Friday, November 29, 2019

My renovated bromeliad bed

I finally got back to work on the bromeliad bed I've been slowly renovating over the past 2 months.  I can't say I'm completely done with it - is any garden bed ever done? - but it has a more finished look now with the changes I made earlier this week before our second rainstorm of the season moved in.  I used rock from the indoor barbecue we demolished during our home remodel in an effort to dissuade the raccoons that visit my garden all too often from digging up the entire area as they've done in the past.  I replanted the bromeliads I'd saved after their last rampage, adding a couple that had previously occupied pots elsewhere.  I also added succulents and filled in here and there with cuttings.

This is the best long shot I could manage of the renovated area.  The large shrubs on the right (Auranticarpa rhombifolium) mark the property line.  The driveway visible here belongs to my neighbor on the north side.  She's planted ornamental bananas and various succulents on the slope adjacent to her driveway. 

This is the view looking back in the opposite direction.  I filled the area between the flagstone I laid 2 years ago and the salvaged stone I installed in September with dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nanus'), supplementing the plugs I'd planted here previously.


As you can probably tell, the bed is narrow and it winds around a bit, making it difficult to photograph in its entirety.  It's easier to view it in sections.

The first segment contains a Mangave 'Pineapple Express', 3 Echeveria agavoides and a portion of the Dyckia 'Burgundy Ice' I divided recently, along with assorted cuttings

The middle section consists mostly of bromeliads with a few succulents used as accents


The largest bromeliads are these:

Aechmea 'Mend': it needs more sun than it's been getting to brighten its pink edging

Neoreglia 'Guinea' x 'Pepper': short in stature but among the most vigorous bromeliads I have

Vriesea ospinae var gruberi: perhaps my flashiest bromeliad


In addition to the bromeliads shown above, the bed includes Aechmea fasciata, Billbergia 'Carioca', and Quesnelia marmorata 'Tim Plowman'.  I've got other bromeliads in the adjacent succulent bed and in pots, some of which may eventually migrate to this bed once I see how it stands up to the elements, and the raccoons.

The last segment of the "bromeliad bed" is comprised exclusively of succulents.

This bed includes Euphorbia lactea cristata, assorted Aeoniums, Mangave 'Falling Waters', Mangave 'Mission to Mars' and Crassula orbicularis var rosularis, along with a mish-mash of fillers


I also moved the chiminea that formerly sat on the back patio to this area to provide a new focal point.  As our back patio shrank by 70 square feet when we extended our kitchen, I needed to reduce the paraphernalia there and this was the best alternative placement I could find for it.

The old focal point (left) was a collection of pots.  Three pots are still there but I gave the chiminea the prominent position, topping it with a large clump of noID Tillandsia.  I may add more Tillandsias in time.


While I was working in the area, I made an adjustment to the adjacent succulent bed as well.

I pulled the Leucadendron I'd had in a central spot in the succulent bed and replaced it with the Furcraea feotida 'Mediopicta' that's sat in a nursery pot since I picked it up back in July 

The Furcraea is still small enough to get somewhat lost in the bed when viewed from this angle but this photo gives you an idea of the relationship between the succulent and bromeliad beds.  The flagstone path visible to the right of the tree, an Arbutus 'Marina', partitions off the bromeliad bed.


Finally, on the other side of the driveway, I planted more succulent cuttings to fill the bare space left below the climbing rose when we had to replace a badly corroded gas line discovered in the course of our remodel.

I know the plants here look skimpy but I used cuttings of Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire', Aeonium arboreum, and Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi' here previously and they quickly filled the space


There's a lot more clean-up left to do in the garden as our remodel nears its conclusion but at least the plants and cuttings I installed in these areas should be off to a good start.  With our second rainstorm of the season over the Thanksgiving holiday, we've accumulated 1.5 inches of rain thus far.

It rained off and on most of Thanksgiving Day but the clouds lifted briefly over the Port of Los Angeles in the late afternoon


A belated happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US and I hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.


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

22 comments:

  1. Wow, that's a lot of rock to haul, hopefully it will deter the masked marauders. It's also a lot of plants...sure some of them are small but it looks great.

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    1. Viewing my own photos, I think I need to add more small plants, whether cuttings from elsewhere in the garden or nursery purchases, to fill in some of the bare areas but I can do that a little at a time.

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  2. Happy Thanksgiving, Kris! I hope all your new plantings thrive, especially the Furcraea, and I like what you did with your stash of rock. The chiminea looks great in its new spot, have you ever considered planting something in the body of it to spill out through the opening?

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    1. I talked about doing just that with the chiminea when it was on the back patio but was a little perplexed about what to use there. I'm currently thinking I could either anchor Tillandsias on the metal screen over the opening or remove the screen entirely, add some wood chips and fill the cavity with larger-scale bromeliads.

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  3. Your garden just keeps getting better with each redo. The chiminea adds more of a destination to the new spot. Enjoy your holidays Kris!

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    1. Some areas of the garden I thought of as "done" (at least in concept) took a terrible beating during the remodel so there's a lot I think I'm going to need to address during the next few months of our cool season. Getting the plants I want (not easy at this time of year) is the first hurdle.

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  4. Wheee! for your rain; good start at last, I hope.

    That gruberi is indeed flashy, enough to make me stop and get mesmerized by the patterns. Great photo.

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    1. The rain has been wonderful - slow and steady, which is what the areas scarred by fire need to rebound without causing mudslides. We got a little more this afternoon and expect another storm beginning Tuesday. It's lovely!

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  5. I think all of those rocks look great in their new positions. You have so many plants to work with the area looks nice. I hope the raccoons are deterred. I also like where you placed your chiminea. That gaping mouth needs a plant stuffed into it. :) I hope you have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks Lisa. I've yet to find a strategy that deters the raccoons for long but I remain hopeful that, at some point, I'll be successful in that effort.

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  6. Finally figured out that I have to use Firefox instead of Safari to leave a comment - what a pain. Anyway, congratulations once again Kris on all your hard work. Your beds are looking very good and how wonderful that you found a place to use the fireplace stones!

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    1. I'm sorry that Goggle's made it more difficult to comment, Barbara - thanks for persevering. The problem with the stones is that I have a LOT more of them to disperse. It didn't look like a lot before we demolished the indoor BBQ! My husband says it'll save him future trips to the stone yard but he may be less pleased when I ask him for help carting them down the back slope ;)

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  7. You've been hard at work - the new bed looks great! Nice repurposing of the stone.
    1.5" of rain is a good start - may it continue to rain gently throughout the season.

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    1. We picked up 0.2/inch more of rain today too, which was unexpected. Gentle rain is certainly what Santa Barbara needs - another mudslide would be devastating.

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  8. The Brom bed turned out great. I didn't realize thet your patio size was reduced in the remodel-I guess the space for the kitchen had to come from somewhere now that I think of it. We are expecting up to 6 inches of rain over the next few days-the larger accumulations are always over the hills so I will get less where I live on the valley floor.

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    1. We got spit on this afternoon, Kathy, and we're supposed to get something from that atmospheric river headed your way by late Tuesday/early Wednesday but it looks on the order on one inch rather than 6. I know the folks in the Santa Barbara burn areas are apprehensive about mudslides so, in this case, lighter rain is better.

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  9. I love all the rocks! You made such good use of them. Like the other commenters, I was surprised by the sheet number of plants. It's wonderful to have so much material to play with, isn't it?

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    1. I wanted to cover all the soil with succulents but I didn't quite manage that, Gerhard!

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  10. Your bromeliad patch looks fabulous. I really like the use of stones and bricks--very nice!

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    1. I've got lots more of those stones to find places for. It's tempting to try using them to terrace the back slope but getting them down there isn't as easy proposition.

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  11. I really like the way the bromeliads and succulents look tucked in among the rocks -- and I hope this design strategy succeeds in discouraging the raccoons.

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