Saturday, March 12, 2016

After the Lawn: A Progress Report

You may recall that we removed the last sections of lawn this past fall.  The process of remediating the soil in preparation for planting carried the project well into the winter months.  I started planting the area alongside the street at the front of the house in January and, although tweaking will continue ad infinitum, I'm declaring the project complete.

Here's what the area looked like in late January:

The succulent area in the distance was mostly planted but the area along the driveway was still relatively bare


Here's what the area looks like now:

I've finished planting out the area along the driveway, although the plants I've used are mostly small specimens that will take time to fill the space

This photo shows how the new area relates to the borders surrounding the front door in the distance


Turning around in the other direction, here's a closer view of the the intersection between the flagstone path and the railroad-tie/gravel path used to move our garbage bins to and from the street.

The area beyond the gravel path is planted mainly in succulents

About half the succulents in this area are cuttings from my garden and a friend's garden.  The 3 small Agave attenuata on the upper right are cuttings from the larger specimen on the left, which I inherited with the garden.

This photo of the same area was taken from a "doorway" entrance through the hedge adjacent to the street.  In addition to the succulents (described in my January post), I planted some bearded Iris (moved from elsewhere in the garden), plugs of blue fescue (Festuca cinerea 'Festina'), and alyssum. 


I haven't even tried to count the plants I've put in.  I've used cuttings, divisions and transplants where possible but I've acquired lots and lots of new plants too.

The Acanthus mollis on the left is one of 2 I moved from elsewhere in the garden.  The next two photos show Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga Lilies) I divided from large clumps in the south side garden where they got too much sun.

New plants grown mainly for their foliage include, clockwise from the left: Dianella tasmanica 'Yellow Stripe' (2 plants were divided to create 4), Abelia x grandiflora 'Confetti', Asplenium x Austral Gem, Aucuba japonica, and Iresine hybrid 'Blazin' Lime'

New plants grown for both foliage and flowers include: Arctotis 'Opera Pink' and Heuchera 'Palace Purple', Ajuga genevensis, Geranium maderense, Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' and Rhodanthemum hosmariense

Plants added primarily for their floral color include, clockwise from upper left: Cistus saivilfolius 'Prostratus' (aka sageleaf rockrose), Geranium 'Tiny Monster', Pericallis hybrids in shades of blue, and groundcover Prunella grandiflora 'Freelander Blue' shown with annual pansies


For some reason, I've accumulated a lot of garden ornaments in this area.  They're a little intrusive at this point but, as the plants fill in, I hope they'll become less so. 

Clockwise from the left: The concrete cat my husband bought me for Christmas years ago (he'd be happier if Pipig was also made of concrete); the smiling face I brought from our old house; a wine barrel placed in an area under a tree which would otherwise be impossible to plant; a small birdbath; and a hanging ornament that spins in the wind


Everything is settling in nicely, aided by two good rainstorms just this week.  At the moment, everything is looking up in the garden.

A rainbow appeared over the harbor after yesterday's storm dropped almost half an inch of rain



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

37 comments:

  1. Your new project is looking wonderful even with the baby plants. At maturity it will be spectacular and that rain will help settle everything in. I say perfect timing.

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    1. I'm hoping the rain extends into April but, after a dry February, I'm happy with what March has given us.

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  2. You won't know what to do with yourself this year.. But seriously, very well done. It's been a huge project and it looks marvellous already.

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    1. I've already started on the mini-slope facing the street on the south end of the property but I don't have any major projects in mind after that unless - yikes! - I try to tackle the back slope!

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  3. Lovely! I appreciate you showing how you used a lot of plants, even if they are small. It reminds me that I shouldnt just buy one of each. :)

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    1. For years, Renee, I'd buy one of each plant on the premise that I was experimenting to see what worked and what didn't. After moving to this house with its bigger garden, I slowly started buying in groups of 3, then 5. Now, I frequently buy 7 or more plants of the same type, especially if I can find them in smaller sizes.

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  4. Kudos on finally getting rid of all the grass in your garden. It looks good now, but when it all fills in and the plants mature, it's going to look wonderful!

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  5. Woo hoo for rain! I think everything looks in-cray-ah-blay (You have to say this with a French accent.) Love everything!

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    1. Every time you post pics of your flagstone paths, all I can think is "WANT! WANT! WANT!" Of course, I'm not sure where I'd put them, but such a small detail.... ;o)

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  6. Hi Kris, the newly planted area looks really, really good! That was a lot of work and I am always amazed how fast your are moving forward in developing your garden.
    I am curious to see how the bearded irises are doing for you. I had a quite a bit of trouble with mine, but now that I am fertilizing them and also slightly acidified the soil around the bearded irises they seem to do better. Mine were actually blooming this winter!
    Love the blue Pericallis hybrids!
    Can't wait to see how everything is growing in!
    Great rainbow photo. Isn't it wonderful that we finally got some rain here in Southern California? My garden looks so refreshed right now, it is a joy to see.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Very few of my bearded Iris have bloomed in the past 2 years, Christina. I've blamed the lack of rain - although these Iris are drought tolerant, they do need water during their growth period and our limited rainfall left mine thirsty. However, many of mine were also in need of dividing and mulch may have covered more of the rhizomes than was advisable so I may have hampered flowering by my own inattention as well. I replanted the Iris in the area shown in this post in January (i.e. much later than recommended) so I'm not counting on blooms there this year.

      The March rain has been wonderful (even if it still doesn't live up to the expectations we had of El Nino). We had a little drizzle again late this afternoon and I'm hoping for more tonight!

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  7. Wow you have been so busy. You timed it perfectly getting so much into the ground right before some decent rain--a wonderful reward for all your effort! I got 'Tiny Monster' also, pretty little plant, don't you think?

    We got almost 1 inch from the three storms combined, not a huge amount, but the plants seem happy.

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    1. I love 'Tiny Monster'. I was warned that it can be aggressive (as indicated by its name) but it hasn't proven to be so yet.

      I'm very happy about the rain too. We've received a little over 1-inch since last weekend. While not anywhere near drought-buster status, it's been welcome.

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  8. Those baby plants are so full of promise! Everything looks good already and will only get better as it matures.

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    1. My fingers are crossed that their promise will be realized, Evan!

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  9. All that plus rain and a rainbow...good job!

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    1. It's funny - I was thinking that, after that rainstorm, there should be a rainbow and looked out my office window and voila!

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  10. Tiny Monster? What a name!

    It is rather satisfying to be able to fill fresh space with cuttings from overcrowded plants, and move the grumbling plants to somewhere happier. You can see (and hear) the plants heaving a sigh of relief - this is nice!

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    1. 'Tiny Monster' has a reputation of being an aggressive spreader but I have several others and haven't seen evidence of that (yet).

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  11. What a gorgeous display you have in store. During our drought I often found the surviving plants grown from the smallest starts were toughest. Perhaps because they established a deep root system as a starting point?

    I take to heart your advice about buying and planting in multiples. I spent years "experimenting" with polka dotting singleton plants. Your spaces provide all the proof needed of your wise approach.

    Finally it occurs to me how amazing it will be to have this complete chronicle of the evolution of your garden spaces recorded as the years roll by. You've put a lot of effort into this as well as into your garden. Well planted and well done!

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    1. A record was one of the main purposes of the blog when I started, Deb. It's the connection with other gardeners like yourself that was the joyful surprise.

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  12. Looking good...and I loved seeing the rainbow....more rain too...wow that is good news!

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    1. And a 20% chance of a little more this evening, Donna!

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  13. So glad you had some rain - love the rainbow! Your plantings look great and I can just imagine how beautiful everything will look when it fills in. Lots of hard work there - kudos!

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    1. Thanks, Eliza! My husband is due a lot of the credit for helping through the tough soil "remediation" phase.

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  14. Wow! The rainbow is a beautiful, happy ending after a good rain! I am, as always, impressed by the amount of planning and work that goes into your garden. I appreciate the long views that show how the different areas relate to each other. Regarding Abelia x grandiflora 'Confetti', this is a plant I loved and planted along the sunny edge of the woodland garden. Unfortunately, within three years it had lost almost all of its variegation. It was a disappointment, but I still have it because I like the blooms.

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    1. It's interesting that 'Confetti's' variegation disappeared like that, although I admit I've seen variegation fade in other plants. As variegation is generally created by a virus, I guess that means that your plants are really healthy!

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  15. The first thought that popped in my head: I wonder how many new plants that is? It has to be an insane number. And your climate gives you sooooo many choices.

    What a transformation! One for the books, for sure.

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    1. I don't think I want to count the number of plants, much less tally the cost. I used a LOT of multiples - 10 Arthropodium divisions, 18 Heuchera plugs, 3 dozen Festuca plugs...

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  16. So glad some rain finally visited all your hard work. That's such a great feeling. I managed to seed some spinach and peas before the rain hit Sunday.

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    1. I got in some seeds too - for California poppies. I envy you the peas. I'm going to miss my sugar snap peas this year but the blasted raccoons and skunks have dug through my veg beds so often that planting seeds and even starts there seems impossible.

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  17. Your plant choices look wonderful, Kris, it will be interesting to see how it all fills in. Many are things I can't grow, but I had to smile at the Prunella, the wild form is quite a weed here, but useful because the seed spikes are a Chinese medicinal and I collect them for tea. Geraniums are my favorite groundcovers up here, especially those that spread by seeding and take over whole beds from the weeds. I love all the purple flowers grouped together.

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    1. Prunella is new for me but my Sunset garden guide claims it will grow in my zone (23/24) so I'm trying it as a groundcover. I haven't grown Geranium maderense in years but it did well in my former garden so I hope it likes it here too.

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  18. The picture with the rainbow is spectacular!

    So glad you got some much-needed rain. I love all of the different textures you have going on with the new plantings. They complement each other very well.

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    1. The rain was VERY welcome. The rainbow was the cherry on top.

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