Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wide Shots - April 2017

It's time to share wide shots of my garden on my current quarterly schedule but, as I'm so excited about how well my garden is coming together in early spring, I probably would have inflicted a series of photos on your even if it wasn't on schedule!  That's not to say that the garden is perfect - it's not.  It's filling in well, although there are still plenty of holes, mostly left to allow space for existing plants to mature but a few just waiting for the right plant.  There are also plants that are clearly unhappy, which I need to move and replace with something that I've yet to discover, but that's all normal in the world of gardening, isn't it?

Okay, this is a photo-heavy post so we best get started.  I'll begin, as I usually do, in the back garden.

We've had quite a few partly cloudy days, perfect for taking photos.  This is the view of the back garden from the rear door, looking out at the Los Angeles Harbor.

Back view from the patio looking south

This is the view of the backyard looking north.  The Albizia julibrissin (mimosa tree) in the distance won't leaf out until June.  The border area in the foreground on the right needs work - the Grevilleas I added there in 2015 haven't grown much and don't look happy despite my efforts to lower the soil's pH so I think I'll need to move and replace them.

View of the backyard from the far north end of the house looking south


Proceeding clockwise around the house from the backyard leads us to the south side garden.

View of the south side garden looking west in the direction of the street.  The area on the left was largely comprised of succulents but over the past year I've mixed in more evergreen shrubs and perennials.  One of the most recent additions, just barely visible on the left, is my long coveted Metrosideros collinia 'Springfire'.  I hope to keep it on the smallish end of its projected mature size so as not to block the view of any of our neighbors; however, I should note that the only neighbor who has ever expressed a problem with my garden departed last week (finally).

View from the small patio on the south side of the house looking out toward the entrance to the harbor

View of the south end garden space looking toward the backyard.  I cut the Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) that grew on the right side of the arbor almost to the ground and, for awhile, I thought I'd gone too far but it's now producing vigorous new growth.  The smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple') I planted to the right of the Clematis is leafing out too.


Just past the arbor, there's a bark mulch-covered path that leads down into an area adjacent to the street.  This is surrounded by a moderate downward slope, bounded by a dry-stack wall, which my husband and I extended last year.

View of the area looking west toward the street.  The winter rains gave the Dymondia margaretae I planted from flats around the stepping stones a good start.

View from the street level looking back at the house.  The plants in the area above the rock wall extension on the right are doing almost too well.  I'll probably need to thin them out a bit.

The northwest end of the dry-stack wall was replanted last November after the dying Ceanothus hedge was removed.   Last week I added Leucospermum 'Goldie' here in front of Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'.


The path shown above brings one to the driveway at the front of the house.

This is a slightly different view of the front of the house than I've provided before

View of the front garden looking south


The area on the west side of the driveway sits between our detached garage and the street.  This is where we removed the last of our lawn in 2016.  As you might expect, it's also the most sparsely furnished with plants.

Most of the plants here are still small.  Some, like the Dianella tasmanica 'Yellow Stripe' (right foreground), also get more sun in this partially shaded area than they'd like and may require replacement.


Back in the driveway, once again moving clockwise around the house, we head in the direction of the vegetable garden, now used mainly as a cutting garden.

The climbing 'Joseph's Coat' rose on the front chimney is just starting its spring bloom flush

The Matthiola and Digitalis in the raised planter in the foreground have been disappointing.  The Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule) in the center planter are in full swing.  Most of the sweet peas in the rear planter have buds but only a few early bloomers have produced flowers.


Stepping through a gate in the fence at the back of the cutting garden (just out of view on the right in the preceding photo) leads one into the dry garden.

I've done a lot of pruning and clean-up in the dry garden in the past month but I don't think it's readily evident in this photo.  The 2 large Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' are now bloomed out.  The 2 guava trees are producing fruit and new leaves and the persimmon tree and grape vine have begun leafing out.


The gravel path in the dry garden leads to a cement block stairway down the steep back slope. When the temperature suddenly soared to 106F on the first day of summer last year, the back slope was particularly hard hit, partly because I'd cut irrigation in that area severely in response to our drought, funneling the water available to us to other, more visible areas of the garden.  Our heavier-than-normal winter rains have helped the area recover somewhat.

View looking down toward the bottom of the slope.  The pine trees in the distance are in the garden of our neighbor on the south side.  The cleared vegetable beds beyond the hedge on the left are part of another neighbor's garden.

View looking back up toward the dry garden.  The upper area of the slope above the concrete block stairs is the one that causes me the greatest consternation.  That area is covered in ivy and honeysuckle - and weeds.  Ideally, it needs to be cleared and replanted with something else, perhaps ornamental grasses.

This is the bottom of the slope looking toward our property line, which lies just beyond the 3 Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Magic' we planted in 2015.  The lemon tree (just out of view on the right) has recovered from last year's heatwave and is once again laden with fruit, although none of it is ripe yet.  The Calla lilies returned, boosted by the winter rains, and the California poppies (Eschscholzia californica 'White Linen') came up well from seed scattered at intervals during the fall and winter.


The only major area of the garden I've missed in my clockwise circle around the house is the succulent bed adjacent to the street on the southwest side of our property.  It hasn't changed much.

The 5 Xylosma congestum shrubs we planted last spring to continue the hedge of the same material on the left are slowly growing but I think we have years to go yet before the gap left by removing several sickly Auranticarpa rhombifolium is closed.  Most of the succulents planted along the street took winter's heavy rain in stride, although my pretty Agave 'Impressa' isn't looking so good.


That's it for my quarterly wide shots post.  I'll be back with another round of wide shots in July.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

33 comments:

  1. Your garden is looking so beautiful and lush after your rain this winter. I'm relieved to hear that Albizia leafs out late. I planted a chocolate mimosa a couple of years ago and I've been worried I might have killed it through neglect last year, since it hasn't shown any signs of life yet. We'll see. Would that slope be a good spot for Agaves and more succulents, given slopes have such good drainage? Also, you do realize you buried the most important info in this post in one of your photo captions? Your despised neighbor's departure deserves its own celebratory post!

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    1. I was on my way to meet friends when I saw the moving vans at the neighbor's house and almost reversed course to go get my camera but, after the high of realizing that chapter is indeed over, I decided it was best to just begin letting go. The new neighbors have already moved in - it appears to be a family that I hope has better things to focus on than pitching fights over foliage.

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  2. I love these broad views of your lush, after-much-needed-rain, garden. Today I am admiring your restraint in maintaining your own view with the low plantings in back. There's nothing boring or unvaried, which is what I would feel if asked to maintain a certain restriction on height in part of a garden. There are height variations, beautiful textures and great plants. Kudos!

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    1. Well, to be honest, Tim, if it was entirely up to me, you'd probably see some taller plants in that back border. However, not only do we remain concerned about not blocking neighbor views of the harbor (especially after we already took out 2 trees to accommodate such concerns), my husband also prefers an unobstructed view from his favorite living room chair.

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    2. Well, I'm still impressed because it looks pin perfect and not missing anything!

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  3. What a beautiful garden, Kris!Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks Anca! It's a work in progress.

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  4. Well congrats on the new Metrosideros 'Springfire', and double congrats on losing your neighbor(!!!), and triple congrats on how wonderful your garden looks!

    The Pittosporums in the back are growing very well. Hopefully your neighbor on the other side of them is pleased with the screening.
    Where is 'Wilson's Wonder' again? Is it to the left of 'Josephs Coat'?

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    1. Yes, the larger of the 2 'Wilson's Wonder' Leucadendron is to the left of the climbing rose. I cut it back several weeks ago after the cone "flowers" had faded. It should produce another flush of red foliage for summer - that usually peaks in August. My smaller 'Wilson's Wonder' doesn't show up in this series of photos - the view of it on the south side of the front garden was blocked by the Magnolia tree.

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  5. Looking magnificent, full of texture and interest and colour.
    What a deep sigh of relief to be rid of Ms Treehater at long last!

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    1. I'm glad the neighbor was able to sell her house at last and move on to the next chapter in her life. I'm also glad that I no longer have to worry about being ambushed while working in my own front garden.

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  6. Ding Dong the wicked witch is gone! Yay! I'm so relieved for you.

    As for your garden, wow. Just wow. It looks so amazing, all your hard work has really paid off. I also appreciated this tour and your many photos and slightly different angles. I really felt like I was walking around with you.

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    1. One day we'll do the walk-around in real life, Loree!

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  7. Everything looks stunning, Kris! I love wide angle shots of gardens. I remember a few years ago when much of your garden was newly installed. Garden goals for me, for sure.

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    1. As the lawns were removed in stages, some areas are still have relatively new plantings, sue, but they're coming along. I'm still learning about what plants work where too.

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  8. Thank goodness that someone threw water on your neighbor and she melted away! Your garden is glorious, such intense color and that blue sky (I think I remember something like that) makes everything pop! The amount of work you've done is impressive. Love your garden!

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    1. Thanks Peter! As you know, work in the garden never ends.

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  9. You've put so much work into it Kris and it has amply repaid you. That and the rain. It's good to have some gaps. Otherwise what would we do with all those new plants that we absolutely have to have?

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    1. All too true, Jessica! And it's prime plant buying season too.

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  10. It's been a great spring for gardens, hasn't it? We've even had some local fog again. I'm so glad that unhappy chapter is now closed, Kris. Your garden looks like it's celebrating too!

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    1. The fog's been nice, although I expect we don't benefit from that as much as you do. My fingers are crossed for rain tonight but the projections seem to drop every time I check the status of the storm.

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  11. Your garden is looking really fantastic, Kris! I've always liked the thyme plantings on the paths, but they've filled in and they are looking even more amazing. Spring does a SoCal garden proud, doesn't it?

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    1. Our gardens are at their best in early spring I think, Emily, and the winter rains gave us a major boost this year. We have a chance of light rain tonight but our rainy season is, for all practical purposes, over.

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  12. I love your wide views, and what a pleasure it must be to be able to capture so much lush beauty in your garden. -Jean

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    1. It's a useful exercise for recordkeeping purposes too, Jean! I used to post monthly views but that was too much.

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  13. Phenomenal garden, Kris! Great texture and color, what a lot of effort you have put into it. Lucky neighbors you have, wish I was one who got to look upon it everyday - and hurrah for the removal of the evil witch! ;)
    Even though many parts are 'young,' I can imagine how incredibly beautiful it will be in a few years. Exciting to anticipate!

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    1. I'm wondering what my back slope will look like in a few years, Eliza! Will it look much the same, or will I have finally bitten the bullet and have overhauled that vicious upper slope?

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  14. Kris, your garden is exquisite! I am in search of a beautiful garden area for a low budget music video, I would love to know if you are interested. Please e-mail me at madlyinfo@gmail.com Hope to hear from you soon! Best, -Hope

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    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment, Madly! I'm sorry but I don't want to open my garden for business purposes. I hope you find the right venue to fit your needs. If you're in the South Bay area, you might want to check out the South Coast Botanical Garden as a possible setting. I know it's sometimes used for film production purposes.

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  15. Your garden looks stunning in April !!!
    Have a nice day
    Mariana

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  16. What a wonderful garden you have Kris! Looks like a full-time occupation, but what rewards it brings are clear from your vases each week!

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    1. The garden has involved a lot of work in the past (on both my part and my husband's!) but now that all the lawn has been dug up and the emptied space has been planted, all that's required is maintenance, which isn't too time-consuming.

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