Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wide Shots - July 2017

When I established a quarterly schedule for my wide shot posts, I don't know why I thought that publishing photos of my garden in July was a good idea.  My garden is decidedly not at its best in summer.  While we haven't been torched by summer's heat (yet) as we were last summer, the garden is dry and some plants were singed by the heatwave that struck last week while I was out of town.  However, as I've already complained, the biggest issue at present is the mess created by the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) that dominates the back garden.  When I left for Washington DC last week, the tree had just begun to bloom.  What a different a week makes!

The photo on the left was taken just before I left for DC looking north in the direction of the mimosa tree.  The photo on the right was taken less than 2 weeks later on July 1st.


It doesn't look bad from a distance, does it?  The tree probably presented less of a problem when it was planted by some prior owner of our property in a back garden that was mostly lawn.  The mess undoubtedly would have been easier to clean up then than it is now.

The fuzzy pink flowers stick to everything.  As they dry, they turn brown but they generally remain stuck wherever they landed.  The leaf litter is also copious but at least it disintegrates as it dries.


Before I took this month's wide shots, I thought I should clean things up a bit.  The gardener with his blower didn't make a dent in the mess when he sped through the garden last week.  So I got out the big guns.

This is a Black & Decker Leaf Hog, which I think we purchased our very first summer in our current house


Frankly, I didn't make much of a dent in the mess either.  The leaf vacuum works well enough on hard surfaces but it's only partially effective when used on ornamental plants, and you can forget about using it on any fuzzy plants.  I hand-picked flowers off the kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos) and the succulents.  Half an hour later, you wouldn't know that I'd bothered.  The wide shot photos you're about to see are about as free of pink fuzz as you're likely to see for two or more months.

As usual, I'll start in the back garden.

View from the back door looking toward the Los Angeles Harbor, still partially covered by marine layer clouds late Saturday afternoon (Note: Many, although not all, of the photos in this post were taken with my old point-and-click camera as it was the closest I could grab when I realized the marine layer was lifting)

View of the back garden from the patio looking south.  I'm in the process of cutting back the Santolina virens in the foreground on the left but I'm not sure I wouldn't be better off starting new plants from scratch as it's lost its nice rounded mound shape.

Long view from the north end of the house looking south


Next up is the south side.

South side garden looking west toward the street

View from the small side garden patio looking toward the property line.  The toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) also burst into bloom while I was gone.

View of the south side garden looking east back toward the harbor.  The Clematis I cut back severely in late winter is making a nice comeback climbing up the arbor's right side but I haven't been able to get the Solanum planted on the other side to to much of anything.


Here's the view from the front of the house:

That's the mimosa tree poking its head above the rooftop

View looking across the front garden from the north side of the house to the south

View of the area between the driveway and the street.  This was the last area we cleared of lawn.  It's been slower to fill in than I'd like but I'm pleased to see that at least the woolly thyme planted under the ornamental pear tree on the right is finally taking hold.


Moving between the house and the garage brings us to the vegetable-turned-cutting garden.

There are still a few herbs in all 3 raised planters but the remaining contents are flowers.  The Digitalis purpurea I added to the first planter last winter is still blooming.  This spring, I planted dahlia tubers and zinnia and sunflower seeds in all 3 planters to provide summer flowers.  The zinnias are off to a good start but the dahlias and sunflowers have been slow to get going.


Stepping through the gate on the north side of the cutting garden brings us to the dry garden.

The guava trees have flowered and the persimmon tree has fruit (still immature).  The grape vine, obscured here, has been discovered by the raccoons, squirrels and birds.  One day I need to make a serious effort to remove the Geranium incanum that's a weed here.


A walk down the path through the dry garden takes us to the concrete stairs that lead down the steep back slope.

The photo on the left is from the top of the stairway looking down past the fig tree on the left to the lemon and peach trees in the flatter area near the bottom.  The peach tree, inherited with the garden, is more of a shrub than a tree and severely impacted by leaf curl and, as we don't get cold enough to grow stone fruit well, it should probably come out.  The area beyond the trees is obscured.  The photo on the right if taken from next to the lemon tree looking back up.


If we go back our to the driveway and walk along the street, we pick up the last two main sections of the garden.

This is the street-side succulent garden on the southwest side of the property.  The 5 Xylosma congestum shrubs we added a year ago this spring are finally fleshing out a bit behind the succulents but it's still going to be long time before they fill the gap between the existing Xylosma hedge on the left and the Aurunticarpa rhombifolia shrubs on the right.

This is the area directly behind the succulent bed.  The Dymondia margaretae I planted as a ground cover this past winter didn't get watered well enough after the rains ended so most of the area below the stacked stone wall is still bare dirt.

This last photo follows the path from the area I just showed back to the driveway.  The succulent bed I planted last November is filling in well.


That's it for this quarter's wide shots.  I'll post an updated set in October, by which time I hope both the heat and the pink fuzz will be gone.  In the meantime, I plan to dig through my photos from the 2017 Garden Bloggers' Fling and get to posting the best of what I saw during the 3+ days I spent in DC, Maryland and Virginia.


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

26 comments:

  1. As usual beautiful views!

    I feel your pain with the Albizia, really I do:
    http://www.thedangergarden.com/2017/06/just-another-windy-day.html

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    1. I'd missed that post on your blog. We share a common misery. Cleaning the falling debris out of succulent foliage is the worst of it.

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    2. My neighbour's tea tree does that. Buckets of fallen flowers in the gutters. I pick them off Thomas silky fur when he comes in. From my washing on the line. And they waft in the open windows.

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    3. I guess I should be happy that Pipig hasn't come in after one of her very brief morning excursions decorated with pink fuzz! Pink is NOT her color.

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  2. But July is such a good month to test your theories of planting and design, the crucible month, you might say. And I think your gardens are doing splendidly, pink fuzz or no pink fuzz.

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    1. Yes, it did occur to me that a record of the ugly is also valuable. The pink fuzz is rapidly turning brown as our temperatures climb.

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  3. Fabulous views as always! And nothing beats good old fingers to do those fine jobs :)

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    1. And the fingers were hard at work early this morning, while the temperatures were still on the cool side.

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  4. Beautiful! -- and this is your garden "not at its best"? (I still have agapanthus envy.) -Jean

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    1. You ought to visit SoCal in early summer sometime, Jean - there are Agapanthus in bloom wherever you look!

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  5. You really have some interesting and complex plantings Kris. It looks amazing.

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    1. It's funny, Susie, but sometimes all I can see is the litter and the bare spots but the garden has filled out a lot in the past couple of years.

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  6. I think your garden looks beautiful - yes, even in July! I think you have the same resignation about the pink fuzz as I have about the brown, leathery Magnolia leaves that steadily and incessantly drop. Sigh... still love that tree, though, but I will never ever have a tidy looking front yard for more than an hour or two after hours of raking.

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    1. Thanks Anna. I have Magnolia grandiflora leaves and petals dropping in my front garden. I clean them up every morning and, if it's windy, sometimes in the evening too!

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  7. What a wonderful garden tour....what a wonderful garden.

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    1. Thanks Noelle! As you can no doubt tell, my climate is very different than yours!

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  8. A beautiful Garden and very inspirational to those who - like me - live in warm climates. Greetings from Argentina.

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    1. We share warm temperatures, MDN, although I suspect you get much more rain than we do. My summer garden struggles with the dry conditions, which will persist until winter arrives. Thanks for visiting!

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  9. Pink fuzz or not, a beautiful garden from all angles.

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    1. Thanks HB. I sometimes find it difficult to love my garden in the summer, especially during a heatwave.

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  10. It may be dry, but your garden still has lots of great texture, silver, gold and red color. Sorry about the sticky pink mess. That must be so annoying!

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    1. I was lulled into a false sense of complacency about the mimosa tree as it produced far less litter during the last couple years of the drought. It's returned to its former messy ways now but the increased rainfall was still worth the pain of the increased litter.

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  11. So I have to ask, have you considered giving the Mimosa the heave-ho and replacing it with something cleaner ? It's a beautiful focal point though I must say. Your garden looks quite splendid in my opinion-mid-summer is rough.

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    1. I have thought about removing the mimosa tree. In fact, I think about it every year around this time when its litter-fest is at its peak. However, I fear that its removal would destabilize the entire back slope as the tree sits on its upper edge. Instead of removal, I've begun wondering if a pergola stretching over the back patio might be helpful in managing the mess.

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  12. Your garden just looks better and better with every wide shots post! Everything looks lush, green and healthy, not an easy task in your summer climate. Must be a very skilled gardener's wise plant choices.

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    1. And the fact that I don't show any incriminating close-ups, Peter! ;)

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