Friday, January 12, 2018

The lath house gets dressed up

Since my husband finished my lath (shade) house in late December, I've been working to dress up the outside area and, to a lesser extent, have begun acquiring shade plants to be kept inside.  I've got more to do on the outside but as I have tree trimming scheduled later this month, I'm holding off on further changes until that's done.  Careful as the crew usually is, there's almost always some collateral damage.

View of the lath house after its recent embellishments

View of the space from the other direction


The most noticeable changes to the lath house exterior are the pots on either side of the door and the window boxes.

I planted the pots on either side of the lath house door with the same materials: Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue', 2 varieties of pansies, and alyssum

And I planted the 2 window boxes with duplicates too: Heuchera 'Cocomint', Nemesia 'Sunshine', Pelargonium crispum, noID pansies and more alyssum


Other changes are less noticeable in the wide shots shown above.  I transplanted 3 clumps of Agapanthus moved from elsewhere in the garden; added 2 shrubs with large white blooms (Argyranthemum 'Go Daisy Mega White') and plugs of sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and lobelia (Lobelia erinus 'Crystal Palace'); planted a flat of creeping thyme (Thymus serphyllum 'Elfin') and spread Mexican tulip poppy seeds (Hunnemannia fumariifolia).  I also spread 5 bags of wood mulch and created an informal seating area using 3 chunks of a tree trunk.

The tree trunk slices came from the peppermint willow (Agonis flexuosa) we removed years ago to address a neighbor's concerns with perceived obstructions of her view


In general, I'm satisfied with the views from inside the lath house but I still plan to do a bit of tweaking.

This view from the east-facing window is the one I'm happiest with

This view from the lath house door is the least satisfying.  I'm planning to remove the scraggly remnants of Liriope spicata, which has never looked good but refuses to die.  I'll  probably fill in with succulents.  This area is tough as it's sloped, poorly irrigated, and plants face root competition from the Arbutus 'Marina'

This is the view from the north-facing window.  The 5 Xylosma congestum shrubs we planted in the Spring of 2016 to fill in the gap in the hedge long the street are growing very slowly but, eventually (or perhaps I should say theoretically), this area will be more secluded in the future. 


Once the laurel shrubs (i.e. the Prunus laurocerasus I hesitate to call a hedge at this point) are topped off, I'll plant the area at the rear of the lath house along the property line.

The 'Golden Celebration' rose I currently have in a large pot needs more room in a sunnier spot and I'm hoping to plant it in the corner behind the lath house.  I may also add some ornamental grasses or grass-like plants along the boundary line.


I moved my orchid plants into the lath house as soon as it was completed.  I haven't gone crazy buying plants to fill the interior space (yet) but that doesn't mean I haven't already picked up some.  Most of my purchases so far have been small-sized plants that I'll pot up as they grow, assuming that they like life in the lath house.

There are a total of 9 orchid plants on the shelves on the left.  The pots in the corner section of the lower shelf contain a Cyclamen, an Iresine, and a coleus I'm trying to help limp through winter.  Two of the pots on the upper shelf on the right contain Fuchsias delivered by mail order yesterday.  (The other pot is currently empty.)

Tucked into this corner of the space are 2 small florist Hydrangeas (H. macrophylla 'Shooting Star' and a noID blue variety), Begonia 'Escargot', 2 ferns (Cyrtomium falcatum 'Rochfordianum' and Pellaea falcata), and Fuchsia procumbens


Here are close-ups of selected plants:

Top row: Gynura aurantiaca, the hydrangeas and begonia mentioned above, and 2 ferns (Belchnum brasiliense and Microsorum diversifolium)
Middle row: noID pink Cyclamen, Iresine herbstii 'Brilliantissima', and a noID white Cyclamen with Tillandsia sticta
Bottom row: Anemone coronaria planted with Ajuga 'Catlin's Giant' and Fatsia japonica 'Camouflage' (the latter found at 50% off!)


I couldn't find perfect matches among my collection of wide shot photos to compare the January 2017 view of this area with the current 2018 view but these came closest:

January 2017 view looking west toward the street (left) versus the current view (right)

The 2017 and 2018 views from the street looking east


I'm done with photos of the lath house for now.  Even the squirrel trying to forage under the bird feeders was tired of my frequent appearances trying to catch the right angles and the right light conditions.  It's time to just enjoy the space.

Mr. Squirrel and I wish you a peaceful and pleasant weekend!



All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


36 comments:

  1. Oh, that's looking very nice! I like the path to the house and the decorations around the outside. That will be a pleasant hideaway for you on a hot day. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully, it'll be a pleasant hideaway for plants too, Beth!

      Delete
  2. Great fun garden project, and good way to be able to successfully grow a wider range of plants. My experience of plumbago is that it is monstrous in its growth and spread, so it will be interesting to see how it behaves when it's restrained by a pot. That squirrel is so-o-o cute and so obliging in posing for the camera.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That squirrel was quite annoyed by my intrusion into "his" area, Sue, and I think he wanted me to know that.

      Delete
  3. That is wonderful ! My plants that are stuck indoors on the window sill would be envious .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know, Linda. I think my plants may be suffering from whiplas. Our weather has taken yet another u-turn with the return of the blasted Santa Ana winds. Today's temperature hit 80F! I know that may sound great to those of you shivering out there but these rapid shifts are getting ridiculous.

      Delete
  4. Great squirrel portrait! And you had me nodding with understanding when I read "which has never looked good but refuses to die"...I have a couple of those plants too. Perhaps it's time to follow your lead and put them out of their misery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a little afraid that Liriope spicata is like Acanthus - once planted, you can't get rid of it no matter how deep and wide you dig but we'll see...

      Delete
  5. I hope everything that you're growing in the lath house thrives for you, especially the ones you're trying to help get through winter. Are you planning to keep the Camouflage Fatsia in the lath house for good? Or is it eventually going to get planted out in a shady spot? It looks nice and vigorous for a 50% off plant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was shocked when I found that Fatsia marked 50% off, Alison! I still keep thinking there must be something wrong with it that I can't see. It was with a group of 3 or 4 others, which did indeed look a bit beat up. This one had only one partially burned leaf so I scooped it up. I've lost so many shade plants to seasonally shifting light conditions that I'm reluctant to plant it out but if it gets too big for the pot or looks unhappy there after a while, I probably will try setting it free.

      Delete
  6. Your favorite view is my favorite view, too. It's all looking pretty darn good, Kris.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Barbara! You can probably tell that I'm still a bit giddy over the lath house - my best Christmas present ever!

      Delete
  7. Oh Kris, it is just lovely! I love Agapanthus but haven't had much success around here.
    It is really coming together so beautifully. We were just talking this morning about the winter (short as it is here...) and what a down time it is for gardeners. In a way it is nice: a good break and time to focus on other things. But oh I miss being out there, especially early in the mornings. Cannot wait!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Believe it or not, I've always sort of envied the time-out gardeners get during the winter months in other parts of the country, Libby. I wouldn't appreciate a long time-out mind you but a short break to read garden books, peruse seed catalogs, and do a little dreaming sounds nice at times.

      Delete
  8. and a lovely collection of new pots in vibrant colours to make happy new homes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd originally planned to get by with sturdy, inexpensive old terracotta pots, Diana, but I admit I've been getting a little carried away looking for fancier ceramic pots in different colors...

      Delete
  9. Starting to look quite established there! I love the color of the plumbago, so perfect a blue. That little squirrel looks like he's requesting a refill on the bird feeder or maybe an order of peanuts! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All my bird feeders are now of the "squirrel resistant" variety, not that that stops them from trying break-ins now and again. Why the squirrels bother is beyond me as the birds scatter plenty of seed on the ground. This one did seem quite indignant when I interrupted his breakfast, though, and really not at all afraid of me.

      Delete
  10. That's one bold squirrel!

    I love lath houses, and yours fills a lot of functions beautifully. Enjoy, and thanks to you and your husband for the work of designing, building, and sharing it with us.

    This one has reawakened an urge to revisit Raulston Arboretum, where I was first seized with lath house lust. The relief of stepping inside on a blazing September day was startling; I remember thinking "but it's just sticks!" On reflection, the coolness was thanks as much to the green residents as to the "sticks".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd like to tell you that that squirrel is unique but all his buddies seem just as daring, Nell!

      As I recall, I picked up images of the JC Raulston Arboretum's lath house off Pinterest when I was compiling ideas for the design. Mine was more directly inspired by the lath house at Sherman Gardens in Corona Del Mar but it's obviously on a MUCH smaller scale. Still, I very happy with it. While greenhouses have limited use in my particular area, where it never freezes, a shade house makes a lot of sense.

      Delete
  11. Kris the lath house is looking splendid! The plumago is a gorgeous plant I have many plumago plants planted in the ground as hedges, I love blue flowers. I love the shade loving plants you have inside the lath house ¿have you considered fuchsias? I find them irresitibly beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fuchsias are definitely on my list, MDN. They're not available locally at this time of year but I've received 4 of them by mail-order already!

      Delete
  12. Wow, the lathe house was virtually empty when I saw it two weeks ago, and now it's full! It looks so cheery! So many possibilities...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm already worried about filling it up too quickly, Gerhard. I probably need to be more deliberate about my choices (as if!). However, I haven't hung anything from the ceiling yet!

      Delete
  13. So pretty! I can't wait to see how it looks when it's all filled up. The views out of your windows are already gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Renee! I do need some more succulents on that slope, though...

      Delete
  14. What a fabulous structure. You are going to have one much fun dressing it up-as if you haven't already started. Your garden is a sight for sore eyes-all that wonderful green and flower power. Maybe I missed you writing about the rain but it certainly must have been a treat for all your plants. Just gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a post about the rain but my own joy over the event was substantially diminished by what happened in Montecito. Hopefully, there's some gentle rain still to come.

      Delete
  15. I think the view from the east-facing window is my favorite, too. Your lath house has really added a lot to the area. I so want a garden house! I have it already landscaped in my mind. I love your window boxes and the interior must bring so much pleasure to you! Your cute squirrel probably thinks you put all those plants in just for hime to explore. Here, we are expecting temps in the low teens this week, and all is dreary. I enjoyed seeing your blooms!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd wanted a greenhouse for ages but it's arguably of little use in this climate. I have a potting table and plenty of garage space for my garden tools so I had a hard time convincing my husband I "needed" a she-shed. But the lath house made sense to him as well as me, thank goodness!

      Delete
  16. My goodness, what a beautiful garden. I love your lath house. What a fun addition to your landscape. Has this been in the works for awhile? I'm also a huge squirrel fan, so thank you for sharing that delightful pic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I "suggested" the lath house to my husband for the first time back in June, Alys. He responded positively to the idea but it didn't get moved up in his project queue until late November. I posted on the build in late December here if you're interested in the details: https://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-lath-house-is-done.html

      Delete
  17. A lath house is perfect for your climate. It is looking great and what fun you are having with it. I have never seen such a blue plumbago.
    Squirrels are a pest, but yours is a very cute one and very photogenic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is one pushy squirrel! He just wanted me out of his way.

      Delete
  18. the Lathe house is such an exciting project Kris; well done to your husband for building it for you. You are being very restrained with your purchases (at present). I will be very interested to know how well the hydrangeas grow; I might try some under the wisteria on the terrace next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These hydrangeas were florist's varieties, intended as short-lived house plants. However, I grew 'Shooting Star' once before years ago and, as I recall, it did well for an extended period. They're thirsty plants but then that's likely to be true of much of what's going into my lath house. I'm adding hydro-gel to the potting soil mix in many cases to boost moisture retention.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions!