Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wide Shots - April 2015

My garden is sunnier in this month's wide shots.  No, this isn't due to the weather - in fact, we've had fog every morning this week.  Removal of one tree (discussed here), trimming of other trees and foliage, and the sudden demise of a section of hedge in the front garden is letting in more sun.

The change is most pronounced in the backyard border, where a tall Agonis flexuosa was removed in mid-March.

The photo on the left shows the back border on March 1st and the one on the right shows the same area on April 1st

View of the backyard looking south toward the remaining Agonis

Photos of the backyard, looking north toward the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin), which is just beginning to leaf out

2 views of the backyard from the north, looking south


The mid-section of the back border has been replanted, although I haven't decided if I'm satisfied with it yet.  After great suggestions from commentators, much deliberation, and a round of several nurseries and garden centers, I selected Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' to fill the vacancy left by the tree.  The Callistemon, only 3 feet tall now, will reach 10 feet at maturity, not tall enough to become a source of any future complaints on the part of my neighbor about her view of the harbor.  However, it'll be a few years before the area fills in and additional tweaking is likely.

Two-thirds of the plants in the mid-border were in the area before or were moved from nearby sections of the back border.  New plants include the Callistemon (shown in close-up on the lower right), 3 Digiplexis and 2 Salvia 'Wendy's Wish.'


The area on the south side of the house experienced relatively few changes, although it too is getting a bit more light due to the thinning of trees at the front of the property.

The usual view of the south side garden, looking through the arbor toward the harbor

Other views of the south side garden


The area I call the "glen," which sits below the south side garden and next to the street, is a lot sunnier. Two of the neighbors south of us cut back their foliage and we, too, trimmed hedges to eliminate obstructions to the views of the neighbors directly across the street.

From left to right: path from side yard down into the glen; the area looking to the upper level; and the recently pruned hedge material


I've filled in more of the blanks in the front garden area.  Everything is filling in nicely.  I've lost only one of the plants I put in after the front lawn was removed.  However, as mentioned, a large section of hedge died off suddenly this month, leaving a gap on the upper level.  As I'd already lost one of the shrubs along the street, this has left what was a relatively private area of the garden exposed to the street.

The usual view from the driveway looking at the front door

On the left: a view of the bed on the left (north) side of the front walk; on the right: the 'Joseph's Coat' rose that grows up the chimney just outside the frame of the photo on the left

Photos of the garden beds on the right (south) side of the front walkway, viewed from 2 directions

These photos show the gaps left behind by the loss of a large section of Ceanothus hedge on the upper level and removal of the dead Auranticarpa rhombifolium along the street.  I'm currently leaning toward filling the gap along the street with another Xylosma shrub, expanding the existing Xylosma hedge (visible on the left in the photo on the far right).


Circling around the house to the north, I still haven't done much with the vegetable garden.  My Coriandrum (cilantro) and lettuce are bolting in response to the intense heat we had in March.



Like the south side garden, the dry garden on the north end of the house hasn't changed much, except that the grapevine and deciduous trees have leafed out.



More plants are blooming every day along the slope.  Carpenteria californica surprised me by blooming this year.  Centranthus ruber and Oenothera speciosa are flowering but are weeks away from reaching peak bloom.

From left: the view of slope looking down from the stairway behind the dry garden; the view of the area looking up from the bottom level; and a view of the boundary between our property and that of our neighbor, showing the 3 Pittosporum tenuifolium I planted in February


That's it for this month's wide shots update.  My thanks again to Heather of Xericstyle for getting me started with this exercise.  In the future, I'll be moving to a quarterly overview of the entire garden, while perhaps featuring reviews of specific sections of the garden in between.


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

28 comments:

  1. It's amazing isn't it how removal of certain plants can have such an impact. Still your garden is looking amazing as always!

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    1. I'm having a hard time getting used to the change in the backyard border. With new mandatory water restrictions going into effect, I'm now also concerned with possible difficulties in getting the new plants established.

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  2. It’s always sad to see tall, majestic trees gone, but it is also an opening for new things. I have a callistemon too, but it is growing in a pot and not very big yet, I suspect the pot is restricting its growth and it hasn’t flowered yet, mine is Callistemon rigidus. Good luck with yours, the flowers are lovely.

    As always I am stunned by the amount of plants you have and the size of your garden – and the view!!

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    1. I'm trying to see the positive, Helene, but with our drought entering a severe phase and mandatory water restrictions going into effect, taking down trees just seems wrong to me. I hope my city will see the folly of enforcing its view ordinance where that means removal of trees we may not be able to replace.

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  3. What a bummer about your section of hedge dying, I wonder why. Your garden is looking wonderful, despite the changes, and the heat.

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    1. Ceanothus have a reputation for being short-lived. In the wild, they're said to last 10-15 years but exposure to summer water, poor drainage and soil amendments in a garden setting can shorten that period. They also react badly to any hard pruning and I did cut back a segment of that shrub that died last year. I'd estimate that my Ceanothus hedges are more than 10 years old and, thus far, I've lost 3 segments. I can only hope the trend doesn't continue.

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  4. The Callistemon sounds (and looks) like a wonderful choice on all counts. Love the Joseph's Coat (note to self: climbing roses do not need winter protection here, so why not grow some...??) You use ornamental grasses so effectively in your borders! And now here's hoping my comment will post - my internet connection has become tempermental for no apparent reason...

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    1. You should definitely try a climbing rose, Amy. My 'Joseph's Coat' climber is probably the happiest rose in my garden despite getting relatively little water or attention.

      A lot of people are having trouble with posting comments this week - let's hope that stops soon!

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  5. Politics and weather make especially bad bedfellows when it comes to growing things. Your garden is looking lovely for the moment, enjoy the primrose gearing up, they are doing the same here. Aww, we are having a garden moment... : )

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    1. Late March and April are usually the pinnacle of flower activity here, Deb. Last month's heatwaves knocked out some flowers ahead of schedule but we're not down for the count yet. My Primula obconica got blasted in the March heat so I'm guessing that the flowers you're referring to might be the pink Pelargoniums in the front border? They have a primrose-like look but the advantage of being heat and drought tolerant.

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    2. You referred to your oenothera speciosa, yes? Those are commonly called pink evening primrose here and ours are just getting started opening blooms this week.

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    3. Of course! It didn't click when you mentioned primrose so I looked through my photos and, not seeing any, I didn't make the connection with my comment. The Oenothera isn't as prolific as it was last year but I was glad to see some of those pretty pink blooms mingling with the rosemary on the slope.

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  6. A pity about your hedge. Ceanothus suffers from sudden death here too, but here it is frost that kills it. The drought there must be a terrible problem. Your garden is looking fantastic as usual with so many wonderful exciting plants to enjoy.

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    1. According to what I've read, Ceaonthus usually live only 10-15 even in the wild and, in cultivated gardens, their decline may be expedited by too much irrigation and fertilizer, or even excessive pruning. I've lost 3 of these shrubs in the past year and my guess is they're at least 10 years old, if not older, so it may be simply that they're approaching the end of their natural lives. It'll be sad if I lose the rest, though - I'm sure they were all planted at the same time.

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  7. I read about the drought restrictions today and immediately thought of you. What you've done with the front garden is amazing and I know you've used many drought tolerant plants. It will pay off now. I just hope they've had long enough to get themselves established.

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    1. I'm already anxious about the new water restrictions, Jessica, particularly as we haven't heard any details as to how the baseline for individual restrictions will be established. We voluntarily reduced our usage last year so I hope the new mandatory restriction isn't based on last year's water use. Many of the plants I put in this past fall and winter are still going to need additional water to make it through our summer, especially if March's heatwaves are any indication of what we face there - most need a year's time before their root systems will handle drought conditions.

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    2. it's going to be based on 2013.

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    3. That's good to hear! Or as good as news like this can be. Thanks for the update. Maybe my husband and I can put off our discussion about moving to Oregon...

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  8. I love the wide views of your garden - it is so charming and it's great to see everything looking so healthy. I hope the new water restrictions don't impact your garden too much over the summer. That 'Jospeh's coat' rose is really stunning!

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    1. As I mentioned in response to Jessica above, I am nervous about what challenges the summer will bring, Matt. My "new" plants still need some more time to settle in. I think I'll have to move up plans to take out the rest of my lawn too - it's already shabby as it hasn't received any of the extra water it wants but I suspect it's condition is going to get far worse.

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  9. Your garden is looking really good right now Kris - best viewed as a slide show. Your hard work is really paying off and I do hope that all your new plant choices work for you.
    The rose is spectacular and the textures of foliage are incredible. You deserve a huge pat on the back for what you've both achieved.
    Like others have said, I hope the new planting doesn't suffer before they've had time to get their feet down.

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    1. Thanks Angie. My husband and I are already strategizing about how best to deal with the water situation. As he's a scientist by training, he's collecting data on the various sources of our water usage. Meanwhile, I'm preparing to order another truckload of mulch and trying not to freak out about the possible effect of the new water restrictions.

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  10. Replies
    1. Thanks Hoover Boo! I'm short on roses, though...

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  11. You should be very proud of your beautiful garden!
    Enjoying your photos.
    Have a great weekend
    Mariana

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  12. It's a shame about the agonis, but I'm sure the callistemon will help you forget it. On the bright side, your garden looks really great, and seems to have filled in a lot since I saw the last wide shots. Your grasses at the front are so lush, I love them.

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    1. With implementation of new water restrictions here, Amy, I've gotten angry all over again about pulling out that Agonis to accommodate my neighbor but, hopefully, the Callistemon will settle in quickly to withstand summer's dry, hot days.

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