Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Tell the Truth Tuesday (Late, Late Edition)

Okay, I know it's Wednesday.  I've somehow lost all control over my week and plans are falling apart all over the place, including my effort to get this post up yesterday.  I'm once again jumping into the meme initiated by Alison at Bonney Lassie, dedicated to sharing the less attractive aspects of our gardens in the interest of honest reporting.

This week I'm focusing on what I call my Eucalyptus Bed.  That description wouldn't make any sense to anyone who's seen my garden since February 2013, when the tree was cut down at the behest of a neighbor that claimed it blocked her view.

This photo was taken in early February 2013, just days before the tree was cut down.  You can learn more about the tree's sad story here.


When the tree was removed I was left with a good-sized bed to plant. 

Photo taken mid-February 2013 after the site was cleaned up and my husband added the cement block wall on the west side


I started planting the area with some pretty perennials, like Heuchera and Argyranthemum, and annual flowers.  I tried shrubs like Loropetalum.  They didn't hold up well.  I planted Helichrysum, which did too well and quickly became an unmanageable mess.  I tried a Japanese maple but it couldn't stand up to the wind that regularly sweeps through the area.  I tried a Drimys lanceolata but it was slow-growing and didn't make a statement.  In 2014, I planted a row of Pennisetum 'Fireworks' along the wall, which has done well.  In 2015 I added a couple of rockroses (Cistus) and in 2016 I added a smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple').  However, I've had a hard time getting anything established around the edges of the bed surrounding the shrubs, principally as the raccoons insist on repeatedly digging everything up.  I'd added small succulents but I wasn't satisfied with those for long either.

This photo was taken earlier this week


Last weekend, I started removing the succulents on the west edge of the bed.  I'd already removed half of them by the time I thought to take the "before" photo shown above.  I've ordered Agapanthus bulbs to plant around the smoke bush and added Liriope muscari 'Pee Dee Gold Ingot' around the edge this week.  The Clematis vine growing up the arbor got a hard pruning too.

It's still a mish-mash


Once I get the Agapanthus bulbs in, I expect I'll pull the 'Blue Boy' Yuccas as they're not looking good either.  Whether this new design iteration of the bed will hold up in the long-term is anybody's guess.

This is the bed's "better" side but it could use work too


The Graptoverias and Echeverias formerly in this bed were relocated to the adjacent succulent bed.  However, I initially had no idea what to do with all the Graptosedum 'Darley Sunshine' you see in the "before" photo.  I expect I'll use some cuttings in other succulent beds but, in the interim, I created 2 more of the succulent pots within pots featured on Instagram.

This one features a tiny one-inch pot surrounded by succulent cuttings

I used a shell instead of another tiny pot in this one.  The flowers are from Crassula 'Springtime'.


Further proof that a garden is never "done."


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

30 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, I like your remade flower bed. I am always shuffling plants around. Ha. I really like these succulent pots you made up. Oh to have so many little starts.

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    1. Although I have plenty of succulents planted about I can steal bits from, I always hesitate cutting pieces out of the fear of marring their perfection. These 2 pots could've used a touch more variety in terms of color but I have a LOT of 'Darley Sunshine' after clearing that bed..

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  2. I went to the tree removal post and read about you having to take down that huge tree. What a shame. I hate to remove trees too. I can imagine how empty that section felt after the removal.

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    1. Removing that tree caused me a lot of angst, Lisa, even though it was a little too close to the house for comfort (and Eucalyptus have a history of coming down unexpectedly). However, we thought it'd be worth it to get this particular neighbor off our backs. We knew she'd been complaining about the tree for years and, given that the person we bought the house from put it up for sale 3 months after he purchased it, we guessed that her complaints might have driven him out. Unfortunately, she started in about other trees after this one came out. We removed one more and routinely trimmed the others but I finally told her that I'd drawn a line and, if she wanted to take her complaints to the city under its "view conservation" ordinance she could do that and I'd fight her tooth and nail. Luckily, she finally upped and moved herself.

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    2. I remember that long sad battle.

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    3. I'm glad that the neighbor in question chose to move on and I've gratified that no one else in the neighborhood has arisen to cast complaints in my direction, Diana. However, we continue to keep our remaining trees and shrubbery well-trimmed.

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  3. I like your pots in pots. I actually have plans to do at least one. I bought something to use as the inside pot, but just haven't gotten around to putting it together yet. I just discovered today that two of the Echevarias I was planning to use in it had some kind of woolly white bugs on them, so they got taken straight out of the greenhouse and dumped into the yard waste. They were cheap and I just didn't care enough to try to save them or risk the bugs spreading to all the other plants.

    I didn't do a post this week, I had a week or so of insomnia and still have a lingering cough (five weeks now!), but I still have plenty of ugliness. I have a few places like this one that I keep redoing over and over, trying to get it right.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear you're still fighting that cough, Alison, and I hope you kick it back to wherever it came from soon. I look forward to seeing your succulent pot in a pot. Based on my limited experience, it's actually easier to create them using larger pots than the smaller ones I used this round, or I'm simply low on patience - either might explain things.

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  4. The whole point of gardening is 'the process,' or so they say. We really are 'never finished.' What would we do if it all got done? Who are we kidding, we wouldn't last an hour on the chaise lounge! ;)
    Love those succulent pots!

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    1. I don't really mind redoing my beds at periodic intervals, Eliza, but this one has me flummoxed as I'm still unsure what can stand up to conditions there. I think one of the issues is that the massive root system under that Eucalyptus is still breaking down, which both causes the soil to sink and brings in all kinds of bugs to assist with decomposition. The bugs in turn may be a factor in what attracts the raccoons, as I haven't found many of their favored grubs there. A wind tunnel also operates there, which provides another challenge.

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    2. Maybe sculpture, art, pretty rock or other hardscaping? Something the raccoons won't eat!

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    3. Yes, the next iteration may well involve a boulder and several other rocks with succulents tucked into crevices. Succulents laugh at wind.

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    1. I miss having a tree there but the Eucalyptus really was way too close to the house for comfort so, given more time, I think we'd have elected to take it out even without the neighbor's relentless prodding and threats to file a complaint with the city. I'd have like to see a Japanese maple there but the wind that blows through that area daily made that spot inhospitable.

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  6. I was going to ask the same thing Hoover Boo asked ^^^ and I wonder if the Yucca will get replanted somewhere else or tossed?

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    1. I was less educated about the danger of a falling Eucalyptus in those days so I resented the push to take out the tree at the time. Now, I'm just hoping to make a go of the smoke tree in that area. As to the Yuccas, they're not healthy. I've previously removed two but I may pot these two up to see if I can restore them to good health. I have another in the back garden that's doing fine.

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  7. While I might not intentionally plant a tree that would block someone's view, there is no way in hell I would take an already existing tree down because of a complaining neighbor. You, my friend, are FAR nicer than I am in that regard. Glad she moved so you don't have to deal with her any more. I love your little pots in pots. Never heard of the concept before, but they are adorable!

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    1. The tree came with the house. We thought removing the Eucalyptus would resolve the issue with the neighbor so we were more amenable on the first pass but she kept at me about pretty much all the other trees. I wasn't sad when she moved.

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  8. I remember the saga of that now-gone neighbor and the tree removal. Look at you making lemonade from the lemons thrown at you. The new iteration of the bed looks good and will be even better when it grows in. Love your succulent pots!

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    1. I still have a lot of 'Darley Sunshine' I need to find space for but hopefully the raccoons will find it harder to dig up the Liriope than the succulents.

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  9. Those succulent pots are perfect. I am always amazed at how many things I refer to by the name of something that is no longer there. It only makes sense to me!

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    1. We can all be creatures of habit in some respects. I also have an area I call the "spa bed" because, when we bought the house, it had a snorkel spa (a wood-fire heated tub) sitting in the middle of it. We took that out in 2013 too.

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  10. I think it looks great! I remember your poor tree and that cranky neighbor. My garden is sounds asleep and still under construction. The front looks good but the back and side need lots of work! Very cute succulent pots. :o)

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    1. I look forward to seeing the progress in your garden, Tammy, but I realize you may be holding off until winter releases its hold. I imagine you have a LOT of seeds growing under lights!

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  11. It's all a lot of work and trial and error getting a planting just how you want it. I often think of plants I have put in that didn't work or failed completely so I am glad it happens to others too. Your lathe house makes such a statement- I love it. And a new home for your succulents in dish gardens; charming.

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    1. I keep a record of everything (or almost everything) I plant in an Excel file and simply strike a line through the plant's name if it dies or I pull it for some reason. It can be depressing to review those lined-out items but knowing what failed in which area at least helps me avoid making the same mistake twice.

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  12. Have you thought about (temporary) turning that area into a rock/crevice like garden, while the roots decompose? That might keep the racoons from digging too... Although I love seeing all your experiments, I hope you find something you can love!

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    1. One way or another, rock may be the answer, Renee. Little did I know when I moved here that those furry masked creatures would be one of the biggest obstacles to my garden objectives.

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  13. I well remember your struggles with your neighbor over the tree! And now raccoons...I am convinced gardening is the most difficult (and perhaps the most rewarding) of all art forms.

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    1. I try to remind myself that the raccoons have been here far longer than I have but it would be wonderful if they confined their grub searches to the wild canyon areas.

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