Friday, December 28, 2018

Flourishing Foliage

While not entirely absent, floral color is subdued this time of year, even in my part of the world.  It's foliage that makes a statement.  I did a circuit of the garden to scope out what needs to be cut back (a lot!) and took some photos in the process.

If you read my posts this past July, you may remember how distressed I was following the horrific heatwave when our temperature reached 110F/43C.  Among other things, my Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' were scorched, those shown here in particular.  They recovered and, with just a little cosmetic pruning, they're looking better than ever.

The 'Cousin Itt' in the back garden also recovered.  The 3 plants here are so robust I've had to cut them back just to keep them from swallowing everything around them.

Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie' was one the plants nearly engulfed by 'Cousin Itt'.  I cut her free this week.

This is a long view of the succulent bed on the south side looking west from the back garden.  This area of the garden is still very much a work in progress but I'm gratified to see that several of the 'Blue Glow' and 'Blue Flame' Agaves have finally gained substantial size. 

This is one of 3 Agave americana medio-picta 'Alba' given to me as pups by Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden in 2016.  This one is nicely accented by a silvery Maireana sedifolia in the background.

The bed opposite the south side succulent bed shown above is dominated by Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' sporting touches of red in its new growth.  It had effectively blanketed the small Aloes and Aeoniums under its skirts until I cut it back.  The feathery blue foliage of Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset' is still battling with Aeonium 'Kiwi' for space here.

In the front garden 2 varieties of Centaurea edge Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum'

Along the west-facing front slope, Aeonium arboreum, Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' and various other succulents spill out around another Pennisetum 'Rubrum', framing a peek-a-boo ocean view in the distance

A heavy marine layer, sometimes enveloping us in a morning cloud of moisture, has given the fuzzy leaves of Pelargonium tomentosum (aka peppermint geranium) a frosted look.  When dry, the leaves are an emerald green.  The close-up on the left shows the effect of my finger's touch on one leaf.

In the dry garden on the northeast side of the house, Agave vilmorinana and Agave ovatifolia are still cohabiting peacefully but there may come a time in which they'll be locked in a battle for space

I like how Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light', Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick' and Hebe 'Purple Shamrock' have combined here.  However, this angle doesn't show the damage wrought by some creature in the center of the massed Erigeron.  (I suspect my arch nemesis, the raccoon.)


Tomorrow, December 29th, is my 6-year blogging anniversary.  I'm not planning a special post to recognize the occasion but I do want to take the opportunity to thank those of you who read my blog and those who comment, if only periodically.  You invited me into a world of garden enthusiasts I hardly knew existed and made me feel a part of it, for which I'm more grateful than I can put into words.  Thank you!


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

38 comments:

  1. Happy blogging anniversary, Kirs! Your garden is looking so lush and green. "...make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like a garden."

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  2. I vividly remember how pitiful the Cousin Itts looked after the heatwave. Seeing them now, it's like it never happened! I think your acacias are the best I've seen anywhere. And congrats on your blogiversary!

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    1. I think I'm suffering more lingering trauma over that nasty July heatwave than 'Cousin Itt', Denise!

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  3. What a welcome sight your lush photos are on a cold, dreary, wet day. Your garden looks wonderful, even the areas that are fairly new. You make me wonder what would happen if I took some of my tender Agaves out of their pots and planted them in the ground for a season of growing. I know I'd need bigger pots to replant them in. Happy blogging anniversary!

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    1. Loree plants some agaves, then digs them up to over-winter under cover, doesn't she? We haven't come anywhere near freezing temperatures in the 8 years we've lived here so we don't face that challenge. Our lowest temperature this winter has been 45F and the lowest I see in the long-term forecast is 43F.

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  4. Happy 6th blogaversary!
    Your garden is inspiring, especially the recovery from the worst of the drought and heat.

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    1. Thanks Diana! I've been hopeing that we'd get more rain from the moderate El Nino that was forecast for this winter but it seems that the "blob" (the relentless ridge of high-pressure in the Pacific) seems to be winning the battle thus far, keeping most of the rain away from us.

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  5. Darn, I think I just lost my comment. Oh well, I'll keep this one short. Congratulations! Your garden has come a long way and is looking fabulous. Thanks for sharing the journey.

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    1. Thanks Barbara! The garden's still evolving. I've spent several hours over the past 3 days trying to dig out an entrenched and exceptionally broad expanse of Asparagus densiflorus to be replaced by something yet TBD. I'd never thought I'd even attempt that (and my quest may fail in the long-run) but I expect I'll continue to push my boundaries (at least until my body cries "uncle").

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  6. Congratulations on your Sixth anniversary, Kris! It was interesting to look at some of your early posts and catch glimpses of your garden as it was. It is certainly looking very lush after the recent rain, and the glimpse of the clear sky over the harbour is a delight.

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    1. We've enjoyed clear air and blue skies this week, Jane. A little rain combined with less pollutants due to a holiday hiatus probably deserve the credit.

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  7. Everything looks so healthy. I love cousin itt. Happy Blogaversary.

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    1. 'Cousin Itt' is a great plant, Lisa, especially as it tolerates both heat and dry shade.

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  8. Happy Blogiversary, Kris! I love reading your blog and have learned a lot from your posts about SoCal gardening and plants I never encounter here. And your flower arrmts. are always so lovely. Here's to many more years!

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    1. How long I'll keep blogging is a question I ask myself with some frequency, Eliza. I've no plan to quit in 2019, though.

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  9. 'Vanzie' looks mighty happy to be free, but none the worse for being briefly engulfed. The slanting light and yellow-blue-white colors in the shot with HoovB's agave evoke spring for me; practically just around the corner in your neighborhood! Grateful congratulations on your approaching blogiversary.

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    1. Spring DOES come exceptionally early here, Nell. I was surprised to find a couple of Alstroemeria blooms already this week. But then the average temperature is warming - we're currently expecting to creep back into the 70s next week.

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  10. Lovely dramatic foliage, such a range of shapes and texture. What on earth is Cousin Itt?
    6 years blogging? Congratulations Kris. Keep up the good work. I love reading your blog, your garden is so different with such a different climate but it is always fascinating to see your lovely plants and to hear what you are doing ( and buying.)

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    1. 'Cousin Itt' (presumably named after a hairy character in the classic TV series, The Addams Family) is a cultivar of Acacia cognata. Although it has a reputation for being difficult in some circles, it's done extraordinarily well overall in my garden. And it can handle dry shade! It reportedly flowers but none of mine have.

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  11. Beautiful views everywhere you take us! That Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie' and 'Cousin Itt' combo is a nice one, such foliage contrasts. Six years huh? I'm so glad you've stuck with it and take us along on your gardening adventures. This coming March will be my 10-yr anniversary, hard to believe!

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    1. Ten years is truly impressive, Loree, especially given the frequency (not to speak of the breadth) of your posts!

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  12. A lot of great shots in this post, but the one that made me smile is your lovely mass of peppermint-scented Pelargonium. That's my one indoor plant, which gets planted outdoors in summer to thrive and increase, but spends half the year in a pot on the enclosed back porch. Just today it got one of its too-rare afternoons out in "balmy" (just)above-45F sun. Some winters allow plenty of regular outdoor time, but this one's not off to a great start in that regard. I'd so love to have a great patch of it, exactly for that frosty effect from dew and rain, and for a better shot at getting more of its delicate white blooms.

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    1. Forty-five is balmy?! Even when modified in quotes that's hard for me to believe, Nell, although I suppose my thin-skin is a by-product of a life lived in SoCal. My mother always told me I'd never survive in Scandinavia. The peppermint geranium is a short-lived perennial here - it looks great for 2-3 years but then has to be started over from cuttings. If it helps any, our winter isn't off to a great start either. While the temperatures are comfortable enough, the rain level isn't showing much improvement over last year and last year was truly terrible.

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  13. Your garden is so lush and full. I love the creative way you've woven color and texture into your garden rooms.

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    1. Thanks Diana! I've learned a few things from reading blog posts by experienced gardeners like you.

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  14. Gorgeous! And I'm glad to see your Cousin Itt is recovering. Thank you for sharing your garden with us all this time!

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    1. I'm SO relieved about 'Cousin Itt', Renee, but I probably shouldn't have doubted its toughness.

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  15. So lush and lovely! Those long views up path--the succulents and the other plants--show so much color in the foliage. Love this!

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    1. I've paid more attention to foliage color in creating this garden than I did in my prior one, Beth - I guess it's paying off!

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  16. While you may think your garden looks subdued, to me, it is pure lushness. The only thing green here are the pine trees and the grass. Other than that, it is all browns and grays. Your yard looks like paradise!

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    1. "Subdued" in my lexicon usually means "low on flowers" but I've been trying to pay more attention to foliage color, Cindy. Evergreen (and ever-purple, ever-red, and ever-chartreuse) foliage is the norm here. I have relatively few deciduous plants.

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  17. Happy blogoversary! I am in my tenth year. To say I had no idea what I was getting into when I started is an understatement. My garden is far better and my life much richer because of it. I have enjoyed following your blog. You are a true artist. I have heard the test of a great garden is what it looks like when the flowers are gone. Yours is wonderful! Cousin Itt is particularly delightful, as is your Agave americana medio-picta 'Alba. Best wishes for many more years of successful gardening - and blogging!

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    1. I agree that blogging adds a welcome and previously unexpected dimension to gardening, Deb. Ten years! I hope I can keep my blog going that long.

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  18. p.s . regarding your comment about that little toad in Lou's office; I had the same thoughts as you. The office is separate from the rest of the house, and Lou does keep it chilly. Still, I would not be surprised one morning to find him exploring the place !

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    1. I trust that you'll report that event if it happens, Deb! With photos!

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  19. Fabulous as ever. Many congratulations on your blogging anniversary Kris and long may you continue! I’ve seen many of your plants growing happily here in Australia. It’s called rubbing salt into the wound!
    A very Happy New Year!

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    1. thanks Jessica. Any plant that does well in a Mediterranean climate is fair game for my garden. The challenge is usually in hunting it down.

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