Friday, May 1, 2015

Wide Shots - May 2015

As I mentioned last month, I'm altering my approach to my monthly wide shots post.  This month, I'm focusing on the front and southeast side garden areas.  Despite 2 heatwaves in March and another this week in which temperatures in our area have been stuck in the mid-90sF (35C), the front garden is holding up and continuing to fill in.

The beautiful blue sky doesn't tell the whole story.  It's hot and very, very dry.

The area to the left of the central walkway, occupied by lawn this time last year, continues to fill in nicely

This area behind the roses in the front right foreground, all the way to the trees in far background, was also lawn in May 2014

This is the same area, viewed from the other side.  The thyme continues to spread and the variegated Ceanothus griseus horizontalis has begun to creep but the Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' looks much like it did when it was first planted - if my other 'Cousin Itt' hadn't behaved the same way, I'd be worried.


The adjoining southeast side garden has undergone a few changes, although they may not be readily evident in these first 2 photos.

The usual view through the arbor looking toward the Los Angeles harbor

The usual view of the side garden from the patio

My third photo reflects the changes I made.  I found 3 more of the Solanum xanti I've been looking for and snapped them up, replacing an Osteospermum, Euphorbia and Pennistetum that had failed to thrive in the area in the foreground on the left.  The Solanum I planted in the backyard in November have done well and I can only hope that these California natives can get established before the heat gets worse.  The plastic bottle you can see in the photo is one of 3 attached to funnels that slowly drip water into the root system of my new transplants.  I also moved 3 Agave 'Blue Glow' from the bed in the background and placed them in the center of the bed on the left, surrounding them with Crassula radicans, moved from the same area, Lavandula augustifolia and Seslaria caerulea.  It was bad timing on my part given the heat we experienced this week but I expect its the last of the spring planting I'll do this year.

The newly planted area is on the left


 The last major change is this one:

Our new 165 gallon rain collection tank, not yet hooked up to the gutter system

It's not especially attractive and it'll probably get no use until the next rainy season begins in November or thereabout but I'm hoping it and another 265 gallon rain collection tank, currently on back-order, will help make a difference in next year's garden.

That's it for this month's wide shots.  My thanks to Heather of Xericstyle for starting me on this monthly exercise.


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

37 comments:

  1. Wow - I can only hope that my garden will have filled in anything like as well by next year! It's impressive what you've been able to accomplish, and all during some very difficult weather!

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    1. I think working the soil in that front area prior to planting really made the difference, Amy. We added topsoil, as well as soil amendments, to improve drainage prior to planting. I now wish we'd done that throughout the entire garden.

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  2. Just shows how succesful your planting is, looks lovely, green, and lush despite being very dry there. Your wide shots are always a treat!

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    1. Thanks! I'm nervous about the challenges summer will bring - predictions are that we're going to have a hot one.

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  3. Dear Kris, yikes, in your area it has even been a little hotter lately than in ours! Since you are closer to the ocean, I always assumed that you might be a little cooler, than we are here in inland San Diego.
    Your garden looks simply fantastic! It is truly amazing how much all the plants have filled in within a year or so. You must have been working so incredible hard to recreate your garden, I always wonder how you have been able to do it all in such a short period of time. I love the green/chartreuse colored containers that you have placed in your side garden. They pick up the colors of some other plants so nicely.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
    Christina

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    1. We're on the hot/dry eastern side of the peninsula, Christina, and unfortunately we don't get the ocean breezes directly off the ocean the western side enjoys. Taking out all that lawn last year and the soil preparation prior to planting made the difference but it was exhausting. I was hoping to leave the remaining lawn until next year but now we're going to jump back in.

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  4. A brave move to plant and move things around in those temperatures and with restricted water supply. Having said that it's not stopped me from doing the same and even in our lesser temperatures I've had to watch things wilt a bit before they can get their roots properly bedded back into the soil.

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    1. The Solanum, a California native, and the Agaves should be fine but the lavender and grass was a dicey move, especially with the early heat but the alternative was to leave the area bare until fall, which felt like an open invitation to the raccoons to trawl through my garden...

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  5. All the new areas are looking great! Kudos on getting the rain collection tank. I'm starting to wonder how hot it will be in a few weeks when we come down to LA for our vacation.

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    1. Temperatures are expected to cool down dramatically beginning tomorrow, Alison, and we should stay cool next week but I don't know what the longer-term forecast is except that it's unlikely to rain! In any case, I hope the weather will be good for you.

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  6. Oh, now I understand. The rain collection tank is attached to the gutters. I don't have gutters except over the porch and that drains into the ground on the lower terrace. You could paint it or wrap it with bird net and let a vine grow up it.

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    1. As soon as we loaded it into the truck I started thinking about what we could do to disguise the ugly thing while still giving me easy access to the water. Luckily, the 265 gallon tank on order will go behind the garage.

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  7. Hard when there are so dry!
    But your garden looks to be fine!
    It looks great
    What good that you bought a water tank that can be used for watering.
    best regards
    Mariana

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    1. I hope the rain collection tanks will help, Mariana. I already had one rain barrel but it only held 50 gallons of water so it didn't make much of a difference.

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  8. Oh, how I love wide views and a stroll garden.

    You can always put a bucket in your shower and save your bath water for new plantings. I did that when we lived where there were water restrictions.

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    1. Yep! We're trying to reclaim every drop we can, Jean. Even the water used in steaming vegetables is dumped back into the garden (after it cools, of course).

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  9. It's all filling in nicely now Kris and your selection of plants that will cope have helped enormously I think. I do have to say that here in Scotland we take water for granted and struggling to reclaim as much as you can means you will need to be inventive I suppose. That and the other water tank should make a huge difference to you next year Kris.
    As usual, loved the monthly look at your garden.

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    1. We're doing what we can, Angie, to retain water moisture in the soil, capture rain water and reuse the waste water generated by our usual household activities.

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  10. OH! Rain tank, rain tank! Yes, I do get very excited about rain tanks. Our most immediate home project is a patio we hope to start soon, and then next it will be gutters and rain tanks, rain tanks! Please let us know how it works out in a future post.

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    1. I'll do that! We'll have the capacity to capture up to 465 gallons of rainwater once all the tanks are in place. A cistern would be better yet but that's a lot more money (if we could even manage to find the right spot for one).

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  11. Your garden looks great in spite of the drought! You've made such a big difference for the better in the front yard.

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  12. I am betting you'll get so used to seeing your rain tanks - and potentially be so grateful for the water once they fill. There are all sorts of creative ways folks have camouflaged tanks. I'm sure you'll come up with something inventive before long and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    Everything looks really solid, even in the early heat. Not only that but it is so well designed - so attractive both florally and with foliar interest. You've chosen wisely and as things fill in more, the increasing biomass will help even out soil moisture and keep your microclimate cooler. Every bit helps and you're setting a wonderful example. Your neighbors are fortunate to have you leading the charge, Kris. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Some of my neighbors have confessed to checking out my front garden during early morning walks with their dogs, which is flattering. While many of my neighbors are lawn-free (at least in their front yards), there's still a lot of grass - it'll be interesting to see if some of that goes. I'm also hoping that people start covering their pools when not in use.

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  13. The wide views are always great! The rainwater tank doesn't look too bad - and, given how important a role it will start to play in keeping the garden alive, it's a case of form following function :-) I've seen lattice screens put up around these things and then climbers used to cover them so they completely disappear :-)

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    1. I'll set my husband to the task of creating something to screen the tank once we've got the work of setting up the roof gutters and removing the remaining lawn behind us - I'm sure he'll come up with something clever.

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  14. Rain barrels are life-savers! Even here on the moist east coast, I have five barrels that can hold 356 gallons of water. I have one hooked up to a soaker hose to keep a few shrubs moist during dry spells. I love that you're lawnless. I love those flagstone paths. :o)

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    1. I have high hopes for my rain tanks! My really big tank is still on back-order but it should arrive well before we get any more rain.

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  15. Beautiful views Kris, so hard to imagine all the lawn you had just a year ago!

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    1. Now, I just have to get rid of the rest of that lawn and lay more stone pathways, which is a rather daunting prospect as summer is already getting an early start here. Planting will have to wait until fall, though - our hot/dry weather is already making it difficult to get anything established.

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  16. Kris, I always enjoy your wide shots. You have done a lot of work, and the results are fabulous. No one would know there is a drought by looking at your garden!

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    1. The drought's impacts will become more obvious soon enough, Deb. The remaining lawn areas are rapidly turning brown.

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  17. Your removal of the lawn and replanting are truly inspirational Kris, I hope many people see this and realise that they, too, could have a garden that uses considerably less water and is more beautiful than any grass. Well done, I know it was hard work but so very worth it!

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    1. Thanks Christina. There's still a lot more to do and I expect the new water restrictions will increase the challenges.

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  18. Does the tank have a monitor on the outside so you can see how much rain has been collected? It's raining here now (Thurs, 8:30 p) but I don't expect it to amount to more than a trace if that.

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    1. The new tank has nothing as technical as a monitor, Jane, but it has notches to reflect the number of gallons and, as the tank itself is an opaque white, you can see the water inside (something we need to deal with as the sun exposure may lead to algae formation). The early morning rain we received (2am and 6am) Friday delivered 20 gallons of rain water to the new tank. Another barrel, set in the backyard and also attached to gutters on the house, delivered another 50 gallons.

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