Work started in the back garden.
|The peppermint willow (Agonis flexuosa) was nicely laced and the plants below should benefit from greater sun exposure|
|The 2 strawberry trees (Arbutus 'Marina') still have enough flowers to keep the hummingbirds happy while giving my husband the view he wanted from the spa|
The big ticket item in the back wasn't so much a trim but rather tree surgery. Three large limbs of the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) were removed. Since I scheduled the tree surgery back in November, the tree sprouted new foliage here and there, months prior to its usual schedule. This week, when the arborist and his crew showed up, I asked if the growth signified the tree's decline or if it was simply a response to the yo-yo weather conditions we've had this winter. While the arborist couldn't answer that definitively, he said he's been seeing trees behave oddly all over this year. He did a quick check for signs of the shot hole borer, an insect that's currently causing a lot of problems in Southern California, but he didn't see any signs of that. I gave the okay to go ahead with the surgery.
|The tree's shape looks better to my eyes and my hope is that the removal of the 3 large limbs will diminish the litter dropped by the tree, especially over the patio|
The rest of the trimming, all in the front garden, was relatively straightforward.
|The ornamental pear (Pyrus calleryana) was lightly thinned|
|As was the Magnolia grandiflora|
|The strawberry tree (Arbutus 'Marina') in the front was also thinned, giving more light to the plants below|
Of course, there was collateral damage. There always is, no matter how well I think I've cleared the areas around the trees to be trimmed or how careful the crew tries to be. I was most concerned about any damage to the lath (shade) house my husband built but thankfully that was untouched. A recently planted Lotus berthelotti disappeared, presumably swept up with debris dropped from the peppermint willow in the back. A number of succulents were up-ended and knocked about but, with a 7-person crew, that was to be expected. The area around the strawberry tree in the front garden, which sits atop a moderate slope, suffered the most damage. Frankly, I'd completely forgotten that this tree was on the list until I checked it 2 days before the work was scheduled. Most of what was lost were plants that are easily replaced with cuttings, Aeonium arboreum, Euphorbia tirucalli, and Senecio vitalis. An Agave desmettiana was crushed.
|This was a pup. Sad but not a significant loss.|
My biggest mistake was installing some new plants on the slope. My heart ached when I saw what'd happened to the Crassula falcata I picked up at the local botanic garden last week.
I'm still picking up debris but that's normal fall-out of the tree trimming process. Wind will shake out bits and pieces of foliage for weeks yet. Another round of Santa Ana winds is on the way, which may expedite that process. The good news is that I can now work on stage 2 of my planting plan for the area surrounding the lath house. It doesn't appear we'll be getting any rain interruptions.
|Mother Nature spit on us for awhile yesterday, dampening the pavement and returning my hair to its natural poker straight state, but it failed to register as measurable precipitation|
|This was the view a couple of hours later as the storm bid adieu. The rain that was showing in the extended forecast for February has also disappeared, making the picture for this rainy season look bleaker even as the skies look glorious.|
I hope this weekend brings you sunny skies. If Mother Nature shows up with rain, please redirect her to Southern California (with a caution to be gentle with the burn areas).
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party