Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wide Shots - September 2015

This month, rather than posting wide shots of all the major areas of my garden, I thought I'd provide a visual history of one area, specifically the back garden.  We moved into our current house just before Christmas in 2010 but I didn't do much with the back garden until early 2012, when we expanded the back border that ran inside the Xylosma hedge that sits atop the back slope.  I launched into this project without taking any "before" photos.  The best I can do is to show you a photo of the back patio with a view of the lawn and the narrow border in the distance.

This photo, taken in January 2012, shows a back garden dominated by lawn with just a slender border inside the hedge


However, I did take a few photos of the area after the lawn was removed.

In March 2012, I pulled the border out 6 feet at its widest point in the middle, narrowing at either end following the general contour of the original border


By early May 2012, I had the area planted.  As I had a group of friends coming to see the garden in early June, I hustled to fill in the space.  In retrospect, I should have moved more of the smaller plants forward and filled in behind them with taller specimens.  My husband is always concerned that I'm going to block the view of the harbor but I think I could have worked in more 4-5 foot tall shrubs without doing that.

My plant choices at the time were limited by what was readily available in the local garden centers.  Many of these plants are long gone but some, like the Achillea 'Moonshine, Stipa tenuissima, and Abelia 'Kaliedoscope' are still there.


My first wide shot post in September 2013 focused on the backyard border.

In 2013, just a small bed surrounded the fountain in the foreground


My wide shot post of the backyard in September 2014 reflected a major expansion of the bed surrounding the fountain and further reduction of the lawn area.

The fountain bed was extended both outward and along the length of the pathway leading to the garden on the south side of the house


The September 2015 shot shows the same view minus one of the 2 peppermint willow trees (Agonis flexuosa) in the background.

I miss the tree, especially during heatwaves.  By comparison to last month the borders look less substantial, which is partly the result of summer-time die-back and partly due to an intensive effort to clean up the Stipa tenuissima (Mexican feather grass) in both borders.


The impact of water rationing, begun on a voluntary basis in 2014, and continued by state mandate in 2015, shows in the side-by-side comparisons of the back border.

Viewed from the left side of the backyard border, the end-of-summer garden in 2013 (left-hand photo) was much greener than it was in either September 2014 (center photo) or at present (right-hand photo) but there's a noticeable difference even between the 2014 and 2015 photos 


Next month I'll feature past and present comparisons of other areas of the garden.  My thanks again to Heather at Xericstyle for starting this meme, providing me with a pictorial history of my garden's development.


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

21 comments:

  1. Like to see before and after pictures, so nice result.
    Mariana

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    1. Thanks Mariana! It's still a work in progress (but then I suppose most gardens are).

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  2. Fascinating Kris, although the pictures certainly bring home the impact of the drought. I can understand your husband's concern about blocking the view, it really is very special.

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    1. I'm always more focused on the garden than the view but marriage demands compromises.

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  3. The photos show how much hard work you have put into the garden. I can only imagine how much fuller the plants would be without drought and strict water rationing, but it is a triumph to have any garden at all under such conditions (much less one that looks so beautiful)

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    1. As my husband predicted, I've gone overboard on the water rationing, last month in particular, so part of the damage is the result of my own stinginess. I only "spent" 55% of our water budget, although at the same time I've used more than 1/2 the rainwater I'd collected. However, our budget drops significantly this month. (I'm guessing that we must have had an errant rainstorm in August 2013 as my friends are reporting similar drops in their budgets.) At least I have what we've saved thus far as a hedge against our needs in September-October. Hopefully, the rains won't keep us waiting too long this year.

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  4. I love seeing the evolution of a garden. Thank you for posting these shots. I think you are in a good place now, with both visual interest near the fountain and a great view of the harbor.

    I will admit that I'm a sucker for Mexican needle grass. I wish I could quit it, knowing how invasive it can be...

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    1. I know the California native plant specialists abhor Stipa tenuissima, Gerhard, and I admit that it self-seeds but I consider it less of a pest in my garden than Geranium incanum and Erigeron kavinskianus or, for that matter, my arch-nemesis, Albizia julibrissin. And the less water it gets, the less of a problem it seems to me. Still, in deference to the general concern about its spread, I don't expect to put any more in and I try to remove the seedheads in a timely manner.

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  5. I remember when you expanded the bed around the fountain. It does look so much greener in the picture from 2013. The bed along the back fence of our garden has gone through several iterations too. I'm about to start a new version this fall, one that incorporates more drought-tolerant and prickly plants that I hope might help deter the raccoons.

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  6. Please report any luck you have in deterring the raccoons, Alison! Mine are back, although they haven't made the massive messes I've complained of in the past. Perhaps there's been a changing of the raccoon guard and the current generation is of a more considerate sort. (I'm leaving now to go knock wood and hope I haven't jinxed myself by saying that.)

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  7. Although this year's photo looks a bit drier than previous years, all of your hard work over that time on the layout and plantings means it looks better than ever overall. I love seeing the side-by-side comparisons.

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    1. Thanks, Amy. The progress seems slow to me but then patience isn't one of my virtues.

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  8. You've made great changes in the layout, the borders really flow around the reduced lawn, which I think you said you plan to remove. I'm sure you are right that you could have some taller plants; framing a view intensifies it rather than diminishing it.

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    1. The last of the lawn should come out by the end of this month, Christina, although I'm having some difficulty getting the landscape service to give me a specific date.

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  9. Moved in December of 2010? You've accomplished so much Kris! And I think you're right - a few small shrubs would enhance, rather than block, the harbor view.

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    1. It's harder for me to see the progress - I tend to focus on what I still want to get done.

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  10. I enjoy these gentle reports of the dialogue between you and your husband. My gardening plans and projects are also an evolving series of compromises between The Hub and moiownself.

    You've made substantial progress in both the quantity and quality of beds and bedding plants since you began work there. Restrictions be damned, everything certainly looks better now than it did when you arrived. Kudos!

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    1. My husband and I are good at compromise - we've been together since we were teenagers so we've had lots of practice. Of course, we might differ in our opinions of which of the 2 of us is the most accommodating of the other.

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  11. What a difference in just five years! One would never suggest that you're a fast woman or anything but you've certainly done a lot in that short time!

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    1. My progress should be accelerating as the first 3 years here most of my free time was dominated by family concerns but then the drought has thrown me for a loop since.

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  12. It's amazing what you've accomplished in such a short time! My parents' garden has progressed glacially by comparison. Seeing these pictures, especially the last three, I can finally understand why you've been lamenting how drought-stricken your garden is this year. The previous incarnations were more lush and full. But it still looks beautiful. And think of it as a learning process, as you determine which plants can truly live long-term in your garden given restrictions like drought. As you find more of these kinds of plants, your garden will fill in again and you'll probably like it even more than you did before.

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