Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wide Shots - January 2018

Since I put my wide shots posts on a quarterly schedule their timing always seems to catch me by surprise.  I took photos at intervals between December 29th and January 2nd for this post, trying to work around shifting light conditions.  With a few exceptions, there aren't many dramatic changes since my last wide shots post in early October but I'll take you on a full-blown tour anyway.  I'll start as I usually do with the view from the back door and take you clockwise around the house.

I stepped back closer to the house to broaden this month's view from the backyard patio.  For the last week, the view of the harbor has been particularly hazy, worse even than when fires were raging in Southern California in December.  The haze in this photo, taken yesterday morning, was a mix of smog and marine moisture.

View from the northeast corner of the house facing south

View from the south end of the flagstone path looking back toward the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin), now bearing only seedpods.  This photo was also taken from a somewhat different vantage point than I usually choose, the dirt path behind the back borders, where the ground starts to slope downward from garden's main level.


Next we turn to the garden on the south side of the house, starting with a view looking west.  To provide perspective, I pulled out a photo my brother took of roughly the same area on December 24th, 2011.

The Eucalyptus in my brother's 2011 photo on the right was cut down in February 2013 at the behest of a neighbor who claimed it interfered with her view.  The tree's removal triggered a broad number of other changes, including removal of the lawn in this area and the eventual development of a bed dominated by succulents. 

The succulent bed in question is shown in the background of this photo.  Most of the orange color you see is provided by succulent foliage.

The photo on the left is my usual view of the south side garden looking east through the arbor.  The photo on the right, taken from a spot a few feet beyond the arbor, provides a clearer view of the succulent bed.


Turning our backs to the arbor and looking north, we see the front garden.

The most significant splashes of color here are provided by Grevillea 'Superb', which blooms year-round, and Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder', which produces cones and yellow flower-like bracts during the winter months

This looks remarkably like the October view except that the Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) is in full bloom (and the Christmas wreath was still up when I took the shot)

This is the area on the other side of the driveway, adjacent to the garage.  The succulent bed I planted in September (bottom, left) is doing nicely but hasn't changed much.  However, the bromeliad bed I planted behind it (bottom, right) was bare earth at the time of my last wide shots post.

These photos offer more historical perspective on the evolution of the garden.  The current photo on the left shows roughly the same area as my brother captured in a photo of the front garden in December 2011.  We removed the front lawn in the fall of 2014.

This photo shows the garden from the other direction, looking back to the north

Walking through the opening between the northwest end of the house (just past the chimney) and the garage brings us to what is now my cutting garden.

In October, there were still dahlias and zinnias in bloom here.  The dahlia tubers were pulled and stored away in early November.  I supplemented the soil in the raised planters and planted foxglove plugs, ranunculus tubers, and sweet pea and snapdragon seeds.  I dealt with problems with birds and squirrels for a time by covering seedlings with empty plastic flats.  While they helped keep birds and critters away, they also diminished the light the seedlings needed to develop.  Our long spell of especially dry weather probably didn't help either but everything's looking a bit better now, although in the absence of any rain I'm watering the beds regularly.  Surprisingly, the dry weather hasn't kept the Camellias from blooming.  'Taylor's Perfection', planted alongside the garage, has been blooming since before Christmas and the Camellia sansanquas (outside the range of this photo on the left) have been blooming since late October.  And, as you can see, the citrus trees are bearing well.


Passing through the gate behind the spot I stood in to take the previous photo has us facing the garden on the northeast side of the house.

Nothing much has changed here except that the Alliums I planted have started to grow.  Flax seeds, which I'd sowed intending to provide temporary floral color in the bare area, haven't germinated but that may be attributable to December's long dry spell.


The gravel path in the photo above takes us to the back slope, which is otherwise largely hidden from view.

The back slope looks much the same.  The photo on the left shows the area looking downward from the top of the cement block stairway.  The middle photo shows the Pittosporum 'Silver Magic' planted at the property line.  The photo on the right shows the area looking back up toward the main level of the garden.


So, once again we missed a couple of areas.  Backtracking to the driveway at the front of the house, we walk along a narrow path behind the hedge facing the street.

This is the succulent bed I planted in November 2016 on the moderate west-facing slope after removing a dead Ceanothus hedge


The dirt and moss covered path shown above leads to my new lath (shade) house, featured in my anniversary post on December 29th.

This structure was my husband's handiwork, designed to allow me to keep plants that need more shade than the topography provides


The only other view we've missed is that of the succulent bed that sits between the area occupied by the lath house and the street on the southwest side.

This succulent bed could use a bit of a refresh but, overall, it's stood up well.  The Xylosma congestum shrubs planted behind the succulents 19 months ago to extend the front hedge are still growing very slowly.


Are you winded from the walk?  I hope not!  Thanks for hanging in through the end.  If you've viewed the post on the lath house build-out, you may have noticed that I've done some work embellishing the area around the structure.  I'll cover those changes and the shade plants I've added inside in a later post.


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

22 comments:

  1. What a fabulous difference the removal of the lawn made! Other random observations/questions:

    1. Your Acacia 'Cousin Itt's are crazy! (crazy good)
    2. Your chimney is so chunky (in a good way). Is the firebox (inside) extra deep?
    3. Do you lift the Dahlia tubers for weather, or because they're dormant and you want to use the space for something else?

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    1. Acacia 'Cousin Itt' seems to love it here but I may also have been lucky to have acquired my plants early on, before growers started pushing poorly rooted specimens in response for a growing demand for the plants.

      The firebox in that chimney looks normal to me but then we never use it. We have 2 chimneys, both of which came with the house but our impression is that one was part of an add-on to the master bedroom by one of the more recent owners and not part of the original (1950) construction. I've been lobbying to install gas inserts so we can make real use of it. We have frequent no-burn days now due to our smog problem and neither my husband nor I like the mess associated with a wood-burning fireplace. It's also not 100% clear that this particular addition meets all current codes but we've never had an inspector in to check it. It wasn't addressed in our home inspection but it was flagged as a potential issue.

      Dahlias don't need to be lifted here but, yes, I want to use those raised planters for other cutting flowers and I figured watering the tubers continuously throughout the year would cause them to rot.

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  2. That was quite a trek. It all looks so good and very different than the first time I viewed your gardens. Thanks for the tour.

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    1. Sometimes I need to remind myself how much the garden has changed, Barbara!

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  3. Love the tour: and what a lot of gorgeous ground to tend. The views, foggy, smoggy or not , are wonderful. We are here in a snow storm (which, in NC means state of emergency with 2" of snow!) so I am envious...

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    1. We've been hearing all the hyperbolic announcements concerning the weather back east too, Libby. It seems to be the top of every news update. I hope the storm causes you nothing more than minor inconvenience. For the record, when we get rain here, we hear all those emergency announcements too! Not that rain has been an issue at all this season, regrettably...

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  4. Your garden tour is balm for my soul. It is beautiful and ALIVE, not dormant! :)
    I hear that it was 70 degrees today and that rain is on its way, hope you get a nice amount. For us, more snow tomorrow!

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    1. I want to believe it's going to rain, Eliza, but thus far the rug's been pulled out from under us with every forecast. It's unnerving! I hope you're safe inside, warm, and have lots of books to read or other things to keep you occupied during the "bomb cyclone" hitting the eastern US.

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  5. The light is so beautiful in all your photos. I'm especially impressed with the garden area around the arbor. And your pathways are so welcoming, too! Lovely, lovely garden.

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    1. Thanks Beth. I "chased" the light by shooting photos in different areas at different times - it seems harder to photograph the garden at this time of year.

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  6. I'm always amazed at the impact one tree can have. Wow - it's like two different gardens since that Eucalyptus came out... As always, your garden looks fantastic, Kris - with or without the view.

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    1. Given its proximity to the house and the Eucalyptus's reputation for going up in flames or falling over, taking it out was probably the right thing to do, even if it was a major shock at the time.

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  7. Now that I've seen your garden in person, these photos are even more special. In hindsight, I realized that I didn't take nowhere near enough photos when I visited you. We were too busy yakking :-).

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    1. I tend to do that. I should have given you more breathing space!

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  8. I've been enjoying that fog the last couple mornings. I bet you hear the ships' fog horns too. I love this phase, when all that hard work results in a beautifully knitted together garden that just seems effortless and inevitable. The front transformation might be the most dramatic, but it's all turned into a wonderful garden with so many moods, such a pleasure to stroll through.

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    1. We're enjoying the sounds from the harbor, even though the haze is impairing the view of the harbor these days, Denise. We can see that there are 2 cruise ships (!) in the harbor this morning, however, which seems unusual for a winter Friday but then I don't stay current on their schedules.

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  9. I think it's amazing how your plantings have increased the sense of scale from the earlier photos. I need to take a lesson from you on that as I must begin planting the area in front of our house. I find it quite intimidating, but I have plants stashed back so I'd best begin!
    And I'm excited to see how your Bromeliad bed is getting along. :)

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    1. Best wishes with your front garden transformation, Amy. Mine took quite awhile before it really looked like anything so do not fear!

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  10. I really enjoy seeing the broad views of your garden. There are so many different colors and textures and it's all put together so well! It's really beautiful.

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    1. Thanks sweetbay! I don't have the space you do but I try to use every inch of what I have!

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  11. Your garden is such a wonderful mix of wide open to the view and dense with interesting plants.

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    1. Thanks Diana! Open to the view is necessary, especially if I want to remain married ;)

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