Friday, August 9, 2019

Making Peace with Summer

Summer is the toughest season here, even when conditions are relatively mild as they've been thus far this year.  There are far fewer flowers but greenery, enhanced by spots of red, yellow and gray foliage, creates peaceful scenes.  I thought I'd share some of my favorite views of my summer garden with you.

This area alongside the garage may be my favorite right now, partly because it's one of the shadiest sections of the garden.  As the sweet pea bushes (Polygala fruticosa) have mostly finished flowering, floral color is limited to a few roses (not visible from this angle) and a couple of surprise lilies (Lycoris squamigera).  The Polygalas need trimming, as does the creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) but that'll wait awhile.

This area on the other side of the driveway is also dominated by trees, including Agonis flexuosa (peppermint willow), Magnolia grandiflora, and Arbutus 'Marina' (strawberry tree) 

Succulents, including Aeonium arboreum and Agave desmettiana, thrive under the tree cover along the moderate slope facing the street on the west side.  This is the dormant season for Aeoniums but they look good even in summer when they get some shade and a little water.

Along the street, two large Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' are hard at work producing bulbils.

Pennisetum 'Fireworks' along the path up to the main level of the garden are already flowering despite my tardy pruning exercise in June

Ornamental grasses and grass-like substitutes (Sesleria 'Greenlee's Hybrid', Lomandra longifolia 'Breeze', and Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt') provide a green backdrop in the front garden, punctuated by the gray tones of  Centaurea 'Silver Feather' and Cotyledon orbiculata and the chartreuse color of Duranta repens.  I was annoyed when what was sold to me as Duranta 'Gold Mound' exceeded its projected size of 3x3 feet, growing 7-8 feet tall (when pruned regularly) but I do like the statement it makes here.

This is another view of the same area, with flowers provided by the ever-blooming Grevillea 'Superb' and Cotyledon orbiculataLeucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' provides a bit of red color.  The grimy wall of the house in the background will be taken care of during the last stages of our remodel.

I just started tidying up the beds on the south side of the house, where I'd let crabgrass gain a foothold.  This view extends to the back garden in the distance.

This is currently the best looking part of my backyard border, where Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' and Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' are currently competing for attention

On the northeast side of the garden, the New Zealand tea trees (Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl') need pruning but the Leucadendrons and Grevilleas (on the far right) are holding the area together with the help of assorted succulents

Another view of the same area.  The Callistemon viridiflorus (center foreground), sent to me last year by Tamara of Chickadee Gardens, is slowly but surely getting itself established.

The cutting garden on the other side of the fence on the north side is the most colorful spot in my entire garden at the moment.  The Dahlias are leading the summer parade, with Zinnias, sowed late, following behind.  The sunflowers, started even later from seed, are just a couple feet high but I hope they'll come through for me before the summer's over.


Not the prettiest, but perhaps the most compelling wide shots from my perspective, are these:

Progress!  The new kitchen now has walls and its new windows were installed this morning.

Work is still underway on the kitchen's new roof, which will now be extended over the adjacent dining room too.  Once the interior drywall goes in, final measurements can be taken and the cabinetmaker can get started.


Enjoy your weekend!  Much as I appreciate the progress on our remodel, I'm looking forward to 2 days of peace and quiet.


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

30 comments:

  1. Hi Kris, sorry for not commenting for quite a while. My life took some unexpected twists and turns and there was no time anymore for staying in contact with my online gardening friends or even blogging or keeping my Instagram account going.
    I was still trying to read your blog occasionally and when I saw this post I just wanted to say that you created an absolutely dream garden. I know how hard gardening is in the summer in Southern California and your garden looks incredibly lush, green and beautiful especially considering our harsh summer conditions. I think you did a wonderful job choosing the right plants that do well in our climate and look their best in our dry conditions. Congratulations to a job really well done!
    All the best for your kitchen remodel. I hope it turns out the way you want it to!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina! I hope your life settles down a bit soon and you have an opportunity to return to blogging and IG.

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  2. As good designers are want to say "Your garden has good bones" Kris. Must be so exciting to see such progress being made on your new kitchen. Think how wonderful it will be sit and look out those windows. Hoping it continues to move quickly.

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    1. There have already been a number of twists and turns in the remodel project but I do look forward to the day it's done, l2g!

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  3. Progress on the remodel, excellent! Your garden looks wonderful despite it being August.

    It's been a much more mild summer than the last one. Grateful for that.

    Intercity C&S show at the Arboretum this weekend, if you find you need excitement after all.

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    1. We've been lucky here to have a solid morning marine layer most days, which has kept the afternoon temperatures down to reasonable levels. I hope the pattern holds! Thanks for the heads-up on the Intercity C&S Show. Despite the fact that it'd require a trip through downtown LA traffic, I'm very tempted...

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  4. Wow! Progress indeed. I think (hope) we may have turned a corner here too. Although I'm almost afraid to say it.
    Your garden always blows me away.

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    1. We haven't had any challenges on the order of yours with our remodel, Jessica, just a long sting of bureaucratic hassles and logistical blips. The task list is still long but the only thing I'm still a bit worried about is the earthquake retrofit.

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  5. Things are looking good in your garden Kris-this is such a difficult time of year and it's so easy to get discouraged by the stuff that looks bad, even though it is so inevitable ! It's the good bones that win the day in August and you've packed those in. Walls and windows in the kitchen-a good sign !

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    1. There's still a long list of tasks association with this remodel, earthquake retrofit, new HVAC system, new flooring, painting, but enclosing the kitchen after 6 weeks of having it wide open was a boon!

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  6. Not being much a flower floozie, I love these photos. The second one in particular is a wonderful composition in layering. So glad the remodel looks like there's an end in sight!

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    1. The Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' is out of control in the front garden (again); however, I'm happy with the way the various foliage plants are mingling. As to the remodel, I'm still apprehensive about the chances of getting everything done before Christmas but at least there's been progress.

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  7. Good to see the progress on the kitchen - slowly getting there! There will be a nice view while you work in there.
    Even though there may be less flowers in bloom now, the shapes, foliage colors and textures can really be seen - the core of your good design that lays beneath it all shows. It's your magnum opus! :)

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    1. Thanks Eliza. Re the remodel, not quite 2 months in, I'm already more than ready for it to be done, wishing that we hadn't bitten off a project quite so large. But there's no turning back now!

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  8. The garden is looking stunning, Kris, so green and relaxing - though perhaps not for the one who has to do all the work! Everywhere you have bright touches that add impact, such as Leucodendron ‘Sunset’. I’m so glad you’ve had a more bearable summer this year.
    It seems as though the kitchen is making steady progress...I’m looking forward to seeing the end result.

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing the results too, Jane - the sooner, the better!

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  9. Your garden is delightful. My eyes bob and weave through all of this lush texture, ups and downs of height and fabric of the garden. Those windows are going to come in handy on your really hot days and wet days, sitting there admiring all your hard work.

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    1. Thanks Lisa. We had a window in the kitchen before but the new one will provide a broader view. It should make a very light-filled space.

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  10. I remember the earlier days of your beautiful garden when it seemed like you had so much to do and took on huge projects. The kitchen remodel reminds me of that type of progress - such a huge overwhelming project but slowly but surely, one task at a time, it will become a beautiful place to be.

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    1. Thanks for drawing the parallel, Barbara. It provides a perspective I've been lacking.

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  11. Wow, those house progress shots are great. As for the garden I think it looks fabulous. What are the agaves in the picture with the Callistemon viridiflorus?

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    1. Those are two of my oldest agaves, A. vilmoriniana and A. ovatifolia. I'm afraid the former is currently in danger of being consumed by a Cistis and Lantana.

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  12. Your garden looks wonderful and I really enjoyed this tour of some of its current highlights. But I really liked the shot of the kitchen with its new wide windows. I can imagine you looking out with satisfaction through those windows when it's all done and you have a great view of your garden.

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  13. Everything looks wonderfully lush. That bank on the West street side has grown incredibly. If I fremmezer this was an area that you replanted nit many years ago. I see a misty marine layer which I imagine helps with the high day-time temperatures. Good to see progress on the new kitchen but it is a strain having workmen in the house day after day. Soon it will begin the past.

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    1. We had a strong morning marine layer all last week, Jenny - it was wonderful and it did indeed keep our afternoon temperatures down. Unfortunately, the weather forecasters are expecting the pattern to shift back into toasty territory starting this week.

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  14. Hi Kris, I just finished a blog post and thought I would check yours out - very similar sentiments! But your garden is truly a tapestry of botanical wonders. And you do have lots of color, though more subtle than the wealth of bright colors from earlier in the season. You have done a magnificent job. With all those new windows, surely you will have a spectacular view of your garden from your new kitchen and dining area.

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    1. I'm already looking forward to watching rain fall through our new kitchen window, Deb. As things are going, the project may not be done until sometime near or after Christmas but then forecasters are also suggesting that we may not see any significant rain until then either.

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  15. You have such a talent for incorporating green and different texture/structure to create a harmonious garden. I find that much more challenging than dealing with blooms - hopefully I'll get better at it as the garden matures and I see what works and what doesn't.

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    1. My front garden may be a little too densely planted in some areas, Margaret, but it does look good in photos!

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