope.  My husband and I spent a LOT of time there in January after the tree service was done grinding the stumps of the Yucca elephantipes that stood at the border between our property and that of the neighbor below us.  Our efforts aren't readily apparent in my photos and it remains to be seen how successful our attempt at remediation will be.

View from the top of the stairs down the slope, looking into the neighbor's property

Our neighbors agreed to my proposal to create a new screen between our properties using 3 Pittosporum tenuifolium but getting these planted proved difficult for reasons it would take an entire post to explain.  Although I added topsoil and compost, I remain concerned about how these 3 plants will fare sitting in an area filled with decomposing Yucca debris.

The view looking back up the slope's stairway


The beds created to the north of the back patio are filling in nicely.

View walking from the dry garden on the northwest side of the house toward the main backyard patio


However, there are gaps throughout the back garden.  The return of the daylilies will fill some of these but I think I also need to swap out some of my perennials for shrubs to provide more structure.

View looking toward the harbor, partially obscured by fog


View looking back toward the northwest


While taking this series of photos, I realized that there was more light coming from the southeast than normal.  Scanning the horizon, I discovered that the neighbor 2 mailboxes down had given his trees a severe haircut (the first in the 4 years we've lived in this house), leaving us a view of the street instead of trees.

I preferred the former view of the trees to watching pre-teens skateboard down our road


The overall appearance of the southeast side garden hasn't changed much.





After working on the back slope, my husband and I had little time or energy to give to the "glen" facing the street but seedlings are popping up along the slope to that area so nature is doing some work for me.

There's more light in this area since the trees next door and 2 doors over were trimmed

I removed a half-dead Ceanothus from the slope and pruned the roses, opening this view up a bit

From left to right: Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis,' inherited with the house; my new succulent cutting bed; Limonium transplants with volunteer seedlings of what I believe are probably Osteospermum


Lastly, here are this month's photos of the street-side succulent bed that lies just outside the glen.

The Pittosporum on the left is targeted for removal but the fate of the others is still undecided


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. Everything is filling in so nicely! Same animals here causing problems; only sweet peas and cilantro left, cilantro may be too strong for them and sweet peas are poisonous; rats not squirrels got the oranges, biggest, juiciest in years. Mutabilis is my favorite rose, does great here, doesn't it? All your work, concern and care is really showing. Repeat after me: Garden looks fabulous, garden looks fabulous.

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    1. Thanks Jane! (I do tend to see what's missing rather than what's working.) I was seriously considering taking out R. 'Mutabilis' before the neighbors cut back their overgrowth and I suddenly began seeing more flowers on the rose. They have never flowered like some specimens I've seen but maybe this is a turning point.

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  2. Kris, you have created a gardener's paradise; it would take all morning to give a proper tour! And you have enough projects to keep you happily busy for the foreseeable future. I hope the Pittisporum tenuifolium prosper in their new home. I do enjoy seeing your long views. I can imagine the pleasure they give to you.

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    1. I have to keep in mind that I can't possibly accomplish all the projects I have in mind in one year, Deb - last year's effort to clear the lawn in front nearly put both my husband and me in traction before we were done. However, patience isn't one of my primary virtues.

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  3. Oh, I did enjoy this detailed walk around your garden. It's beautiful! I hope your Pittosporum do well. I can understand your hesitation to plant them into soil full of decomposing Yucca debris. I had a similar problem when I took out two big trees and replanted a couple of years ago. I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees in that area, cleaning up the enormous chunks of stump debris and thick, still intact roots that had snaked everywhere in the bed, as well as trying to work compost into the soil.

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    1. I spent a good portion of one day just trying to clear the Yucca debris, Alison. While I cleared out the big chunks, I found the Yucca sawdust almost impossible to deal with. There's too much of it to easily haul away for one thing. And you can't rake it or even easily pick it up with a shovel. Only a small portion is dry - the rest holds water like a sponge. It smells bad and, to complicate matters, the remaining soil down there is heavy clay riddled with ivy roots. I'd planned to move the Yucca sawdust aside to decay, filling the entire area with good topsoil and compost but the Yucca root system made it hard to even dig holes for the Pittosporum. My husband dug 3 extra large holes (breaking the steel portion of a large shovel in the process!) and I supplemented the soil before planting but that was the best I could do.

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  4. Great tour! I fear I've asked this before, but here I go again. Can you actually see the area where you planted the Pittosporum from your house or garden? I seems (to the way I've got your property laid out in my head) that you can't. Which would also mean all those charming plants you've planted along the path are also hidden from view?

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    1. No, we can't see the slope from the main level of the garden. I didn't even know that portion of the garden existed until the day we had our pre-sale home inspection. (There wasn't a pathway through what is now the dry garden when we bought the house.) That makes the back slope sort of a secret garden, albeit currently one all too visible to the neighbors next door.

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  5. A delight to see wide shots of your garden as always Kris! Any plans of modifying the planting of the area that now gets more light after your neigbour's tree hair cutting stint or you'll stick with your existing plans? Hopefully the Pittosporums won't mind the decomposing yucca debris.

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    1. With one possible exception, the plants I originally added to the slope should be okay despite the increased light they now receive. (I moved some that got too much sun during the peak summer months last year.) There's a good sized peach tree down there but it's growing at a slant due to years of trying to catch rays of sun around the Yucca but I'm going to see if I can coax it into bearing fruit - if that doesn't work, I may remove it and see what else I can find for that area. I'd like to plant the area on our side of the 3 Pittosporum but I think I may have to wait a while for the Yucca muck to decay. The sloped area above the Pittosporum needs remediation too but, again, work is difficult until the Yucca mess decays a bit - the ivy may also take over the area on its own. If I had gobs of money, I'd love to get the whole area terraced but I've yet to find an extra $100k lying around (and my husband reminds me that I have plenty of level garden space to work with at the moment).

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  6. I see what you mean about the back slope, especially near to your new boundary planting.. It's very steep. I wonder if we can get crampons on Amazon?

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    1. Doesn't Amazon sell everything? I just checked and, yes, we can order crampons through Amazon. Even properly equipped, though, I'm afraid I'll break my neck climbing up there. Still, those weeds are really bugging me.

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  7. Kris I cannot get over your views and the views of your gardens...just stunning and veggies....of course I swooned at the citrus.

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    1. Arrival of the oranges is always a joy here, Donna. Of course, this year, the raccoons and squirrels are really giving us a challenge to get the fruit before they do!

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  8. Your garden looks fantastic -- just like springtime. Except for the daylily, that looks like summer. lol The Bauhinia tree is gorgeous. I'm sorry if I've asked you this before, but what kind of camera do you use?

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    1. The camera is a Canon PowerShot (ELPH 110 HS). It's a few years old now so there may be upgraded versions.

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  9. Looking great as always, Kris. What is it that's growing around the stepping stones in the side garden? Does it take a lot of water to stay that green, and do you need to trim it back around the stones?

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    1. That's creeping thyme, Thymus serpyllum 'Minus.' It grows only about an inch (2.54 cm) tall but spreads readily. It took extra water to get it established but it's doing fine now on a once a week sprinkler session. It will creep over flagstones but it's easy to cut back. I put 4 flats of it in the front yard between the flagstones there - it may be a year before it looks as it does in the side yard.

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  10. As always I love seeing these long views of your garden, such a shame the Heather doesn't host any more. Where the view has opened up to the road, you could add a couple of medium sized shrubs and you would block the view very quickly because you are much higher, then you wouldn't have to worry about what the neighbours do.

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    1. Yes, that's a good idea. I do like the extra light, though. Maybe it's a spot for another airy Pittosporum tenuifolium - I saw one with yellow variegation I liked when shopping for the 'Silver Magic' I put at the bottom of the slope.

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  11. Kris - remind me - what is that ground cover you are using between the stones on that walkway that leads around through the southeast side garden? It is certainly working well and so lovely! Interesting that your neighbors' periodic trimming efforts have changed yet another one of your views, at least temporarily. Just when you think you have a spot figured out, somebody trims a tree and boom. Game changer. And like everyone else, I will hold a good thought for your yuuca gunk planted pittosporums. At least it sounds like they won't get too dry over the summer months?

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    1. I've got creeping thyme, Thymus serpyllum 'Minus,' planted between and around the flagstones in the side yard - and more recently put in 4 flats in the front yard, but they'll take awhile to get that dense. Re the tree trimming, it's virtually continuous in this area - you hear chainsaws going somewhere in the area almost every weekday. According to another neighbor, the one who just gave his trees the severe haircut does this about once every 5 years. Re the Yucca gunk, I'm wondering if that area will ever dry out - Yucca might make a good soil additive to preserve soil moisture, although the texture is pretty disgusting.

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  12. I know I don't need to tell you just how much I enjoy seeing your garden like this. The greenery and those citrus fruits!!!!! Amazing.
    I was going to suggest a couple of shrubs in the gap to hide the skateboarders, I can see that they would work. Christina beat me too it :)
    I wonder if the other neighbour caught the tree chopping bug!

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    1. Tree trimming is a major enterprise here. During the week, you can hear chainsaws going somewhere in the area more days than not. During the weekends, the do-it-yourselfers go at it. It is a high fire risk area, though, so I guess it's good that people keep things trimmed back. The guy who took out our Yucca stump told my husband he thought all our trees were overgrown, even though I had about 2/3rds of them cut back last year.

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  13. You have created such a beautiful, serene garden! I love the Bauhinia tree in the first few photos. Hopefully the 3 Pittosporum that you planted should be fine; although Yucca mulch is particularly spongy, no matter how much compost you mix in. I imagine the main trick would be to avoid them drying out this summer, and then they should be fine...

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    1. Thanks Matt! I'm hand-watering the Pittosporum for now in an effort to avoid getting the Yucca sawdust any wetter - I wonder how many years it's going to take to dry out? In its current soggy state, I can't even rake it. ;(

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