Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cleaning up isn't pretty

I've spent most of my time in the garden the last few weeks pruning overgrown shrubs, cutting back ornamental grasses, spreading mulch, cleaning up after raccoon mayhem, and performing similar tasks that, although beneficial to the garden in the larger sense, don't offer much in the way of immediate gratification.  On Monday, as evening fell, I was down on the back slope pulling up the ivy that creeps over from the neighbor's property, continuously threatening to engulf everything in its path.  Yesterday afternoon, I went to work on a backyard bed that declined over the winter months.  It was hard to believe that, back in August, it was one of my favorite sections of the garden.

This is what it looked like then, when the bed was filled with blooming Ageratum, Anigozanthos, Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), Gaillardia, Lantana, and Nierembergia

Here's what it looks like now, almost bare following my clean-up


The plastic flats are in place to deter the raccoons from digging up the creeping thyme I planted to replace the established thyme they tore up in late fall.  The variegated Lantana didn't respond well to winter conditions and I've cut it back almost to the ground in the vague hope of regenerating it.  I pulled most of the flowering plants, leaving only a few of the stragglers still in good condition.

Agave lopantha 'Quadricolor' had been almost covered by an Aeonium avalanche.  I cut the latter back to give the Agaves more breathing room but this photo indicates I still have more work to do.

Other Aeoniums tried to swallow up this Anigozanthos until I also cut it free


I plan to replant the entire area within the next month, assuming I can find something to inspire me in the local garden centers.  Dare I hope to see any Lisianthus in the garden centers in March?

In the meantime, I took a little time to put together another succulent pot in a pot.  This one is intended for a friend.

I may swap out the orange and red succulents here (Graptosedum 'California Sunset' and a noID Crassula) for more Echeveria 'Violet Queen' before it goes to my friend


Okay, that was it for the pretty stuff.  It's back to work!


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




23 comments:

  1. One of those gaillardias looks like 'Amber Wheels' maybe? I hope it survived! I've got a couple of those varieg lantana that are still hanging on...I planted them after summer so haven't seen what they do yet in sun. Don't work too hard!

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    1. I had Gaillardia 'Gallo Yellow', 'Gallo Peach' and 'Fanfare Citronella'. A few remain but I won't know which they are until they bloom. Lantana 'Samantha' did great its first 2 years in the ground here but it looked really awful following the recent rain and cold. It's developing some leaf buds but it's 50-50 at best as to whether it can recover its former good looks.

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  2. I'm sure you can work your magic for another stunning show later this year! Seeing Aeoniums behave like that almost made me laugh (somewhat bitterly, mind you) as I can't seem to keep the damn things alive - at ALL! I'm looking forward to revisit this spot again, in April!

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    1. I could start an Aeonium farm here I think, Anna. It's perhaps the most foolproof plant genus I have.

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  3. That spot looked so lush last year! I'm sure you can work your magic and bring it back to glory. Your 'Quadricolor' Agave looks so happy with all those pups. I have a couple of thin-looking ones in my greenhouse that never seem to get any bigger. Maybe I should try putting one in the ground for the summer.

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    1. 'Quadricolor' has pupped freely since I planted it in the ground, Alison. For what it's worth, in contrast, the one I have in a hanging planter has remained single.

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  4. Like Anna, I'm a bit jealous at how well aeoniums do in the ground there. While most stay alive for me, they never look as good as yours. The pot in a pot is fabulous.

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    1. Aeonium arboreum is almost scary here, Peter. Some of the rosettes are bigger than my head.

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  5. Oh how I wish I could get outside and do a little clean up...but temperatures are frigid. Barely making it out of the 30s...I want spring!

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    1. Somewhat unexpectedly, we got rain last night and continuing this morning - this storm was supposed to peter out before reaching us. We remain on the cool side (60s), wrapping up the coldest February here since 1962 according to newscasters, but far more pleasant than the winter you've been subjected to this year. I hope your conditions improve soon, Loree!

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  6. I'm sure the bed will look wonderful again after you plant. At least you have the hope of finding the plants you want; it is very difficult here to find anything inspiring in the garden centres.

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    1. I usually get a strong urge to plant in January, when the holidays are behind us, but even here there's usually not much in the garden centers until March at earliest, Christina. All the rain we've had, combined with lower than normal temperatures, may also have the garden centers holding up their plant deliveries on the theory that few people want to garden in the rain. Crazy people like me aren't factored into the equation.

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  7. You have so much to look forward to. That bed will look great again. I love the pot you put together for your friend. I wouldn't change a thing about it. I love all the colors mixed together.

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    1. Empty garden spaces always have me itching to get out and fill them up, Lisa. I have a few mail order deliveries to look forward to in March but those are mainly bulbs and there's no immediate gratification there either.

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  8. Oh how inspirational, and sadly a long way off until I can do those chores that aren't pretty but necessary. Your look back at your garden is so lovely and must provide something to look forward to. Those plastic flats to keep out the prying paws - brilliant. I was wondering what they were for and then you gave the explanation - love it. Your friend will be happy for such a lovely pot.

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    1. I noticed that my local botanic garden piled empty plastic flats over selected areas and, when I realized the purpose, I co-opted the idea, Kim. It's not full-proof but it does help redirect those annoying raccoons.

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  9. Ironically in the garden plants are either taking over or requires too much babying. Still searching for that ideal grower.

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    1. Yes, that does seem to be a common problem!

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    2. First they don't, and then in the next breath they don't stop. Can't believe how much we keep cutting off our front hedge.

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  10. Such a pretty planter! The colors are fabulous. I'm sure you've probably checked online for raccoon deterrents, but I came across this site that uses cinnamon, cayenne, etc. as a repellent. https://www.gardenguides.com/69973-repel-raccoons.html
    Looking forward to meeting on Sunday!

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  11. Gardens can't look perfect year round--well at least mine can't. Darn Raccoons. Here it is the blankety-blank squirrels. They hide in the Italian Cypress, so the Italian Cypress have to go.

    More rain tonight and into the morning, and more likely Wednesday. Ain't it wonderful?

    Enjoy the rain!!

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    1. It's raining steadily here this morning, HB. We've already picked up almost 2/3rds of an inch. We've already passed the half inch predicted by AccuWeather. I expect that what I've taken from my rain barrels in the last week has already been replenished.

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