Friday, July 6, 2018

Wide Shots - July 2018

May and June were on the cool side, thanks to a persistent morning marine layer.  We saw the temperatures soar yesterday, nearing 90F at their high point, and we're expecting worse over the course of the weekend before it cools back down a bit early next week.  Still, with much of the nation suffering through nasty heatwaves for what seems like weeks now, I'm counting myself lucky that summer eased in gently here this year.

I took most of this quarter's wide shots on July 2nd, when we were still enjoying the effects of the marine layer.  Last July, I was complaining about returning from the Garden Bloggers' Fling in Washington DC to face a garden singed by a nasty heatwave in late June but this year the garden is looking much more perky in early July.

This is the view from the back patio looking toward Angel's Gate, the entrance to the Los Angeles Harbor.  The red-orange daylilies I inherited with the garden have begun their bloom cycle.  The Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) is out of control once again.  I'll need to use the cooler early mornings to whip it back into shape.

This is a view of the back garden looking north.  Last July's wide shots post showed the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) in full bloom.  There's no sign of flowers this year and, as you can see, the leaf canopy is still sparse, particularly on the left side.  The difference between the front and back portions of the tree are much more evident in this photo than when viewed  close up.

This is a closer look at the north end of the back garden.  The beds on either side of the path are looking fuller this year.

This is a view of the back garden from the north end looking toward the main patio.  I moved Hemerocallis 'Persian Market'  (shown in bloom) and a couple of other daylilies to the bed in the foreground a few months ago.  I've thrown 3 green-flowered Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum, not yet in bloom) in here too because I can never get enough of these flowers.

This is a closer view of the south side of the back garden.  I'm no longer sure I like that bright gold mass of color in the distance, created by 3 shrubs of Coleonema 'Sunset Gold'.  I may whittle down its size by pulling out one of the shrubs.


Walking south along the flagstone path shown in the photo above brings us to the garden on the south side of the house.  It's gone through a number of transformations since we moved in seven and a half years ago.  Originally dominated by a 60 foot tall Eucalyptus, removed at the behest of a neighbor who claimed it interfered with her view, it subsequently became a succulent garden.

About two-thirds of the plants in this area are still succulents but I've added other drought tolerant species, like Metrosideros 'Springfire' and Hymenolepsis parviflora to add some softness


From the south side garden one can either continue along the flagstone path into the main level of the front garden or take a mulch-covered path down into a lower area adjoining the street.  This month we'll continue on the main level and circle back to the street level on the southwest side later.

This is a view of the front garden looking north toward the driveway and garage.  My ever-blooming Grevillea 'Superb' can be seen on the right.  The Echium candicans 'Star of Madiera' in the distance on the left has just finished its bloom cycle.  The Plectranthus neochilus midway along the path has filled in nicely and blooms well but its strong unpleasant scent may require moving it.

The two Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' on either side of the walkway to the front door have grown huge.  They're just now producing a scattering of small white flowers.  The Agapanthus are still going strong in both the front and back garden but they're starting to look frowzy.

View of the north side of the house's front exterior.  None of my roses have done well this year - several have failed to produce a single bloom - but the climber 'Joseph's Coat' is at least making an effort.


The area on the opposite side of driveway (i.e. the area facing the chimney) is the last area I developed.  It's been slow to come together.

I'm still trying to find the right plants to handle the shifting sun and shade conditions in this area.  I apologize for the poor quality of the photo.

I'm still tweaking the succulent bed tucked into the northwest corner too


If we return to the driveway, passing the garage, we come to the cutting garden.  It's off to a slow start this summer.

My cool season blooms hung on well into April so I was tardy in evicting them to make room for warm season plants.  I also lost several dahlia tubers to rot due to over-watering.  In addition to the dahlias, I've planted Calendula, Zinnia and Helianthus seeds but all of those went in late as well.


Continuing through the gate at the far end of the cutting garden takes us to an area on the northeast side of the property I formerly called my dry garden.  While it's still populated with succulents and other drought resistant plants, calling it my "dry garden" no longer seems appropriate as, with the exception of the cutting garden, the entire property can be called a dry garden.

Removal of one of the guava trees made a big difference in this area.  There are some empty spots, which I've seeded with sunflowers and zinnias as temporary fillers.


The path shown in the photo above leads to the back slope, which is still looking hideous.

I started nipping away at the ivy and honeysuckle growing on the upper portion of the slope a few months ago, then turned my attention to other projects.  Now, it's getting too hot to get much of anything but watering done down there,  Any serious work will have to wait until cooler temperatures return in the fall.

The Pittosporum 'Silver Magic' along the property boundary are filling out nicely, although I'm a bit worried that the Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) is already getting out of control.


Okay, it's time to take you back to the area on the southwest side of the garden, the home of my lath (shade) house.  This is the area I've spent most of my time fussing with the last few months.

The indoor area is filling up, albeit slowly.  Much of my effort has been focused on sprucing up the outside with plants.  I've changed out the contents of the window boxes with more heat tolerant plants and added other plants in the surrounding area.  I'll cover the changes in a separate post soon.

View of the area looking east toward the upper level of the garden
The prettiest blooms in the area right now are found on this Oscularia deltoides


The area is is bordered on the other side by a succulent bed running alongside the street, one of my earliest projects.

With the exception of the tree-like Auranticarpa rhombifolium shrubs towering above it, the bed still looks pretty good.  We took out 3 dying Auranticarpa, which created a gap in the the screening from the street. We planted Xylosma congestum behind the succulents to extend the existing Xylosma hedge but those shrubs have taken their time gaining size and now I'm concerned that I may need to take 2 of the 3 remaining Auranticarpa out.


That's it for this quarter's wide shots of my garden.  I'll close with a photo of my cat Pipig enjoying the garden from inside the house.

If there's a sunny spot in the house, Pipig will find it!


I hope you find a sunny spot to enjoy the weekend too!

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

34 comments:

  1. This was a very pleasant trip around your garden, it looks so beautiful right now. I hope you survive the hot temperatures coming your way, my phone says it's going to be 110 in Anaheim today, so I figure it will probably be pretty close to that for you too. I've been wanting to do a similar round-the-garden post for my blog, but I never get around to it.

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    1. At this point, your prediction is right on target, Alison! One of our 2 weather stations is reading 110F (with 1% humidity) and the other is reading 108F (with 8% humidity). All the flowers I'd been eyeing for use in my next vase are withered beyond recognition.

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  2. It’s always a delight to see wide shots of your garden Kris. It evolves but just only gets better each time. Hopefully it won’t be too hot as initially forecast.

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    1. Local forecasters UNDERESTIMATED today's temperatures for our immediate area. We're currently reading above the high predicted even for downtown Los Angeles. At present we stand at 110F (43C)! The temperature in the inland valley my brother lives in stands at 117F (47C). It's ridiculous!

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    2. Those temperatures are daunting for people, let alone your poor garden.

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    3. Yes, it brings back memories of the horrific heatwave we had on the first day of summer in 2016. Once again, the garden is being asked to adjust to a dramatic uptick in temperature overnight. The 2016 event cost me a year's supply of lemons and, despite giving the tree more water in advance of this heatwave, I'm worried that may happen again. It's a good thing I gifted several friends with lemons earlier today as those may be the last for awhile!

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  3. What great views - and everything flows together so well. I hope everything survives the coming heat, this weekend is going to be bad. What's the plan for your mimosa?

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    1. Today's already BAD, Renee! We're showing 110F now. I hope you somehow managed to stay below that - I checked Weather.com and it showed 106F for your area but then it's currently understating ours...

      I still think the mimosa is on a downward slide but I may give the tree another winter's reprieve before acting. I'll call in the arborist for a consultation this fall. Coincidentally, we have to call in a soil geologist (in connection with our application to extend our kitchen wall 5 feet) so his/her finding may provide clues as to the risk of trying to grind out that tree trunk if we go with the removal option.

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  4. I always enjoy your wide shot posts, Kris. A beautiful garden to tour, I always have the urge to go back and start the tour all over again to see what I missed!
    Sweet Pipig - what is the pendant on her collar?

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    1. I wondered if someone would ask what I have hanging around Pipig's neck! Because she's managed to escape the house and her porch a few times over the years, causing me to panic, my husband ordered a "pet locator," which beeps as I get closer to her and provides a directional signal on a hand-held control. It has a limited range and is only marginally effective - sort of like playing "Marco Polo" with your cat! However, we've become very cautious about her wandering and, even when I'm cleaning out her porch and she's innocently nibbling grass, I seldom let her get more than a few feet away anymore. The device is more of an insurance policy than anything else.

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  5. Looks great! The cool May and June does wonders. Yes the Matiljia poppy wants to take over. It's what they do. I thought you were brave to try it.

    Happy kitty--nice way to end a post. :) Stay cool this weekend.

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    1. I hope your area is cooler than ours, HB! We hit a high of 110F here and humidity is in the single digits. I hope this doesn't have the same effects as the 2016 heat apocalypse!

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  6. A beautiful tour around your garden, Kris and as always everything looks very healthy and happy, except perhaps the albizia, which interestingly seems only unhappy on one side. I have Romneya in my garden, but it only grows a fraction of the height of yours, and doesn’t flower for very long. I hope the heat doesn’t last for too long.

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    1. I'm glad I posted those photos before the heat struck, Jane. I suspect the garden is going to look a lot different tomorrow despite the extra water and mulch I've applied.

      The Albizia is multi-trunked and I suspect that the shot hole borer infestation has afflicted one side more than the other; however, I don't know if it'd be worth trying to save half the tree.

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  7. I'm following the adventures of your Mimosa with interest. The shot showing the half and half leafing out really displays how mystifying large trees can be. Your streetside succulent garden is really looking terrific !

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    1. I suspect the mimosa will go, Kathy - the only real question is when. And, can grind down the stump or will that destabilize our slope, currently shown as part of an open spaces hazard area?

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  8. The views from your garden are as magnificent as your garden itself. I am always amazed at how lush your dry garden looks. It is so well done. I noticed all of those lemons on your tree. I hope you don't lose them all. Take care in that heat.

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    1. The lemons are already getting squishy. I'd cut some for friends the day before the heatwave struck but, when the heat got extreme yesterday I picked more in the late afternoon for ourselves and our next door neighbor. Then I filled 2 more buckets, which I placed along the street with bags and a "free lemons" sign just after 6am this morning. Unfortunately, there haven't been as many walkers today as temperatures are still high. Usually, the lemons I leave out for passers-by are gone within an hour or 2.

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  9. You've created such an amazing garden, Kris! It's incredible even without considering the droughts you've had to endure while getting many of these areas established. A shame your mimosa seems to be in decline, but maybe not? You've said before it's a messy tree.

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    1. If I'd been here 20+ years ago, I'd definitely have planted something other than that mimosa, Evan. However, establishing a replacement tree in that area under current conditions won't be easy and I may not be able to grind the stump without destabilizing the slope. And then there's the issue of my community's dratted "view conservation" ordinance, which restricts the height of new foliage. That's a long-winded way of saying I'm conflicted about the loss of the tree.

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  10. I really enjoyed this tour, and once again it amazes me how big your garden really is and how you manage to keep everything looking so tidy and healthy. Well, except for the Albizia. So sad to see it looking half healthy and half in decline. I was going to ask about Pipig's huge diamond necklace but read your reply to Eliza. She wears it well, looking so regal.

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    1. Sadly, things aren't looking at all tidy today after yesterday's 110 degree heat blast, Loree. As more heat's expected over the next 2 days, I'm holding off on cutting things back on the theory that dead foliage offers some protection.

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  11. Kris—you are so talented! I FEEL your connection to this garden, in this post. It feels a part of you, or I feel it as a part of you, reading this. Kind of hard to describe. Anyway, a most pleasing tour for me, this morning! What is the red-trunked tree in the 4th photo down?

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    1. Thank you, Alyse! The red-trunked tree is an Arbutus 'Marina'. We were lucky enough to inherit several of these with the garden.

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  12. It all looks luscious and healthy! I'm new to Dahlias--all but one of the tubers I planted are growing like crazy, but no flowers yet. I'm starting to wonder if they'll flower at all because of the low light here. My bright sunny areas are so limited. We've been hot and very wet most of the summer so far. But we're having a glorious break this weekend with near perfect temps (70s/80s) and no rain. Cheers!

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    1. Dahlias DO love sun! I think it'd be lovely if the heat came with rain but I suppose that offers challenges too. I've been running around for the past 3 days applying water all over my garden in a vain effort to keep plants from shriveling.

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  13. Good morning Kris,
    Your garden looks like a paradise. What a work it will be to keep it in shape Kris. I hope the heatwave will be gone soon.
    Have a wonderful day
    Rosehugs Marijke

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    1. The temperature had already come down significantly from Friday's top reading of 110F (43C) but it is still hot, Marijke. We should see another significant drop beginning tomorrow; however, every time I walk into the garden I see new signs of the damage from Friday's heat.

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  14. Kris, I always enjoy wide shots of your garden, and these are no exception. I love the tapestry of plants with their wide range of texture, form and colors. I particularly like the succulent garden on the south side of your house. It is a superb example of how a great gardener can take adversity and turn it into something wonderful! Glad you are having a relatively milder summer so far. Best wishes! Deb

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    1. It was a mild summer - up until Friday, Deb! It's now a certifiably nasty summer.

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  15. Your garden seems to go on and on forever the way you have designed in to separation growing areas. That first shot demonstrates to me the importance of having focal points in the garden. Both view and garden are spectacular but that water feature just sets up the stage. Here's hoping your temperature moderate soon.

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    1. My "garden rooms" are largely defined by the typography rather than my own design, Jenny, but the level changes do make a half acre seem larger! The temperatures are lower today but the humidity is up due to monsoonal rain in the deserts to the east so the misery quotient is roughly on par with yesterday's.

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  16. Pipig certainly did an amazing job in designing and planting your garden! I'm always impressed with all that you've done in such a short time. The garden and the view are both spectacular.

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    1. Well, Pipig does help "trim" some of the ornamental grass...

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