Friday, January 4, 2019

Wide Shots - January 2019

I fear these quarterly wide shots posts may be getting a little old but they're one of the best tools I have to track developments in my garden so I hope you'll bear with me.  I took all but one of these shots yesterday, albeit at varying times of the day.  I was trying to put each area in its best light, which isn't easy at this time of the year when shadows are everywhere.

I'll start as usual in the back garden.

This is the morning view from our back door looking out toward the Port of Los Angeles.  The view in the distance is partly shrouded as usual with a light layer of dingy smog.  I recently cut back a large area of the groundcover Barleria obtusa, which left the Echium webbii to the left of the fountain with bare legs.  This Echium isn't looking as good as it did last year but I'm hoping it'll spring back with more rain.

This is the view from the back patio looking north.  The 2 Arbutus 'Marina' in the background on the right are showing off their red limbs after being pruned in mid-December.  Another variety of the asparagus fern I've been struggling with, Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' in this case, is growing in the foreground on the right.

This is the view from the south end of the back garden looking back at the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin), reduced by half after the front section of the multi-trunked tree was removed due to it falling prey to shot hole borers.

This is the view of the south half of the back garden looking toward the the peppermint willow (Agonis flexuosa).  With a record low rain last year, I wasn't able to get creeping thyme established between the paving stones in the foreground after we leveled a dip in the pathway.  I've placed an order for 3 flats of thyme so I can fill this area and a few others.

This is a view of the south end of back garden from the dirt path behind the main border as we move toward the garden on the south side of the house.  I included it mainly because the Leucadendron (background, left) are putting on a good show right now.


The garden on the south side is coming into its own.

This area of the garden looks its best in the late afternoon.  The succulents are filling out and the Metrosideros collina 'Springfire' that was badly damaged by our horrific heatwave in July has rebounded, although it's still relatively small in stature.

This is the view looking through the arbor on the south side of the house toward the harbor.   The arbor marks the transition between the back and front garden areas.


There are 2 levels to the front garden.  This quarter, we'll take a brief jaunt down to the level adjoining the street on the southwest side before returning to the main level.

Looking down from the mulched path that leads from the garden's main level you can see the lath (shade) house my husband built for me a year ago.  Not all of the plants I tried out in the lath house performed well last year and it's time for me to seek replacements for those that washed out.

Behind and a step below the lath house is a succulent bed running along the street.  Two of the Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' I planted in 2014 have produced bloom spikes but no flowers have opened as yet.  In addition to replacing those 2 agaves, I'm contemplating removing and replacing 2 of the 3 remaining shrubs on the right (Auranticarpa rhombifolium).  They were part of a section of hedge that came with the house that has been slowly dying off.

This photo returns us to the area alongside the lath house, looking back at the path we came down with the harbor in the distance beyond


Returning up the path shown on the right in the last photo brings us back to the main level of the front garden.

This is the view looking across the main level of the front garden from the south end toward the garage on the north end. The Magnolia grandiflora in the background on the right was pruned hard in December.

This is a photo of the same area looking back toward the south end of the front garden.  I planted a Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' on the right in late September to balance the established Grevillea 'Superb' on the left.  The Arbutus 'Marina' in the background was pruned to give 'Ned Kelly' and the surrounding plants more sun exposure.
 
This is the usual view looking at the front door from the driveway.  The Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana) on the left made it through pruning without losing too many of its flowers.

This is the view from the garden area next to the garage looking back toward the house.  I'm finally feeling good about how this area is coming together.  We removed the last section of lawn on our property from this area in January 2016.

Half of this succulent bed was also lawn prior to 2016.  If there's a lesson here, it's this: funds permitting, start with larger succulent specimens than I did.  It takes a long time for tiny succulents to fill in.


My former vegetable garden, now a cutting garden, sits on the other side of the garage on the northwest side of the house.

I replanted these raised beds with plugs and seeds in late October.  Sweet pea and other seedlings are coming up but I'm still fighting to keep birds and other critters away from the beds (which is why there are empty plastic flats here as protection).  Right now, the most colorful elements are the Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire' and the ripening navel oranges.


Passing through the gate in the fence opposite the garage (not shown) leads to another garden area, featuring a variety of drought tolerant plants.

I've pruned the grape vine, the persimmon tree and the Senna bicapsularis here, leaving things looking a little bare.  I worried that I'd cut back the Senna too hard but it's starting to leaf out again now.


The gravel path bisecting the garden area shown above leads to my steep back slope, which isn't visible to the casual observer.

This is the slope looking down from the upper section of the concrete stairway.  I cleaned up the lower area (left of the stairway in this photo) in late November and early December but I haven't make any further progress on the upper section on the right.

This past weekend I discovered that the neighbor had hired a crew to tackle rampant growth in her garden.  Apparently, that included the Bignonia capreolata shown here, which I discovered looking like this.  The trunk of this vine is on our property but the plant grows across the neighbor's chain-link fence.  The neighbor planted it decades before my arrival.  A prior owner of our property subsequently laid claim to the area, which created a dynamic that remains awkward to this day.  I've no objection to having the vine pruned but I'd have liked a heads-up beforehand as the crew entered into our property while doing the work, effectively sweeping away the California poppy seeds I'd sown in early December.  I think the neighbor and I now have the issue resolved with respect to any future work.


So that's what my garden looks like in what passes for winter here.  It's more subdued than in spring, summer and fall but it's not as barren as gardens in colder climates.  While I've complained of colder than usual temperatures here, we've never had a freeze in the 8 years I've lived in this area of coastal Southern California.  I know I'm lucky.  And I'll feel luckier still if rain arrives as predicted on Saturday night.  At present, our total for the rain year that started October 1, 2018 is 4.08 inches.

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend.


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

32 comments:

  1. Lots to admire in these shots. I personally like the simple path leading up from the lath house - probably because it feels as if I've been transported to a secret garden in the wilderness.

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    1. I wish I lived in the wilderness, Hans! When there was a solid hedge of oleander 4-5 feet deep between the neighbor's property and ours and a hedge along the street (albeit a dying one), the area had a nice sense of separation from the world but that didn't last...

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  2. On a day when the temperature hardly struggled up from freezing it was a real pleasure to stroll round your lovely garden admiring the views, the gorgeous planting and the blue,blue sky. The new succulent garden is coming on beautifully, it doesn't seem a minute since you planted it.

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    1. You would have considered it downright balmy here this afternoon with the temperature hovering around 60F/15C, Chloris! Meanwhile, my friends and I were shivering and complaining about the cold at lunch, even inside a restaurant wearing jackets and sweaters.

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  3. Your garden is looking good and it's always good to take stock of what works and doesn't work. Interesting issue with the vine. We had a similar issue with the neighbor's fence since they built their house first. Eventually the fence was moved and we maintain the shrubs he planted in our yard. They are good neighbors but we always let each other know if work is to be done.

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    1. Having inherited fuzzy property lines with this house, I've been careful to talk to neighbors before we start work along the edges of the property so I was initially upset about this when I saw it, not that I'd have said no to cutting back the vine. Frankly, if it wouldn't so negatively impact the neighbor, I'd probably cut the tree-sized trunk of the Bigonia down and pull out the stump. It's a nearly uncontrollable vine, as I learned from planting one at our former house.

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  4. Lovely views of your garden, Kris. Like Chloris I admired the succulent garden with its mosaic of colours gleaming in the late afternoon sun most of all. The front gardens look wonderful too, an enticing entry to your property. I’m not quite game enough to remove all of the lawn at the front of our house although it would make life easier not having to mow it. Your neighbour was very rude not to let you know about the planned work, shame about your poppy seedlings.

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    1. What bothered me is that I've been struggling to improve that back slope a little at a time. Planting poppy seeds may have been putting lipstick on a pig but I went to the trouble of sowing - and hand-watering - the seeds so I was committed there. With the slope, it always seems I take one step forward only inevitably ending up 2 steps back. I picked up a dozen California poppy plugs this afternoon, which I plan to plant before tomorrow night's rain arrives.

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  5. Your garden continues to grow more beautiful with each passing month as things mature. I love the 'Sticks on Fire' coming out of the chimenea!

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    1. I need a narrow, taller pot for those 'Sticks on Fire', Eliza, so they can develop to more impressive height!

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  6. It looks good ! We will have rain this weekend as well-looks like I will be on housecleaning detail. One does have to work inside occasionally.

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    1. The rain here doesn't usually last long enough for me to do a decent job cleaning the house, Kathy, but, if the rain comes down hard enough, even for a short time, I pull my car out to give it a good wash!

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  7. Never stop showing these long views on this reader's account! They're some of my favorite posts.

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    1. I'm glad to hear you like them, Nell. I was afraid they might be getting same-old, same-old. I use the photos of trace developments in my garden quite often so they're very useful to me (although that doesn't necessitate that I inflict them on others I guess).

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  8. I enjoy these posts. Nice to see what grows and all the changes. Your garden looks great.

    Crossing fingers and toes we get some rain!

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    1. My garden really needs it, HB< even though I've used the irrigation system on a few occasions since the December 6th storm. My rain tanks need to be refilled too!

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  9. These views would never get old, Kris. OMG, I can't imagine seeing these scenes every day--you are so fortunate! I think we need to have the Garden Bloggers Fling in L.A. one of these days.

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    1. We've talked about an LA Fling locally, Beth, but the widespread nature of the city's garden highlights - and our truly awful traffic - has put at least my own cadre off on the prospect.

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  10. Your photos have me hankering for a trip to California! Your garden is so lush and sunny.

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    1. We've got gloomy, cloud-filled skies today, Alison - but that's a good thing! A rainstorm is creeping closer.

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  11. I love your wide shots - you really have a way of putting an area together that is very inspiring. So please keep showing them! I'm glad you and your neighbor got everything resolved - sometimes clear fence do make for the best neighbors!

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    1. A fence without a gate might be even better in this instance, Renee, but I'm trusting she'll remember her commitment.

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    2. The gate isn't locked on your side?

      Somewhere between heartbreaking and infuriating to lose seedlings you have been hand watering.
      My Californian poppies have reached the chopping for mulch, and let them reseed again, stage.

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    3. The fence and the gate was installed by the neighbor way back when she gardened in what's now defined as part of our property. When this incident occurred I told my husband that we might want to padlock it on our side but he demurred, believing she might see that as a slap in the face. If there's another incident, however, all bets are off.

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  12. Looking great Kris! It sounds like you’re getting rain too, so you must be a happy gardener.

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    1. We did indeed get some rain, Loree. Not as much as I'd have liked (just 1/3rd of an inch) but the areas to the north of us got more and every bit counts.

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  13. No, I would never tire of looking at your garden however it is presented. Your garden looks HUGE in these photos. So many different plants. I feel as if I have been to a conservatory. All the warm sunshine is nice too, but I hope you get the rain that is predicted. I noticed the hot sticks by your chimanea. I think they are perfect by it and in it. I have thought about doing that but that would be another plant I would have to bring inside during winter. They don't get enough sun inside my house. Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. The property is just over half an acre, large by the standards of Los Angeles County but not perhaps by comparison to other parts of the country. Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire' does REALLY well here, which is great as it provides a good splash of color, particularly at this time of year.

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  14. You have such lovely views surrounding your home that I'm sure you never tire of. Looks like you have lots and lots of garden to care for too. Very pretty.

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    1. Before we moved here 8 years ago, I tell anyone who asked that I wanted 2 acres to garden. (My former garden was postage-stamp tiny.) This property is just over half an acre and, while my appetite for new plants seems to be insatiable, I can't imagine I could really manage a larger space.

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  15. LOVE these photos! What a mammoth undertaking. Everything is so lush, Green, dense and impeccably maintained, which is utterly amazing considering your growing conditions. You must spend hours and hours puttering around the garden. While your vases are always enviable, I have to say I prefer these garden pics. Brava!

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    1. Thanks LoLM. My knee is currently protesting that perhaps I've been spending too many hours puttering in the garden.

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