Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tell the Truth Thursday (Late Edition): Lipstick on a pig

This post poses the question: Can an ugly truth hide behind a pretty exterior?  My garden contains plenty of support for the contention that it certainly can.  My north side garden is looking pretty in pink at the moment.

Leptospermum 'Pink Pearl' is literally covered in flowers, supported by a host of other pink-flowering plants

There's a touch of white to prevent the pink from becoming too sickeningly sweet


The area on the left lining the path that leads down the back slope is dominated by four pink-flowered plants at the moment.

Clockwise from the left: Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl', Centranthus ruber (aka Jupiter's beard), Oenothera speciosa (aka pink evening primrose), and Dorycnium hirsutum (aka hairy Canary clover)


I've allowed the Jupiter's beard, pink evening primrose, and hairy Canary clover to spread indiscriminately.  The first two plants have already crept down the back slope, laying claim to a significant area.

The back slope gets pinker with each passing day




Both the plants are completely out of control, although I suppose the same could be said for the Pelargonium 'White Lady' and the chartreuse Euphorbia's 'Dean's Hybrid'.  

It's become impossible to walk down the slope's concrete stairs without stepping on plants.  Our heavier-than-usual winter rain promoted rampant growth, which I utterly failed to curtail by properly thinning the seedlings.


For a couple of months, the back slope looks pretty.   The camera sees the frothy flowers and almost entirely misses the mass of weeds blanketing the portions of the upper slope that aren't covered in the dead ivy and honeysuckle vines left behind by last summer's horrific heatwave.

The weeds are between one and 3 feet tall but you probably didn't even notice them in the first two views of the slope did you?


I've pulled the weeds I can reach from where I stand on the concrete stairs but I can't reach the large majority of them.  I'm seriously considering investing in knee-pads to see if I can crawl a bit higher to reach at least some of these but I've no illusions I can clear all of them without hiring sherpas.

Meanwhile, in the front garden, I've let a prettier weed take over an area that I could clean up without fear of breaking my neck.

There's a 2-foot wide flagstone pathway in there but you can't see much of it anymore!

I cut back the Acacia 'Cousin Itt' on the left in an earlier effort to clear the path but the clover just moved in the take over the space


I thought I could control the clover but it's advance is relentless.  Thus far, I've rationalized my inaction based on the argument that clover fixes nitrogen in the soil; it prevents the raccoons from digging in areas it occupies; the bees like it; and it has pretty flowers.  In light of those considerations is it so bad that it makes it difficult for me or anyone else to walk through the front garden?  When our remodel starts, I expect it'll get trampled anyway...

Tell the Truth Tuesday is the brainchild of Alison at Bonny Lassie.  Visit her here to discover the ugly truths other gardeners are hiding.


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

22 comments:

  1. Ah, I see you got hit bu the Mumbai escorts as well! (spam, above) Those photos of your back slope are gorgeous! Sorry it isn't all that wonderful.

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    1. I get those Mumbai posts on a regular basis even through I tag them as spam as soon as I see them. I'd have thought Blogger's filters would have been able to screen them out by now. Spam are the weeds of social media.

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  2. I love the Jupiter's Beard on your back slope. I sowed some last year and this year too, I hope it does well here. I'm looking forward to those pink flowers. I sowed some clover-like seeds -- Trifolium rubens -- it has pretty flowers and hopefully will make a weed-suppressing mat.

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    1. I hope the Centranthus and the Trifolium live up to your expectations, alison. Jupiter's beard needs little encouragement to spread here. I moved a handful of seedlings from the upper area into the slope my first year year and now I've got more plants than I need all the way through the area. The primroses got there on their own. As to the clover in the front garden, I think that must have come in with a truckload of compost I spread 3 years ago.

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  3. I can't see any pig, it all looks wonderful to me. I am crazy about your leptospermum.

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    1. Earlier this Spring, I didn't think the Leptospermums were going to amount to much this year. I really need to work on my patience.

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  4. Hiring sherpas, too funny! ;) As a fan of wild profusion, I think it looks great, but I can see your point. btw, your Echium is looking fabulous!

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    1. That variegated Echium is the best of the bunch here, Eliza.

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  5. I mean, if this is your "tell the truth" post, all I can say is keep telling the truth. It is all so lush and wonderful there! The swaths of plants spilling along the stairways and the slopes look like waves of beauty. Who cares about a few "weeds" when you have that!

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    1. The back slope really only looks good for a couple of months at best, Beth. Once the temperatures veer into the stratosphere everything dies back and, if we get one or more horrific heatwaves, the area gets scorched and looks downright awful for months. The upper slope is still scarred by last July's 110F blast.

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  6. Got my Mumbai Escorts as well. Would they escort us to a botanical garden ? I could go for that. Also gotta keep our eyes open for the trunk of the Nigerian Camry filled with cash.

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    1. I haven't heard from any Nigerian princes recently but then we no longer pick up phone calls from unidentified or unknown numbers. It's really gotten ridiculous.

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  7. I think you are the only one who sees any negative aspects of what you just posted. I think it all looks fantastic!

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    1. Thanks Anna. I admit that the slope looks pretty now - I just wish is looked good for more than 2 months of the year.

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  8. I wouldn't mind losing a path to some of these plants. It all looks so lush and pretty. I think I would let the harsh summer sun and drought take care of some of those weeds. They don't look so bad right now.

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    1. I'm not sure that heat or anything else will kill that clover, Lisa. I have relaxed about the tiny weeds that come up through the driveway pavers, though - the heat does eventually incinerate those!

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  9. Your gardens look so massive. How much land do you have with your house? I can't imagine keeping it all under control, but you do a beautiful job. Since pink is my favorite color in a garden, I love your pink area and there can never be to much. Your photos always leave me impressed with all that you manage.

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    1. Our property is just a smidge over half an acre, Cindy. I think the varying levels actually help it look larger still.

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  10. Yes those mumbai escorts. As if a lady gardener in California is going to make use of them.

    I got weeds on the slope and through the fence on the neighbor's slope with my pole pruner--shoved the cutting head into the soil and cut off below the crown of the plant. You do what you gotta do. Stay safe.

    I like the pink area. It's okay to like pink--it's right there in the rule book.

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    1. I went ahead and crawled into the area about a foot or so to grab some of the weeds - I can't claim is got their roots, though. When I look at the area in my photos it looks more do-able than it is in reality - the incline is pretty steep. In the process it occurred to me that I might be able to use a rake or a long-handled pruner (which I don't currently have) to grab some of what I missed. My husband also suggested that, after our remodel, assuming the financial cupboard isn't bare, I might want to go ahead and hire someone to clear the slope and perhaps install something to facilitate future access. We'll see.

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  11. I've been dealing with out of control plants for a few years so I feel your pain. Funny thing is (or not so funny but it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure it out), a few of them were well behaved until I started taking care of the area by weeding, mulching,etc. Now they are going crazy & trying to get rid of them is such a pain.

    Boy - I couldn't help but notice all the lemons on that tree - so envious!!

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    1. Florida has assumed the mantle of the top US citrus producer but Southern California had a big chunk of the industry at one time and citrus trees feature in many home gardens here. I inherited 4 citrus trees with the garden, a navel orange, a mandarin orange, a lime, and that lemon tree. The lemon tree is the most prolific by far. Except when we're hit by an extreme heatwave, which has happened 2x in the 8 years we've lived here, the tree is continuously covered in lemons. I give away many of them to neighbors and friends at regular intervals just to keep the branches from breaking under the weight of the fruit. I'm not bragging - it's a real issue!

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