With what's reputed to be the most powerful storm of the season to hit Los Angeles in the offing, I took a spin through the garden to see if there were any tasks I should take care of before it arrived. In the process, I took photos of whatever foliage caught my fancy for this month's Foliage Follow-up post, hosted by Pam at Digging
I started on my neglected back slope, an area easily overlooked because it's largely invisible. Accessible only by a narrow (and steep) stairway of concrete blocks hidden behind a hedge, it's easy to ignore and, since the area was severely impacted by a horrific heatwave on the first day of summer last year, spending time down there has been more of a chore than a joy. Cooler temperatures and the winter rains have done more than my poor ministrations to improve its appearance and there are now quite a few things to smile about.
|The Agave attenuata I planted 2 or 3 years ago looked awful this past summer but they're looking great now. One has even produced 2 pups (not visible in this photo). The Euphorbia 'Dean's Hybrid' and Pelargonium 'White Lady' I planted have spread nicely. The noID Iris germanica I moved from elsewhere in the garden look better than any of the Iris I have in the more carefully-tended areas of my garden. Only the Carpenteria californica here (upper right) still looks terrible. I pruned it in the hope of giving it a fuller, more pleasing shape.|
|The lemon tree was badly impacted by June's heatwave, dropping two-thirds of its fruit virtually overnight. The rest rotted in place until I removed it. It recovered well with extra watering through the remainder of the summer and the rains have also given it a boost. It's loaded with immature fruit now. Below it are some plants I inherited (Zantedeschia aethiopica, which die back each summer but return with our winter rains), others that moved in on their own (Centranthus ruber), and some I planted (Seslaria 'Greenlee's Hybrid' and Stachys byzantina).|
|Beyond the lemon tree, closer to the property line, there are more Calla lilies, some just beginning to flower; more self-planted Centranthus; a Romneya coulteri (aka Matilija poppy) I planted last year (upper left), which is fleshing out nicely after the haircut I gave it several weeks ago; and lots of California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) seedlings. I bemoaned my inability to grow California poppies in a post a month or two ago but the rains have finally germinated some of the seeds I spread in this area so I may get a crop after all. The raccoons like to dig here so production is still lower than I'd like but it's a start.|
|Other foliage highlights on the slope include the almost florescent green moss I've shown before (which I guess isn't really foliage but I hope you'll humor me); an artichoke, which also dies down to the ground in summer but returns annually during our rainy season; and a close-up of some of my lovely poppy seedlings|
Heading back up the stairs from the bottom of the slope brings me to my dry garden. Just a couple of things grabbed my attention there.
|Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey', the first one I planted and still the largest and most robust, now about 5 feet tall|
|Two of my many succulent pots. The one on the left with Agave titanota 'White Ice' as its centerpiece was recently spruced up with the addition of Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'. The one on the right is newly planted with Sansevieria parva and noID succulents that appear to be some form of variegated Kalanchoe.|
The front garden contains a lot of foliage plants but most of them have received plenty of attention in prior foliage posts. However, two vignettes drew my attention on my pass through.
|Phormium 'Maori Queen' enveloped by Euphorbia characias 'Black Pearl' |
|The same Phormium viewed from the other side of the bed with Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash' to the left|
Moving down the dirt path that runs parallel to the street behind a Xylosma
hedge to an area below the main section of the front garden, I spent a good half hour pulling seedlings of yet another of my hedges, which consists of Prunus laurocerasus
(not shown). While doing this I discovered a mystery vine, which has clearly sprouted and been encouraged to spread by all the rain we've received this season.
|I wondered if it could be a passionflower vine but the way it's spreading (as shown on the right scrambling up the oleanders that run the length of my neighbor's driveway), I fear it could be a morning glory. In my former garden, I learned the hard way how difficult it is to manage a morning glory growing in the ground. Any guesses? The leaves are smooth, not pleated.|
Back up on the main level of the garden in the backyard, the Xylosma congestum
hedge is still the most compelling foliage feature but I already gave that its due in last week's Wednesday Vignette (which you can see here
). However, there were a few more foliage plants that drew my eye.
|Leucadendron 'Jester' with Melianthus major, which a cut back to the ground a few weeks ago|
|A noID succulent (perhaps a Crassula?) in a deep red color|
|Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star', which looks best growing up through another plant (like Ageratum corymbosum here), which hides its bare legs|
That's it for my foliage highlights this month. Visit Pam at Digging
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