Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wide Shots and Wednesday Vignette - February 2016

I'm late getting my monthly wide shots together.  I could blame complications from the wind and rain earlier this week but the truth is I've just been pressed for time.  However, taking photos on Monday, the day after it rained and the winds scrubbed the skies of our omnipresent brown haze, reaped benefits in the form of clear views of the harbor and mountains.  As the haze has already returned, I'm including photos of Monday's long-distance views from my backyard as my "Wednesday Vignette," the weekly meme hosted by Anna of Flutter & Hum.

Crystal clear view of Angel's Gate, the entrance to the Los Angeles harbor

View of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the harbor, and Long Beach beyond

View of the snow-capped mountain to the east


Now for my monthly wide shots of the garden, an exercise initiated by Heather of Xericstyle, I'll start in the backyard.

There's still lots of bare dirt here, the down side of starting with small plants

View of the backyard, looking north

View of the same area, looking south

Promising signs in the backyard include, from the left: Alstroemeria reemerging; foliage growth on the Amaryllis belladona, graciously provided by Tammy of Casa Mariposa, providing the promise of summer flowers; and Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid', which has more than doubled in size in less than a year


The south side garden is up next.  I moved the Acanthus mollis and Arthropodium cirratum from this area, giving the plants a new home the shadier area along the garage.  I back-filled with more succulents and ornamental grass but the area will look sparse for awhile.  After fighting constant battles with the raccoons for possession of the area alongside the patio, I traded out the smaller succulents I had there for Hemerocallis moved from the back border in the hope that those plants will be harder for the furry monsters to toss about.

The area looks sparse now but, as I add more succulents and as the ones I've already planted grow larger, this will change

The same area, photographed looking east toward the harbor

One day, all my Agave 'Blue Glow' should look as good as the one on the left.  The middle photo shows a few of the smaller Agave 'Blue Glow', one of 3 Aloe dorotheae, and Echium 'Star of Madeira'.  Three pups of Agave americana mediopicta, received from Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden, have been planted here, currently surrounded by prickly Magnolia cones to provide a modicum of protection from the nasty raccoons. 


Not much has changed at the front of the house, except in the area alongside the garage, which was the subject of a progress report late last month.

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', Gazania 'White Flame' and Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' are providing most of the floral color at the front of the house

The wind and rain took a toll on the Bauhinia x blakeana (Hong Kong orchid tree) but it should come back with more blooms

My favorite view this month

Three views of the former lawn area next to the garage, which I covered in an earlier progress report.  Planting here is currently my primary focus.


The succulent bed along the street underwent a few changes but, for the most part, it's been allowed to cope on its own.  However, the area behind that bed, now exposed to view as the Auranticarpa shrubs that formerly served as a screen die off, has received some attention.  I'm still in search of solutions to screen this area from the street.  I don't want to pull out the succulents, which would be necessary if I was to plant more of the Xylosma that makes up the rest of the hedge material along the street, and I don't want to block the path behind the succulent bed,  so finding the right screen poses a real challenge.

The succulents love the rain they've received, little as it was!

Clockwise from the left: Agave impressa surrounded by noID Dudleya and Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'; more Agave 'Blue Glow', shown here with Chondropetalum tectorum, a rush; Agave desmettiana surrounded by Aeoniums and other succulents; the foliage of Hippeastrum I'm attempting to naturalize here; and one of 2 Agave 'Blue Flame'

These photos show something of the area behind the succulent bed.  Since 2 of the dying Ceanothus on the slope above the stacked stone wall were removed, I've planted a Garrya elliptica, 2 Salvia 'Celestial Blue', Festuca californica, and lots of Aeonium cuttings.


There's nothing much new in the vegetable or dry gardens.

Chicken wire has kept the raccoons out of the raised planter in the foreground but my flower seeds have been slow to sprout.  Plugs of Schizanthus pinnatus (aka poor man's orchid) have been planted in the second planter and a few more herbs have been added to the third.

The rains have refreshed the dry garden a bit, as exemplified by all the flowers produced by the rosemary (lower left) but the Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola', which usually are in full bloom in January, are only now budding out


While I haven't done much with the back slope either, there are signs that the area is starting to come alive, even with the meager winter rain we've received thus far.

View of the slope from the top of the stairway on the left and from the bottom looking up on the right

The highlights of this area include, clockwise from upper left: 3 Agave attentuata, started from 4-inch pots last year; the bare mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) looming over the area from the backyard area above; Calla lilies emerging from dormancy; Centranthus, a virtual weed here, growing everywhere; more flowering rosemary, originally planted from plugs; and a mass of lemons on the ever-bearing tree


That's it for my wide views.  Hopefully, we'll get some more rain before El Niño fizzles out.  The 10-day forecast shows no chance of rain whatsoever but our temperatures are expected to soar into the low 80sF (27C) by the weekend so spring will be in the air while we still yearn for winter's rains.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

35 comments:

  1. SO NICE!! I could tell right away how clear the air was. The views are truly to die for. As is your garden in general.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since this drought took hold, we've had precious few smog-free days here. It was a true joy to see the clear skies - it almost made up for the disappointment over the piddly amount of rain we got on Sunday.

      Delete
  2. I have ... lemon envy.
    I rather like your garden at this promising, space to fill, stage.
    Ours seems to have leapt straight to No Room, No Room!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I inherited that lemon tree, Diana, but it is amazing! It has fruit all year. I regularly pass bags of lemons to friends and still have to put out buckets of lemons in the driveway with signs offering them for free to all takers a couple of times each year.

      Delete
  3. Spectacular as always! And, the view is nice too. I'm crossing my fingers that you get more rain before winter packs its bags.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll be resorting to rain dances soon...

      Delete
  4. Very beautiful, especially your favorite view. It's pretty amazing how quickly some of your succulents have grown...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even I was surprised by those 3 Agave attenuata at the bottom of the slope - last summer I didn't even think they were going to survive but they look great now.

      Delete
  5. I always love seeing wide shots of your garden. It must be so nice to not have any more lawn. I love the Dudleya and Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' combo, and all your blooming rosemaries are gorgeous. Maybe now that I've finally managed to keep rosemary through a winter in my own garden, I'll get to enjoy some of those beautiful flowers soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Dudleya looked horrible in late summer when they were in a semi-dormant state so I was pleased to see how well they'd fleshed out after a bit of rain. Rosemary is tough as nails here, Evan - I almost have too much!

      Delete
  6. When you post the wide shots, I always realize anew how much space you have to fill! :-) I love all the colorful foliage you have going on--very pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting rid of the remaining lawn gave me a tremendous amount of new space, Emily. The big problem is that pushing the borders out necessitates moving a lot of the smaller plants forward - I'm spending half my time in the garden just relocating plants (and the other half toting rainwater about).

      Delete
    2. Yes--exactly! I've had this recurring idea about shrinking my front lawn and/or turning it into a small gravel oval and then the encircling beds would be that much bigger and I'd pull most of the elements forward and add a spine of taller and bulkier evergreen shrubs snaking through at the back. I know just what you mean :-)

      Delete
  7. I think your slope is even steeper than mine. But at least it is tidy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid it doesn't look as tidy close up as it does in the wide shots...

      Delete
  8. I'm in love with your garden and view! Your space is so full of great plants and fab blooms for your Monday vases. Wunnerful, wunnerful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny but I virtually ignored the view when we were making the decision about buying the house - the garden was the thing for me! The view got bonus points from my husband though, which tipped the scales in the buy direction.

      Delete
  9. I love that you show pics of your garden in wide swaths - it is stunning! You are a talented gardener. Is it completely xerophytic or do you have soaker hoses or some watering system, particularly for the raised veg beds?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We inherited a sprinkler system with the house, Eliza. There were a couple of sections on drip and soaker hoses and we've extended these systems to other areas since moving in but the climate does necessitate regular irrigation, at least during the dry season. During our rainy season, the irrigation system is off unless we have an extended dry period. I have 3 rain collection tanks and try to use my accumulated rainwater as much as possible between rainstorms. However, that's very labor intensive and, as a high pressure system has been keeping the El Nino rains from SoCal for most of this winter, I've had to run the irrigation system a few times.

      Delete
  10. Gotta love the 5 days a year you can see the mountains ! I can report regular and nicely spaced rains here in Norcal. Bet your view is killer at night .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The night view is best in my personal estimation, Kathy. We have an Independence Day party each year in the backyard, where we can see dozens of firework displays from near and far.

      Delete
  11. I am always amazed at your views, with both the ocean and the mountains in the distance.

    Your garden is looking wonderful - with all of the work you've done putting in drought tolerant plants, it doesn't even look as though you're dealing with a drought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Changing my plant choices and taking out all of the lawn has helped me live within my monthly water "budget" (as dictated by the local water district) but I was counting on those heavier El Nino rains to help my new plants settle in this winter, Sweet Bay. Sadly, rain of any kind is looking less and less likely.

      Delete
  12. There is so much to take in and enjoy in this post. I love the way the thyme weaves around the stepping stones and I wonder you don't use more actually in the borders, there are lots of different varieties some are taller and would create great ground cover without claims on your water. In the raised vegetable beds I notice that you have hoops, these would be ideal covered with shade/wind netting to protect tulips if you did want to try them again. As always the view is amazing, I don't know how you get any work done at all with a view like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I originally planted a good portion of my dry garden in taller 'Pink Chintz' thyme, Christina. It looked good for 2 years then it didn't but perhaps I didn't cut it back as hard as I should have. Anyway, that experience has led me to limit its use largely to the areas around the flagstones, which is still a LOT of area. Netting the tulip bulbs is something I may try, although it's an open question as to whether any netting can stand up to our Santa Ana winds.

      Delete
  13. You have been working non-stop it appears--that whole back area is so different than when I visited. Looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the aches and pains to support that conclusion. I look forward to seeing it fill in.

      Delete
  14. Gorgeous shots of your garden and the spectacular view on a clear day.You have worked so hard and with what results! Everything looks fabulous. I can see why you love succulents so much, if they would survive outside here I would be growing lots too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, for more clear skies like those! They didn't last long.

      Delete
  15. As if your views weren't impressive enough, you've also got snow capped mountains! You've got an incredible place there. The garden is looking great, and even though you can sometimes get impatient seeing bare dirt, starting small is more rewarding when they finally take off I think. And they seem to be more resilient through the heat and drought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do believe in starting plants small whenever possible, Amy, but I also admit to some frustration about the time required for them to fill out.

      Delete
  16. I can see why views are cherished and protected in your area! I always enjoy wide shots of your garden and feel humbled by your artistry and hard work. There is so much to see and enjoy. I am jealous of your lemons; one must have a greenhouse to grow those here. I do hope you get some more rain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, there's no rain at all showing in the 10-day forecast. I'm hoping for another "March Miracle" like we had in 1991.

      Delete
  17. Kris, it's a lovely garden! I'm certain we'll receive more rain soon to alleviate your, and all of our in Southern California's drought fears. What you've created is so beautiful and boy, what a view! When the trees fill in a bit, it will be a perfect sanctuary... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I hope you're right about the rain, Caroll! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. However, with apologies to bona-fide commentators, due to a significant increase in spam, I've eliminated the option to post comments anonymously.